Dozens Protest Outside Community Of Prison Company CEO

Posted at 10:07 PM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-30 11:07:19-04

One of the largest private prison companies in the country received major backlash from several community groups amid ongoing criticism. 

Dozens showed up outside The Governors Club in Brentwood on Saturday to protest against Nashville-based provider Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic following a new rebranding push announcement on Friday. 

Southerners In Action led the protest as part of the Day of the Dead celebration. They posted outside the gated community where CEO Damon Hininger lives. 

"We're here to remember those who have been lost at policies that have no reason to be in existence," Brenda Perez, an organizer told NewsChannel 5. 

Members claimed inhumane conditions in the company's existing migrant detention centers continue to deteriorate, leading to medical incidents and untimely deaths of immigrant detainees.

The group also referred to findings from a report by the Detention Watch Network claiming the Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) ignored deaths in detention. ICE has recently extended its contract with CoreCivic which currently has more than 500 ICE officials assigned to its eight contracted facilities. 

"They try to re-brand, but dropping the A doesn't mean CCA/CoreCivic can avoid the atrocities they are committing to upwards of 40,000 people a day," Charlotte Pate, a Southerners In Action volunteer, said in a news release. 

"It doesn't matter where anybody comes from and they got here, the fact is we're all humans, and we need respect and dignity," Perez added. 

The company and the industry as a whole have had a difficult summer after the U.S. Department of Justice announced its plans to end its use of private, for-profit prisons, citing a report concluding the facilities are less safe, less effective and do not save taxpayers money. 

It also laid off more than 50 employees at its headquarters in Green Hills following a stock price dip. 

CoreCivic released a statement to NewsChannel 5:

The allegations in the group’s news release are blatantly false. We simply will not tolerate the lack of honesty in the public dialogue about our company or, even worse, the incredibly serious challenges facing our country that our company is working with our partners to solve. For example:

·       Allegations of inadequate medical care: CoreCivic Safety does not provide the medical care at these facilities. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides for and oversees healthcare at facilities where we house immigrant detainees.

·       Housing “40,000 people a day”: CoreCivic Safety currently provides safe and humane housing for about 8,700 individuals on behalf of ICE daily. 40,000 is flatly incorrect.

·       Inhumane conditions: CoreCivic’s ICE-contracted facilities are contractually required and held accountable to federal Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) and Family Residential Standards (FRS). To ensure compliance and accountability, ICE maintains full-time, onsite staff who monitor conditions and contractual performance. These officials have unfettered access at all times to detainees and residents, CoreCivic staff, and all areas of the facility. Currently, there are more than 500 ICE officials assigned to CoreCivic's eight contracted facilities.  ICE regularly conducts both scheduled and unannounced inspections and audits at the facilities with its staff or with independently contracted monitors.

The fact is that our CoreCivic Safety facilities play a vital role in ensuring that ICE detainees get safe housing, educational assessments and due process in a safe environment. Without our facilities and the commitment and caring of our employees, many of these men, women and children would end up on the streets fending for themselves with little idea of how to integrate into our communities. It’s outrageous that groups who claim to represent the interests of immigrants are in fact attacking a government partner that is providing a solution.

Our company simply will not be deterred from helping the most vulnerable among us. That’s the role we play for our government partners in service to them and our country.

Regarding rebranding, to be very clear, those efforts began when we decided to launch a new, dedicated real estate solutions business in mid-2015, and the Board of Directors authorized the changing of the company’s charter to reflect the CoreCivic name on August 11, 2016, prior to the DOJ announcement. It marks the culmination of a multi-year strategy to transform into a diversified government solutions company.