Last week, a New York Times article, produced in collaboration with The Marshall Project, offered a chilling examination of the conditions prisoners often encounter when riding with America’s largest for-profit extradition company, Prisoner Transportation Services of America (“PTS”).
Among other items, the article discussed the tragic death of Steven Galack: a former owner of a home remodeling business who suffered from anxiety disorder and was arrested on an out-of-state warrant for failing to pay child support. During a multi-day journey, Mr. Galack purportedly grew delusional as the air conditioning faltered amid 90-degree heat, upon which a guard reportedly gave the ten other prisoner occupants a directive of “only body shots.” Mr. Galack’s death was at least the fourth prisoner death that has occurred on a PTS van since 2012 from either a medical condition or guard abuse. Additional prisoner and guard deaths from unsafe driving conditions are also tragically common. The report further concluded that tens of thousands of people are transported in sometimes horrendously appalling conditions with very little government oversight.
In a period when vast prison overcrowding has expended law enforcement budgets, private transport companies often offer a far cheaper alternative to traditional extradition means. And some may rightfully argue that the issues resulting from the privatization of basic government services are not unique solely to the prisoner transport industry.
What do you think?
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