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Brush Correctional Facility
Brush, Colorado
GRW

June 27, 2005
CHEYENNE -- Scarcity of space and a recent sexual misconduct scandal have prompted state officials to move the 54 prison inmates Wyoming currently houses at private facilities in Colorado to Texas by the end of the summer.  But by the end of 2007, Wyoming expects to have all of its prisoners housed within the state's borders, according to Wyoming Department of Corrections spokeswoman Melinda Brazzale. Brazzale said a lack of available private prison space in Colorado prompted Wyoming officials to begin consideration of moving state inmates out of Colorado. Contributing to the decision were allegations of sexual misconduct between prison guards and inmates at a private prison in Brush, Colo., where Wyoming had been housing 38 female inmates. Those inmates have since been moved out of Colorado.

June 21, 2005 Rocky Mountain News
Three states could pull their inmates from Colorado's private prisons by the end of the summer, spooked by a recent sexual misconduct scandal and squeezed by Colorado's own rising prisoner population. The state's five private facilities house about 2,700 Colorado inmates. They also contract with three other states - Hawaii, Washington and Wyoming - to hold prisoners those states can't, due to overcrowding. The private prisons have lost or stand to lose nearly 400 out-of-state inmates, which would be an approximately $20,000 per-day hit spread between two Tennessee firms who run them. State officials say they can fill the gap with 400 Colorado inmates waiting for prison beds - contradicting warnings the private firms sounded earlier this year - and suggest that facilities filled only with Colorado prisoners could prove easier to control. Corrections officials say it's easier to manage prisoners from one state, because they are all used to the same rules. Some states, for example allow cigarette smoking or conjugal visits, which Colorado does not. "It is always easier to manage a single jurisdiction population," said Alison Morgan, a corrections department spokeswoman. Later, she said the loss of out-of-state inmates "is not a bad thing."  Officials also have said out-of- state inmates may have fueled or contributed to two riots in the past decade, including one at the Crowley County Correctional Facility last July. Washington once sent more than 200 prisoners to Colorado. The state has moved all but a few to other states, a Washington corrections official said Monday. Wyoming will move its 54 male inmates - already down from a high of 300 - from Colorado by summer's end, a corrections spokeswoman there said. Wyoming has already moved 38 female inmates from a private prison in Brush, in part because of alleged sexual misconduct between prison guards and inmates that surfaced in February. Hawaiian officials are rebidding their contract to house 80 women who are in Brush. Twenty- one state lawmakers urged their governor in April to move those inmates "immediately," the Honolulu Advertiser reported.

April 17, 2005 AP
Lawmakers are petitioning Gov. Linda Lingle to move dozens of female Hawaii inmates out of a Colorado prison where staffers were allegedly involved in sexual misconduct with prisoners. Twenty-one members of the Women's Legislative Caucus want Lingle to increase state monitoring of the Brush Correctional Facility in Colorado and ultimately move the 80 Hawaii inmates to another facility. House Judiciary Chairwoman Sylvia Luke, D-Pacific Heights-Punchbowl, said she is concerned about reports that prison staff may be retaliating against Hawaii inmates following allegations that guards were involved in sexual misconduct earlier this year with inmates from Hawaii, Colorado and Wyoming. Kat Brady, coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons, said Hawaii inmates have faced unfair administrative punishments and had legal records confiscated. The inmates believe these are examples of retaliatory acts, Brady said. GRW chief executive officer Gil Walker has said he expects Colorado to increase its number of inmates in Brush, so the company won't take a financial hit when Wyoming removes it's inmates. "I don't think it will hurt us at all," Walker said.

April 14, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
Wyoming will remove its women inmates from a privately run Mainland prison that also houses Hawai'i women inmates, the same prison where staff members were accused of sexual misconduct involving Hawai'i, Wyoming and Colorado inmates. Melinda Brazzale, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, cited a recent series of problems at the prison in the decision to remove the Wyoming inmates from the Brush Correctional Facility in Colorado. Those problems included criminal charges filed against staff members and the former warden in connection with the sexual misconduct allegations, and revelations that the prison allowed five convicted felons to work there because their background checks had not been completed. Investigations by Colorado state prison officials concluded prison staff had been involved in alleged sexual misconduct with two Hawai'i inmates, two Colorado inmates and four Wyoming inmates. Two other members of the prison staff were charged in an alleged cigarette smuggling ring.

March 24, 2005 AP
Colorado prison officials are reviewing background checks for employees at five private prisons run by Tennessee companies after discovering that some employees at one of them had criminal records. State Corrections Department spokeswoman Alison Morgan said Thursday that five convicted criminals and three people whose backgrounds "merited further investigation" had been hired at the Brush Correctional Facility, a privately run women's prison where several guards face charges of having consensual sex with inmates and smuggling tobacco into the facility. Morgan said a former warden for GRW Corp., a Brentwood, Tenn.-based company that has held a state contract to run the prison for 18 months, failed to complete background checks for some employees. The failure was first reported by KCNC-TV of Denver. She said it appears that fingerprints for the guards that were sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were smudged or otherwise unreadable. The prints were sent back to the prison, which did not follow up, Morgan said. Morgan said the Corrections Department's Private Prisons Monitoring Unit does not have the staff or funding to regularly conduct its own background checks of private-prison employees.

March 23, 2005 Rocky Mountain News
People with criminal records were hired to work at a Brush prison where several employees are facing charges for allegedly having sex with inmates, according to a CBS 4 News investigation. The Brush Correctional Facility is a medium-security prison that holds 250 women. GRW Corp., a private company headquartered in Tennessee, runs the prison and hired several employees with criminal records to watch over the inmates, according to CBS 4 News. The company has fired six employees with criminal histories so far. Four guards have resigned from the prison, and one has been put on administrative leave. The warden, Rick Soares, resigned Feb. 18, a month after the Department of Corrections first received reports of sexual misconduct. Three prison guards are facing criminal charges for allegedly having sex with seven inmates. Two other guards and an inmate are accused of smuggling contraband cigarettes into the facility. The list of the prison employees with questionable backgrounds includes 28-year-old Angela Gallegos, CBS 4 News said. A prison guard, she was arrested on a felony charge three years ago and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. Heather Henry, 24, was also hired as a guard. Her record includes arrests for harassment, domestic violence-assault, violating protective orders and child abuse. Richard Fairchild, 42, was convicted of domestic violence and violating a restraining order. Gil Walker, president of GRW, said these are the last people who should be working in a prison and should have never been hired. "We don't hire questionable people, and that's the embarrassing part," Walker told CBS 4 News. Walker said the company never finished its background checks on potential employees and didn't know their full histories.

March 10, 2005 Fort Morgan Times
Morgan County District Attorney Bob Watson filed additional charges Wednesday in connection with the prison sexual misconduct scandal in Brush. The new indictments include a charge of unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution lodged against a second guard, charges of being an accessory to a crime against the former warden and charges against another nine current or former prison employees related to introducing contraband cigarettes into the prison and conspiracy to commit introduction of contraband. According to Watson, the new charges are not necessarily all that will result from his office's ongoing investigation of the GRW-owned private prison. According to case filings made Wednesday in Morgan County District Court, corrections officer Fredrick Henry Woller, 32, of Brush is charged with unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution, a class five felony. Specifically, Woller is alleged to have engaged in sexual conduct with prisoner Cristie Maez. Also charged Wednesday was former Warden Richard "Rick" Soares Jr., 57, of Sterling, who was allegedly an accessory to the crime of unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution, also a class five felony. He is accused of hindering the investigation. The pair joins corrections officer Russell Rollison, 31, of Brush, who was charged last week with unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution. Other charges resulting from the criminal probe to date regard prison food service and other prison employees allegedly conspiring with inmates to bring cigarettes into the prison. Cigarettes have been banned from Colorado penal institutions since 1999. Those charged with introducing contraband in the second degree, a class six felony, and conspiracy to commit introduction of contraband, also a class six felony, are: Pania Akopian, 31, Pisa Tuvale, 35, Annette Cummings, 38, Janice Crockett, 47, and Jeannette Dillon, 38, all of whom have the Brush Correctional Facility listed as their address; Gail Guerrero, no age listed, and Maria Ramirez, 46, both of Brush; Charmayne Kalama, 28, of Kapolei, Hawaii, and Stannie T. Muramoto, 46, of Honolulu, Hawaii. According to Gil Walker, CEO of Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed private prison, an internal investigation uncovered only consensual sex between the guards and prisoners. Alison Morgan, a state corrections department spokeswoman, said the DOC investigation revealed at least some of the sex as having been initiated by inmates. She said inmates from both Hawaii and Wyoming admitted to initiating the encounters either so they could be returned home or in an effort to sue the prison. However, a Hawaii attorney representing two of the inmates has alleged his clients were raped. The case was referred to DA Watson's office by the state corrections department's inspector general's office. The Brush prison, which became the first private prison for women in Colorado, opened in August, 2003. It houses 80 inmates from Hawaii, 73 from Colorado and 45 from Wyoming. Colorado pays $50 a day to GRW to house its prisoners.

March 10, 2005 The Denver Channel
The former warden and 10 other people at the privately run Brush Correctional Facility for Women face felony charges for conduct ranging from having sex with inmates to smuggling tobacco into the prison. Filings released by District Attorney Robert Watson show 32-year-old Fredrick Henry Woller faces a felony charge for allegedly having sex with an inmate. Former warden Rick Soares, 57, faces charges of being an accessory for allegedly hindering the discovery of Woller's conduct. Earlier this month, two correctional officers and seven female inmates were charged with several offenses, including introducing contraband in the form of tobacco. Watson said other investigations are pending. Soares last month resigned from Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed prison in Morgan County, after a month-long investigation implicated several officers. The department's inspector general's staff reported to Watson last month that three officers had sex with four inmates from Wyoming, two from Colorado and two from Hawaii. Some of the women alleged they were raped, but investigators concluded the sex was consensual. Having sex with an inmate is a felony for guards. The facility became the first private prison for women in Colorado in August 2003.

March 4, 2005 Star Bulletin
Female inmates from Hawaii will remain at a privately run women's prison in Colorado where five officers face sexual misconduct and contraband charges, Hawaii officials said yesterday. A visit to the prison by state monitors last month shows Hawaii does not need to transfer its inmates to an alternate facility, said Richard Bissen, interim director of Hawaii's Department of Public Safety. "Incidents like this happen at facilities," Bissen said. "But that place is being more closely monitored than ever, and the women themselves say they are safe." Three prison officers had sex with a total of four Hawaii inmates, two Colorado inmates and one Wyoming inmate, according to Alison Morgan, a spokesperson for the Colorado corrections department. Two of the officers have resigned, and a third is on administrative leave. Investigations show the sex was consensual, said Gil Walker, founder and chief executive of Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the Brush Correctional Facility for Women, located in Colorado. One case involved two Hawaii inmates and a guard, who admitted to engaging in sexual activity in January in the prison library. Some civil rights advocates argue that there is no such thing as consensual sex between an inmate and an authority figure. "We have a law that says it's a felony. It's not consensual when someone is in custody," said Kat Brady, an advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. Myles Breiner, a Honolulu lawyer who is representing the Hawaii inmates, has said the women were forced to perform a sex act for Rollison. Morgan said some Hawaii and Wyoming inmates admitted they believed having sex with the guards would help them get transferred to their home states, where they would be closer to relatives.

February 25, 2005 Denver Post
The warden resigned and five correctional officers at the privately run Brush Correctional Facility for women face sexual misconduct and contraband charges in the wake of a criminal probe. Warden Rick Soares resigned from Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed prison in Brush, on Feb. 18 after a month-long investigation implicated the five officers, said Alison Morgan, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman. The warden was not implicated in the wrongdoing. The department's inspector general's office referred contraband allegations involving two staff members and one inmate and sexual misconduct allegations involving three staff members to District Attorney Robert Watson on Thursday. Three officers who were not named had sex with four Hawaiian inmates, two Colorado inmates and one Wyoming inmate, Morgan said. Two of the officers resigned, and a third is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case. Some of the women alleged they were raped, but investigators concluded the sex was consensual, sometimes initiated by inmates, Morgan said. It's still a felony offense for correctional officers, she said. She said some Hawaiian and Wyoming inmates acknowledged they had sex with correctional officers because they believed they would be returned home, where they would be closer to relatives. Others hoped to file lawsuits against the prison. Two officers and an inmate were caught sneaking tobacco into the prison, Morgan said.

Casper Re-Entry Center
Casper, Wyoming
Community Education Centers

October 19, 2007 Rocky Mountain News
A convicted murderer who fled a work-release program and was captured in Canada two weeks later has pleaded guilty to an escape charge. Shannon Parazoo, 44, faces up to a 10-year prison sentence. On Feb. 9, Parazoo and his stepson, Alonzo Durgin, walked away from the Casper Re-Entry Center, where both inmates were in a work-release program. Along with Parazoo's wife, two of her children and several pets, they traveled to Montana and then Canada, Parazoo said. The escape prompted a search that spanned the northwestern U.S. and Canada. Canadian police arrested the fugitives in British Columbia on Feb. 23.

February 13, 2007 KGWN TV
Authorities are on the lookout for a convicted murderer who walked away from a Casper halfway house last week. His name is Shannon Parazoo, and he's serving a 20- to 30-year sentence for second-degree murder back in 1985. He's also got a conviction for an escape attempt in 1986. Authorities say he checked out of the Casper Re-entry Center on Friday, but didn't report to work that night. They realized he was missing Saturday morning. Also missing is Parazoo's son, Alonzo Durgin, who was at the center for aggravated assault and aggravated robbery. Durgin left Friday night on a pass to spend time with his mother, but never returned. Law enforcement agencies were notified Saturday, but did not notify the public until yesterday. Bill Palatucci is the spokesman for New Jersey-based Community Education Centers Incorporated, which runs the center. He says it appears the staff at the facility followed all the proper policies and procedures.

October 5, 2005 Casper Star-Tribune
A 48-year-old man who was on the run for 21 years after escaping from prison in 1978 has gone missing again, according to a Natrona County Sheriff's Office report. Thomas Lee Russell was serving a 45-day sentence at the Casper Re-Entry Center when he apparently left the facility early Monday morning, according to Melinda Brazzale, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Corrections. He was due to return to parole status Oct. 10 -- a status he first enjoyed two years ago when his prison sentence on three burglary charges from the 1970s was commuted. It is not clear how Russell left CRC, which is operated by a private corrections company out of New Jersey. He was reportedly present at one head count at the facility and then later noticed missing, according to Sgt. Mark Sellers of the sheriff's office.

Crowley County Correctional Facility
Olney Springs, Colorado
CCA (formerly Dominion)
August 25, 2005 Westword
Slow burn: The 2004 Crowley riot caused extensive fire damage. When all hell broke loose last year at the Crowley County Correctional Facility, a private prison on Colorado's eastern plains, Vance Adams stayed very, very quiet. From his cell door, Adams could see prisoners armed with weight bars running in and out of his unit, smashing windows, busting up plumbing, setting fires and raiding offices and vending machines. "They looked like they were having a good time," Adams says. "But I wasn't." After a confrontation in the yard on July 20, 2004, the understaffed guards evacuated quickly, leaving the inmates free to rampage for hours, causing millions of dollars' worth of damage. Adams, serving a five-year sentence on drug and escape charges, soaked some towels to try to block smoke and tear gas from his cell. Prison and state Special Operations Response Teams (SORT) arrived in the unit around midnight and ordered everyone to put their hands on their heads and crawl backward, face down. When Adams tried to sign the orders to his cellmate, who is deaf, the officers became more belligerent, he says. "I screamed back at them, 'My roommate is deaf!'" he recalls. "They calmed down a little bit, but I guess I wasn't crawling fast enough." Adams says he was tightly cuffed, dragged by his ankles through the water flooding the unit, hauled outside and thrown on the grass of the prison ball field, where he remained until mid-morning. Older prisoners around him were passing out; others cried out for medical attention after being sprayed with birdshot, pepper gas or rubber bullets. "When the SORT officers cuffed me, they broke my wrist," reads the affidavit of inmate Terry Borrowdale. "They left me cuffed with a fractured wrist for four to five hours, until I was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Pueblo.... When I told the SORT officers that I am almost sixty years old and had no part in the riot, one officer answered, 'This is what you all deserve for what you have done.'" Bad as the riot was, many prisoners say they suffered greater injuries from the aftermath of the disturbance, as officers from the Colorado Department of Corrections and Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison operator, regained control. A group of more than eighty inmates is filing a lawsuit against CCA this week, claiming the company let conditions deteriorate before the riot, then brutalized men who didn't participate in the uprising. Prisoners claim they were assaulted by officers, shot (with live ammo, in at least one case) while fleeing burning buildings or trying to surrender, denied medical treatment, forced to strip in front of female staff and denied showers for up to a week after the incident. Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a Washington-based public-interest group, has joined Boulder attorney Bill Trine in representing the inmates. The attorneys have obtained thousands of pages of the state's investigation of the riot and are seeking access to videotapes made by staff. "There's absolutely no question about what happened during the riot," Trine says, "and there's a lot pointing the finger at CCA. They had to get the riot under control, but what they did afterward was to punish everybody, whether they were involved in the riot or not." The Colorado DOC's after-action report on the riot blasted CCA management for ignoring state inspectors' recommendations before the riot, for inadequate staff training and for pitiful emergency-response procedures. The report noted that SORT teams fired hundreds of rounds of buckshot, birdshot and rubber bullets -- as well as slugs, smoke grenades, "stingballs" and pepper-spray canisters -- but concluded that "reasonable force was used" to regain control of the prison. But since that report was released, the DOC has also come under fire from state auditors for failing to adequately monitor the private prison. As first reported in Westword last year, visits by DOC monitors were often shorter than required and suffered from a lack of followup on critical issues such as poor food, skimpy portions, chronic staff turnover and abysmal inmate morale ("Going Off," December 23, 2004). Investigative files obtained by the prisoners' attorneys indicate that DOC and CCA staff received more warnings from inmates of an upcoming disturbance than previously acknowledged. One counselor told investigators that several staff members had turned in reports on the matter but "the administration seemed more concerned about who the [source] was than about the information on a potential riot." At the time of the riot, Crowley held 1,122 inmates, including some from Washington and Wyoming as well as Colorado, but had only 47 employees on duty. Although the riot was triggered by an alleged misuse of force on a Washington inmate, investigators found that inmates had a wide array of grievances, from the disparity in treatment of inmates from different states to rotten food. Investigators sampled the food in the dining hall and "found it to be of very poor quality and distasteful." After the riot, prisoners say, they were kicked and struck by guards while cuffed, dragged face-down through vomit or feces-tainted water, and threatened with more violence. An inmate named Arnold Wyrick claims he was denied access to a bathroom, had to defecate in his pants, and was forced to wear the soiled clothing for eight hours while guards called him "Mr. Shitty Pants" and asked, "Does the little baby need a diaper?" The investigative files also indicate that some prisoners performed heroically during the riot. Inmates in one honor pod repelled rioters who tried to enter their house and manned a bucket brigade to put out fires. Afterward, they were shoved into overcrowded cells with no mattresses or shipped off to more restrictive prisons or county jails. The prison was locked down for nearly a month after the riot. Recently paroled inmates say that conditions at Crowley are no better than before, and possibly worse, with limited access to recreation and to the DOC's monitors. "I rarely saw a monitor around," says Adams, who's now in a Denver halfway house. "They'd have us cleaning the place a day before any inspection." Inmate Oscar Barron, who left Crowley last spring and is now on parole on a robbery charge, says staff training is still a sore point. "They've got guys right out of high school and old ladies," he says. "Come on. Are they going to protect you if something happens?" The DOC did not respond to questions about its officers' alleged mistreatment of handcuffed inmates. CCA spokesman Steve Owen hadn't seen a copy of the complaint and declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit. "CCA will aggressively defend the complaint," he says. "Beyond that, we believe the most appropriate venue to respond is through proper court filings rather than by way of public comment."
Adele Kimmel, staff attorney for Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, says her group became involved in the case because of a lack of "significant reform" in the way CCA manages its four prisons in southeastern Colorado. "We think the lawsuit is the best mechanism for holding CCA accountable and preventing future riots," she says.

August 25, 2005 Rocky Mountain News
Vance Adams had been worried for weeks that something was going to happen at the Crowley County Correctional Facility, the privately run prison where he was incarcerated, and on the night of July 20, 2004, those fears were realized when fellow inmates went wild. First he saw prisoners smashing glass inside the prison. Then he looked out the window of his cell and saw flames - one of several blazes lit that night by rioting inmates. "We were scared," he said. "We didn't know what to do." But as frightened as he was of marauding inmates, the treatment he and other prisoners endured at the hands of guards was similarly stressful, he said Wednesday. Those guards, he alleged, dragged him and another prisoner out of their cell by their ankles, cinched their wrists tightly with plastic bands, left them for hours with no water, and told them to urinate in their pants when they asked to use a restroom. Adams is among 86 current and former inmates of the Crowley County Correctional Facility in southeast Colorado who have sued its operator, Corrections Corp. of America. The inmates allege negligence on the part of prison staff leading up to the riot, use of excessive force during and after the violent outbreak, and inhumane treatment of prisoners who had nothing to do with the fracas. Bill Trine, a Boulder attorney representing the inmates, repeatedly charged Corrections Corp. of America with ignoring warnings in the days leading up to the riot. For example, he said, the transfer of 198 inmates from Washington state to Crowley County heightened tensions. He said that happened, in part, because the out-of-state prisoners resented the corresponding loss of privileges. Also contributing was resentment among Colorado prisoners who were paid substantially less for the work they did - $18.60 a month vs. $60 a month for Washington prisoners. Trine also made public documents compiled by the state's Office of Inspector General that showed prison officials were warned in the days before the riot that trouble was likely. Among the documents was a report from an addiction counselor who said she had been alerted by inmates that tensions had escalated and that "people were going to get hurt." The counselor filed a report with a superior and later told investigators that others also had alerted prison staff "with information from inmates who told them that there was going to be a riot." Those warnings, Trine said, were ignored. "The net result," he said, "was the riot did occur."

October 13, 2004 Rocky Mountain News
The staff of the privately operated Crowley County Correctional Facility was severely undermanned and too undertrained and inexperienced to control inmates on the evening of July 20, when hundreds erupted into a nightlong riot. So said the state Department of Corrections in a searing report Tuesday on the prison in Olney Springs, owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America with a contract to house inmates from Colorado and other states.  The prison had a uniformed staff of only 33 officers for its 1,122 inmates on the evening of the riot, a ratio of 34 inmates per officer. That compares with a ratio of five inmates per officer in Colorado's state-operated prisons. Corrections Corporation of America has not released a damage estimate for the prison, which it owns and must repair with its own funds. Repairs have not been completed and 30 percent of the prison remains closed. CCA must also reimburse the state $385,000 for the prison system's Special Operations Response Team and other state personnel and expenses in quelling the riot. Not even basic prison operational procedures were maintained at the prison, the report charged. The prison had failed to satisfy state prison officials' demands to create an emergency plan or maintain an emergency response team, the report stated. On the night of the riot, the prison was "not fully staffed," and some of its staff had been "on the job for two days or less."
Once the riot erupted, chaos reigned. Prison supervisors reported that the entire staff was accounted for, although two corrections officers were trapped inside the prison and sought safety in a segregation cell. The female librarian was stranded in the library with 37 inmates, who did not join the riot. A private prison corrections officer's pay is about two-thirds that of state prison officers - $1,818 per month, compared with $2,774 per month, and staff turnover is about twice the rate as in state prisons. CCA has told the state it maintains an approximately 8-to-1 inmate to corrections officer ratio, but it was far off that staffing strength on July 20. CONCLUSIONS • Turnover: High staff turnover and inexperience hampered response to emergencies. • Staff: Prison was not fully staffed at the time of the riot, and some employees had been on the job only two days or less. • Response: Prison staff's response to the initial incident was indecisive and failed to comply with orders from a state Department of Corrections official. • Drills: Emergency drills were rarely conducted. Prison staff failed to maintain a recommended percentage of emergency response team members. • Prisoners: Prison staff did not respond to inmate grievances in a timely manner. • Security: Fundamental security measures were not consistently followed.

October 13, 2004 Pueblo Chieftain
Administrators of the privately run Crowley County Correctional Facility knew or should have known about potential problems that led to a July 20 inmate riot, a new report revealed Tuesday. The Colorado Department of Corrections report on the riot said the 1,130-inmate facility, one of five private prisons in the state, lacked state-required equipment, failed to follow DOC regulations at times, had insufficiently trained guards and no adequate plan to deal with crisis situations. The 179-page report to Gov. Bill Owens revealed that: Prison management failed to comply with deficiencies and recommendations that DOC inspectors told them about before the riot. High staff attrition and inexperience contributed to a lack of ability to respond to emergencies. The prison failed to adhere to DOC-mandated menus. Fundamental security measures were not consistently followed. Construction materials used to build cells were too easily destroyed. The prison's initial response to the riot was indecisive. The report noted that the riot, which left scores injured but no deaths, was sparked by a number of factors, at least one of which was not the fault of the prison operators. Because the prison housed inmates from other states - Wyoming and Washington - there was a disparity in the monthly wage out-of-state inmates earned over Colorado prisoners.
" Buying power is strongest, therefore, among Washington and Wyoming inmates," according to the report, written by DOC prisons director Nolin Renfrow, legislative liaison Cherri Greco and prisons operations manager Anna Cooper. Additionally, in the six months before the riot, DOC inspectors - known as the private prison monitoring unit - cited numerous issues with the prison operators, including food preparation programs, accuracy and timeliness of reports and inadequate tracking of security threat intelligence. At one point during the riot, Renfrow ordered the prison to use chemical agents to disperse the inmates, but the prison delayed doing so because it was seeking approval from its corporate headquarters in Nashville. The report also revealed that the prison's level of emergency preparedness was lacking in several areas: It wasn't fully staffed. Some employees had been on staff for two days or less when the riot broke out. Because it had not developed an emergency preparedness plan to DOC standards, some prison guards and managers were unsure what to do. It rarely conducted riot drills. When one was conducted, a staff member unaware that a drill was under way "drew a weapon" on an inmate, the report said. "The prison riot of July 20 at the Crowley County Correctional Facility began with a disturbance which, in retrospect, was not responded to as quickly and efficiently as possible, thus developing into a riot. Some dynamics among the inmate population, perception that inmate complaints were not being heard, and use of force by CCCF staff likely all contributed to the onset of the incident."

September 22, 2004 Pueblo Chieftain
Part of the problem in managing rioting inmates at a private prison in Crowley County in July was that the facility had a 45 percent turnover rate in employees, state corrections officials told lawmakers Tuesday. A day after a Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman told The Pueblo Chieftain that DOC doesn't routinely track employment matters at private prisons, the DOC's director of prisons, Nolin Renfrow, told the legislative Joint Budget Committee that one of the things under investigation is the prison's high turnover rate.
DOC wants to know if that high rate contributed to the riot among 500 inmates July 20 at the Crowley County Correctional Facility in Olney Springs, which is operated by Corrections Corp. of America. "We know that it was 45 percent at this particular facility," Renfrow told the six-member panel that requested a review of DOC's investigation of the riot. "Over the past few years, we have monitored their turnover as a whole. I think ours is around 8 to 10 percent. I think they have averaged 20 to 25 percent turnover in the past few years across CCA (in the state)." At one point before he arrived at the Crowley prison, Renfrow said he ordered staff workers to spray crowd-controlling chemicals into the main yard where many prisoners were rioting. "The word we received back (after giving the order) was that CCA was trying to get authorization to do that from their headquarters," Renfrow said. "Over the next two to three hours, I continued to repeat my orders as I was driving to the facility from Colorado Springs. Eventually, when our staff arrived, we did do that and the inmates were brought under control." "The (high turnover rate) generally means that tenured staff is generally low, and when tenured staff is very low, sometimes they have difficulties dealing with situations that are not typical of everyday operations." He said CCA's policy in dealing with riots is to "stand down and wait" for DOC officials to arrive to handle it. "I'm really concerned with what the counties are going to have to do with private prisons, what's expected of them and whether or not they really know what they're getting into when they get into a private prison situation," said Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, who sat in on the briefing. "I know that (DOC) has the ability to get a team together to react to a violent situation. Shouldn't private prisons have that same capability to control their own facility?" Renfrow agreed, saying one of the recommendations he expects to make to the governor is to ensure that private prison guards are better trained and equipped to handle riots.

September 21, 2004 Pueblo Chieftain
Colorado Department of Corrections officials don't routinely keep records of staffing levels, turnover rates or salary information for private prisons housing state inmates, says DOC spokeswoman Alison Morgan. The staffing issues were raised following a July 20 inmate riot at Crowley County Correctional Facility in Olney Springs, where 400 to 500 prisoners held control at the prison for five hours, until DOC and law officers from several local and state agencies used tear gas and rubber pellets to regain control of the medium-security prison run by Corrections Corp. of America. Following the riot, The Pueblo Chieftain questioned Morgan about the private prison's staffing ratio, number of uniformed staffers on duty when the riot began and salary ranges for CCA employees. Morgan replied: a.. CCA's uniformed staff-to-inmate ratio was 1 to 7.9, while DOC's average staff-to-inmate ratio is 1 to 4.7.  b.. CCA had 33 uniformed staffers on duty when the riot began and the prison housed 1,125 inmates at the time. c.. A Crowley County correctional officer's pay averages $1,818 per month plus benefits. d.. DOC's monthly beginning correctional salary is $2,774, plus state benefits; (no average was given). Morgan provided the information to The Chieftain on July 23. But when private prison critic Ken Kopczynski of the Private Corrections Institute Inc., asked Morgan in August for the same information, along with some backup information such as shift logs, Morgan told Kopczynski that DOC did not have information on the staffing levels at the time of the riot, annual turnover rates or average salary ranges. Staff longevity was raised, according to Kopczynski, because one female Crowley employee stated on television that she was working in the central control center despite being on the job for only two days. Morgan, asked Monday about the discrepancy in her responses to Kopczynski and The Chieftain on staffing issues, said she obtained responses for The Chieftain in July from CCA, but added that DOC does not routinely keep staffing or other information on the Crowley prison as part of its ongoing monitoring of CCA. The reason, she said, is that DOC's contract with CCA requires the company only to maintain sufficient staffing; no specifics are spelled out.

August 8, 2004
As inmates at Crowley County Correctional Facility grew restless and agitated in the exercise yard on the evening of July 20, officers of the private company charged with managing the prison withdrew to regroup. "They ran," said inmate Robert Horn, serving five years for passing bad checks. "They just abandoned the place."  All but one.  As a peaceful protest devolved into arson and riot over five hours, prison librarian Linda Lyons kept sole watch over 37 male inmates. Although she radioed her location, her supervisors from the private Corrections Corporation of America made no move to retrieve her. They then failed to notify an elite anti-riot team from the Department of Corrections that she had been left behind.  While up to 500 inmates in a prison full of 1,100 killers, rapists, thieves and drug dealers brought their riot within one building of the library, Lyons was never harmed. She said the men with her talked, played chess and stayed clear of the melee while she maintained a calm demeanor.  "Showing fear would have upset the inmates," Lyons said.  A Department of Corrections review of Colorado's most destructive inmate uprising has found that the official response was dogged by slow decision-making and a lack of communication. A senior department official said CCA officials failed to respond promptly and with enough force, ignored an offer to negotiate, then left the librarian behind as they retreated to safe positions.  Beyond the questions about the response, inmates and a corrections officer from CCA say the company's managers had also failed to heed weeks of warnings about growing inmate unrest.  That unrest - over such typical inmate complaints as poor food, inequitable treatment of prisoners and a lack of access to prison officials - blossomed into a riot after corrections officers disciplined one unruly inmate. Officials with CCA, which manages the Crowley County prison through a contract with the department, dispute much of the department's criticisms. They insist they mounted an organized response to the rebellion, deployed chemical agents promptly and never ignored inmate grievances or a request that night to see the warden. On the contrary, said spokesman Steve Owen, company officials tried to negotiate an end to the uprising before the riot but were forced to withdraw as inmates grew increasingly angry.  "If there are things we didn't do right, we're going to own up to it," Owen said. "We're going to fix all that."  The company has already placed one Crowley County captain on administrative leave because his statements about the riot were "very inconsistent," Owen said Saturday.  "There is a concern about the truthfulness of his statement," he said. The department's investigation is not yet complete, but interviews with inmates, department officials and a guard at the prison provide an outline of the events that nearly killed one inmate and left the prison smoldering and partly uninhabitable.  Inmate allegedly beaten In the weeks before the riot, about 200 inmates from Washington state had been moved to Crowley County as CCA sought to maximize profits by filling every bed. At 10 a.m. the day of the riot, one of the Washington inmates refused to go to work, according to the department's director of prisons, Nolin Renfrow.  When the inmate struggled with an officer taking him to a disciplinary unit, several officers jerked the inmate to the ground, said inmate Fredrick Morris, 47, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Horn also witnessed the inmate's treatment.  "These other guards started pummeling him and kicking him," Horn said. "We'd just had enough, you know? To treat someone like an animal is not going to fly anymore."  CCA and the department are both investigating the complaint about the alleged beating of the inmate, whose name was not released. The department's inspector general says a videotape of the incident does not appear to show excessive force. But neither the department nor CCA has reached a conclusion on whether the corrections officer went too far.  Inmates thought he did. The boiling point  CCA is a Tennessee-based for-profit corporation with contracts to manage prisons and jails across the United States, including four here. Colorado pays the company $49 per inmate per day and requires the company to comply with all state and federal rules for inmate care.  The company and its supporters say they can profit from incarceration by employing efficient techniques lost on state bureaucracies.  Inmates at Crowley County said that quest for profit went too far at the prison.  Morris, who had worked as a cook at the prison, said he quit his job of three years because of the facility's poor food preparation practices. Staff were ordered to grind hot dogs for spaghetti sauce, use muffin mix in meatloaf, combine instant potatoes with pinto beans for burritos and put pork in soup intended for Jewish inmates, Morris said.  He said he complained about the practices to a CCA supervisor in March but nothing happened.  "The food has gotten worse," Morris said.  CCA officials said they had received no formal grievances about the food. The most recent inspection by the department, on June 29, found that the food served to inmates at Crowley County was considered "good" by department standards in nearly every category.  In volunteer prison surveys for the department, Crowley County inmates in October rated food they received to be lower in quality across the board than prisoners at department prisons.  But Owen said CCA by contract serves the exact same menus as the department.  Prisoners have not filed any grievances about food quality, he said.  Inmates had a variety of other complaints against Crowley County.  Colorado inmates were upset that they were paid only 60 cents a day for doing the same work as inmates transferred to the prison from Washington a week earlier. Washington pays inmates $3 per day for work, and CCA is bound by contract to follow Washington policies when keeping that state's inmates, Owen said. Colorado lets CCA pay local inmates less.  All of that boiled over July 20. A Crowley County correctional officer said inmates had been talking for weeks about an uprising.  "I was told about it," said the officer, whose name is being withheld. "They said it wasn't going to be more than two months, at the most. It wasn't even that long. I was told this by several different inmates."  "They took off running" On the night of July 20, correctional officers opened a gate connecting the east recreational yard with the west about 7 p.m. so inmates could play softball in the west yard.  Instead of a handful, hundreds streamed into the west yard, said inmate Terry Poole, serving life for kidnapping.  Several Washington inmates asked correctional officers to speak with Warden Brent Crouse about their grievances, Renfrow said.  Crowley County security chief Richard Selman said he never heard about the requests. Owen, the CCA spokesman, said the company's investigation has determined that an inmate asked to speak with a "supervisor" - not the warden.  After the request was relayed to supervisors, a shift captain was unable to locate the inmate who made the request, Owen said. At that point, the captain became concerned for the safety of the prison staff and they withdrew from the yard - effectively relinquishing control to the inmates.  "They took off running, and they left the female employees behind," said William Morris, another Crowley County Correctional Facility inmate.  CCA reported the prisoner rebellion to department officials, and Renfrow said he urged CCA to immediately use chemical agents to push inmates away from the living units and put down the uprising.  But, Renfrow said, CCA officials told department monitors that they needed approval from their Nashville headquarters before deploying tear gas.  CCA spokesman Owen says the company's officers did not need approval from Nashville and did respond promptly. In a written response to questions, he said "chemical agents had already been disbursed by facility staff at approximately 8:20 p.m." That would be before Renfrow said he asked for its use.  Regardless of when the first gas was used, it came much later than inmates expected and gave ringleaders an opportunity to organize real mayhem.  "If they would have just went back, sat on the towers and shot tear gas from up there, there probably would have been less of a riot," William Morris said. "Everybody would have went home. They would have dispersed."  Librarian kept her cool As inmates began setting the prison facilities ablaze, librarian Lyons, 56, ordered the men in the library back to their cells. They implored her not to force them out into the yard, where other inmates were clearly gearing up for a fight.  Before long, fires were burning in front of each living unit and the greenhouse was burning. In the yard, scores of inmates used filing cabinets and doors as shields as they approached officers.  They barricaded doors with soda machines they lit on fire. Unbreakable windows were blown out, and inmates were using shards of glass as shanks. The amount of damage still has not been calculated, but it may approach $1 million.  Renfrow said he asked CCA if all employees had made it safely out of the prisoner-controlled grounds. He said he was mistakenly told they had.  If he had known Lyons was still in harm's way, he said, he would have immediately ordered officers to get her. Inmates broke into the shop next to the library, said Nathan Walter, commander of the department's Special Operations Response Team, or SORT.  Still, Lyons, a second-year CCA employee, didn't fret, and she said she is not upset with CCA for failing to dispatch a team to rescue her. In her mind, she didn't need rescuing.  "I felt safe where I was," she said.  It was 10 p.m. before the SORT team had moved in to retake the first of the dorms. Outnumbered by dozens of prisoners to each one, SORT members used rubber pellets and "triple chaser" tear gas bundles that separated and exploded to push back inmates who were hurling rocks, sticks, furniture and flaming Molotov cocktails.  In the aftermath, they learned that while Lyons was unharmed, a group of as many as 15 inmates had gone on the prowl in the prison to attack sex offenders and men suspected of being snitches. The man hurt worst during the riot, burglar Rudy Lujan, was attacked by a mob of maybe 15 inmates who believed he had snitched on inmates to the guards, Horn said. They beat him, stabbed him, threw him over the railing of the second-floor tier of cells and tossed a microwave oven onto his limp frame.  He was hospitalized in critical condition, and officials have not offered an update since.  The prison can be repaired, but if CCA's policies don't change, it will happen again, Horn predicted.  "Those people (in Olney Springs) need to understand that this is going to occur over and over again," he said. "The population in that area is seriously lucky. At any point, (the inmates) could have just turned to that fence and mowed that fence down. Imagine five or six hundred crazed individuals running into Olney Springs."  (Denver Post)

August 4, 2004
Family members of inmate Rudy Lujan sat around his mother's dinning room table recently, looking at pictures from his childhood and worrying about his well-being now.  Oh, the stories Juliana Lujan has about her 32-year-old son who was beaten nearly to death after a riot broke out two weeks ago at the Crowley County Correctional Facility east of Pueblo. Rudy Lujan of Greeley is still hospitalized from the injuries. His parole hearing is today.  Lujan was stabbed, beaten with a cinder block and forced to jump from the second floor by a gang of men on July 20 when inmates rioted, torched and broke pipelines that flooded the prison.  Juliana said in the past year her son has repeatedly asked for protection, but no one took the convicted felon seriously. He told his family that he had been jumped, "cheap-shotted" from behind and threatened several times.  He was at an undisclosed hospital in Pueblo where guards watched over him as he recovered from a coma, a bruised body, blackened eyes, stiff neck, several stab wounds and carnage torn from his arm by the cinder block beating. It took him nearly dying to be taken seriously, Juliana said. Lujan was recently moved to an infirmary, she said.  (Greeley Tribune)

July 30, 2004
More than two dozen Airway Heights inmates currently housed at a Colorado corrections facility will remain there until the Washington State Department of Corrections completes its investigation into last week's riot. Criteria for selecting inmates to send out of state include time left to serve, health issues, behavior and how often they are visited by relatives. Ultimately though, the private out-of-state prisons get to choose which inmates it wants to bring in.  (KXLY News 4)

July 29, 2004
For more than two hours, Tammera Bravo's son, an inmate at Crowley Correctional Facility, delivered "minute-by-minute terror" over the phone as prisoners smashed their surroundings.  "He said, 'It's on Mom. Those prisoners from Washington are refusing to come out of the yard.' " Washington inmates at the private prison in Olney Springs, about 80 miles southeast of Colorado Springs, had reached a boiling point because of their recent transfer and because they didn't like their new cells, Bravo said.  Five and a half hours later, it was over. All in all, as many as 400 of the prison's more than 1,100 inmates had been involved. Two of five cellblocks were trashed, at least one control room had been breached, fires had burned, and 13 inmates were injured.  Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Tallahassee, Fla.-based Private Corrections Institute -- which has been extremely critical of privatized prisons -- said the transfers hurt inmates' ties to family and friends. Many families, he said, are too poor to afford regular visits and inmates are left with little to look forward to and no life outside prison walls.  Kopczynski says it was no coincidence that, a day after the Crowley County prison incident, 28 Colorado inmates rebelled at a CCA private prison in Tutwiler, Miss., setting fire to mattresses and clothing.  "You're importing inmates from Washington and Wyoming to Colorado, and then you're shipping Colorado inmates off to Mississippi," Kopczynski said. "Does anyone see the irony here?"  In 2002, former state Sen. Penfield Tate, as he had in years prior, introduced unsuccessful legislation that would have prevented Colorado inmates from being transferred out of state. Tate became worried after incidents occurred in the 1990s similar to the one in Crowley County.  "We've seen a history of it," Tate said.  At CCA-owned private prisons, the guard-to-inmate ratios are far lower than at state-operated Department of Corrections facilities. The state's average ratio is one guard for less than five inmates, while the for-profit CCA averages one guard for nearly eight inmates. Morgan said the vast difference in ratios is justified because the state tends to deal with more difficult inmates.  However, critics like Kopczynski note that salaries for private prison guards tend to be much lower. At the Crowley County prison, guards make an average of $1,818 a month, compared to state guard salaries that start at $2,774 a month.  Because private prisons tend to pay guards less, companies grapple with higher turnover, meaning fewer experienced guards are available to handle complex inmate issues, Kopczynski said. Some guards, he said, don't last long enough to complete their training, which can take months. Others stay just a few years, he added.  (Colorado Springs Independent)

July 29, 2004
The state Department of Corrections will accept no more out-of-state prisoners at Colorado's four private prisons while an investigation unravels the cause of a riot at one of them, an agency spokeswoman said Tuesday.  (Rocky Mountain News)

July 28, 2004
State Sen. Ken Kester on Tuesday defended the private operators of Crowley County Correctional Facility, rocked by a riot last week.  Kester, R-Las Animas, questioned statements made by Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, in the wake of a riot that caused major damage to the prison, and praised Corrections Corp. of America, which operates Crowley and three other private prisons in the state.  The day following the riot, McFadyen told The Pueblo Chieftain her attempts to require the state to reveal the actual state cost of housing prisoners at private prisons was rejected during the latest term of the Legislature.  She said that on three different occasions, she asked for a breakdown of the cost - not just the per diem rate paid to private prisons, but also cost for medical care for inmates, transportation, escapes, riot control, case management and some training of private prison staff, which the state pays.  "I am not trying to be belligerent. I am just trying to assess the information in a format that can be compared side-by-side with the state numbers. If that information is available it has not been made available to me," McFadyen said.  Kester defended private prisons, saying that they save the state an estimated $50 million in construction costs per private prison, and it also costs taxpayers less to maintain inmates in private prisons.  Kester, who was a Bent County commissioner when the county negotiated a deal with CCA for the Bent County Correctional Facility, said that the Bent County prison has been helpful to the community.  (Pueblo Chieftain)

July 27, 2004
A riot that injured more than a dozen inmates and caused millions of dollars in damage to a prison run by a Tennessee company last week prompted the state to temporarily stop accepting out-of-state inmates, an official says.  (AP)

July 25, 2004
Staffing and pay at the Crowley County private prison, where inmates rioted Tuesday night, is roughly half of that at state prisons, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Friday.  The DOC's Alison Morgan worked with the Crowley prison owner, Corrections Corp. of America, to produce the statement in response to questions submitted by The Pueblo Chieftain.  CCA's uniformed staff-to-inmate ratio is 1-7.9. DOC's average staff-to-inmate ratio is 4.7-1. She noted that DOC's ratio is affected by the needs in DOC's high-custody facilities and special-needs inmates.  CCA has based its salaries on the Crowley County area's prevailing wages. The range for a correctional officer at Crowley County is $1,557 to $2,335 a year, with an average of $1,818 per month plus benefits. DOC's beginning salary for a correctional officer is $2,774 per month, plus state benefits. No average figure was stated.  Colorado, like most states, participates in the Federal Interstate Compact Agreement that provides for the exchange of inmates between states. "For example, if DOC has an inmate that cannot be incarcerated in a Colorado facility, we can transfer that inmate to an accepting state. We then must accept an inmate from that state in exchange." It was not clear whether DOC reviews the backgrounds of prisoners before they're accepted into the state's private prisons.  Crowley County had 33 uniformed staffers on duty when the riot began Tuesday night. The prison housed 1,125 inmates, according to DOC officials.  There have been reports that Crowley staffers feared there would be strife with the arrival of Washington state inmates. Ninety-nine Washington inmates arrived on July 2; another 99 on July 9.  (Pueblo Chieftain)

July 25, 2004
Details of a sexual harassment lawsuit settlement between an Edmond company that once operated a Colorado private prison and three women who used to work there aren't being released.  The women, former guards, filed the federal lawsuit seeking more than $10 million from Dominion Correctional Services and three managers.  The former guards alleged that female employees were coerced numerous times in 2001 and 2002 into sexual activity by male managers who condoned sexual misconduct among workers.  Former guard Lucilla Gigliotti alleged that she became pregnant after the prison's former chief of security, Ronald McCall, went to her home and raped her.  McCall, in court filings, denied he sexually assaulted her and denied he "engaged in any conduct which violated the constitutional rights" of Gigliotti and the other two women, Pamela Johnson and Lt. Jennifer Stalder.  McCall had been forced from a previous job at the Colorado Department of Corrections because "he had an extensive history of engaging in sexual discrimination and harassment," the three women alleged.  Johnson alleged a guard raped her at the prison despite her having previously pleaded with Vigil not to assign the guard and her to the same work area.  (AP)

July 23, 2004
A man who suffered the worst injuries during Tuesday's riot at the Crowley County Correctional Facility called his sister after fires broke out, saying he feared for his life and that she should call police.   Rudy Lujan, 32, who is serving time for burglary and drug charges, had to shout because the commotion in the private prison was so loud, said his sister, who would give only her first name, Bonnie, citing fear of retaliation.  "He said a riot was going on, and all the guards were so scared they went on the roof," she said. "The prisoners had already taken control. He was scared. He told me, 'If anything happens to me, tell everybody I love them."'  A prison official called Lujan's family in Greeley on Wednesday to tell them that he had been hospitalized with multiple stab wounds, said his other sister, Debbie Segura. On Thursday, prison officials reported that Lujan was breathing on his own and was in serious but stable condition, according to the family.  Lujan had been having problems with gang members in the private prison in Olney Springs, his family said. He had told them stories of being jumped from behind and "cheap-shotted" more than once.  His family believes Lujan had been refusing gang members' attempts to recruit him.  (Denver Post)

July 23, 2004
Prison officials at the Crowley County Correctional Facility foresee a complex repair project after the prison was rocked by a riot Tuesday night.  The prison is one of four in the state owned and operated by Corrections Corp. of America. At least one-third of its 1,147 inmates rioted Tuesday and two of the five housing units were rendered uninhabitable.  Inmates set three fires, damaged three other living units and destroyed the vocational greenhouse.  They also smashed furniture and televisions, destroyed desks and bunks, ripped sinks and toilets from the walls and intentionally triggered fire alarms to drench everything in the buildings.  (Pueblo Chieftain)

July 23, 2004
Inmates at the Crowley County prison began telling their families as long as a month ago that tensions at the facility were high and that an uprising was imminent, two parents said Thursday.  One Denver mother said her son told her that in early June word began to spread that the Crowley County Correctional Facility was going to accept prisoners from Washington state. When the imported inmates began arriving about three weeks ago, several inmates began complaining to the guards, she said.  Colorado inmates complained that some of the out-of-state prisoners were being mixed in with them, which was creating a lot of tension, she said. Residents and officials from nearby Olney Springs said guards who visit the town's businesses or live in the community had told them in recent weeks that they expected violence at the prison.  (Rocky Mountain News)

July 23, 2004
Although state lawmakers have carried out four audits of state prison programs since 1999, they have never audited the private company in charge of the southern Colorado prison engulfed by a riot Tuesday.  The Crowley County prison that erupted in flames is run by Corrections Corporation of America. A state senator said Thursday the state might want to take a closer look at its finances.  "We can follow the state's money and audit that," said Sen. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, a longtime audit committee member. "Perhaps we should do more along that line. We have looked at the bank accounts for the prisoners that are held in the private prisons, but we have never audited security there."  No one could estimate the damage from Tuesday's melee, but state officials insisted those costs would be borne by CCA.  The state also intends to bill the company for its costs in rushing more than 100 correctional officers and other help to the scene to help quell the uprising, as well as the expense of the investigation - a cost that could run as high as $150,000.  And at a news conference in Pueblo, Frank Smith of the anti- private prison group Private Corrections Institute said that "Olney Springs came apart at the seams, and it was no big surprise."  Smith, along with Brian Dawe, executive director of Corrections U.S.A., a nonprofit group that represents the nation's public corrections officers, said private prisons do not protect the public.  "This isn't about public safety for the private prisons, it's about the money," Dawe said.  Smith said he talked to some of the corrections officers at Crowley and they expressed concerns about understaffing, low pay and inadequate training. Dawe said private prison guards receive 30 percent less training than those at federal facilities.  Smith said he was also told that Colorado prisoners might have started the riot because they were not happy about what they considered special treatment that prisoners from Washington state were receiving.  Dawe, a former prison guard, said moving inmates out of state and away from their families is bad for the prison and the public. "I guess Colorado doesn't have enough problems, so they need to import some more," he said.  (Rocky Mountain News)

July 22, 2004
After an inmate's being denied a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich helped sparked a riot at the medium-security Crowley County Correctional Facility in 1999, state prison officials concluded that guards at the private prison had not been properly trained.  John Suthers, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections at the time, later vowed that the state's future contracts with private prisons would emphasize "proper training." Five years later, after another riot at the prison - now run by a different company, Corrections Corp. of America - some critics are raising the training issue again, though DOC officials say they don't believe it's a problem. "The people that they're getting employed there - people who have never been in law enforcement, people who have never been in corrections - they put them through a training period that they say is effective, but it's not," former Crowley County correctional officer Jennifer Stalder said Wednesday. "You're dealing with felons, and they don't play."  Stalder recently settled a wrongful-termination suit against Dominion Correctional Services, which ran the prison before CCA. Stalder never worked for CCA, but she has friends and relatives who work there who have told her the training programs have not changed, she said.  And though some wondered Wednesday if state budget cuts could have led to Tuesday's riot, that is unlikely, said Republican Rep. Brad Young of Lamar, chairman of the legislature's Joint Budget Committee.  But Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo, said she's concerned that privately run prisons aren't cheaper than state-run prisons. She points out that the costs for medical care, transportation, clothing, case management, escapes and riot control all fall back on state and local government.  (Denver Post)

July 22, 2004
State Department of Corrections officials said Wednesday that Tuesday's Crowley County prison riot began with 100 to 150 inmates refusing to return from a recreational yard to their housing unit.  As a result of damage from the uprising, more than half the inmates have been moved elsewhere.  The Olney Springs prison is privately operated by Corrections Corp. of America, but state employees of the DOC and officers from several area sheriffs' departments helped bring the riot under control about five hours after it began.  DOC officials said the investigation of the cause of the riot is ongoing. Department spokeswoman Allison Morgan said, "one factor may be gang-related," but Executive Director Joe Ortiz said later, "We have no special information that this is gang-related."  Morgan said the riot began at 7:30 p.m., turning into a scene of mayhem as inmates used weight-lifting equipment to tear up housing units. They started three fires, leaving two of the prison's five housing units uninhabitable from fire and water damage and another unit damaged. Other property was damaged or destroyed, and there were a few instances of inmates attacking one another.  CCA staffers retreated until the DOC special operations team and emergency response teams from five state prisons arrived. Backup officers from Pueblo, Fowler, Rocky Ford and the Colorado State Patrol also were sent to assist with the crisis. DOC will put a moratorium on transferring out-of-state inmates into Crowley County for now.  (The Pueblo Chieftain)

July 22, 2004
A Colorado lawmaker whose district includes eight state-run prisons said Wednesday the riot at the private Crowley County facility raises critical questions about the safety and cost-effectiveness of private prisons. Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, said she was alarmed when she first got word of the rioting and the possibility that inmates and guards might have been seriously hurt or killed.  She intends to press her colleagues during the 2005 session to take a much closer look at the state's contracts with private prisons.  She had raised the alarm on the House floor this year during a debate over a bill pushed by legislative budget writers that would make it easier to seek competitive proposals from private prison providers.  "It's not just the cost," she said. "My concern also is for the safety of the general public, as well as the people working in, and even those confined in, these facilities.  "This is the second riot at the same facility since 1999. These prisons are built in rural areas, where there is little law enforcement to help out. They may not have sufficient manpower themselves, and they may be poorly trained and equipped."  But Rep. Brad Young, R-Lamar, chairman of the legislature's budget-writing committee, noted that prisons - both state and private - are dangerous places. He said he wants to see a full report on what happened.  "It sounds like a full-scale riot broke out really fast," Young said. "You do everything you can to prevent that kind of thing. It doesn't mean they weren't doing a good job."  Young said constructing prisons is "a huge cost" and added that with the economic downturn that occurred a little more than two years ago, "the state couldn't afford to keep up with the inmate population increases we've seen."  "There definitely is some economy for doing it through the private sector," he said.
But McFadyen said she hoped what occurred would help bring a better awareness of the true cost to the state and local governments where private prisons are located.  "As a state legislator, I have frequently questioned the hard cost of contracting with private prisons," she said. "No one can give me an exact amount. The question is, are we risking the safety of the public and is it really cheaper? We must have answers to those questions."  (Rocky Mountain News)

July 22, 2004
State prison officials sifted through a stunning swath of destruction at the Crowley County Correctional Facility on Wednesday, still uncertain what caused an overnight riot by more than 400 inmates.  Officials on Wednesday discounted reports that the riot was a "turf war" between Colorado inmates and 190 prisoners who arrived from Washington state about three weeks ago.  But guards had privately confided to townspeople since the Washington transfer that they feared something was brewing.  The Washington inmates were angry over their transfer more than 1,000 miles away from their families.  Whatever problem had been smoldering inside the privately operated prison 40 miles east of Pueblo erupted violently about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.  More than one-third of the prison's 1,147 inmates joined in the 51/2-hour riot.  They set at least three fires, smashed everything in two of the prison's five living units, damaged its three other living units, and resisted more than 150 guards using tear gas and rubber bullets to quell the outbreak.  Thirteen inmates were injured. One suffered multiple stab wounds in one of two inmate-on-inmate assaults. Four inmates remained hospitalized Tuesday, none with life-threatening injuries, said Department of Corrections Director Joe Ortiz.  None of the prison staff was injured.  On Wednesday, the inmates were being held under 24-hour lockdown in cells and improvised holding areas throughout the prison.  At the height of the riot, inmates set fires in two cell houses and the vocational greenhouse, and proceeded to tear them apart, throwing and smashing furniture, destroying desks and bunks, ripping sinks and toilets from the walls, splintering television sets and setting off fire alarms to drench everything in the buildings.  Some inmates used steel weights and dumbbells from the exercise yard to smash doors and windows, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan.  "Living Unit 2 is not habitable. Living Unit 1 is not as severe, but it is destroyed," Morgan said.  The destruction ruined 600 inmate cells, leaving prison officials to find other places to house them. About 300 were being moved to a newly completed housing unit at the prison, but 300 were being transferred Wednesday to other state prisons.  (Rocky Mountain News)

July 21, 2004
Inmates at a nearby private prison rioted Tuesday, prompting law enforcement agencies from around Southern Colorado to mobilize in an effort to quell the uprising.  Crowley County Commissioner Matt Heimerich told The Pueblo Chieftain that local sheriff's department responded to the medium security Crowley County Correctional Facility at about 8 p.m. with every available officer from its force of nine people, along with all three ambulances in Crowley County.  By 10 p.m. the rioting apparently had escalated and reached a threshold of serious concern, as the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department's SORT team and up to 20 members of the SWAT team from the Pueblo Police Department were deployed to join in suppressing the situation. The Fowler Police Department, Otero County Sheriff's Department, Rocky Ford Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol also joined the effort.  Witnesses said smoke billowed from three separate locations in the prison - one in the yard and two inside structures - and the smell of tear gas was thick. Multiple witnesses also reported hearing gunshots from inside the prison walls.  A female guard toting a rifle was stationed at the main entrance to the prison and turned away several curious onlookers from the surrounding rural area. Heimerich said he had been told the riot was being driven by inmates from the state of Washington, who were recently transferred to the prison in Olney Springs. The prison recently contracted to retain between 150 and 200 inmates from Washington.  (Pueblo Chieftain)

July 21, 2004
At least 100 inmates rioted Tuesday evening and set small fires inside the walls of a privately run prison in Crowley County. Scores of law-enforcement officials from all over the state raced to Olney Springs to help quell the disturbance.  The inmates rioted in the yard and in some portions of the interior of the Crowley County Correctional Facility in Olney Springs, Allison Morgan, Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman, said early this morning. Morgan said she did not know where in the prison the fires were set.  (Rocky Mountain news)

Goshen County Economic Development
Goshen County, Wyoming
Dominion

June 5, 2003
Goshen County Economic Development (GCED) is continuing its effort in reviewing the process for a correctional facility to be built in Wyoming, possibly in Torrington.  GCED director Brad Sutherland found out that the Wyoming Department of Corrections has been without  director and that the state is continuing its search for that position. The candidate highest on the list declined the job when he learned that his wife might have cancer, according Sutherland.  As far as Sutherland knows, Dominion Correctional Services LLC, is the only contractor out there that is serious about putting a bid in right now.  (The Torrington Telegram Online)

McKinley County Detention Center/Adult Facility
Gallup, New Mexico
Management and Training Corporation

January 24, 2006 Casper Star-Tribune
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against a New Mexico detention officer, alleging he sexually assaulted two female inmates from Wyoming at a Gallup, N.M., jail and photographed them in the nude. At the time of the alleged incidents in 2003, the inmates were housed in New Mexico because of overcrowding at Wyoming's only female correctional institution, the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk. The lawsuit claims sexual abuse and cruel and unusual punishment by Detention Officer Brian Orr of the McKinley County (N.M.) Detention Center. The complaint was filed on behalf of inmates Sheila Black and Christine Herden. The ACLU alleges that Orr repeatedly sexually assaulted the two women and photographed them in the nude, causing physical injury and severe psychological and emotional distress. The complaint also alleges that the jail's acting warden, Gilbert Lewis, the McKinley County commissioners and the Centerville, Utah, company that managed the jail, Management and Training Corp., were negligent for failing to properly train and supervise Orr.

Natrona County Juvenile Detention Center
Natrona County, Wyoming
Cornerstone Programs
September 04, 2013  dailyjournal.net  

CASPER, Wyoming — An inmate who escaped on his way to the Sweetwater County jail got a head start because the private company transporting him didn't notify authorities for nearly an hour and a half. Kenneth James Ward fled Saturday evening after the Inmate Services Corp. van stopped near Independence Rock for a restroom break. Surveillance footage shows Ward ducking out of restroom and running away. Natrona County sheriff Gus Holbrook told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/17zo54K ) that the company's two guards decided to search for Ward on their own before notifying his office. Ward was handcuffed but was not wearing leg or bell chains, which would have slowed him down. Authorities believe Ward hiked at least 15 miles through the night and looped back to near the rest area.

 

Sep 5, 2013 trib.com

The trail for Kenneth James Ward went cold after a 15-mile trek through Wyoming terrain and less than a mile from where it began. Ward, until recently a Sweetwater County fugitive, was being transferred from Nogales, Ariz., to a Sweetwater County jail Saturday evening when the transport van stopped near Independence Rock to let everyone use the restroom. The guards performed a head count in the rest area parking lot afterward and realized one of the prisoners was missing, according to Natrona County Sheriff Gus Holbrook. Later-reviewed surveillance footage features Ward ducking out of the restroom door and bolting. It would be nearly an hour and a half before the sheriff’s office was notified of the escape, Holbrook said. Ward was being transported by Inmate Services Corporation, a private company out of West Memphis, Ark., and the two employees opted to conduct their own search before contacting authorities, Holbrook said. Ward was handcuffed but was not wearing leg or belly chains — two security measures Holbrook said could have prevented the man from fleeing as far as he did. Detective Dick Blust Jr., public information officer for the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday he was unsure whether they will employ Inmate Services Corporation again. A representative for the company declined to comment. Holbrook said deputies tracked Ward from the rest area Saturday evening and into the morning. “He was probably outside that perimeter, walking away,” he said. “By the time we got on the tracks the next morning, he’d had all night to walk.” Officials launched land and air searches for the escapee over a perimeter of 52 square miles on the ground and 134 miles by air. They followed his footprints, tracking him first to Point of Rocks, a small, mountainous area where they thought he could be hiding out, and used thermal imaging and night vision to try and spot him. The crew continued on to Buzzard Road until nearly completing a circle around the area. Holbrook said Ward hiked at least 15 miles throughout the night and made a loop until he was about three-fourths of a mile back near the Independence Rock rest area. Officials assume he returned to the rest area, but can’t be certain. “You’ve got to think — that’s where people are stopping to travel, garbage cans are there for food,” Holbrook said. “There’s a plethora of reasons he would want to go back there.” There is a payphone at the rest stop, but it can only be activated by using a credit card. Holbrook doesn’t believe the escape was planned, but that Ward seized an opportunity. Ward is accustomed to life on the lam. The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office sought Ward for three years before learning he was hiding out in northwest Mexico. Federal law enforcement recently contacted Mexican authorities, who apprehended Ward and deported him back to the United States, according to an Aug. 23 media release from the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office. Ward, 51, was wanted for a summer 2010 felony larceny for the theft of a Ford F350 pickup, a Ranco belly-dump trailer, two winches, a utility trailer, a Yamaha generator and tire chains from Eaton Trucking of Farson. According to the release, the property was valued at more than $100,000. A single larceny charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Natrona County sheriff’s deputies remain in the Independence Rock area 24 hours a day, Holbrook said. There have been no confirmed sitings of Ward and officials have no reason to believe he escaped his handcuffs. Ward is described as 6 feet tall, 180 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing khaki shorts, a black shirt and flip flops, according to the sheriff’s office. Officials ask the public to refrain from picking up hitchhikers in the area and not to attempt to apprehend Ward if he is spotted.

October 13, 2012 JOSHUA WOLFSON Star-Tribune staff writer
Another former inmate at Natrona County’s old juvenile detention center has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he endured unsafe conditions and humiliating tasks while in custody. David McGuirk alleges staff members at the Regional Juvenile Detention Center ordered him to clean the blood of another juvenile who attempted suicide after a 2008 sexual attack. He also accuses Frontier Correctional Systems, the private company that operated the facility, of housing high-risk offenders with lower-risk juveniles. “These defendants violated their duty to McGuirk by placing him in an environment which they knew or should have known was a danger to his safety and welfare and put McGuirk at great risk of harm,” the lawsuit states. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for Wyoming, also names former Wyoming Department of Family Services Director Tony Lewis. It accuses Lewis and unknown DFS workers of failing to properly train and monitor Frontier employees. McGuirk suffered emotional distress as a result of his experiences during confinement, according to the lawsuit. He is seeking unspecified damages. In court documents, attorneys for Frontier and Lewis denied the allegations. Frontier’s attorney, William McKellar, argued McGuirk’s injuries were caused by someone other than the company. A woman at McKellar’s office said he would not comment on the case Senior Assistant Attorney General Sue Chatfield is representing Lewis. She did not respond Friday to a message left at the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Casper attorney Jamie Woolsey is representing McGuirk. She was out of the office Friday and did not respond to a message. Frontier stopped operating the juvenile detention center in 2008. Another private company, Cornerstone Programs, now runs the center in a new facility next to the county’s adult facility. The old juvenile detention center was located on the third floor of the Hall of Justice in downtown Casper. The site had been declared unacceptable for adult inmates before it was used to house children, the lawsuit notes. McGuirk spent several weeks at the center before witnessing the sexual assault in March 2008. At the time, he was housed in cell 331 along with several juveniles, including a high-risk offender, the lawsuit states. The suit further claims the high-risk juvenile had a history of engaging in unusual behaviors while incarcerated, such as stripping naked in his cell. While in that cell, McGuirk witnessed violent sexual attacks against two boys. One of the children attempted suicide, and McGuirk said he was ordered by Frontier staff members to clean the victim’s blood. It was common at the jail for juveniles to clean blood of other inmates after injuries, the suit alleges. Sharrid Jennings, another former juvenile inmate who spent time in cell 331, filed his own federal lawsuit earlier this year with similar allegations. Jennings also claimed he witnessed sexual attacks against two children and was ordered to clean blood from an assault victim who attempted suicide. Back in 2008, the Department of Family Services conducted its own investigation of the incident. It found an inmate had been sexually assaulted at the center and that supervisors failed to report what happened to either the facility’s administrators or DFS. The department also determined staff members at the center made juveniles clean blood and vomit in exchange for rewards of chips and sodas.

September 6, 2008 Casper Times-Tribune
The Wyoming Department of Family Services may provide a "Band-aid" fix for Cornerstone Programs, Inc., so the private corrections company can continue running the Natrona County Juvenile Detention Center. Cornerstone has been steadily losing money since it took control of JDC operations in March because of dwindling inmate populations. In the last two months alone, the company has sustained more than $70,000 in operational losses alone. In a conference call Thursday that included the county commission, Cornerstone representatives, officials from DFS and Sheriff Mark Benton, DFS Director Tony Lewis suggested that there may be a way to subsidize the company's losses with state grant money for at least a few months until the situation becomes more certain. Using a company that works on an average daily payment for each juvenile incarcerated may not be the best decision in the future, he said, if only because DFS plans to send fewer kids for the foreseeable future. According to DFS records, Cornerstone is making about $20,000 less per month because of the department's policy to send fewer juveniles. "If we're using detention the right way, the numbers aren't going to support the contract at a good level," he said. "I think it's a mistake to create a system where you need a quandry of kids for a private company to make money. It was a good investment to go to the kind of standards that Cornerstone has brought, but it's not going to be a money-making endeavor." Numbers are down across the state, he added. The number of juveniles at the JDC from counties such as Converse and Niobrara in December 2007 starkly contrasts with the number in August 2008.

August 28, 2008 Casper Star-Tribune
Cornerstone Programs, Inc., the private corrections company charged with running the Natrona County Juvenile Detention Center, may have to terminate its yet-to-be-signed contract with the county because of financial difficulties, the company's CEO Joseph Newman told county commissioners Thursday. "The drain has been significant, to the point where it has had a huge impact on our cash flow, and, quite frankly, if the conditions continue, we won't be able to support the operation," he said. Low inmate population has caused the relatively small business to lose large sums of money over about a six-month period, something the company can't sustain for long, he said. For Cornerstone to break even on operations, the JDC must hold an average of 25 juveniles per day. The average number of inmates over the past month has been 18, with a one-day high of 24 inmates. In July, the company lost about $40,000 in operational costs alone, and expects that August will see about a $35,000 loss. At the current rate of loss, Newman said, the company can't afford to run the facility for more than another month or so. While an exact explanation for the decrease in population isn't available, Gary Miller, chief operating officer for Cornerstone, said the Department of Family Services is placing fewer than half the number of juveniles in the facility than it had over the last five years. "There does seem to be a reluctance on their part to refer kids," Miller said.

North Fork Correctional Facility
Sayre, Oklahoma
CCA
February 22, 2008 The Denver Channel
The Colorado Department of Corrections has sent two investigators to an Oklahoma prison to probe whether correctional officers staged ‘ultimate fights’ among prisoners and rewarded the fight's winner with a cell phone, corrections sources told CALL7 Investigators. The DOC inspector general's staff traveled this week to the privately owned North Folk Correctional Facility at Sayre, Okla., about 130 miles west of Oklahoma City, to investigate the complaint of ‘ultimate fighting,’ sources said. It was unclear Friday whether the details of the complaint have been substantiated. DOC Executive Director Ari Zavaras, in a phone conversation with CALL7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski, confirmed investigators were sent out to Oklahoma. "There is an ongoing investigation and we do not comment until the investigation is complete," he told Kovaleski. The facility is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America and houses about 480 Colorado inmates on a contract basis. CCA also owns the Crowley County Correctional Facility, which came under DOC scrutiny in 2004 after a riot. The DOC report criticized the "lack of responsiveness" by private prison operators to state corrections officials. CCA also owns about 70 facilities nationwide, including four in Colorado. The Colorado facilities are Bent County Correctional Facility, Huerfano County Correctional Center, Kit Carson Correctional Center and the facility in Crowley County. DOC spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti declined to confirm any details but said introducing a cell phone into a correctional facility is a federal offense if it happened. CCA spokesman declined comment and directed questions to Sanguinetti.

February 19, 2008 Casper Star-Tribune
A state investigation determined Wyoming had no policies in place last year to track violence against inmates being housed in out-of-state prisons. The probe also found that the beating of a state inmate by other inmates at a private prison last year in Oklahoma was not thoroughly investigated. The investigation by Maj. William Moore of the Wyoming Department of Corrections found "no WDOC Policy, Procedure or Directive is in place that requires the tracking and compliance of out of state incidents to ensure that these incident (sic) are properly tracked for compliance." The investigative report, completed last fall, was recently obtained by The Associated Press under the state's public records law. The investigation was launched after an inmate was beaten last April at the private Northfork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Okla. Wyoming houses 375 inmates there and has paid Corrections Corporation of America nearly $12.5 million from June 2006 through December 2007 for their housing and medical care. An investigator with Corrections Corporation of America, which owns the Oklahoma prison, looked into the inmate beating and concluded there was "no institutional deficiency that may have contributed to the inmate on inmate assault." The inmate, whose name was redacted from documents released to The AP, sustained injuries in the beating and was airlifted to Oklahoma City for treatment. He later returned to the prison that day. In his report, Moore found the CCA prison investigator "conducted the most rudimentary of investigations regarding this incident and what little was accomplished focused only on the assault." Attempts to reach a spokesperson at the Oklahoma prison were unsuccessful. An official with the Wyoming Department of Corrections said the agency has taken steps to boost its monitoring of out-of-state inmates since last year's report. Wyoming has a full-time contract monitor at the Oklahoma prison and routinely sends investigative teams to the prison to look into inmate complaints, said Steve Lindly, deputy director of the Department of Corrections. Lindly said he doesn't doubt that Moore's report was accurate when it was written last year. But Lindly said state corrections officials were already independently coming to the conclusion that more oversight of out of state inmates was necessary. Lindly said his department is satisfied the Oklahoma prison now is meeting its obligation to ensure Wyoming inmates are protected from assault at the Oklahoma prison. "The warden has been responsive to our insistence that we meet the standard," Lindly said. Stephen Pevar, an ACLU lawyer, said he remains concerned about the safety of Wyoming inmates at the Oklahoma prison. His lawsuit forced security improvements at the state penitentiary in Rawlins. Last summer, U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer of Cheyenne ended five years of federal oversight of the Rawlins prison, which stemmed from the ACLU's lawsuit. The lawsuit was called the Skinner case, named after inmate Brad Skinner who was beaten by three other inmates in 1999. Although conditions have improved in Rawlins, Pevar said he's received complaints about assaults against Wyoming inmates at the Oklahoma prison. "All I can confirm is that there have been a number of very egregious assaults at these facilities to which Wyoming is sending its prisoners," Pevar said. There have been 14 confirmed inmate-on-inmate assaults last year involving Wyoming prisoners at the Oklahoma facility, according to Melinda Brazzale, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Corrections. There were 65 assaults in 2007 at the Rawlins state prison, which holds about 644 inmates, Brazzale said. Pevar said he's written to the Wyoming Attorney General's office about the state's contract with CCA. He said he's told the state that it must insist on standards limiting inmate violence, just as it requires inmates to be given adequate food, shelter and medical care. Pevar said believes the state needs to ensure Wyoming prisoners, "will be adequately protected from assault, and that the same procedures that the court held in the Skinner case were constitutionally required should likewise be adopted in these facilities that house Wyoming prisoners. And it's clear to me that they're not." Pevar also said he doesn't feel Wyoming is doing an adequate job investigating "the sufficiency of the facilities to which Wyoming is sending its prisoners." "Those facilities are doing some things that I don't think would be acceptable in Wyoming," Pevar said. Lindly said it was clear the CCA investigations into inmate violence were not as thorough as the investigations Wyoming's own staff members would conduct and noted the state is building a 700-bed prison in Torrington that will allow the department to house all its inmates in state. "We're comfortable with the process right now," Lindly said. "It's not as good as having them under your own wing, which is why we're having another prison built."

Regional Juvenile Detention Facility
Natrona County, Wyoming
Cornerstone Correctional Services (formerly run by Frontier Correctional System

June 4, 2008 AP
An investigation by the Wyoming Department of Family Services has concluded that juveniles weren't adequately supervised when a boy allegedly was sexually assaulted at a Casper juvenile jail a few months ago. The department also found that staff and administrators at the Regional Juvenile Detention Center didn't report the alleged assault to the state as required. The Associated Press obtained the report outlining the department's conclusions after filing an open records request with the department. The report also concluded that youths cleaned up messes including urine, vomit and blood, and that some youths were improperly locked up in solitary confinement as punishment. The alleged incidents occurred while the facility was being run by a Cheyenne company, Frontier Correctional Services. Management of the facility is being taken over by a Colorado company, Cornerstone Programs. Officials with the companies didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

April 19, 2008 AP
A Casper juvenile facility has been locking up youth in jail space that was deemed unsuitable for adults years ago and in ways that increase the risk of youths committing suicide or physically or sexually assaulting one another, according to a report obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The report came out three months before an assault and other alleged incidents at the privately run Regional Juvenile Detention Facility prompted a Department of Family Services investigation. "It is difficult to comprehend why the community permits children to be treated worse than adult criminals," summed up the report by the National Partnership for Juvenile Services. Overcrowding at the adult Natrona County jail prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the county in 1992. The county opened a new adult jail in 1997 but then began using the old adult jail to lock up juveniles. The Regional Juvenile Detention Facility is in the same building as the Natrona County Sheriff's Office and houses youth from several Wyoming counties. The alleged incidents there happened about six weeks ago and included an assault between two boys and an instance of a group of boys who, for unknown or undisclosed reasons, gathered around two other boys who were naked. Department officials said this week they've been trying to learn why staff of Cheyenne-based Frontier Correctional Systems, which runs the center, didn't report the incidents right away. Department officials also have been looking into whether lack of separation between bigger, more aggressive youth and smaller, less aggressive kids may have played a role in the incidents. The National Partnership report, dated Dec. 12, had warned about just that. The report said the facility did not have a useful way of identifying and separating "predatory youth" from "vulnerable youth." The report also said that the facility's multiple-occupancy cells made physical and sexual assault among youths more likely, and that the number of locked doors between staff and youth reduced safety. In addition, the report said youth in the facility on the third floor of the sheriff's office building aren't given time outdoors -- it's not possible. "The reasons for declaring the third floor unacceptable for detention seem obvious," the report said. "These factors are aggravated when detaining juveniles." The report said the juvenile facility is "sadly inadequate for ... advanced practice care" and putting youths there amounts to "little more than warehousing" them. It's unclear what measures the county might have taken after the report's release to improve safety at the facility. Sheriff Mark Benton and Undersheriff David Kinghorn did not return messages left Friday; neither did Frontier Correctional Systems CEO John Harrison. But Natrona County commissioners said they were aware of the report -- they requested it -- and feel that it underscores the need to build a new juvenile facility. "It's indefensible, in my opinion, that we put kids in a facility that's inadequate for adults. I can't defend that. I wouldn't want to," said Commissioner Matt Keating. "But what I do want to do is move the project forward as best I can, to have an appropriate facility, so that we end up with better adults."

Riverton, Wyoming
Dominion
November 6, 2002
The Riverton Economic and Community Development Association has unanimously endorsed looking into locating a 400-bed medium security prison in the area. The Joint Judiciary Committee of the Wyoming Legislature indicated in October it would recommend building two 400-bed medium security prisons in Wyoming, one in the east half of the state and one in the west, rather than a single facility to replace the Wyoming Business Council, told Riverton Economic and Community Development Association, RECDA, members that two top executives of Dominion Properties LLC, of Edmond, Okla., visited the city two weeks ago "to get the lay of the land." A Dominion-operated correctional facility in Crowley County, Colo., is holding about 500 Wyoming prisoners now. Jim Hunter, executive vice president of Dominion Properties, the parent company of Dominion Corrections, said company officials like what they see in Riverton. Hunter said his company would only design, build and equip the new prison if it wins a state contract. "It is our understanding that the state of Wyoming has every intention of owning and operating the prison. We'll just find a location for it and build it," he said.

Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Center
Haskell, Texas
Emerald Corrections
April 14, 2007 AP
The return of 40 inmates from Texas means that all of Wyoming's female inmates now are being housed in-state, for the first time in eight years. The women were transferred Tuesday to the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk from the private Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Center in Haskell, Texas, according to the Wyoming Department of Corrections. A recent expansion nearly doubled the number of beds at the Women's Center to 294. The expansion increased the prison's size by nearly half; it also built a commercial fish farm and doubled the number of beds for substance abuse treatment. The project marked one of the biggest steps yet in the state's goal of housing all of its inmates - female and male - in Wyoming. Wyoming still has 457 male inmates at three out-of-state prisons: 384 at the private North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Okla.; 45 at the private Rolling Plains facility; and 28 at the public West Texas Detention Center, in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Corrections officials hope to return all of the state's male inmates to Wyoming when a medium-security prison is completed in Torrington in the summer of 2009. If that goal is met, it would end a dozen years of housing inmates out of state.

April 18, 2006 AP
Two Wyoming inmates have been recaptured after escaping from a Texas jail over the weekend, according to the Wyoming Department of Corrections. Joe Wilkinson, 41, gave himself up about two hours after the escape Saturday and didn't get very far from the Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Center in Haskell, Texas, corrections spokeswoman Melinda Brazzale said Monday. Robert Dix, 25, was arrested Sunday night, about 34 hours after the escape. He, too, didn't get far from the prison. Haskell is about 50 miles north of Abilene, Texas. Wyoming keeps many of its inmates there because it doesn't have enough room for them at prisons in Wyoming.

Wardle Academy
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Frontier Correctional Services

September 9, 2007 AP
Youngsters sentenced to jail time intermingled with -- and beat up -- youth undergoing drug and alcohol treatment at a privately run facility, Department of Family Services Director Tony Lewis told Gov. Dave Freudenthal's chief of staff. Lewis told Chris Boswell in a July 30 e-mail that the department was about to withdraw youngsters from the Jeffrey C. Wardle Academy in Cheyenne and was ending its youth treatment contract with Frontier Correctional Services, which operates the facility. The Associated Press obtained the e-mail Thursday through an open records request with the governor's office and the Department of Family Services. "Over the past year, a number of the treatment kids have been victimized and beaten by short-term detention kids," Lewis wrote in the e-mail. "We've also documented abuses by staff and numerous clinic and medical treatment deficiencies. "These are well-documented in special investigation findings by our child protection and licensing staff," Lewis wrote. Attorney General Pat Crank was included in the e-mail correspondence, but his brief messages to Lewis were redacted in the copy given to AP. The governor's spokeswoman, Cara Eastwood, said the reason was attorney-client privilege, an exception included in Wyoming's open records law. Department officials disclosed last week that, on a judge's orders, 24 of 28 youths are being removed from the treatment center at Wardle Academy and placed in other programs. All 24 are expected to be moved by month's end. The rest were being allowed to stay because they were close to finishing their stints. Frontier Correctional Systems CEO John Harrison said that for seven years, the department issued licenses for the Wardle Academy that permitted the mingled populations, and that no fights occurred. "In seven years, we never had an assault between a residential treatment and a juvenile detention student," he said. But he said fights had occurred within the last few months. Lewis opened his e-mail to Boswell with "a political heads up" that Frontier Correctional Services could be expected to tell judges and county officials that, without the treatment contract, the company would have to close the Wardle Academy. If the facility closed, Lewis pointed out, that would leave Laramie County without a place to jail juveniles without resorting to putting them in the county jail. The Wardle Academy jailed a total of 395 juveniles in 2006, according to figures complied for the Department of Family Services by the Wyoming County Commissioners Association. Lewis said the department's treatment contract with Frontier Correctional Systems provides "half or a little more than half" of Wardle Academy's income. The contract was for $281,881 a month, according to department spokeswoman Juliette Rule. Harrison said the Wardle Academy would not close. "We will continue to operate as a juvenile detention and assessment and evaluation residential treatment center without the state contract," he said. "We are in agreement that we do not want the contract under the same terms and conditions that we had been operating under this pilot project." As for allowing youngsters who were sentenced to jail to mingle with youngsters undergoing treatment, Rule said that didn't violate department policy. But she said such commingling isn't accepted as a "best practice" in social services. In an interview with AP on Tuesday, Lewis detailed several concerns the department has had with the Wardle Academy, including allegations that youngsters in treatment had access to drugs and that medical care, meals and laundry often were neglected. Lewis said much the same thing in his e-mail to Boswell. He said there were "well-documented" abuses by staff and deficiencies in medical treatment. He wrote that problems continued even after a year and a half of meetings with Frontier Correctional Systems officials and the company's CEO, Harrison. "While they have shown improvements in some areas, they don't seem to be able to get over the hurdle of operating the institution as anything more than a jail, which they do well enough," he wrote.

Wyoming Department of Corrections
Correctional Medical Services, Prison Health Services, Wexford
April 14, 2007 AP
The return of 40 inmates from Texas means that all of Wyoming's female inmates now are being housed in-state, for the first time in eight years. The women were transferred Tuesday to the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk from the private Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Center in Haskell, Texas, according to the Wyoming Department of Corrections. A recent expansion nearly doubled the number of beds at the Women's Center to 294. The expansion increased the prison's size by nearly half; it also built a commercial fish farm and doubled the number of beds for substance abuse treatment. The project marked one of the biggest steps yet in the state's goal of housing all of its inmates - female and male - in Wyoming. Wyoming still has 457 male inmates at three out-of-state prisons: 384 at the private North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Okla.; 45 at the private Rolling Plains facility; and 28 at the public West Texas Detention Center, in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Corrections officials hope to return all of the state's male inmates to Wyoming when a medium-security prison is completed in Torrington in the summer of 2009. If that goal is met, it would end a dozen years of housing inmates out of state.

July 16, 2006 AP
A few weeks ago, the state of Wyoming paid $50,000 to settle a federal lawsuit in which an inmate at the state prison at Rawlins charged he had been denied adequate medical care. This week, another inmate has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that he, too, was denied adequate medical treatment by the same doctor and private medical services company at the Rawlins prison. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, inmate Craig Blumhagen, 50, charges that medical staff at the Rawlins prison refused his requests for treatment of pain and vomiting he suffered over several months in 2003. Blumhagen names Dr. John Coyle and Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri company, as defendants in the case, together with state corrections department personnel. Correctional Medical Services held the contract to provide medical services at the prison for six years before losing the contract to a competitor last summer. Blumhagen's lawsuit charges that Coyle began prescribing Blumhagen daily doses of ibuprofen for treatment of back pain in 1999, at which time Blumhagen weighed about 150 pounds. In May 2003, according to the lawsuit, Blumhagen told Coyle and others that he was experiencing nausea and abdominal pain. The lawsuit states that a nurse at the prison told Blumhagen in August 2003 that Coyle wasn't going to treat his pain and that he should, "grieve in your heart and get over it." By December 2003, the lawsuit claims, Blumhagen was down to 110 pounds and frequently vomiting brown material that looked like coffee grounds. The lawsuit states that Coyle noted that month that Blumhagen's request for narcotic pain medication was evidence of "continued drug-seeking behavior." Blumhagen is serving prison time on drug charges out of Laramie County. The lawsuit states that Blumhagen collapsed in late December and that a guard in the prison infirmary called for an ambulance to take him to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Rawlins. A surgeon at the hospital determined that Blumhagen was suffering from severe ulcer, the lawsuit states. Medical staff at the hospital transfused Blumhagen with red blood cells to raise his hemoglobin level before surgery to address the ulcer. The lawsuit says hospital staff told Blumhagen that his long-term use of ibuprofen was the probable cause of his ulcer and that he could no longer use such medications. Bruce Moats, a Cheyenne lawyer representing Blumhagen, said Friday that prison inmates are incarcerated to serve their time, "not to be denied proper medical care when they get sick." "The care that my client has received did not live up to the standards of humanity and decency required by the law, and adhered to by the people of Wyoming," Moats said.

June 21, 2006 Billings Gazette
The State of Wyoming has paid $50,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a former Wyoming prison inmate who blamed the state Department of Corrections and a private company that provided medical care to inmates for the loss of his lower right leg. Salvatore Lucido, a diabetic, filed the lawsuit in April 2004 charging that he developed sores on his feet when the staff at the state prison in Rawlins refused to give him appropriate shoes. Diabetics often have poor blood circulation in their feet, which means that injuries may be slow to heal and prone to infection. Lucido contended that prison officials and Correctional Medical Services, a private company that provided health care to inmates, delayed taking him to a hospital where his foot might have been saved. The lawsuit states that the officials hoped that if they delayed getting Lucido medical care, "that his release date of April 23 (2003) would arrive before it became too apparent that hospitalization could not be delayed any longer." The lawsuit states that prison officials took Lucido to a hospital on April 18, 2003, more than three weeks after a nurse had noted that he needed emergency surgery to try to save his foot. The lawsuit states that he was taken to the hospital "after his foot literally exploded from the infection and swelling." His lower right leg was amputated on May 2, 2003. U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson has scheduled a trial to start Tuesday in Lucido's remaining claims against Correctional Medical Services and Dr. John Coyle. The lawsuit states Coyle provided medical services for inmates at the state prison. An independent audit last year found that some inmates hadn't receive timely health care because of record-keeping problems caused mainly by changes in the private contractors. Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri company, had held the contract to provide inmate health services at the Rawlins prison for six years before losing the contract to a competitor, Prison Health Services, last summer. Linda Burt, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Wyoming, said Wednesday that her office continues to get many complaints from inmates at the Rawlins prison about health care, particularly from inmates who are diabetic. "I don't think you can do (prison) medical care privately and do a good job, and I don't think you can do it for profit and do a good job," Burt said. "It's extraordinarily difficult, and I haven't seen any success in that area."

November 21, 2005 AP
A project that will nearly double the size of the Wyoming Women's Center includes the construction of an aquaculture facility for raising tilapia. The prison, which opened in 1984, was built for 84 inmates but now houses 106. The $17.3 million expansion will add 140 beds, enabling the Wyoming Department of Corrections to return to Wyoming 78 inmates it has been housing in a private prison in Haskell, Texas. Because of overcrowding, nearly 600 prisoners, or about 30 percent of the state total, are held at county jails in Wyoming or private prisons in Texas.

September 19, 2005 Casper Star-Tribune
Wyoming Department of Corrections officials hope a new $10 million-a-year contract with Prison Health Services will save them some health care costs in the long run. Unlike the department's previous contract with Correctional Medical Services, the new private health care provider will be an umbrella entity responsible for all medical, dental and health services and other programs for the state's four penal institutions. Prison Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn., will subcontract for some of these services and also assumes 100 percent of the risk with no caps on catastrophic claims. PHS, like CMS and another predecessor, Wexford, has its critics. The May 2005 issue of Prison Legal News said PHS has been the target of lawsuits over inmate health care in New York, New Jersey, Nevada and Florida. Linda Burt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union for Wyoming, said the volume of health care complaints from inmates has remained the same from Wexford through CMS and now to PHS. "It's still one of our big concerns," Burt said. She said she looks carefully at all private prison providers. "Nothing has ever shown me that private providers in the prison system work well. It doesn't matter whether they are private providers of the entire prison or just health care," she said. She noted that both Wexford and PHS also were sued.
"I think the solution is an in-house solution," she added. "If you're working for profit in that kind of system, you can't provide the appropriate care and be a for-profit system. I think it's almost impossible to do that."

November 25, 2003
Wyoming prison inmates being housed in Colorado could be heading for Texas in coming months, Wyoming Department of Corrections (DOC) officials announced Monday.  DOC Director Robert Lampert said his agency is trying to negotiate a contract for about 200 inmate beds in Texas, because Colorado's corrections department wants to use the beds in its state to house its own inmates.  Due to a shortage of in-state prison space, Wyoming has 300 male inmates in Colorado at two private facilities and 126 men being housed with the Nevada Department of Corrections, according to Melinda Brazzale, DOC spokeswoman. The department also has 55 women in a private facility in Colorado.  "We have been informed by the Colorado Department of Corrections that they will need all male prison beds in Colorado (including those in privately run prisons) for their own inmates by the middle of next year," Lampert said in a press release. "We need to find good alternative housing for our inmates by early 2004."  He announced the negotiations during a meeting of human resources department heads in Gov. Dave Freudenthal's office.  Freudenthal replied that he and legislators are looking into exactly what it may cost Wyoming to build more of its own prison space.  Officials speak of $125 million as a placeholder for such a project, but Freudenthal said representatives of the executive and legislative branches hope to refine that number sometime soon.  Lampert, who took the DOC helm two weeks ago, said he has also met with community leaders who inquire about the possibilities of siting new prison buildings in their towns.  Wyoming is negotiating with Correctional Services Corp. to house state inmates at a facility in Littlefield, Texas, about 40 miles northwest of Lubbock, according to Brazzale.  (Star-Tribune)

June 3, 2003
The state is getting close to announcing the private provider that will furnish up to 100 substance abuse treatment beds for Wyoming male prison inmates.  Les Pozsgi, who is monitor of the program for the Department of Corrections, said the state is still in the negotiation stages for the final contract.  He said three private groups applied for the project and one was selected as preferred after a review process.  The treatment beds are a key part of the comprehensive $25 million substance abuse plan embodied in House Bill 59, which was passed by the 2002 Legislature.  Another part of the bill expands drug courts. Wyoming now has seven adult and six juvenile drug courts. Evanston has the oldest drug court in the state.  Also effective July 1 this year is the Addicted Offenders Accountability Act adopted in 2002 to require judges to get substance abuse assessments of defendants convicted of a felony.  The law gives judges the option of sending offenders for treatment rather than prison.  (Star-Tribune capital bureau)

November 22, 2002
The Department of Corrections can make money for the state by housing 205 inmates from Wyoming at the high Desert Correctional Center, legislators decided Thursday.  The Legislator's Interim Finance Committee approved the plan under which Wyoming will pay $2.7 million, or about $60 a day per inmate, to send its prisoners to Nevada for seven months starting in December.  Jackie Crawford, the Corrections Department director, said it costs the state about $39 a day to care for prisoners, including $8 a day for medical costs.  Crawford said if the prisoner-for-pay program works, Wyoming could ship as many as 500 inmates to Nevada.  "The contract will provide a good return to Nevada," she said.  "This is a great opportunity for us to get revenue."  Assembly members Morse Arberry, D-North Las Vegas, and Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, voted against the program.  They were concerned because Crawford wants to hire five new correctional officers for the program.  Crawford said she told Wyoming that 21 correctional officers would be assigned to the program.  Because of a state hiring freeze and budget cutbacks, Crawford said she does not have enough available officers.  (Review Journal.com)

September 25, 2002
The state might be forced to move its prison inmates elsewhere if Colorado's prison population continues to grow, state corrections officials said.  In a letter to Wyoming Department of Corrections Director Judith Uphoff, Colorado corrections officials said they expect to use all of the state's available medium-security prison beds within the next 12 to 18 months.  More than 500 Wyoming inmates are housed at Colorado's Crowley County Correctional Facility and Kit Carson Correctional Facility.  (AP)

Wyoming Legislature
March 13, 2006 Star-Tribune
Wyoming’s legislators form a citizen’s legislature ordinary people, who like yourself and your neighbors, work for a living and strive to do what’s best for the people of Wyoming, within the confines of the state and United States Constitutions. Because Wyoming legislators put on their pants (or pantyhose) one leg at a time, they don’t necessarily come up with ideas for legislation all on their own, out of their own fertile imaginations. Sometimes they get help, from local and national sources, some of which might surprise Wyoming citizens. According to Wyoming legislators and legislative staff, there are several organizations out there that provide research, data and even model legislation to legislatures and legislators throughout the country. • The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a bipartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers, to advance the “Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty.” Headquarters is in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, who also helped found the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, the Moral Majority and the Council for National Policy. ALEC, which claims 2,400 legislator members, charges legislators $100 per biennium to join (constituting less than 2 percent of the annual budget), but then charges corporations (over 300) and associations graduated memberships at $5,000; $10,000; $25,000 and $50,000 to sit at the table with legislators and craft “model” legislation. Corporate funds underwrite travel scholarships, by which legislators and their families can attend national meetings. ALEC’s corporate members have a keen interest in the bills that they craft. For example, model legislation for "three strikes" and "minimum sentencing" -- laws to keep convicted criminals in prison longer was partially crafted by the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private prison organization, when it sat on ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force. The odds are fairly even, that if you ask your state legislator whether he or she is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the answer will be “Yes.” (Of course, every member of the Wyoming Legislature and Legislative Service Office is a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments, by virtue of being elected to or employed by the Wyoming Legislature.) The trouble is, ALEC itself and Rep. Pete Illoway, R-Cheyenne (a member of ALEC’s national board of directors) won’t tell you who is a member of ALEC. Illoway did say that of Wyoming’s 90 state legislators, close to half are members of ALEC, but he refused to provide a list, though he said he has both Republican and Democratic members. Interviewed earlier this week in his office, Rep. Illoway said he took great offense of a letter that had appeared that morning in the Casper Star Tribune, from Brett Glass. Glass, an Internet access provider in Wyoming, charged that “ALEC drafts "model" bills which favor its corporate sponsors. It then encourages state legislators to introduce the bills in their home states. This year's concealed weapons bill, for example, contains language from ALEC's "Concealed Carry Outright Recognition Act," while the "duty to retreat" bill was based on ALEC's "Castle Doctrine Act" (as in, "a man's home is his castle"). Both were drafted by a committee chaired by a lobbyist from Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer of firearms and ammunition. A bill which would have increased tobacco taxes, and used the proceeds to fund substance-abuse prevention, was opposed strongly by legislators and lobbyists involved with ALEC -- none of whom were registered as lobbying for the group.” Illoway said he’s used model legislation from ALEC once eight years ago n a bill against the Kyoto global warming treaty. “I haven’t used a model bill since then,” he said. He said he didn’t know of any ALEC-oriented bills introduced this session, although an ALEC Report Card said five such bills had been introduced and one passed into law. (ALEC headquarters did not respond to a request about what those bills were.) Illoway said that as a conservative and as “an anti-tax guy,” he enjoys going to ALEC conferences mostly to interact with other like-minded legislators from around the country.

January 19, 2003
The location of two new medium-security prisons will be up to the company that gets the contract, if the prison construction bill passes the Legislature as written.  That will "de-politicize" the site selection process, said Sen. John Hanes, R-Cheyenne, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Site selection and acquisition for the two new 400-bed medium-security prisons will be part of the request for proposals for design, and for total costs of construction, equipment and financing, the way Senate File 16 reads now.  Wasserburger said the bill was drafted for two medium-security prisons rather than one big one when the committee learned the two communities with enough population to staff a large institution weren't interested.  (The Star-Tribune)

January 18, 2003
The Senate Judiciary Committee began studying a bill Friday that calls for building two medium-security prisons and adding to the state's existing correctional facilities.  The goal of the bill is to wean Wyoming from relying on prisons outside the state, especially for the medium-security inmates who have been shipped to Colorado and elsewhere since the north unit of the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins was closed in 2001.  (AP)

Wyoming State Penitentiary
Prison Health Services (formerly run by Correctional Medical Services)

April 10, 2007 AP
A Missouri company that was responsible for providing health care to inmates at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins wants a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit in which an inmate claims he was denied necessary treatment. Inmate Craig Blumhagen charges in his federal lawsuit that medical workers with Correctional Medical Services denied his requests for treatment of pain and vomiting for several months in 2003. CMS held the contract to provide medical services at the prison for six years before losing the contract to a competitor in 2005. Back-pain prescription: Blumhagen, who is serving prison sentences for drug offenses from Laramie County, claimed in his lawsuit that Dr. John Coyle, a doctor at the prison, began prescribing him daily doses of ibuprofen for back pain in 1999. At that time, the suit states, Blumhagen weighed about 150 pounds. In May 2003, according to the lawsuit, Blumhagen told Coyle that he was experiencing nausea and abdominal pain. Blumhagen's lawsuit states that Coyle dismissed his requests for narcotic pain medication as "continued drug-seeking behavior." In December 2003, the lawsuit states, Blumhagen was down to about 110 pounds when he collapsed and was taken to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Rawlins. A surgeon at the hospital determined that Blumhagen was suffering from a severe ulcer. Hospital staff told Blumhagen that his long-term use of ibuprofen was the probable cause of his ulcer and that he could no longer use such medications, the lawsuit states. Headed to trial: Blumhagen's lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next month before U.S. Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne. Besides seeking damages from CMS, the lawsuit names state corrections officials as defendants. CMS filed papers in February asking Johnson to throw out the lawsuit. The company stated there were no issues of material fact in dispute in the case. Johnson held a hearing on the company's request Monday in Cheyenne but didn't immediately announce a ruling on the request. Lawyer Scott Ortiz argued that the case against CMS, Coyle and Stephen Noyes, a physician's assistant with CMS, should be dismissed. Ortiz said that Coyle had to consider Blumhagen's past drug use and drug-seeking behavior in deciding what to prescribe. "He's trying to be judicious in his use of narcotics at the same time looking for other answers," Ortiz said of Coyle. Ortiz said Blumhagen told Coyle that the pain centered in his lower back and sometimes his pelvis. Ortiz said Coyle had no reports of pain in the upper stomach area, where the ulcer was ultimately found. "They were being misled, honestly misled, by a disease process," Ortiz said of the health care workers. Ortiz said that Coyle and Noyes were responsible for knowing that long-term use of ibuprofen can result in ulcers, but he said there's no evidence they were being deliberately indifferent to Blumhagen's suffering. Megan Hayes, lawyer for Blumhagen, said there are indeed factual disagreements in the case. She said Blumhagen disputes the defendants' characterization of the lawsuit "as one of misdiagnosis." Hayes said it's not a complicated medical case. "This is a case where Mr. Blumhagen was prescribed high doses of ibuprofen for four years," she said. While Hayes said the CMS officials didn't believe Blumhagen's complaints of vomiting, she said they took no steps to verify whether it was actually happening. "It's just hard to fathom why Mr. Blumhagen submitted so many requests for health care if he hadn't been seriously medically ill," Hayes said.

December 7, 2005 Casper Star-Tribune
An independent audit of health care provided to inmates at the Wyoming State Penitentiary blamed problems in timeliness and record keeping on the process of changing private contractors. Prison Health Services took over medical and mental health services for the Department of Corrections in July with a low bid of $10.5 million per year. Correctional Medical Services had provided health services to the state's penal institutions for the previous six years. In October, two former Wyoming State Penitentiary nurses, Karran Bedwell and Debra Long, claimed they were fired because they complained about inadequate staffing and training by PHS at the Rawlins prison for men. They contended the standard of care went downhill at the penitentiary since the Tennessee-based private contractor took over. The independent audit team found that of 185 new admissions for the quarter, only 63 -- or 34 percent -- were screened within the 24-hour required time period. For the remaining 65.9 percent, it took as long as 27 to 30 days before the intake screening was completed in some cases. "This is unacceptable," the report said. The team also found unacceptable delays in the physical assessments of new inmates by a physician's assistant. While 142 or 76.8 percent of the new admissions received physical assessments within the required seven days, it took up to 28 days for the remainder, the report said. Because of poor record-keeping of the sick call logs, the consultants could not determine how long it took from the time inmate health care requests were received until the time they were seen by health care providers, the report said.

October 31, 2005 Casper Star Tribune
Two former Wyoming State Penitentiary nurses claim they were fired because they complained about inadequate staffing and training at the Rawlins prison for men. Karran Bedwell and Debra Long said the Nursing Practice Act compels them to report inadequate health care. "It's our responsibility to do that," Bedwell said in an interview. They said the standards of care have gone downhill at the penitentiary since Prison Health Services, a Tennessee-based private contractor, took over medical and mental health services for all the state's penal institutions on July 1. Before that Correctional Medical Services held the main contract for the past six years, and Wexford Health Sources held the contract for the two intensive substance abuse treatment units since 1995. "One of the poorest things about them is when they hire someone they don't even orient them but put them right on the floor," Bedwell said. "That is really scary for someone who's never been in a prison before." Bedwell, a registered nurse, said she was the continuous quality improvement administrator for all the state prisons when Correctional Medical Services had the contract. She said was given no reason for her discharge by Prison Health Services administrators Sept. 7, but she believes it was "because I made too much noise." Long, a licensed practical nurse who has worked at the penitentiary for eight years off and on, said she was promoted by Prison Health Services to the job of continuous quality improvement nurse, a position she didn't apply for. After she told administrators about her concerns about the delivery of care, she was told she would be removed from the supervisory position because Prison Health Services wanted a registered nurse in that slot. Instead, the company offered her a position that required working nights. Long said she didn't quit but was essentially forced out in late September when Prison Health Services administrators refused to offer her alternate positions that she suggested. Staffing, she said, "affects everything. If you don't have enough nurses, things aren't going to get done in a timely manner." For example, National Commission on Correctional Health Care guidelines, which are monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice, require nurses to see an inmate who submits a request for health care within 48 hours. One of Long's jobs was to monitor the nurse sick call. During the last week in August, she said, the inmates were being seen within 48 hours only 20 percent of the time. "That was one of the things I was bringing to their attention," Long said. The prison also fell short of guidelines that require new inmates to receive health screenings within 24 hours of admission. Because of the staffing problems, inmates sometimes didn't get their night medications until 2 a.m., Long said. Of five private contractors who bid on the contract, Prison Health Services submitted the lowest bid of $10.5 million for one year with two 1-year options to renew.

May 4, 2004
Salvatore Lucido walks without too noticeable a limp, considering that he's had his new prosthetic leg for just two weeks, he said Monday.  The first two artificial limbs he had last year didn't work, he said. So since November, Lucido got around either on crutches or in a wheelchair.  Had it not been for the negligence and cost-cutting by medical and other officials at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in early 2003, he still would be walking on two legs, he said during an interview at the office of his attorney, John Robinson, in Casper.  On Friday, Lucido filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against former Department of Corrections Director Judy Uphoff, and prison officials and employees, according to the complaint filed in federal court. The other defendants are Correctional Medical Services, Inc., of Missouri; Lucido was scheduled for release from prison on April 23, 2003, and the defendants hoped that his foot would not need hospitalization until after that, according to the complaint.  "On April 18th, more than three weeks after a nurse noted that Lucido needed emergency surgery to try and save his foot, defendants gave in and took him to a hospital after his foot literally exploded from the infection and swelling," according to the complaint.  Nothing could be done then except to amputate his blackened foot and lower leg, according to the complaint.  (Casper Star Tribune)