Report says Metro too easy on prison contractor

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 4:36pm
Staff reports

A citizen watchdog group released a new report Tuesday that says Metro has failed to enforce its contract with Corrections Corporation of America, the company it hires to run the Metro Detention Center.

A 20-page report (read it here) supplied by Tennesseans for Improving Accountability, a group whose mission is to monitor some government operations, cites various problems at the 1,092-bed facility, including the murder of an inmate, the suicide of another inmate, a preventable medical-related death, employee wage violations, and a failure by CCA to repair equipment in a timely way.

The group has sent the report to Mayor Karl Dean, the Metro Council, Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall and representatives of CCA.

“Although many of the incidents at the jail may have constituted violations of Metro’s contract with CCA, Metro imposed no fines and withheld no contractual payments to the company,” the group said in a press release. “In fact, the contract does not allow such penalties.”

The watchdog organization also questions Metro’s 5-year, $91.8 million contract with CCA, which it says is an $11 million increase over its previous contract with CCA. According to the report, the increase happened even though CCA was the only bidder, which “raises questions as to whether the lack of competition resulted in a higher contract amount.”

The report offers six recommendations:

• Amend Metro’s contract with CCA to increase the number of monitors at the detention facility

• Require additional safeguards or monitoring the Metro Health Department to ensure inmates have adequate mental-health care

• Ensure that deficiencies or problems noted in monitor reports are corrected in a timely manner

• Amend Metro’s contract to specify that CCA can be subjected to graduated sanctions for non-compliance or contract violations

• Amend Metro’s contract to require CCA to comply with the state’s Public Records Act, so citizens can obtain information from CCA regarding the detention facility

• Commission a study to assess whether it would be more economical to cancel Metro’s contract with CCA and have the Sheriff’s Office assume control over the detention facility

Metro officials couldn't be reached for comment right away. 

1 Comment on this post:

By: Kosh III on 3/17/10 at 7:41

Too easy? Of course. You don't bite the hand that feeds you, or in this case, the hand that finances you and your campaigns.