Corrections Corporation of America has lost another appeal in its efforts to prevent records from being made available to the public.
In a Feb. 28 ruling, the court of appeals affirmed a lower court and held that CCA must produce documents it had refused to disclose to Prison Legal News, a nonprofit monthly publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues.
The suit began in 2007 after Alex Friedmann, managing editor of Prison Legal News, filed a request for records under the state's Open Records Act relating to litigation filed against CCA as well as internal reports and audits. Courts have found that CCA is the functional equivalent of a government agency and therefore subject to state records law.
“Perhaps now, after almost five years of litigation, CCA will finally produce the records it should have produced all along pursuant to the state’s public records law,” Friedmann said in a statement. “CCA officials apparently think they are above the law even though their company performs the governmental function of running prisons and jails, and is paid with public taxpayer funds. CCA is one of the least transparent companies when it comes to public accountability, which is very disturbing given that it incarcerates people for the purpose of generating profit.”
The case is Friedmann v. CCA. The appellate ruling can be found here.