|Counterpoint: Protecting proprietary interests?|
|By Brian Dawe|
In his recent commentary, Counterpoint: Too harsh on private industry, 4/14/08, Mr. Owens is correct when he states that our statistics are old and that only 29 facilities responded to the Corrections Yearbook. We would welcome any new verifiable statistics the industry cares to offer.
However, what Mr. Owens doesn’t say is why those statistics are outdated. On February 20, 2008 the Associated Press reported the following,
If they were doing such a bang up job, you would think they would want us to see how well they are doing. But they spend $2.5 million to do just the opposite.
We’ve heard the claim about protecting corporate proprietary interests. This is a despicable and dangerous argument in my profession. In public corrections when one of us finds a solution to a problem or comes up with a new idea we share it knowing it may save a life.
That’s what Corrections.com is about; sharing information so we all benefit. Are these private prison corporations arguing proprietary interests over human life? Indeed they are.
There is another reason why it is difficult to get accurate information out of the private prison industry in general, and CCA in particular. Mr. Gus Puryear IV is CCA’s top lawyer.
He was featured in a recent Time magazine article on March 13, 2008,
“The former CCA manager, alleges that the company even began keeping two sets of books — one for internal use that described prison deficiencies in telling detail, and a second set that Jones describes as ‘doctored’ for public consumption, to limit bad publicity, litigation or fines that could derail CCA's multimillion dollar contracts with federal, state or local agencies.”
For nine years I have openly offered to debate the private prison industry and I make that offer again. I am a mere correctional officer nothing more, nothing less.
They can bring all the experts and high priced attorneys they want and I’ll come with only two other people. If Corrections.com is willing to sponsor this debate just tell us when and where.
But they won’t debate us; they never have because it’s an argument they cannot win. That is why they are willing to spend $2.5 million a year to make sure the public never knows what’s really going on in those “Dungeons for Dollars.”
American Correctional Officer
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