Demand That Ohio Close Dangerous Privatized Prisons

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Target: John Kasich, Governor of Ohio

Goal: Close private prison that values money over humane conditions

In an attempt to alleviate budget concerns, Ohio sold one of their state prison facilities to the Corrections Corporation of America for $72.2 million. Historically, private prison companies skimp on all facets of prison maintenance in order to maximize profits, and the Ohio facility is already following the trend.  Demand that Ohio lawmakers shut down the privately owned Lake Eerie Correctional Institute and forbid the privatization of state prisons.

The nation’s first privately owned state prison is failing miserably. Ohio auditors reported flagrant abuses and living conditions far below state standards at the Lake Eerie Correctional Institute. These conditions are dangerous from a health standpoint and can lead to violent and deadly riots. Corners are clearly being cut for the sake of money, and the prison is simply not working under the control of a profit-motivated corporation.

In the past few years, auditors have discovered horrific conditions such as inmates in isolation with no access to working toilets or running water – who were forced to use plastic containers and bags as a makeshift restroom. Internal documents cite single-person cells holding 3 inmates each (the prison is currently at 130 percent capacity). Assaults on both guards and inmates have increased by an alarming 40 percent. The city’s crime data also cites that officers responded to 229 calls related to the prison last year – this is almost four times as many as the previous five years combined.

Everyone, including those imprisoned for criminal activity, deserve to be treated with a basic level of humanity. It is clear that prisons under the control of corporations like the Corrections Corporation of America do not have the inmates’ safety or best interest in mind. Prisons need to be held to a particular standard, and the Lake Erie Correctional Facility fails to meet basic requirements. Demand that lawmakers shut down this prison as soon as possible.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Kasich,

Conditions at the Lake Erie Correctional Facility are unacceptable. Inmates are forced to share one-person cells with two other prisoners. Some in isolation do not have running water or toilets to use to relieve themselves, forcing them to defecate into bags or cups. Violence at this particular prison has increased by 40% in the past year. These horrific conditions are due to the privatization of the prison which was, in fact, the first state prison to be privatized in the United States.

Unfortunately, corporations are less concerned about maintaining a safe and sanitary prison environment and more concerned about a turning a profit. Due to this blind greed, the Corrections Corporation of America has caused a massive deterioration of both the quality of living and effectiveness of the Lake Erie Correctional Facility. The privatization of prisons clearly leads to disaster – another example of this includes Kentucky’s plans to outsource prison food to Aramark, a private vendor that is already under investigation due to violating its contract numerous times.

I urge you to shut down this prison and deny the Corrections Corporation of America any more chances to abuse prisoners or the prison system.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: DOliphant via Flickr

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