Prison Watchdog Demands Info On CCA

By CAMERON LANGFORD of Courthouse News

AUSTIN (CN) – Prison Legal News sued the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private prison contractor, for records about its contracts in Texas and lawsuits filed against CCA there.

Prison Legal News, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center, sued CCA in Travis County Court.

“Privately operated prisons and jails are notorious for their abhorrent conditions,” Prison Legal News says in its complaint. “Although they perform a government function, they are driven by a profit model that cuts costs for the benefit of shareholders and to the detriment of basic services, security, and oversight. Prison Legal News seeks to enforce its rights under the Public Information Act to investigate details about these facilities in Texas.”

Prison Legal News “publishes a 64-page monthly magazine with cutting-edge review and analysis of prisoner rights, court rulings and prison issues,” the complaint states. “Its circulation is approximately 7,000 hardcopies per month, and includes subscribers in all 50 states and abroad.

“The information offered by Prison Legal News enables prisoners, civil rights advocates, and organizations to protect prisoners’ rights at the grass roots level. It is in a unique position to investigate, document, and publicize the nationwide abuses of a corporation like CCA.

“Prison Legal News has sought and received public records from CCA in others states using those states’ open records laws, including in CCA’s home, Tennessee.”

The nonprofit claims that CCA blew off its March 1 public records request for records about “Contracts between CCA, the state, and local counties and municipalities … Petitions from lawsuits filed against CCA in Texas … Settlements, verdicts, and injunctive orders entered against CCA in Texas.”

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