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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Huge Ruling in Tennessee: Private Prison Company's Records Are Public

Welcome news from Tennessee, on a subject I have frequently opined about:

A Nashville judge ruled Tuesday that private prison company Corrections Corp. of America is subject to Tennessee's open records law.

Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ordered CCA to provide information on settlements, judgments and complaints against the company to Alex Friedmann, who first requested the information in an April 2007 letter.

Joe Welborn, an attorney representing CCA, said the company will appeal.

Bonnyman said the overriding issue was whether the company performs a government function.

"The court finds that CCA is the equivalent of a government agency based first and foremost on the fact that the Tennessee constitution makes the maintenance of prisons and keeping of prisoners a state function," she said.

The ruling only applies to records of Tennessee prisons, not to federal prisons the company runs, or prisons in other states.

More here.

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