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Tim Murphy at Mother Jones looks into Rick Perry's promotion of prison privatization in Texas. Private prisons have been a growing industry for a while now, and Texas has participated enthusiastically in that trend under Perry, and the governor has taken aim at state agencies providing oversight of prisons:
Earlier, Perry’s office had floated another proposal that seemed designed to please the private-prison industry. It sought to eliminate the independence of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and fold it, along with two other public-safety commissions, into a single agency.


In 2003, Perry signed a line-item veto eliminating the funding for the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council, a state agency tasked with providing "objective analysis and assessment of state criminal justice programs and initiatives."

More recently, he's advanced a plan to privatize health care within the prisons:

Perry first floated the health care privatization proposal in his  2011 budget, which noted: "The Governor’s budget recommends canceling  necessary contracts early to explore private sector delivery options, or  instructing the state-supported institution to provide correctional  care according to the constitutional minimum level." Mike Ward of the  Austin American-Statesman reported that Perry adviser Mike Morrissey  held a closed-door meeting in March to discuss the privatization  proposal with potential vendors—but not, pointedly, the state-university-operated facilities that currently run things.

At the same time, he's been raking in huge amounts of campaign cash from private prison executives and lobbyists. No doubt coincidentally, Michael Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff, is currently a lobbyist for Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison contractor in the country. Also no doubt coincidentally, Toomey was a lobbyist for Merck at the time Perry tried to require all Texas girls to get an HPV vaccination, manufactured by Merck.

I guess if Perry became president, we'd only have to know who Michael Toomey was working for to know what companies would benefit from new federal regulations or from legislation advanced by the White House.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 12:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Take New Hampshire Forward!, Criminal InJustice Kos Community, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Private prisons, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't see what could go  wrong.

    Ayn Rand’s philosophy... reduces itself to: "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline."- Roger Ebert

    by satanicpanic on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 12:42:21 PM PDT

  •  TeaPartiers will fall even more in love with him (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChemBob, MartyM, jennyp, tekno2600, supercereal

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:03:27 AM PDT

  •  The William J LePetomain home for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    The Insane Gambler

    So it's The Why do you hate this country You're Obsessed with misquoting me out of context while I was in the process of misspeaking with the sun in my eyes while chowing down and bashing Sharia law God Bless America defense.......

    by JML9999 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:06:42 AM PDT

  •  Read today he's beating Romney in Nevada. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sure Romney donors and those who have been sitting on the fence are noticing.

    We'll have to see if any of the attacks on him stick, but so far I'm not seeing anything compelling. Especially Romney's "I'm not a politician" schtick.

    •  maybe this will help? (0+ / 0-)
      In 2001 at a border summit in south Texas, Perry spoke optimistically about the prospects for a “bi-national health insurance” program that would cover both U.S. and Mexican residents along the border. He also praised the Texas legislature’s bill to increase funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

      Given that Perry now considers Medicaid to be unconstitutional, the speech reads like it comes from another world — or an entirely different person:

      GOP 2012 campaign ad - "Tax the working poor!"

      by MartyM on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:14:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There has to be a narrative. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Otherwise all this little things are sort of like mosquitos.

        What's the narrative with Romney? Flip Flopper. Bachmann? Nutcase. Perry?

        So far all we've got is Bush Redux, but I'm not one of those who believes that is a compelling enough argument to defeat him.

        We need something more lasting. Like...."Perry will start a war with Iran."

        “never going to take off the table our ability to have a military solution to a country like Iran.”

        Elect Perry and there will be war with Iran.

        That's something you can make stick and make it difficult for him to wiggle out of.

  •  Jan Brewer all over again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, qofdisks, tb mare

    Jan Brewer, Arizona Governor, Has Ties To Private Prisons That House Those Locked Up By New Immigration Law

    He's Chuck Coughlin, Brewer's campaign chairman, policy adviser and a lobbyist for the largest private prison company in the country. And he's one of two people in the Brewer administration with ties to Corrections Corporation of America.

    So it's The Why do you hate this country You're Obsessed with misquoting me out of context while I was in the process of misspeaking with the sun in my eyes while chowing down and bashing Sharia law God Bless America defense.......

    by JML9999 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:08:45 AM PDT

  •  People like Perry are unconscionable. (4+ / 0-)

    Where did "Americans" like him come from? Seriously, is Mordor a real place? Are there really Orcs?

    I knew some assholes growing up, but I don't recall ever imagining the absolute worst among them getting into such positions of power. It can only mean that the asshole quotient of the U.S. has risen over the years, along with pride in ignorance.

    Somehow these people must be stopped. Things are getting worse at a rapidly accelerating rate. How do we compete with the corporations that "hire them" into the government? Are there any legal remedies? Why can't we get wealthy liberals to buy off a few of them if that is the only solution until we can correct the laws?

    •  I think they are mental defectives (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who grew up before there were support systems to guide them in a positive direction.  It's likely they perceived their environment as abusive and learned to take revenge on weak targets.  Cowards rarely attack the strong.  That's why it's women and children and the elderly and sick they pick on.

      Having no conscience makes them handy tools for people who prefer to exert power behind the scenes.

      My bumper sticker for conservative pols

      "(insert name)--Works Well With Handlers"

      by hannah on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 11:26:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, don't drop the soap and don't get sick (0+ / 0-)

    And make sure no rich people go to jail.

    "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."- Arthur Carlson

    by bobinson on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:11:56 AM PDT

  •  Outraged (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Only government can administer health care.  Those private doctors will amputate a leg just to make a buck and Merck is raping the earth and workers and minorities.

    •  FL GOP legislature or governor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      abolished the medical board that oversees prisoners health needs.
      Don't know if that was legislated or yet another Executive Order by the Teabagger governor.

      GOP 2012 campaign ad - "Tax the working poor!"

      by MartyM on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:18:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Texas prisons (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, JonBarleycorn, tb mare

    I wonder if private companies would have to abide by the Ruiz decision that showed Texas did not have a prison health care policy. The idea that a for profit company could do better than Texas is not inconceivable because there is little way anyone could do worse. But it is hard to see the belligerent autocrats of Perry's inner circle would not try to do worse.  Texas, the national laboratory for bad government.

  •  The pattern that seems to be emerging... (8+ / 0-) that Rick Perry's vision of government is essentially feudal. He hands out favors/patronage to supporters and sycophants, demands absolute loyalty from them, and systematic tribute in return, to keep his political coffers filled.

    A rather more dangerous Republican oligarch, in other words. Classic tin-pot dictator, the kind who can't wait to make America into one big banana republic, with him on top.

    Okay - that's it!

    Rick Perry - Banana Republican!

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:26:13 AM PDT

  •  Rick Perry's pay to play politics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, JC from IA, LillithMc

    makes Abramoff and DeLay look like rookies.

  •  This evil Rightwing prick convinces enough people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JC from IA

    that he will put them back to work, and this evil Rightwing prick will be our next President.

    What is utterly terrifying about being a Democrat is that this is going to be the 11th Presidential election of my lifetime, and you can see the disquieting signs of Reagan and W. being extremist morons who believe awful things starting to make people confident that the millions of fuckwits who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 have wised the fuck up. Any Republican can win if things are bad enough out there. Too many Democrats still take comfort in the idea that people will notice the evil and the crazy, parse it, and then vote in an intelligent fashion guided by reason and common sense.

    And the next thing you know, President Perry and Vice President Rubio are getting to see the nuclear football, and Perry is bummed out that it's not actually a hollowed out football with "computer thingies" in it.

  •  Government is one huge Grift (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, LillithMc, TexasTom

    To Men like Perry, Government is one huge Confidence scam

    God help us if this man gets into the White House

  •  They learned so much from chinese prison factories (0+ / 0-)

    they have to import those lessons as quickly as possible to set up their totalitarian state before the red, white, and blue wreckage stops smoking.

    Just doing my part to piss off the right wing smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 10:03:15 AM PDT

  •  Perry says he is against finishing the (0+ / 0-)

    Border fence, and he us for in state tuition for undocumented he immigrants. Sounds like he thinks can't lose the primary and is already moving to the middle for the general.

    Perry underscores border fence opposition

  •  My step-daughter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    died of a sudden cardiac arrest, not her first, in a FL private prison this spring at the age of 39.  She was my husband's only child.  She was given a 15 year sentence for embezzling $240K from her employer (an amount that in NH gets people maybe 2 years in jail).  She had two young sons.  All appeals for reduced sentence were denied because her employer, a friend of the judge, would not agree to a shorter sentence.  She was a model prisoner, working in the law library and training dogs.  
    In the summer of 2009 the vendor for the prison changed, and in the run-up to the turn over, staff took all their vacation and sick days, leaving such a low guard population that the prisoners could not exercise.  They were fed even more substandard food than they usually got, including stale sandwiches.  The AC kept cutting out, and there was often no hot water for showers.
    Thankfully her sons have good people to care for them for now and they seem to be doing as well as can be imagined.  I really didn't know much about prisons until she reappeared in our lives when she was sentenced, after 20 years of being out of touch by her choice.  Our justice system is in many places a travesty of justice, and our rate of imprisonment is a sin.  One more issue to add to the pile of messes that need to be cleaned up, if the GOP ever gives us the chance.

    We believe in prosperity & opportunity, strong communities, healthy families, great schools, investing in our future and leading the world by example.

    by bloomingpol on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 10:28:18 AM PDT

  •  Every photo I see of Perry (0+ / 0-)

    ...where's he's signing something shows him with his tongue between his slightly opened lips, as though he's having a real hard time writing and thinking at the same time.

    So, there's someone actually dumber than Bush.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 10:29:08 AM PDT

  •  Aww, shucks, they love this stuff in Texas. (0+ / 0-)

    Spreading tax-payer money around to big political donors is one of the few actual duties of the Texas governor; it is a part-time job, at best.  Hell, if it weren't for signing death warrants, he could pretty much just phone it in all the time.

  •  I know this is technically off topic.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....but damn, I haven't seen anyone sticking a tongue out while they wrote....not since GRADE SCHOOL!!!!

    But there's Perry's tongue out of his mouth, just like a six year old kid learning to write longhand....omg, and this guy is a governor....running for prez?

    //end of off topic remarks - but still....omg

    "To know what is right and to do it are two different things." - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin "It was like that when I got here." - Homer Simpson

    by rbird on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 10:47:30 AM PDT

  •  Human husbandry is well established (0+ / 0-)

    in the prison/industrial complex.  Also moving right along in adult education, elder care, the techno/medico industry and just getting started on primary education.

    What's human husbandry?  The exploitation of humans by their own kind to their detriment.  

    It almost seems ironic that while milk cows are being returned to the pastures after having been confined in mechanical milking parlors, humans are being increasingly restrained.  Of course, being encased in a metal and plastic moving carapace for several hours a day helps them to become acclimated to being confined.

    by hannah on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 11:10:43 AM PDT

  •  A Diary worth pimping (0+ / 0-)

    You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. Anne Lamott

    by zooecium on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 12:17:06 PM PDT

  •  Slick Rick = $$$$$-sucking whore. (0+ / 0-)

    And I do not thereby insult ordinary prostitutes.

    Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

    by vets74 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:10:49 PM PDT

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