New Castle Fiiiiiight: That Knuckle Knock Policy Is Really Working Out

Indcorrection It's like déjà vu all over again:

"A state prison that was the site of a riot last year was locked down after three guards were treated for minor injuries in a fight with inmates.

"Four to six inmates at the New Castle Correctional Facility fought with the guards during an outdoor exercise period Wednesday after an inmate left the recreation area, said Trina Randall, a spokeswoman for the GEO Group Inc., the private company that is contracted to run the facility.

"An argument turned into a pushing and shoving match that lasted about a minute and a half, said Randy Koester, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Correction.

"'The incident that occurred the other night was quite minor,' Randall said.

"Koester said Friday that the prison about 45 miles east of Indianapolis was being taken off lockdown in stages and he expected it to return to normal operations over the weekend.

"Eight inmates and two staff members at the prison were injured during an April 24 riot in which hundreds of prisoners burned mattresses and broke windows. The disturbance occurred six weeks after inmates from Arizona arrived as part of a deal between the states.

"Twenty-seven Arizona inmates and one from Indiana were charged after the riot. Some of the Arizona inmates who were involved in the riot were sent back to that state.

"After the riot, the Indiana DOC revised eating and recreation schedules at New Castle and added bars, cameras and fencing, Koester said. Arizona inmates also were told of the different rules in policies in Indiana, he said.

"The Indiana DOC was reviewing the program, which was up for renewal in March.

"'We're going to start needing that facility to house Indiana inmates,' Koester said. 'As 2008 goes on, we're going to work with the Arizona Department of Corrections to see how best to remove those Arizona inmates.'"

How best to remove them? Shouldn't this already have been done? Did we learn nothing from the first riot?

If you don't believe there's something wrong at the Department of Correction, you haven't been following this thread very closely.

Pay Attention: Guv Needs To Look Into Issues At Indiana Girls' School

Magnify The South Bend Tribune urges the Guv to look into allegations that the Indiana Girls' School is pretty darned messed up right now:

"We trust that the Indiana Department of Correction will take seriously the criticism it has received from the Juvenile Justice Center of St. Joseph County. The DOC must make the changes necessary to protect girls who are sentenced to the Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility and to assure that they receive the rehabilitation services they need.

"So far, the DOC's response has been characterized as a combination of dismissive and defensive. Now that St. Joseph County Juvenile Judge Peter Nemeth has sent a letter to Gov. Mitch Daniels detailing his staff's findings, it is hoped that lasting improvement will occur at the Indiana Girls' School, as the facility is commonly called.

"Nemeth has said that he will not send St. Joseph County girls to the facility until it improves. That means using much more expensive private schools instead. That is a decision that could be costly to the county, but it is one Nemeth is fully authorized to make.

"The judge said he bases his decision, and his letter of complaint to Daniels, on the results of an audit of the facility that was conducted by his staff over several months this year. The audit -- a series of inspections that included interviews with detainees -- was a consequence of St. Joseph County being selected to participate in the DOC's Community Transition Program.

"The JJC staff had not audited the Girls School before. But the facility had been inspected. Most recently, it was inspected by the American Correctional Association team, from which it received a high grade.

"If it is the discrepancy between the findings of the JJC and the ACA that makes some skeptical of Nemeth's criticism, we suggest that Daniels begin his consideration of Nemeth's complaint by noting that the two audit teams were looking for different things. The ACA was focusing on the facility and policies. The JJC team was looking at actual treatment of juveniles."

Juvenile Injustice? South Bend Judge Won't Send Females To DOC Facility

Docpatch After reading this story, it's hard to understand why Department of Correction Commission J. David Donahue still has his job:

"A St. Joseph County judge has stopped sending female offenders to the Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility, claiming the state-run detention center is understaffed and lacks adequate rehabilitative and educational services.

"Judge Peter Nemeth also said he has received reports of sexual activity between inmates and between inmates and staff.

"'I have decided it is neither safe nor productive' to continue sending female juveniles to the Department of Correction facility on Girls School Road, Nemeth said in a letter he sent Monday to Gov. Mitch Daniels.

"Nemeth said he was appealing directly to the governor after attempts to work out problems with DOC Commissioner J. David Donahue were unsuccessful.

"The judge said his decision to stop placing youths at the state facility was the result of his court-ordered review of the facility conducted in October. His letter said that review turned up numerous deficiencies, including:

  • Inadequate staffing to maintain a safe environment.
  • Classroom settings that 'can only be described as nonproductive at best.'
  • The lack of vocational programs.
  • The failure by the facility psychiatrist in many cases to adequately explain to inmates why they have been placed on psychotropic drugs, to justify their continued use and to provide a monthly follow-up.

"The governor had not received Nemeth's letter as of Wednesday afternoon, said spokeswoman Jane Jankowski. She said the normal process would be for the governor to discuss issues called to his attention with the appropriate department officials, then respond."

Farmed Out: DOC Commish To Help Army Review Detainee Operations

Handcuffs According to this news release, everyone's favorite Department of Correction Commissioner, J. David Donahue, is going to take a month off to lend his professional "expertise" to the Army:

IDOC Commissioner Donahue to Assist the United States Army

Indianapolis, IN - (November 26, 2007) - Indiana Department of Correction, Commissioner J. David Donahue will assist the United States Army in a review of detainee operations during the month of December. Deputy Commissioner Bruce Lemmon will serve as Acting Commissioner during Donahue's absence.

The Army will tap Commissioner Donahue's extensive experience and knowledge in the field of corrections as it adopts best practices from the civilian corrections community to continually improve the way it conducts detainee operations. Governor Daniels received the Army's request last week, and approved Donahue's extended leave to assist in this project.

"It is a testament to the fine work being accomplished here in Indiana for Commissioner Donahue to be chosen to assist in this important project," said Governor Daniels.

Commissioner Donahue will be traveling overseas throughout the month of December, and will resume his duties as Commissioner upon his return in early January.

Could someone please translate this from Bureaucratospeak into plain English?

Still Trading Places: New Castle Sends Four Arizona Inmates Back Home

Images2 Tom Murphy of the Associated Press brings us this update on Indiana's prisoner importation business, which is back in full swing despite a riot earlier this year:

"Indiana prison officials have returned to Arizona four inmates charged for their involvement in April's riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility.

"The inmates, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor rioting and battery charges, were returned because they are 'no longer suitable for dormitory-style' medium-security prisons like New Castle, said Karen Cantou Grubbs, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction.

"A contract between the two states calls for Indiana to house inmates from Arizona, which is dealing with a prison space crunch. The agreement also allows the states to rotate some inmates every month. Cantou Grubbs declined to say how the prisoners are moved between states.

"Indiana returned 60 inmates to Arizona earlier this week and received 79 medium-security prisoners in return.

"The four inmates involved in the April 24 riot have been replaced with new inmates, said Al Parke, southern regional director for the Department of Correction.

"These prisoner rotations, which have happened three times, keep Indiana's Arizona inmate population around 630. The contract, which the states announced in March, originally called for Indiana to house 1,260 inmates with Arizona paying $64 a day per inmate.

"But prison space has since grown tight in Indiana, too.

"'Indiana is telling us they've got a shortage of beds, so we're capped,' said Nolberto Machiche, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections."

How are things really working out, DOC insiders?

Backtrack Express: Guv Won't Ship In More Inmates Any Time Soon

Prisonkeys_2 It took a riot and touch of public outcry, but the Guv appears to be done trafficking in out-of-state prisoners for a little while:

"New Castle Correctional Facility likely has seen the last transfer of inmates from Arizona, according to Gov. Mitch Daniels and a state prison spokesman.

"A rising inmate population, the closing of one prison and unexpected renovations at another leave Indiana officials focused on using available beds for their inmates, state Department of Correction spokesman Randy Koester said.

"W'e don't plan on opening up any additional housing units for Arizona,' he said.

"The April 24 riot at New Castle, which involved Arizona inmates, did not have a 'direct' impact on the decision, Koester said.

"Daniels was asked about the prison transfers during a Friday news conference. He said he did not expect to see 'any more prisoners accepted anytime soon' at the medium-security prison.

"'The main reason to take this step at all was to start using a white elephant prison that was largely empty, to hire 300 Hoosiers -- that happened -- and to get them trained,' Daniels said. 'The day is not far off, probably measured in months, when we'll need that space for Indiana prisoners anyway.'"

Criminal Record: Are These The Inmates We Thought We Were Getting?

PrisonerDepartment of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue, who miraculously held on to his job after the New Castle riot, continues to spin that incident despite new evidence that the inmates we got weren't exactly what we thought we bargained for:

"One-third of the Arizona inmates transferred to serve their sentences in an Indiana prison are violent criminals, including 25 who were convicted of murder, according to new data from state prison officials.

"Prison officials said inmates were chosen based on their behavior in prison, not their criminal records.

"But an advocate for prisoners' rights was surprised by the news, saying officials had left the impression with the public that violent offenders would not be included among those moved to the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group.

"'That's not what they said they were going to send,' said Celia Sweet, former president of the Indiana chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. 'You know, live up to your word. Don't go trying to hoodwink the public just to make some money off the backs of these prisoners. That's not right. It's immoral.'

"The state never misled anyone, said Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue.

"Indiana's deal with Arizona allows medium-security prisoners and bans only sex offenders, prisoners with discipline problems and recognized gang members, he said."

Count the Indianapolis Star among the initially confused. From an editorial published Oct. 9, 2006, shortly after the Guv announced this Totally Awesome Money-Making Venture:

"State leaders argue that any prisoners sent to New Castle will be medium-security offenders. Violent criminals, sexual offenders and those suffering from mental illness will remain in California. When released, the inmates will be sent back to California or their home state."

Prisons For Profit: GEO Group Touts Its Second Quarter Earnings

GeogrouplogoGEO Group, the Florida company that runs the New Castle Correctional Facility, as well as dozens of other facilities worldwide, is making money hand over fist on its prison privatization deals. If only they paid as much attention to the quality of the services they provide as they do to the profits they pocket.

"BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The GEO Group (NYSE: GEO) ('GEO') today reported second quarter and year-to-date 2007 financial results. All financial results in this press release have been adjusted to reflect the effect of GEO's June 1, 2007 2-for-1 stock split as well as GEO's October 2, 2006 3-for-2 stock split.

"GEO reported second quarter 2007 GAAP Income from Continuing Operations of $12.4 million, or $0.24 per share, based on 51.6 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding compared to $6.4 million, or $0.20 per share, based on 32.8 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding in the second quarter of 2006. For the first half of 2007, GEO reported GAAP Income from Continuing Operations of $17.5 million, or $0.38 per share, based on 46.6 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding compared to $11.1 million, or $0.35 per share, based on 31.3 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding for the first half of 2006.

"Second quarter 2007 Pro Forma Income from Continuing Operations increased to $13.5 million, or $0.26 per share, based on 51.6 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding from Pro Forma Income from Continuing Operations of $7.6 million, or $0.23 per share, based on 32.8 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding in the second quarter of 2006. For the first half of 2007, Pro Forma Income from Continuing Operations increased to $22.5 million, or $0.48 per share, on 46.6 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding from Pro Forma Income from Continuing Operations of $12.5 million, or $0.40 per share, based on 31.3 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding for the first half of 2006.

"George C. Zoley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GEO, said: 'We are very pleased with our earnings results which reflect strong performance from our three business units as a result of better-than-expected performance by a number of our facilities and new contract wins. Our organic growth pipeline remains strong with projects totaling more than 11,000 beds under development, including projects we activated in the first half of the year, representing more than $198 million in combined annual operating revenues.'"

Knuckle Knocked Out: Rumors Swirl Around Departure Of DOC Flack

IndcorrectionIf you believe what you hear on the streets, Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue terminated the agency's public information officer on July 6. (What else are we supposed to think when he sends out an e-mail announcing her departure, effective immediately, at 4:46 p.m. on the Friday after the Fourth of July?)

From: Donahue, Dave
Sent: Fri 7/6/2007 4:46 PM
To: #DOC Parole Supervisors; #DOC Superintendents Reentry; #DOC Superintendents - Adult; #DOC Superintendent - Juvenile; #DOC Central Office Staff Cc: #DOC Supt Secretaries; #DOC Parole Supervisor Secretaries Subject: Staff Announcement

I regret to inform you that Java Ahmed is leaving the Department effective Friday, July 6, 2007. We wish her well with all her future endeavors. In the interim all media advisories should be reviewed from the field by Rich Larsen, PIO of Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

Now, here's where things get interesting. The rumor mill is bubbling that not only did Ahmed not leave of her own accord, but she also had several pending complaints against senior management that were never acted on. The agency reportedly is negotiating a severance with her, perhaps as part of a prevent defense strategy. What's the word?