A Look Inside the Prisoner Private Transport System

As more states look to privatizing prisons to save money, Troy Hooper at the Aspen Daily News begins a series on abuses in the prisoner transport system. Read this one, it will turn your stomach.

The company is California-based Court Services Inc. (CSI), which denies the allegations. In the case Hooper explores today, a prisoner being transferred from San Diego to Aspen, Sheriff Bob Braudis is not only refusing to pay the company's fee, he's reimbursing the prisoner's mother and sister for their travel expenses to Aspen, where they went to protest what happened.

In other words, the sheriff's office is bankrolling the protest of its own jail.“We’re going to pay for their expenses out here,” said [Undersheriff Joe] DiSalvo, estimating the cost at around $1,300. “They should be compensated for bringing something that’s really important to us — a human rights issue — to our attention. If they hadn’t picketed, we probably would’ve kept using that service.”


CSI is owned by Erik Kindley, who denies the mistreatment allegations, and of the accident says,

I don’t really have a response at this point. What can you do? A certain level of transportation was provided. [Toward the end of] the transport, an accident happened. It’s not like they went off a cliff.”

And, while Kindley denied on three separate occasions to the Aspen Daily News that others had made similar complaints:

court records show Kindley was sued last year in Texas for some of the very same complaints Saputo has made. ...His former director of operations, Heather Sheridan, and an ex-employee, Donnie Wilson, contacted the Aspen Daily News, separately, to claim CSI has a long history of transgressions that includes prisoner abuse and officers walking out on the job, frustrated, and often unpaid.

According to one former driver:

Kindley allegedly didn’t provide him with enough money to feed passengers, properly house them in jails, and pay for hotels so drivers could get proper rest.

“Eric’s dangerous,” added Sheridan. “We used to have murderers on board with 13, 14 inmates in a van. I had an agent turn 21 years old on the road with me [federal law requires prisoner transport officers be at least 21 years of age]. Another one was 18. And I had another agent driving with a revoked license.”

CSI is not the only company with abuse complaints. Hooper questions who is monitoring the companies to ensure they comply with regulations:

Experts say there are actually more laws protecting the transport of animals across state lines than prisoners.

Hooper will continue the series on Monday.

< College Football Open Thread | Saturday Night TV and Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Evil (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 01:02:45 PM EST
    It doesn't feel right that we would turn over any aspect of the prison system to private companies. It seems to me that if the State is administering justice on our behalf, we should be aware of and responsible for every aspect of it. Including transportation.

    CCPOA definitely supports your viewpoint. (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 01:20:34 PM EST
    But these contract workers doubtless make a bunch less money than correctional officers, who also get overtime and benefits.

    That's another reason. (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:04:45 PM EST
    I believe in Unions.

    Privatizing = abuse (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Lora on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:38:08 PM EST
    We've seen it over and over again in many areas that used to be all government-run.  When are we gonna learn?

    Never (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Zorba on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:44:05 PM EST
    Not as long as some corporate interest can make money.

    Saputo was being extradited from (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 01:24:30 PM EST
    CA to CO to face pending charges.  (Caution to Polanski.)

    Polanski will be transported (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:33:44 PM EST
    by U.S. Marshals, it's a requirement of the treaty.

    That will be an interesting series of (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:48:11 PM EST
    flights.  U.S. Marshal plus Polanski in coach.  

    Even scarier - privitizing death row? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:11:39 PM EST
    Apparently seriously being discussed in Arizona, according to today's New York Times.

    I saw that. Out of sight, out of mind? (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:14:40 PM EST
    Can KBR (none / 0) (#7)
    by Fabian on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:19:16 PM EST
    still bid on government contracts?

    yes, it's my first link (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:34:12 PM EST
    in this post. Another terrible idea.

    Oops, caught out! (none / 0) (#13)
    by Peter G on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:35:18 PM EST
    Forced to admit I didn't actually read every link before adding the comment.

    8 guys at 800 per (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 05:29:33 PM EST
    is 6400 or 900 per day for 7 days of work.  what are the coyotes paid?  

    Let's say 100 per head and mileage.  You make 800 per week, how are you going to feed 8 grown men over 7 days?

    tough way to make a living, that is for sure.