Did Lack of Oversight Allow CCA to House Inmates at Nursing Home?

Corrections Corporation of America (“CCA”) housed California inmates at an Oklahoma nursing home following a riot at its North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, OK.  Because CCA takes the inmates from California and places them in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has no supervisory authority or control over CCA or the inmates from California.

According to a report issued by the Oklahoma Department of Health, CCA placed the inmates at the Buena Vista Nursing Home in Midwest City, OK.  Buena Vista houses elderly patients like traditional nursing homes; it is not operated by the state or any correctional management company.

Although CCA claimed the residents were not in harm’s way, the Department of Health’s report concluded that CCA’s decision placed the nursing home’s residents in “immediate jeopardy.”  Armed guards were stationed outside the inmate’s rooms, and guards escorted shackled inmates down the hallways of the nursing home in full view of the residents.  There is no indication that Buena Vista implemented any security measures to segregate the inmate and residents, and there is nothing to suggest that Buena Vista performed any background checks on the privately employed guards that CCA assigned to the inmates.

CCA’s ability to operate a prison facility within the State of Oklahoma allows CCA to profit from incarcerating California inmates without the burden of any supervision by the State of Oklahoma. As this situation clearly demonstrates, the inability of the Oklahoma State Department of Corrections to supervise how CCA manages the prisoners it brings to this state can lead to the placement of inmates within the community at large and in rooms adjacent to elderly residents that rely on the safety and security of nursing homes for their protection.

CCA refused to comment about whether it has housed other inmates in other nursing homes without the State’s permission, and the only reason the State caught CCA on this occasion was due to a State audit of Buena Vista that occurred simultaneous with CCA’s placement of the inmates.

More coverage here: California Murderer, Rapist Were Housed at Midwest City Nursing Home, report shows