Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rank Remiss: Another Abominable Product of Privatizing Prisons

Just days after a report that Nashville-based CCA intends to expand facilities in San Diego, a Tennessean article reports that a prisoner at Nashville's CCA facility was allowed to stay in his cell for 9 months (not even leaving to take a shower). No mental health evaluation was ordered until the Metro Health Department received a complaint about the prisoner's unhygienic condition. CCA may be expanding its San Diego facility to deter higher numbers of illegal immigrants. Can you imagine how much worse immigrant detainees would be treated by the for-profit corporation?

A corollary to this story is the finger pointing that Sheriff Daron Hall--the golden boy of the Metro Council, seeming to get gold from and to spread gold to council members--is doing at the Health Department and at CCA. Doesn't privatization of public institutions just create an outside object of blame? And aren't the private subcontractors a layer removed from the control of voters? It's not like average citizens can boycott CCA if we don't like their product, because their clientèle is the government. But regardless of the bureaucratic torture of logic in the Sheriff not accepting responsibility, doesn't mere common sense direct that ultimately the person with the title of "Sheriff" generally oversees an institution called a "jail"?

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