Who has the Coverage?
Reports of despicable conditions in for-profit prisons contain opinions. These reports also contain evidence of facts. Photographs and eyewitnesses have recorded these conditions in a private prison in Mississippi recently:
- "Dirt, feces and, occasionally, blood are caked on the walls of cells."
- Prisoners with treatable medical conditions, like glaucoma, do not receive medical treatment. When these individuals are released, their condition has deteriorated to the point where the condition is untreatable.
- Guards, who are paid a small hourly wage, spend little time in the solitary-confinement block. Prisoners in solitary confinement sometimes set fires to their bedding in order to get the guards' attention and, even then, the guards sometimes do not respond.
These eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence and more are reported for example by Erica Goode, "Seeing Squalor and Unconcern in Southern Jail," p. 1, col. 1 (New York Times Nat'l ed., Sunday, June 8, 2014). The Mississippi prison in question is run by Management and Training Corporation from Utah.
Management and Training Corporation made one comment for publication. They blamed these problems on the corporation they replaced in 2012, one GEO Group. Otherwise, they declined to comment, saying they would not comment because they have been sued. This is unusual. Even aside from the fact that due diligence probably revealed these conditions before Management and Training Corporation took over the running of this Mississippi prison, this is 2014. It has now been two years since CEO Group was in charge, and this is still unusual. Many large corporations stage large press campaigns to "push back" against lawsuits.
Management and Training Corporation is entitled to a defense. Questions abound about how they will defend themselves. Which of their carriers will fund their defense? What sort of insurance coverage will provide them indemnity if their defense fails? Who will cover these people against such reports? And what sort of exclusions could apply, intentional damages exclusions for example? So much depends on what Management and Training Corporation has to say about its prison-keeping. When they start talking we will know more. Until then, questions continue to pile up.
© 2014 by Dennis J. Wall. All rights reserved. No claim to original U.S. Government works.
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