Private Run Prison

by Jay Goodman

In my last few chapters, I’ve written about my transfer from state prison into federal prison system. I’ve talked a lot about my hopes that this system would be a step up from the madness I just left in Texas. But as I have said in my last chapter this federal prison in Youngstown, Ohio was nothing short of a madhouse. Even though I was sent to a private run prison, I expected that the federal government would be keeping a close eye on how this place was run. But as I have said the last 16 years, one would assume that someone was making sure things are running smoothly. But as always, each place just keeps proving me wrong. That was a big deal in Texas, because when prisoners will try to write grievances or complain to the authorities About the corruption going on, the courts will be told that they had someone looking into the problem, or like I said, I assume there would be a person that overseas each prison to make sure the inmates are being treated by the guidelines set forth by either the state or the federal government. The sad thing is that’s just not the case. In almost every prison I’ve been to over the last 16 years the entire prison system has been run Dysfunctional. Truthfully, dysfunctional is an understatement. It is so far out of control that even for a person that is going on two decades behind bars, is amazed at the complete madness I witness over my years of incarceration. No matter where I’ve been or where they keep sending me, it doesn’t get any better. The corruption is at every single level. And now here I sit in the federal prison in Youngstown, Ohio and it’s so far out of control that I’m wondering how on earth the guards are even putting up with it. In the short time I’ve been here I’ve wondered why the people who work here allow the prison to be in such chaos? And slowly I started figuring out that it was important to the people running this place to keep everything going on a secret.

At first, I kept wondering why no one received any type of disciplinary reports, or why no one was being put into isolation? So, I started asking my cellie from New York “what was going on?” He laughed and said, “Jay, this place is scared to death that they’ll lose the contract they have with the federal Bureau of Prisons.” Over the next hour or so he broke it down to me what’s happened at this prison. Remember this is a private run prison which means it’s not run by the state or the federal government; instead, it’s owned by private investors. I cannot remember exactly when these private prisons started. I believe it was back in the 1990’s. This was the first privately run prison I have ever been to, but these types of places have been on the news while I was in prison in Texas. Some of these places have been shut down through the years for various reasons. Most of the reasons I remember was due to unfit living conditions, prisoners being mistreated, or too many stabbings or killings. I had learned from New York that this place had already been shut down once before due to someone being stabbed to death. I also found out that people in prison there before had their families complain to the U.S. Marshal Service about how this place was out of control, the violence there was daily, and that the staff had flooded the entire prison with drugs. I heard once they lost their contract with the federal prison, they filled half of the prison with inmates from the Ohio State Prison System. I believe this place got their contract back with the federal Bureau of prisons a year later.

I would like to ask the idiot who gave them the contract back this. “What makes you believe this place is any different now than one year earlier?” I mean the same exact people who ran the place before or still working there to this day. I mean it not only cost dozens of men to get stabbed, but one man lost his life. Not even counting all of the drug overdoses. So, this leads me to start seeing why no one was getting in any trouble no matter what they did. You see, if any disciplinary reports where to be written that would lead a paper trail on everything going on. And it will show all of the drugs and violence that are taking place. Also, that’s another reason why no one was being put in isolation, because a kid that was so paperwork on what’s happening inside the prison.

So, no matter what’s going on the guards were told not to write anyone a disciplinary case. And of course, it did not take all of the prisoners long to figure this out. One day I saw a guard come out of someone cell with a large trash bag full of homemade wine. I mean this bag was so big it probably had 40 gallons in it. I thought at the time that the ranking officers would be there to get him. When no one came I thought at first that he must’ve been a cool guard. At times you will see a guard that really don’t care what’s going on. But the longer I was there the more I began to see that no one ever received a disciplinary case when they got caught with drugs or homemade wine. They would ignore inmates so drunk or blown out of their mind that they couldn’t even stand up. Several times I saw prisoners go into convulsions from smoking K-2, and when the guards were told, they would Just ask the prisoners to carry him to herself. Early one morning right before shift change a Die started having a seizure from smoking K-2. When he fell down, he knocked out two teeth. A young lady who was working said to another inmate, you all get this stupid SOB to his cell, I’m not working extra hours because he can’t handle his K-2. Then she said, I told him to be careful that this shit was strong. They bring the shit into the prison knowing it’ll kill the prisoners. But all that’s important is they are making money. But little did I know that was just the beginning. The worst was yet to come.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez