Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Idaho private prison's cost cutting made facility dangerous

A former regional manager for private prison company Corrections Corporation of America says top employees at a private prison in Idaho were given yearly bonuses if they cut costs on salary, wages and other operational expenses, reported The Associated Press.
CCA, which has since changed its name to CoreCivic, operated the Idaho Correctional Center under a $29 million annual contract with the state of Idaho until chronic understaffing, violence and other problems prompted Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to order the state to take over the facility in 2013.
Kevin Myers, CCA's former managing director who oversaw the Idaho facility and several others, testified in Boise's U.S. District Court recently as a witness in a lawsuit against the company.
A group of inmates at the Idaho prison sued in 2012, contending that CCA understaffed the prison to boost profits in a so-called "ghost worker scheme." The inmates contend the understaffing made the facility more dangerous and led to an attack where they were jumped, beaten and stabbed by members of a prison gang.
CCA has vigorously denied those claims.
Myers said his supervisor, CCA Vice President Steven Conry, sometimes directed him to reduce prison budgets. Conry told him that salary, wages and overtime were "the primary levers we can manipulate to impact our budgets," Myers said.
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