A Look Inside the Prisoner Private Transport System
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.
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