ACLU v. CCA: The Private Prison Debate Challenge

Even as for-profit facilities lock up nearly 130,000 prisoners and take in billions of taxpayer dollars each year, these prisons remain shrouded in secrecy. The time has come for a robust public debate about the role of private prisons in our society.   

That’s why the ACLU just sent a letter to Damon Hininger, the head Corrections Corporation of America – the world’s largest private prison company – challenging him to a public debate on the merits of prison privatization. You can urge him to accept our invitation by taking action here.

The key question: Should private prisons exist? It’s a question being asked across America, in corrections departments and legislatures, in communities and churches. In January, the United Methodist Church divested itself of all private prison stock holdings; in February, Florida legislators killed a plan to privatize nearly 30 prisons; in April, the Illinois Senate passed a bill to block plans for a privately-run federal immigration lockup.

Here are some excerpts from our letter:

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, we invite you to participate in a public debate on the merits of prison privatization.

In recent months, CCA has repeatedly criticized the views of the ACLU regarding for-profit incarceration. If you truly believe that private prisons are right for our country, we see no reason why you would be unwilling to defend that position in a public debate. As John Milton wrote, “Let [truth] and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”

We believe that the taxpayers who finance private prisons; the families whose mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters are incarcerated in these facilities; and the communities where for-profit prisons are situated deserve more than sound bites. They deserve a full, fair, and public examination of for-profit incarceration. 

Read the letter in its entirety here and read our our op-ed on Huffington Post here.

If you want to know the truth about private prisons being run with your money, urge CCA’s president to accept our invitation to debate. It’s time to air this issue in a public forum.

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The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office has unconstitutionally charged and is vigorously prosecuting one Oklahoma mother for several crimes that do not exist and/or are considered civil matters, not criminal. They have imposed excessive bail on this mother that also doesn’t exist.

The cost to the mother has been over $25,000 in cash for a 153k excessive bond that she is still paying off weekly so she doesn’t go back to jail for nonpayment to the bondsman who also threatens to arrest her weekly if they don’t receive their money. She has spent another $5000.00 on criminal attorney fees over the past two years fighting these charges that legally do not exist.

She is almost 42 and has raised one 19 year old daughter who is a sophomore at OU on a free ride scholarship for being an outstanding student. She is a bookkeeper by trade and due to the pending felony charges for the past two years, she has been unable to find ample employment to continue paying hundreds of dollars weekly to stay out of jail AND afford a private attorney.

The Oklahoma County District Judges are continuously threatening to arrest her for not having the funds to hire a private attorney due to the tens of thousands of dollars its cost her thus far to stay out of jail on charges that don’t even exist in Oklahoma statutes.

She has spent a total of six weeks falsely incarcerated at the Ok County Jail against her will for these charges where she lost her home and her vehicle was stolen due to being incarcerated. She was also denied a bond reduction because she did not have a paid private attorney; the district judge says so on record as public defenders are not supposed to have bond reduction hearings.

Her children have been stolen from her without due process during these proceedings, where the loss of her home, her vehicle, and the loss of her livelihood has caused emotional duress and trauma beyond imagination.

The District Courts have time and time again refused this unwed mother justice. She needs your help to obtain counsel. She cannot afford a lawyer when one is supposed to be appointed to her provided for in the Constitution of the United States, the Oklahoma Children Act, The Federal and Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Act. Oklahoma County does not care about the law or due process. Please help her obtain counsel and to receive the justice promised to all Americans and their children.


And you wouldnt believe what theyve done to this mother now.

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