Should We Let CCA Build Prison(s) in Hawai`i?

Throwing Away the Key
Chad Blair, Civil Beat, 12/02/13

“Pacific Business News reports that a major private corrections company is “very interested” in helping Hawaii solve its prison overcrowding problem by building new prisons here.

“It’s the same company, Corrections Corporation of America, that houses hundreds of Hawaii prisoners in its Arizona facilities.

“We’re interested in the construction and financing of a facility (as well),” CCA spokesman Steve Owen told PBN last month. “Out-of-state placement of inmates is not an ideal permanent solution, (although) it is a viable tool to take away overcrowding and provide inmates solutions to get back into the workforce.”

Look who accepts CCA $$

“CCA’s reach extends to Hawaii, where its lobbyists are John Radcliffe and Red Morris. Among the many recipients of their campaign donations are Gov. Neil Abercrombie, state Sen. David Ige (who is running against Abercrombie in the 2014 Democratic primary), and state Sen. Will Espero (candidate for Congress) and state Rep. Henry Aquino. Espero and Aquino chair the legislative committees that have oversight of Hawaii’s prisons.

Wow, this is profoundly disappointing and requires more research into who is getting greased by CCA. Tracking campaign contributions and votes is really important as corporations gain more and more of a foothold into our legislative process.

Good piece by Chad Blair. The department says that the state will still operate the prison(s) but experience reminds  us that this is just the foot in the door for these profiteers.  Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). CCA’s Saguaro  prison where nearly 1500 men are imprisoned was opened in 2007. Shortly thereafter we received calls from the men about the shower water running into the dorms because the drains were too high (shoddy construction). This was a public health problem that we reported to PSD. At that time Tommy Johnson met with me and told me that after his investigation of the problem, this was found not to be true. Six months later, however, the showers were under repair because the drains were improperly constructed! Now we want these guys to build facilities here?  Doesn’t anyone in government have a memory???? (This is why advocacy is so important!)



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