Stop Abuse of Prisoners by Private Transport Companies

Prison Van by Didbygraham

Target: Thomas R. Kane, Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons

Goal: Increase federal oversight of prison transportation companies and halt the abuses these companies commit.

At least four people have been killed on prison extradition van runs by the company Prison Transport Services since 2012. The system of outsourcing prisoner transport to private companies lends itself to abuse and neglect. The vans used for this transportation have no medical services or even toilets. One of those who died on these vans, Steven Galack, was allegedly beaten by other prisoners en route with the permission of the guards. Urge the Federal Bureau of Prisons to scrutinize these companies and ensure that they are worthy of the public’s trust.

Prisoner vans are not safe for the prisoners and do not provide a secure environment in which to transport them. Sixty prisoners transported by these vans have escaped since 2000. Of these, one allegedly sexually assaulted a minor and another later stabbed a policeman. However, the prisoners on these vans are not the only ones accused of sexual assault. Fourteen women have claimed in criminal or civil courts that guards on these transports sexually assaulted them. One alleged victim stated, “Just stay in jail. It’s better.”

Companies who transport prisoners have widespread influence, carrying tens of thousands of prisoners per year. Twenty-six states use these companies, in addition to cities and local law enforcement. The industry also has a monopoly. Of the two dozen companies on record with the Department of Transportation, only seven have state contracts. The company with the most contracts is Prison Transport Services.

After the death of Mr. Galack while in their custody, this company still sent a $1,061 bill to the county for his transport. Call on federal regulators to inspect these companies and stop abuses like this one.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Kane,

The use of private companies to transport prisoners must be scrutinized and regulated. At least four prisoners have died in extradition vans managed by the company Prison Transport Services since 2012. Another 60 prisoners have escaped from vans run by prison transport companies since 2000, one of whom later stabbed a police officer. Greater oversight is needed to make these vans safe for the prisoners and the wider communities alike.

The conditions on these extradition vans are often abominable. There are no medical services or toilets and the only thing separating the men from the women is a Plexiglas partition. Fourteen women on these transports have stated in criminal or civil court that they were sexually assaulted by their guards. In addition, prisoners are grouped together regardless of offense, with first time and repeat offenders sharing the same space.

On your website, you have stated that you ensure that inmates are kept in safe, humane facilities. However, the transportation to and from those facilities must also be safe and humane. Examine the prison transportation industry and guarantee that this is the case.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Didbygraham

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