Lawsuit alleges delays in release of inmates

Tuesday, January 4th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A class-action lawsuit alleges that a private prison company delays releasing inmates from the Tulsa Jail in order to charge the county more money for holding inmates. The county pays Corrections Corporation of America $36.76 per day per prisoner to operate the jail.

The lawsuit filed Monday says Corey Raschen, Anthony Ostrander and Joseph Howard were kept in the jail for as long as 12 hours after their ordered release. The men allege that this was done so CCA could include them on a daily headcount, and thus charge for their incarceration.

Attorney C. Rabon Martin said his clients were told their releases were being delayed until after the midnight headcount, the daily point at which CCA tallies its prisoners. Susan Hart, CCA spokeswoman at its headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., said the lawsuit was unfounded. "We're not in the business of establishing who gets out when," she said. "That's just not how we operate."

Tulsa County officials could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit. Martin said the jail authority had not sought to recover any money from CCA for what he says is the prolonged incarceration of his clients, so he filed the class-action lawsuit. "We know these people were (ordered) at magnitude is unjust."