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PLN associate editor quoted in article re Occupy Nashville protest of CCA

News Channel 5, Jan. 1, 2011.
PLN associate editor quoted in article re Occupy Nashville protest of CCA - News Channel 5 2011

Occupy Nashville Takes Aim On CCA With Mock Human Auction

Posted: Nov 14, 2011 8:50 PM CST Updated: Nov 14, 2011 10:27 PM CST

By Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Occupy Nashville protesters left their camp on Legislative Plaza Monday and traveled to the Green Hills headquarters of CCA, Corrections Corporation of America. The group says the company highlights the reason they are protesting.

"This is another example of what we're talking about, corporate greed and politicians being bought by the corporations," said Occupy protester Ron White.

More than 30 people gathered on the sidewalk outside CCA's Burton Hills Drive headquarters. They shouted to the workers inside, who watched from their windows.

"People, not profits," the group chanted.

CCA is the nation's largest operator of for-profit prisons.

"CCA's contracts are all with public money. That's my money, your money, all of your audiences money," explained protester Alex Friedmann.

The Occupiers claim CCA is essentially bidding on prisoners for profit. They wanted CCA employees to get the message they feel that practice is not ethical.

"And hopefully that will not be lost on the people inside that building, who work for CCA, who are profiting off of other people's imprisonment," Friedmann said.

Late Monday afternoon CCA released a statement in response to the protest.

"We're mystified why these protesters would want to occupy a company that has created over 17,000 jobs and counting, saves taxpayers millions, helps keep communities safe and rehabilitates thousands of inmates every year," said public affairs manager Mike Machack.

At the end of its protest the Occupy group held a mock "human auction" to signify how they feel CCA buys prisoners for profit.

Protesters took on the personas of CCA managers and bid on other protesters to dramatize their point.

CCA had one security guard watching the group as it protested. Metro Nashville officers did ride by as the protest started.

Occupy Nashville has been protesting since October 7th with a camp on Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville.