1) National: “There should be no profiting from mass incarceration.” In the Public Interest has had a keen interest in prison privatization as part of our criminal justice work. We asked the author of the new report, “Private Prisons in the United States,” Kristen M. Budd, a research analyst at the Sentencing Project, a few questions about their new report. Here’s one.

Can you talk about why you chose to explore the use of privatized prisons vs. public prisons? Are there meaningful differences that you are curious about? 

The privatization of prisons is a hidden or lesser-known component of the American corrections landscape. Many people do not know, or are not aware, that states, and historically the federal government, contract with private prisons. These are for-profit industries. Our Private Prison fact sheet is one way The Sentencing Project hopes to increase public awareness about these companies who make money—millions of dollars in profits—to incarcerate our community members. Each year, we publicly disseminate our analysis of private prison use not only so that the public is informed—it’s their tax dollars that are paying for these companies to run private facilities—but also so that we can analyze how the private prison industry contracts or expands.

2) National: Economist Eileen Appelbaum, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, is calling attention to the devastating effects of private equity, the “unseen hand” in healthcare. During a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop, Appelbaum “painted a grim picture of the current landscape, where medical logic is frequently sidelined by financial strategies. Private equity firms, through debt-loaded acquisitions and relentless cost-cutting measures, have been implicated in a disturbing trend of reduced staffing levels, diminished patient care time, and compromised safety. These practices are not just numbers on a balance sheet; they represent real and profound consequences for patient well-being.”

The key is debt. “These firms buy an organization using ‘a little bit of money’ and ‘a lot of debt,’ she noted. Once the private equity firm owns the hospital or nursing home, they load that debt onto the purchase and it becomes the responsibility of that facility. The firm has no responsibility to repay the debt, Appelbaum explained. ‘And that debt is what drives a lot of the poor quality care in private equity-owned facilities,’ evidenced by staffing reductions, less time with patients, and less attention to safety, she said, noting that while most corporations are careful not to take any action that could lead a company to bankruptcy, these firms have no such fear.”

You can comment on the issue to the FTC here. The deadline is May 6, 2024.

3) California: The good news is that Walt Disney is being sued for systematically underpaying maintenance workers at its Southern California hotels under the California’s Private Attorneys General Act, “a unique law that allows workers to file lawsuits against their employers, suing for both back wages and civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees and the state of California. PAGA claims don’t require the same type of notification and certification of workers allegedly affected that a typical class-action suit would require.”

The bad news is that corporate interests are out to destroy PAGA. “The California Employee Civil Action Law Initiative (#21-0027) has qualified for the ballot in California as an initiated state statute on November 5, 2024. For more on this battle, see the new report by PowerSwitch Action, the UCLA Labor Center and the Center for Popular Democracy, A Shrinking Toolbox: The Corporate Efforts to Eliminate PAGA and Limit California Worker’s Rights.

4) Iowa: The state House has passed the largest teacher pay increase in state history. “Teachers aren’t the only ones getting a pay raise. Democratic State Rep. Sue Cahill of Marshalltown said, ‘Additional funds have been allocated to bring the minimum starting salary of our non-salaried employees, our paras, our bus drivers, our nutrition workers, our secretarial and administrative staff for that personnel to $15 per hour.’ The bill passed the House in what one lawmaker called a “rare Kumbaya moment” in a 93 to 1 vote.”

5) Oregon: AFSCME gets $5 million to seed retirement accounts for about 1,100 child care providers, Northwest Labor Press reports. “In February, Oregon’s Department of Early Learning and Care deposited about $4,400 into a personal retirement account she signed up for last year. ‘She says this is the first time she’s had somewhere to set money aside, after 21 years of work,’ Cinta’s granddaughter, Maria Parra, told the Labor Press in a phone interview. Parra translated for Cinta, whose first language is Spanish. ‘She feels at peace knowing there will be some money set aside for when she does retire. She won’t have to rely on family members.’” Child Care Providers Together (CCPT), also known as AFSCME Local 132, “represents almost 2,300 state-registered in-home child care providers in Oregon.”

6) Oregon: The Beaver State is one signature away from ending unlimited campaign contributions. “But a flurry of negotiations among labor unions, the business lobby, good government groups and legislators over the past few days and weeks made possible something that seemed impossible just a few days prior: The Oregon Legislature overwhelmingly voted to pass a campaign finance reform proposal. House Bill 4024 now only needs Gov. Tina Kotek’s signature to become law and cap contributions to candidates and political action committees for the first time in decades. If Kotek signs the bill, individuals and corporations would be limited to giving a candidate no more than $3,300 per election, or $6,600 for a candidate who appears in both the primary and general, beginning Jan. 1, 2027.” The governor reportedly supports the legislation.

7) Utah: Members of AFSCME Local 1004 joined with other workers to derail an anti-union bill. “HB 285 would’ve limited the amount of time union members could spend on union matters, forced members to sign cards for dues collection every year, and required public service unions to hold regular recertification elections and win 51% of the vote from the entire bargaining unit — not just those voting—or shut down. AFSCME and a coalition of unions came together to fight the bill, including those representing teachers, firefighters and police officers. The Utah Education Association, Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, and others were part of the coalition.”

8) Texas: Labor and community groups have successfully turned back an effort to privatize Houston’s water. “The announcement came after the collective pressure from a coalition that included members of AFSCME HOPE Local 123, West Street Recovery, The Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience, Bayou City Waterkeeper and Corporate Accountability. The coalition brought community members together to testify at Houston City Council meetings against a city proposal to privatize the Southeast Water Purification Plant, for 20 years. Roy Sanchez, a senior electrical inspector who has worked at the Houston Permitting Center for 31 years, spoke out due to his concern for the 1 million citizens that the plant serves. ‘Safe, clean water that you can actually have confidence in is one of the basic things that the city should provide,’ Sanchez said in an interview. ‘If it’s a private company running it, they’re not beholden on the citizens, they’re going to be in favor of the stockholders. They’re looking at profit over people.’ The stakes were high due to the precedent that the privatization deal would have set for Houston’s public services.”

But the fight is not over. “We’re still continuing to fight,” Sanchez said. “This privatization game never ends.”

9) Washington: Washington State Teamsters have ratified a contract with Waste Management, which contracts with many public bodies. “‘There was a time when Waste Management Teamsters from Locals 231, 117, and 174 negotiated separately instead of working together as one team. I am pleased to announce that those days are now over,’ said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 174. ‘Our combined group presented a united front that ensured the balance of power was in our favor, not Waste Management’s. This spirit of cooperation and collaboration carried us across the finish line, leading to one of the most impressive union contracts I’ve ever been a part of.’”

“The jointly negotiated contract provides some of the largest immediate wage increases ever negotiated by Teamsters at Waste Management. The contract also includes strong pension increases, maintenance of top-tier health care benefits, enhanced paid time-off policies, and Veterans Day as a paid holiday.”

10) Think Tanks: Writing in the outstanding Bucks County Beacon, Gay Ivey of the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, explains how teens benefit from being able to read ‘disturbing’ books that some want to ban. What researchers found:

  1. They became more empathetic
  2. They improved relationships
  3. They became more thoughtful
  4. They were happier
  5. Books helped students heal


11) National: Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, a founding board member of the Network for Public Education, testified to a hearing last Wednesday on charter schools by the U.S. House Committee on Education an the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.

“Moreover, the unchecked expansion of the charter sector poses significant risks to the public education system, diluting resources and exacerbating the challenges of delivering quality education across the board,” Vasquez Heilig said. “This problem is accentuated by the expected nationwide decline in K-12 student populations in public schools, underscoring the urgency of focusing our efforts on improving existing educational infrastructures rather than expanding the charter sector indiscriminately. Given these concerns, my stance on charter schools has evolved towards a more cautious and critical perspective. While most have heard the original ideal that charter schools would serve as laboratories for educational innovation and to provide families with diverse educational options, it is imperative that we address the profound existing issues of accountability and financial management that currently beset the charter school movement.”

12) National: Writing in Jacobin, Nora De La Cour reviews Network for Public Education research on how state legislatures are waging war on public schools. “This pattern is hardly restricted to LGBTQ issues. State-level legislation shapes the societies in which kids live and schools operate. For this reason “Public Schooling in America,” the latest data-packed national report card from the Network for Public Education (NPE), focuses on the extent to which each state legislature protects young people, both in and out of public school systems. While the previous two NPE report cards have focused primarily on school privatization, this one goes further, connecting the dots between seemingly distinct attacks on public schooling that are advancing as part of the push for Christian nationalism: charter and voucher expansion, publicly funded homeschooling, defunding of public schools, and illiberal restrictions on kids and educators.”

13) National: Amidst increasing diversity in suburban schools, a new research study by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles has found that charter schools contribute to the fragmentation that promotes segregation. “The Civil Rights Project found more than 43 percent of new suburban schools opening in the largest 25 metro areas from 2011-19 were charter schools. More than a quarter of these serve all or nearly all Black and Latino students. The rise of independent charter schools and the growing creation of small, breakaway districts, many of which have been created in response to demographic changes, ‘just really increases the fragmentation overall,’ Frankenberg said. ‘It’s just fundamentally different to try to change patterns of segregation when you have four entities at the table versus a metro [area] where you may have hundreds of small school districts and charter schools on top of that,’ she said. ‘It fundamentally limits what the possibilities are, and that’s one change from where we were a generation or two ago.’” [Sub required]

14) Florida: The Sarasota school board, pointing to the hopelessness of fighting the state in court, approves a for-profit charter school despite community opposition. Board member Tom Edwards who “spoke vehemently against approving the charter school, said he still had many questions regarding the school’s application. He pointed to the school’s interpretation of classical education, the unclear status of the school’s physical location and the $350,000 budget line for custodial services as causes for confusion. ‘That’s going to be the cleanest school on the planet,’ Edwards said. Edwards said the board didn’t receive any emails or public commenters speaking in support of approving the charter school. He also said he requested a special workshop to discuss the charter school further but was denied, and pushed the board to fight the charter school at the state level. ‘Sarasota has to be the best at everything,’ he said. ‘This charter school application is not the best at all.’” [Sub required]

15) Florida: In case you are wondering how low the right wing will go in destroying educational standards, the New College of Florida, now under the leadership of former school privatization legislative czar Richard Corcoran and with “designated CRT assassin” Christopher Rufo on its board—has hired the widely criticized Bruce Gilley, an open supporter of colonialism, as a Presidential Scholar in Residence.

16) Florida: The Gainesville Sun reports that “the city of Newberry announced a plan on Feb. 19 to convert its public schools—Newberry Elementary, Oak View Middle and Newberry High—to public charter schools. Since then, residents have voiced their concerns and multiple changes have been made to the plan. Since then, residents have voiced their concerns and multiple changes have been made to the plan. A new update to the plan was announced Wednesday by Education First for Newberry Inc., which sponsors the Newberry Education First Initiative and the Yes Newberry website. It includes changes to the group’s proposed governing structure for the charter schools, which a news release called ‘a move designed to better align with the diverse needs of the communities served by the three Newberry schools.’”

“One community member called Searby ‘slimy’ and said he wasn’t properly answering a lot of questions. ‘Y’all waited till the very end to spring this on everybody,’ she said. ‘Honesty would’ve been six months ago when you started talking about it and two years ago when the first people started talking about it… And then you may have gained some people’s trust. Otherwise, you’re just winging it and you want us to say yes… It’s too political. You’re too political; you’re slimy.’”

17) Illinois: How will negotiations over a new teachers contract go with former CTU organizer Brandon Johnson now serving as mayor? “While union officials acknowledge that things are different this time around, they have also emphasized that Johnson does not ‘have a magic wand’ and pushed back against the idea that the union will get everything it asks for. “I think it is ridiculous for anyone to think that the Black man on the fifth floor who comes from the progressive movement has fairy dust to sprinkle to end this quickly,” Davis Gates said in an interview with Chalkbeat last month. “There is an entire bureaucracy that has been hired and trained to tell the Chicago Teachers Union, “No.”’”

18) North Carolina: North Carolina’s public voucher dollars are funding Christian Nationalist indoctrination in schools, Justin Parmenter reports. “Daniel Academy’s mission is to ‘raise the next generation of leaders who will transform the heart of our nation’ by equipping students ‘to enter the Seven Mountains of Influence.’ The Seven Mountains of Influence (also referred to as the Seven Mountains of Dominion or the Seven Mountains Mandate) refers to seven areas of society: religion, family, education, government, media, arts & entertainment, and business. Dominionists who follow this doctrine believe that they are mandated by God to control all seven of society’s ‘mountains,’ and that doing so will trigger the end times.”

For more on Seven Mountains ideology and the movement behind it, check out Daniel Miller and Bradley Onishi’s episodes on the Straight White American Jesus podcast, and Fred Clarkson and André Gagné’s three part series on Dominionism.

19) North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) says handing over billions of dollars to expand the state’s private school voucher program is a “reckless waste” of taxpayer money. “Cooper called for a moratorium on school vouchers until the state’s public schools are fully funded. Under the voucher program, he said, taxpayer money is spent on private schools that aren’t required to hire licensed teachers, provide meals, transportation or services for the disabled. ‘They [private schools] don’t have to tell taxpayers what they teach, how their students perform, which students they will reject or whether students even show up at all,’ Cooper said. ‘That is a reckless, reckless waste of taxpayer money.’”

PRE reports that “Cooper decried a lack of state funding for public schools by the Republican-led General Assembly. He noted that beginning teacher pay in the state has dropped to 46th in the country, and he criticized the legislature’s 4 billion dollar investment in private school vouchers over the next decade. ‘I am advocating and a lot of people, more and more people, are advocating that we put a moratorium on private school vouchers until we fully fund our public schools,’ he said.”

If you think the pro-vouchers crowd is “reckless,” wait till you see the Republican nominee for state  superintendent of public instruction. “Michele Morrow, the newly minted Republican nominee for superintendent of public instruction in North Carolina, wishes ‘death’ on Bill and Melinda Gates. She’s advocated killing people she considers ‘traitors.’ Despite seeking to oversee public education in a state of 10.5 million people, she is herself a homeschooler. She has no prior political experience. She attended the Jan. 6 rally to support Donald Trump’s quest to overturn the 2020 presidential election. She received candidate training alongside a Proud Boys member. And yet, Morrow upset incumbent Catherine Truitt in the Republican primary on Tuesday.”

20) South Carolina: The South Carolina Supreme Court will decide if the new private school voucher program is legal. “But even as the justices ponder the case, lawmakers in the House are looking to expand the program beyond the law’s provision for vouchers of up to $6,000 for up to 15,000 students a year. The case centers on the part of South Carolina’s constitution that says ‘no money shall be paid from public funds nor shall the credit of the State or any of its political subdivisions be used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.’ Lawyers who think the program is illegal said giving the private schools public money is a direct benefit even if the program allows students to pay fees or transportation to attend a public school outside of their district.”

21) Tennessee: Dueling school voucher bills are advancing with no compromise in sight. “The House bill differs greatlyfrom its Senate counterpart. At the heart of each proposal is a program that would give about $7,000 for each student to put toward the costs of attending private school, with no income limits. But the House version packs in a laundry list of reforms to the public school system, which Democrats have characterized as an attempt to ‘buy votes.’ The Senate version, while more narrow, would also allow students to use vouchers to attend public schools outside their home district. Democrats continued voicing their opposition to the proposal, criticizing how it ties public school investments and reforms to a policy they say will undermine the system as a whole.”

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, “was the sole no vote in the Senate, arguing similar voucher programs in other states have not produced impressive results. Akbari also touted concerns about tax dollars underwriting private schools that won’t be required to have the same level of services for students with disabilities, or who could turn away LGBTQ students. ‘My mind has always been open about this, but I cannot support something that takes public dollars to private institutions we’re not holding accountable,’ Akbari said.”

Vanderbilt University Professors Claire Smrekar and Joanne Golann, writing in The Tennessean, say “at this point, the Tennessee voucher plans’ information dissemination, enrollment and participation criteria, and transportation design features are vague, unknown, or under-specified and should trigger public scrutiny and parent concern.”

22) Texas: Here come the major hits to the Lone Star State’s public school budgets. Last Tuesday, legislative opponents of Gov. Abbott’s school voucher schemes lost big in the Republican primaries. “Abbott’s victories mean that school vouchers could become a reality in Texas in 2025, when the Legislature reconvenes. And that’s something ‘school choice’ organizations across the state and country are looking forward to. Gillum Ferguson, the director of political strategy at the American Federation for Children, said on X, formerly Twitter, that Tuesday’s results can also impact elections across the country.” Nevertheless, there was a drop-off from 90% to 77% in Republican support for school vouchers between 2022 and 2024

The San Antonio Express-News reports that “the Legislature isn’t scheduled to meet again until January, at which point there will likely be enough House members to pass a voucher bill in the chamber for the first time. And with enough members on board, there won’t be the same urgency for Abbott to negotiate on important education policy proposals that he had used as bargaining chips — including teacher pay raises, elimination of the STAAR tests and billions of extra school dollars. With Tuesday’s results likely breaking the decades long blockade on vouchers, the fate of those other policies is now in flux.”

KBTX reports that “both traditional public schools and public charter schools share similar concerns for the next legislative special session. ‘We just need to stand united and make sure that the funding sources are not splintered,’ Ginger Carrabine, Bryan ISD Superintendent, said. Conger said he hopes any funding is directed to where it’s needed most. ‘There are absolute, complete, legitimate public school funding needs that we have,’ he said.”

23) Texas: The Texas Tribune reports that the state’s largest charter school network has been placed “under conservatorship by the Texas Education Agency after a years-long investigation into improper spending within the system of 143 schools. The arrangement, announced Wednesday, is part of a settlement agreement between IDEA Public Schools and the TEA. IDEA had been under investigation since 2021 following numerous allegations of financial and operational misconduct.”

IDEA isn’t the only one facing problems. A Fort Worth charter school for the arts is facing financial trouble and a possible shutdown because “one of our major funders decided not to fund our program.”


24) National: A familiar highly political problem over the years—how should infrastructure projects be evaluated and financed, and by whom—is rearing its head again. “As the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act nears its midpoint,” the Bond Buyer reports, “the massive uptick in discretionary grants for transportation infrastructure threatens to undermine the law’s effectiveness because of chronic delays and bureaucratic confusion. That’s what county and state representatives told lawmakers Thursday during a House Transportation & Infrastructure hearing on the rollout of the IIJA’s discretionary grants. The solution, according to one state transportation official and several Republicans, is to increase the amount of formula funding in future bills to avoid similar problems. (…) The biggest problems, witnesses said, are delays between grant announcement and actual funding; a sluggish pace of notice of funding opportunities postings; confusing criteria; and challenges facing smaller governments forced to compete with larger entities.” And yet another familiar infrastructure planning and financing problem has surfaced: a political power struggle to head up the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, a plum post that presumably comes with lots of favors to hand out. [Sub required]

25) National: Writing in WaterWorld, Paul Gifford, the director of product for Mueller Water Products, who has worked closely with municipalities and end users for years, says the time to prioritize aging infrastructure is now. “The cost of repairs/upgrades is expected to exceed $430B by 2029, yet according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, it is estimated that only $50 billion is allocated to date. That’s a significant discrepancy between reported need versus actual planned investment. Utilities are also facing changes in population size that can complicate planning and management. If populations decline, utility revenues decline, and deplete maintenance budgets. Adversely if populations increase the demand grows exponentially adding stress to the system. On average, over 90% of utility revenues come from water bills. The 2023 State of the Industry report from the American Water Works Association said that 78% of utilities were expected to increase water rates in 2023 (up from 64% in 2021). Disadvantaged communities are usually hit the hardest.”

26) National: Resurgent U.S. energy demand is sparking power grid warnings, the Financial Times reports. “Jim Robb, NERC’s chief executive, told the Financial Times that projected demand growth over the next 10 years was now nearly double what it was five years ago. ‘The explosion in data centres is very, very real . . . a lot of utilities are having issues keeping up with that demand,’ said Robb, whose organisation is focused on improving the reliability of the bulk power system in North America.” [Sub required].

So, the obvious question is, will these private mega-corporate consumers pay their fair share to keep up with electricity infrastructure investment and operations, or is the public going to be saddled with the bill? (“Wilson said the largest driver of increased electricity demand was $481bn in industrial projects that have been announced since 2021, including the manufacturing of chips and batteries.”)

27) North Carolina: The U.S. Forest Service is requesting public input to ensure the views of the community are represented in future developments of the Wild and Scenic River located in Pisgah National Forest [check it out—ed.] in Caldwell County. “‘We need to hear from our local communities and users to build better solutions to the issues that we have at Wilson Creek,’ says Lisa Jennings, Recreation and Trails Program Manager for the Grandfather Ranger District. ‘Over the next several months we will be collecting feedback, working with designers and planners, and proposing options for improvements. We want to know what changes you would like to see.’ Share your ideas! Visit [this site] and fill out the feedback survey.”

28) Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Water Department is revamping its water system and wants to hear your thoughts. “‘[Residents who] will be in close proximity—they might see trucks. They might see work going on. So in those cases, … residents do have opportunities to shape the work that we’re doing,’ Rademaekers said. “But … in some ways, the grand scheme of things is set.” The Department will hold both in-person and virtual listening sessions, mostly on weeknight evenings, with one on a Saturday afternoon. The full schedule is posted on the Water Department website.”

29) Pennsylvania: The Department of Environmental Protection reveals water quality violations at Pennsylvania American Water’s dam project. “The reports say Pennsylvania American Water is in violation of water quality criteria, said they are not doing construction in a way that minimizes erosion and did not construct in a manner that avoids pollution of water. This also violates the Clean Streams law. (…) Lackawanna County Commissioners say responsibility must be taken and have been talking with the DA who has been also speaking with the attorney general. ‘We want to make sure that someone is held accountable,’ said Commissioner Bill Gaughan. ‘So we’re going to continue to put pressure on the district attorney and the attorney general’s office to make sure that they look into whether any criminal laws were broken.’ The reports span from the February 8 to February 29.”

30) International: A terrific report by Chris Dite in Jacobin updating us on P3 madness Down Under. Readers may recall the ardent efforts by the road privatization lobby, with the assistance of Australian privatizers, to push the foolish idea of “asset recycling” during the Trump administration. (Trump said P3’s “don’t work.”) Well, the latest example of P3 folly is laid out by Dite, the Rozelle Interchange. Read the story for the details. But Dite also says that opponents of these boondoggles also have learned some things about how best to fight them. With P3s now officially a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, take note.

“The reality is that only a campaign that draws in broad, working-class support has any hope of being successful. The anti–East West Link campaign spent months drumming up opposition to the project in the outer suburbs and regional Victoria, signing up thousands of new people to the campaign. It predicted the developers and Liberal Party’s PR strategy and preempted it, denying them the chance to drive a wedge between inner-city and suburban residents. Secondly, the failure of the WestConnex campaign shows that moderate tactics and well-researched appeals to authority are not enough. Both major parties receive copious amounts of money from the oil and roads lobby, and there is a revolving door between federal and state governments and the big polluting companies.

“By contrast, the East West Link campaign employed a dual strategy. Activists built the campaign outward by engaging large numbers of residents, including in the suburbs, while simultaneously engaging in direct, tactical, collective confrontation with the government and big developers. As a result, it dominated the news cycle, won the battle of public opinion, applied tangible pressure—and it ultimately won.”

Public Services

31) National: ICE has produced another one of its periodic “readouts” of its meetings with private prison companies, this time with LaSalle. As usual, the release says little of relevance regarding problems with private immigration detention, which have generated headlines and lawsuits across the country. But it does leave one wondering just what ICE might have asked LaSalle about, for example, the death of Ousmane Ba a few weeks ago, who was detained at LaSalle’s Winn Correctional Center.

32) National/Washington: The GEO Group, which touts its supposedly decades-long record of corporate social responsibility, is being sued by the state of Washington for illegally preventing the state’s inspectors from entering its facility, despite the fact that “the Department of Health has received over 300 complaints from detainees about the facility’s conditions.” So where does the buck stop? According to Law360, “private prison operator GEO Group argued this week that the Washington state labor department’s lawsuit accusing GEO of unlawfully turning away inspectors from an immigrant detention facility should stay in federal court since GEO was merely following U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement instructions.”

33) Kentucky: The top leadership of a large CoreCivic prison in eastern Kentucky, the Southeast State Correctional Complex, has been removed “due to misconduct they engaged in unrelated to activities involving inmates.

34) Pennsylvania: A group of former employees of the GEO Group, which operated the George W. Hill Correctional Facility before it was brought back into the public sector, are suing the state for wrongful dismissal and other causes. “On April 6, 2022, the county reassumed control of Hill and since has allegedly terminated employees without due process. One such officer was fired for bringing headache medicine into the jail, even though it was only his first infraction in a 14-year career, the suit says. He should have simply received a 10-day suspension, the suit says. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages for alleged civil rights violations.”

35) International/United Kingdom: Private hospitals are “cannibalizing” the British National Health Service by doing 10% of elective operations, the Guardian reports. “The rise in NHS work done by private operators has prompted fears that more and more of the health service is being left weakened and patients’ access to vital care is increasingly a “two-tier system” dictated by their wealth. The unprecedented transfer of NHS patients is happening at the same time as a dramatic increase in patients using either their own savings or private medical insurance to pay for treatment in the independent sector that the NHS cannot provide fast enough.”

36) International/United Kingdom: “Privatisation has almost never had a positive effect on the quality of care,” says a new report covered in The Lancet. “The published review looked at studies made of healthcare systems in eight high-income countries, where privatisation has been taking place over the past 40 years. Studies included those from the UK, USA, Canada, South Korea, Germany, Sweden, Croatia and Italy. The review aimed to assess whether the often-stated aim of privatisation – to improve the quality of care through market competition—did indeed occur. Or, is the impact negligible, or in fact to worsen the quality of care due to the profit-driven nature of the organisations.”

37) International/United Kingdom: As we observe International Women’s Day, unions are warning that cuts to public services in England will “reverse” gender equality. “The Fawcett Society, the TUC and Women’s Aid are among those who have written to the chancellor to ‘demand that women are not hit by further government cuts to public services.’ They argue that women have already been hit hardest by 14 years of cuts to health, social care, early education and services for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

All the Rest

38) National/International: Corporations are apparently complaining that they are not getting enough public subsidies to set up internationally competitive manufacturing plants in the U.S. But not everyone’s convinced. “It’s true that the cost of materials has gone up. It’s also true that building costs and environmental standards are higher in the U.S. than some other popular manufacturing destinations,’ said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonprofit research group that is often critical of subsidies. ‘But are companies not getting enough money to offset all that? Sounds like crocodile tears to me,’ LeRoy said.”

39) National: The federal Bureau of Prisons took a hammering at a recent Senate committee meeting. “Fourteen FCC Hazelton inmates died in BOP custody between 2014 and 2021. [Sen. Charles Grassley (R)] and his colleagues in September pressed BOP about whistleblower claims of misconduct at the West Virginia facility. Their disclosures include allegations of extensive abuse against incarcerated individuals and document falsification regarding medical assessments, prison escapes and erroneous prisoner releases. BOP still has not responded to the lawmakers. Grassley demanded to know why, as well as ‘what [BOP is] doing to straighten out the significant problems at Hazelton that we’ve brought to your attention?’”

IMAGE: From the webpage of the Daniel Christian Academy of Concord, N.C.

Related Posts