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“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States

25. Federal Government Bails Out Failing Private Prisons


The American Prospect
September 10, 2001
Title: Bailing Out Private Jails”
Author: Judith Greene

Faculty evaluator: Pat Jackson
Student researchers Erich Lehmann, Michelle Oliva

Corporate media coverage:
The Wall Street Journal, 11/6/01

For close to a decade the private prison industry was booming because state legislators thought they could be both tough on crime and fiscally conservative by contracting with private prisons. However, private prisons have been rife with more abuse and lawsuits than state run prisons, leading to a decline in state level support. By last year not a single state solicited private contracts and many contracts were rolled back or even rescinded as a result of inefficiency and abuses.

The largest private prison in the US, The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), has been criticized for widespread abuses and high rates of escape. In April of 2001, prison guards at Cibola county Correctional Center in New Mexico tear-gassed 700 inmates who had staged a daylong nonviolent protest of conditions at the facility. Additionally a score of lawsuits have been filed for beatings of prisoners, lack of proper medical treatment, and corruption among staff. Other private companies have similar records. Wackenhut prisons, the second largest private-prison company, has had many similar problems and repeated breakouts of violence.

Problems are often the consequence of companies’ attempts to hold down costs. Prisons for profit have resulted in low pay for guards and a high turnover rate of under-qualified staff. Whereas guards who work for state run prisons receive benefits and are usually union members, private prisons tend to hire less-qualified, lower-cost personnel.

While most state correctional officials are aware of the problems, the federal government continues to expand contracts with the private prison industry. Private prison industry officials make significant campaign contributions and their lobbyists have spread their influence widely in Congress. High-ranking private prison company officials have served as directors of the Federal Bureau of Prisons under former presidents Reagan and Bush. U.S. government pending private prison contracts are up to over $4.6 billion for the next ten years. With the new federal contracts, CCA, which carried more than $1 billion in outstanding debt, was able to avoid bankruptcy and continue in business.

Harsh drug laws have increased the federal prison population but federal immigration polices are less known. The 1996 Immigration Reform Act expanded the list of crimes for which non-citizens could be deported after serving their sentences. About 36,000 non-citizens are now in federal prisons. This is close to double what it was only seven years ago. Immigrants make up 9.3 percent of the US population, but disproportionately compose 29 percent of the federal prison population. About half of federal prisoners are Mexican, 10 percent Colombian, 7 percent Cuban, and the rest are a mix of other nationalities. Only 1.5 percent were sentenced for violent offenses compared with 15 percent in state prisons.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) is now proposing up to 7,500 low security beds in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Additionally several thousand are being proposed elsewhere in the nation. The private, for-profit prison industry is deemed most likely to receive these upcoming contracts.

Prison reform advocates and correctional officers are fighting the expansion of private prisons. Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland of Ohio, and Republican Congressman John E. Sweeney of New York have introduced federal legislation that would deny contracts with private prisons from the Federal Bureau Of Prisons or by states who contract with private prisons. Nevertheless, the federal government is making sure the private prison industry continues

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JUDITH GREENE: “Bailing Out Private Jails” questioned the appropriateness of a federal contracting initiative for private prisons designed to segregate immigrant prisoners convicted of low-level, non-violent offenses who face deportation once their sentences are served out. The article raised issues about the deficient track-record of the private prison industry, detailed how bungled management and shoddy operations had brought the Corrections Corporation of America to the brink of bankruptcy, and charged that lucrative federal contracts were bailing the company out of the financial consequences of their mismanagement. Two months after publication of “Bailing Out Private Jails” in The American Prospect, these concerns were echoed in a front page story in the Wall Street Journal.

After public exposure of the critical issues surrounding the immigrant prison contracting initiative, the Federal Bureau of Prisons awarded one last contract to CCA, but the agency cancelled four more in-the-pipeline contract solicitations that had been slated for awards during 2002. At the state level, the market for new private prisons remained stalled. Facing severe budget constraints, public officials in California and Ohio targeted a number of private prisons for closure. Anti-privatization activists won a hard-fought battle to stop Cornell Companies from obtaining legislative approval for a 1,200-bed private prison they proposed to build in that state. Correctional authorities in Puerto Rico ended two prison management contracts with CCA and slated a third for termination, after they determined that public operation of the prisons would be more cost-effective.

By the summer of 2002, CCA continued to struggle to regain its financial footing, but with 8,500 empty prison beds, the company still had far to go. In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, private prison company executives expressed hopes that a large-scale increase in detention of undocumented immigrants (if it materialized) would serve to boost the federal market for detention beds, with the Immigration and Naturalization Service replacing the Federal Bureau of Prisons as the new target of opportunity.

Prison activists, students, immigration rights advocates, and unionists continue to organize opposition to the spread of private prisons and detention centers, and to diminish the role these companies play in fueling the prison-industrial complex. Some of the key organizations and contacts include:

Kate Rhee
Prison Moratorium Project
388 Atlantic Avenue 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: (718) 260-8805

Rose Braz
Critical Resistance
1212 Broadway, Suite 1400
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 444-0484
Fax: (510) 444-2177

For further information contact:

Judy Greene
Justice Strategies
199 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Phone: (718) 857-3316
Fax: (718) 857-3315

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