Archive: 1986 SRC Report on CCA, Hutto

The Southern Regional Council Journal, Southern Changes, has an article, “Cells for Sale,” by Harmon L. Wray, Jr. (Vol. 8, No. 3, 1986, pp. 3-6). Two paragraphs focus on the namesake of the Hutto jail:

“Another West Point alum and major CCA investor is T. Don Hutto, the corporation’s executive vice-president. Hutto, an ex-prison guard who became commissioner of corrections in Virginia and Arkansas, has since 1984 been president of the American Correctional Association, which oversees prison accreditation standards. Unlike other corrections-related professional associations-the National Sheriffs Association, the National Conference of State Trial Judges, the National Association of Criminal Justice Planners, and the American Bar Association–the ACA under Hutto’s tenure has supported prison privatization. “Apprehensions on the part of prisoner advocates and those who abhor slavery may not be unfounded when one considers the professional history of T. Don Hutto, the man CCA touts as its foremost corrections expert. The CCA’s executive vice-president’s career includes a stint as warden of the Ramsey Unit in Huntsville, Texas, in the 1960s, when the system of using inmates to guard and discipline other inmates, later outlawed in federal court, was “at its strongest,” according to the Texas Observer. A 1985 article in The Nation reported that during Hutto’s tenure as corrections commissioner in Arkansas the US Supreme Court ruled that state’s prison system unconstitutional and found that officials “evidently tried to operate their prisons at a profit.” “Inmates were required to work on prison farms ten hours a day, six days a week, often without suitable clothing or shoes, using mule-drawn plows and tending crops by hand….Punishment for minor misconduct included lashing with a wooden-handled leather strap…and administering electric shocks to ‘various sensitive parts of the inmate’s body.’ The trial court called the prisons ‘a dark and evil world completely alien to the free world.'” When confronted with this criticism, a CCA offical responded that The Nation essay was “a libelous article” and that Hutto had in fact cleaned up the unconstitutional Arkansas system.”

Link to archive

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