Kentucky has not fined the company that operates two prisons in the state for repeated contract violations, including the use of inmate labor, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. Lawmakers responsible for overseeing state prisons, including those run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), said they were unaware of the violations and the lack of fines, conceding that they have not thoroughly reviewed inspection reports. One state legislator said lawmakers have overlooked the operations of private prisons because just two of the 14 prisons in the state that hold Kentucky inmates are privately run. Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, said the violations between 1999 and 2003 were “isolated incidents” that didn’t reflect a systemic problem with the prisons’ operations.
CCA plans a bid to operate a new $92 million, 961-bed prison in Elliott County. The state corrections department is investigating an inmate riot last month at the Lee prison, a medium-security prison run by CCA. Other states have imposed penalties on private prison operators. In North Carolina, the state withheld thousands of dollars from CCA for not establishing a jobs program at two medium-security prisons. After three years, North Carolina and CCA dissolved the contract.