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CCA blocks PLN managing editor's resolution requiring investment in reentry programs

Nashville Scene, Jan. 12, 2015.

CCA Blocks Resolution Requiring Investment in Reentry Programs

POSTED BY  ON MON, JAN 12, 2015 AT 2:59 PM

Pith readers are familiar with Alex Friedmann, the former inmate at a prison run by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America who became a rogue shareholder and has spent years fighting the nation's largest for-profit prison company from the inside.

Friedmann has frequently weaponized shareholder resolutions to corner the company. In 2012, he proposed a resolution that would have required the company to publicly release information regarding instances of rape and sexual abuse at CCA facilities. Last year, he proposed another meant to lower the cost of phone calls between inmates and their families.

It's an effective strategy from Friedmann's perspective. The resolutions are aimed at exposing some callous practice or deficiency within the company's management of prisons and prisoners. If shareholders and the board of directors ever approved one of his resolutions, the company would be slightly less horrible in his view. If they block the resolution — they always block his resolutions — well then, the press release writes itself.

Which brings us to a release sent today from the Human Rights Defense Center announcing that CCA has blocked Friedmann's most recent resolution, one that would have "require[d] the company to spend just 5 percent of its net income ‘on programs and services designed to reduce recidivism rates for offenders.’”

Friedmann calls it the "height of hypocrisy," given the company's trumpeting of its commitment to reentry programs and efforts to reduce recidivism last year — efforts that CCA CEO Damon Hininger said were "100 percent aligned with our business model" because "effective reentry programs help us deliver for our government partners, our shareholders and our communities.” But Friedmann calls out another strong incentive in the private prison game.

“As a former prisoner, I know firsthand the importance of providing rehabilitative programs and reentry services,” Friedmann says in the release. “I also know firsthand the incentive of private prisons to cut costs — including expenses associated with rehabilitative programs — in order to increase their profit margins.”

CCA has not responded to Pith's request for comment and an explanation of the decision to block the resolution. The HRDC resolution includes this:

"CCA filed a formal objection with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), seeking to exclude the resolution from its 2015 proxy materials distributed to shareholders. In its objection, CCA argued that the resolution relates to “ordinary business operations,” comparing it to other shareholder resolutions that have, for example, sought to require companies to “test and install showerheads that use limited amounts of water.”
According to an examination of recidivism rates from 2005 to 2010 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, "about two-thirds (67.8%) of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within 3 years, and three-quarters (76.6%) were arrested within 5 years."