Christie tied to scandalous private prison company and its former vice president Bill Palatucci
Jan 24, 2014 4:17pm EST by HoundDog
[Comment large] 81 153Salon's Josh Eidelson is breaking an original story, Chris Christie’s Texas horror: Meet the scandalous prison company he’s long promoted, about Governor Christie's lobbying for the controversial corporation that owns these immigration detention centers, criticized as being some of worst in the country. It turns out that the former senior vice-president of the Community Education Centers, Bill Palatucci, also served as chairmen of Christie's 2013 reelection campaign, and is co-chair of Christie's inaugural committee, and part of his innermost circle.  

“I’ve visited a bunch of detention facilities in Texas, and that’s by far the worst,” said the opponent, Bob Libal, who directs the prison reform group Grassroots Leadership and visited the Polk County Adult Detention Center with other activists in 2012 and 2013. His allegations echo a 2012 report from the Detention Watch Network, a coalition including the ACLU and the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as Libal’s group: “Inadequate medical care, poor nutrition, lack of access to legal services, absence of meaningful programming, and a willful neglect of those who are imprisoned there plague the Polk detention center.”

CEC’s ties to Chris Christie and track record running halfway houses in New Jersey have drawn harsh scrutiny, including a series of stories in the New York Times. Reporter Sam Dolnick wrote in 2012 that Christie, who was a registered lobbyist for CEC in 2000 and 2001, “has long championed the company,” and the state had paid out tens of millions to CEC but “not closely examined” its “financial standing or operations, according to documents, former company executives and state officials.” Former employees told the Times “that the company had kept staffing levels very low” and thus “did a poor job delivering counseling and other services intended to help inmates make the transition to society.”The Times also wrote that the Christie administration “took no action in response to the [state] comptroller’s warning,” following a critical audit of New Jersey halfway houses, “that regulators were kept in the dark about Community Education’s finances.” When legislators responded to a Times investigation by passing stronger halfway-house oversight rules, Christie narrowed them with a line-item veto, a move the Times noted drew accusations of “trying to protect Mr. Palatucci, the company executive who is his close friend.” The paper wrote that documents suggest CEC CEO John Clancy “highlighted Mr. Palatucci’s ties to Mr. Christie in an effort to impress investors and secure desperately needed financing for the company.” ...

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