Sunday March 9, 2014
New Report Calls for More Disclosure from Private Prison ProfiteersSalem-News.com
The report also highlighted the extent to which companies running private prisons sought to influence legislation and regulation during the 2012 election cycle
(WASHINGTON, DC) - Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today released, "Private Prisons: A Bastion of Secrecy," a report calling for increased transparency by authorizing public access to documents that would shed light on private prison operations and their costs, and might reveal the extent to which they deprive prisoners of basic civil liberties.
Federal and state prisons are subject to open records laws, but private prisons, which held 18 percent of the federal prison population in 2012, are currently immune from the same disclosure requirements.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which applies to all government agencies including the Bureau of Prisons, was enacted before many essential government functions were regularly outsourced to private entities. As a result, the drafters did not anticipate a need to apply the FOIA to government contractors. CCA and GEO Group are the two largest private prison contractors, with combined annual revenue of $2.9 billion in 2010.
CCA’s and GEO Group’s records clearly show the need for increased transparency provided by the FOIA:
CREW’s report also highlighted the extent to which companies running private prisons sought to influence legislation and regulation during the 2012 election cycle:
“These companies operate almost completely outside of the public eye while donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to elected officials. It seems members of Congress are well paid to look the other way while the politically powerless – children, undocumented immigrants, and poor and uneducated inmates -- are subjected to conditions that are often inhumane.” Ms. Sloan said.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visitwww.citizensforethics.org
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