April 8, 2013

From Gideon’s Trumpet, a book describing Clarence Earl Gideon’s ultimately successful quest, half a century ago, to have the Supreme Court declare that state courts must provide attorneys for indigent criminal defendants:

The prison officials did not mind Gideon’s legal activities—indeed they seemed to regard them as therapy. One said: “Usually when they’re trying to get out legally, you know they walk on their toes around here.” They knew all about his case in the Supreme Court, but even the possible effect of a victory for Gideon on other prisoners who had been tried without counsel did not seem to bother them as it did some prosecutors. An assistant warden said: “Our feeling is: Boys, if you can get out of here legal, we’re with you.”

From USA Today last year:

At a time when states are struggling to reduce bloated prison populations and tight budgets, a private prison management company is offering to buy prisons in exchange for various considerations, including a controversial guarantee that the governments maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. . . . The proposal seeks to build upon a deal reached last fall in which the company purchased the 1,798-bed Lake Erie Correctional Institution from the state of Ohio for $72.7 million. . . . Ohio’s deal requires the state to maintain a 90% occupancy rate, but Janes said that provision remains in effect for 18 months — not 20 years — before it can be renegotiated.

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