Web  KCTribune 
ACLU Challenges Secrecy In Private Prison Lawsuit

On July 27, 2009, The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri arbitrated on behalf of Prison Legal News, a monthly publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues, in a class-action lawsuit against Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), a private prison company based in Nashville.

ACLU moved to intervene in the suit for the sole purpose of unsealing the settlement agreement. As a matter of public policy, documents filed in federal court should be open to inspection by the public. “It is important to ensure the availability of court records for public accountability. It serves the interests of the 1st Amendment”, said Doug Bonney, Chief Counsel for the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri.

The class action suit was settled on February 12, 2009; however, the settlement was sealed by the court upon motion by the parties. Thus, the exact terms of the settlement are unknown, including the maximum monetary amount that CCA will have to pay.

Private prison firms, including CCA, often claim they save money. Since about 80% of prisons operating expenses are related to staffing costs, it is noteworthy that CCA apparently saved money by failing to pay its employees the wages to which they were entitled, in violation of federal labor laws. The settlement would reveal details regarding how CCA saved money by shorting its own staff members.

The class action suit against CCA is Barnwell, et al. v. Corrections Corp. of America, U.S.D.C. (D. Kan.), Case No. 2:08-CV-02151-JWL-DJW. PLN is represented in its motion to intervene by Stephen Douglas Bonney, Chief Counsel and Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri.

The ACLU conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

For further information, please contact:

Dan Winter, Executive Director or
Doug Bonney, Chief Counsel
ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri
3601 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Tel. (816) 756-3113, Ext. 228
Fax (816) 756-0136

Post A Comment
* Indicates required information
Comment Title:
* Comments:
* Validation:
Comments 1 comments for this article
Page:   <<  <   1   >  >>
Added: August 07, 2009. 04:22 PM CDT
Abolish Private Prisons
Even if one does not ask or pretends not to see the rope and the flashing red flag draped around the philosophical question standing solemnly at attention in the middle of the room, it remains apparent that the mere presence of a private “for profit” driven prison business in our country undermines the U.S Constitution and subsequently the credibility of the American criminal justice system. In fact, until all private prisons in America have been abolished and outlawed, “the promise” of fairness and justice at every level of this country’s judicial system will remain unattainable. We must restore the principles and the vacant promise of our judicial system. Our government cannot continue to "job-out" its obligation and neglect its duty to the individuals confined in the correctional and rehabilitation facilities throughout this nation, nor can it ignore the will of the people that it was designed to serve and protect. There is urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of indifference, apathy, cynicism, fear, and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
My hope is that you will support the National Public Service Council to Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) with a show of solidarity by signing "The Single Voice Petition"

Please visit our website for further information: https://www.npsctapp.blogspot.com

–Ahma Daeus
"Practicing Humanity Without A License"…
Page:   <<  <   1   >  >>