prison barsCorrections Corporation of America is bidding to renew its contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house immigrants at its Youngstown facility. The ACLU of Ohio is urging the BOP not to renew the contract.

The Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown is a Criminal Alien Requirement facility, which means it predominantly houses immigrants. The ACLU recently released a report called Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System,, documenting the abuses at CAR prisons by private prison companies.

CCA took over the facility in 1977, and within 14 months there were 13 stabbings, 2 murders and 6 escapes. A lawsuit filed on behalf or prisoners by the city of Youngstown resulted in the closing of the prison, only to see it reopen two years later — still under CCA management.

The Bureau of Prisons will tour the Youngstown facility later this month, and will release its findings on the quality of services in September. They will make a decision on renewing the contract shortly thereafter.

Michael Pugh, warden at Youngstown accused the ACLU of launching a “cookie-cutter” attack on CCA, saying “it’s sad that an organization that exists to protect civil liberties is so closed-minded when it comes to facts and perspectives that might challenge its political agenda.”

The Ohio ACLU’s Director of Communications and Public Policy hopes the Bureau of Prisons, Mike Brickner, obviously feels quite differently.

“For-profit prisons have been a failed experiment here for decades,” he says. “Violence increases, drug use is common, and medical care is neglected, leading to facilities deteriorating rapidly. Despite all these problems, we continue to give taxpayer money to these for-profit companies that are subject to little oversight.”

Photo by Michael Coghlan under Creative Commons License