Private prison owner appeals judge's order, city seeks $1.5M in back fees

YOUNGSTOWN — A private prison owner is appealing a judge’s decision the city didn’t violate laws when it enacted a $1 per-prisoner, per-day tax on inmates at the lockup while the city filed a court complaint seeking to collect $1.5 million from the company in back fees.

The two cases are running parallel paths in the 7th District Court of Appeals and in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

In a lawsuit filed by the Corrections Corporation of America, owner of Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Hubbard Road, Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court ruled in May the city didn’t violate the state or federal constitutions or the city charter when city council approved legislation to tax private prisons, effective December 2009.

CCA, a for-profit company based in Nashville, Tenn., filed that lawsuit in January 2010 contending the city’s prison-tax ordinance violated laws.

CCA’s facility is the only private prison in the city, housing about 1,500 illegal aliens convicted of felonies through a contract it has with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

CCA filed an appeal Sept. 13 in the appellate court. The city has until next Thursday to file a brief in response.

For the complete story, read Friday's Vindicator and

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