TRANSFERS OF PRISON INMATES ARE RAMPANT

Do you know where your relative is?

Read this horrific story by one such transferee who was moved from a minimum security "soft-time" federal detention center to another state, Florida, losing all his "good" time and being housed in a maximum security institution with violent offenders and abusive guards.

 

In the quest to lower the cost of prisoner housing, unusual hardships and exile from family and friends has been inflicted on many prison inmates.

For example, Missouri's prisons are overcrowded and it has been sending some of its inmates to Texas. But in September of. 1997 it canceled its contracts to house inmates in Texas in the wake of a 1996 videotape that showed inmates being abused in a privately managed jail near Houston in Brazoria County. These Missouri inmates were mistreated while jailed in Texas. The Missouri prisoners in both cases were being handled by employees of Capital Correctional Resources. The company did not respond for comment about the video tape.

Missouri official: Alleged prisoner abuse planned, authorized.

Tim Kniest, a Missouri prison spokesman, said a videotaped 'shake down,' which occurred just two days after the inmates were transferred to the jail, was planned. "The Texas folks waited until we left the prison that night," Kniest said. "We believe it was a planned, authorized use of force."

As two Missouri employees sat in their hotel rooms on that September evening, three miles from the jail, deputies in riot gear moved in on the Missouri inmates, who had just arrived. But Brazoria County Sheriff Joe King told the Texas Commission on Jail Standards Executive Director Jack Crump the September 18th incident was minor and made no mention of the emergency response teamís involvement.

Contract violation is alleged in Texas inmate case

The Associated Press Date: 07/19/98 22:50

ANGLETON, Texas -- The Brazoria County sheriff's decision to accept violent Missouri inmates at a local privately run jail violated the county's contract with the company, an assistant district attorney claims.

The jail drew national attention when guards and sheriff's deputies there were videotaped kicking and beating a group of inmates from Missouri. Ron Barclay, of the Brazoria County district attorney's civil division, says the inmates should not have been transferred to the jail in the first place. The county's contract with Capital Correctional Resources Inc. to house Missouri inmates at the Brazoria County Detention Center specifically barred the housing of more violent or "high-risk" prisoners unless permission was first granted by county commissioners.

Several of the inmates seen brutalized by newly hired Capital Correctional employees and sheriff's deputies on a Sept. 18, 1996, videotape fell into that category. They had been transferred to the jail that month from a facility in Crystal City, where they had been involved in a riot.

Barclay brought up the issue during a July 10 hearing on a federal civil rights lawsuit against the private prison company and the county. He claims Sheriff Joe King, in a deposition, acknowledged accepting the "high risk" inmates without first seeking county approval. "The sheriff, as testimony has shown in violation of our contract, agreed to let in high-classification inmates," Barclay said. King said he did not feel obliged to ask the Brazoria County Commissioners Court for permission to temporarily hold the high-risk inmates.

King and others in the sheriff's office have said the 1996 shakedown, videotaped by officers to use later as a training tool, became necessary when the inmates became unruly and threatened to burn down the facility. He has also said the shakedown was prompted by suspicions that the inmates were smoking marijuana in their cells. "It was supposed to be a temporary deal, but of course, we had the trouble as soon as they got here," King told the Brazoria County newspaper, The Facts.

King pointed out that his deputies are experienced at detaining the county's own high-risk inmates. Though he admitted that the Capital Corrections guards, many of whom were not yet licensed peace officers, may not have been prepared for the more violent inmates. "There weren't any red flags that went up," King said. "I didn't anticipate the trouble."