Have you ever approached a sports arena and see a scalper selling tickets, then walk 20 feet further and see someone looking to buy tickets? If you’re like me, you almost want to tell those two to end whatever beef they have with each other and buy & sell tickets to each other. But, you know there’s something else going on even though you can’t put your finger on it. I get the same feeling with the Delaware County Prison system.

On Thursday, the Delaware County Daily Times reports the Phoenix study of Delco’s prison will be done this month.

The long awaited Phoenix Management report evaluating the costs of a privately run versus publicly run prison will be finished by month’s end, officials announced Wednesday.

This report was supposed to be done before the prison board decided on who would manage the prison when the current contract ended. But, since they couldn’t wait for the report to see how the current prison operator was performing, they just went on and gave them a 5-year, $264 million contract on good faith, with a 2-year option to extend it to 9 years and nearly $500 million. (You can stop complaining about Bryce Harper’s contract now).

“We thought the information would be more readily available but even from our surrounding counties, there’s been doors closed,”

That’s one of the biggest gripes when private companies run prisons. They’re allowed to play by different rules when it comes to being required to offer up information and data on what goes on behind their doors.

One lady even brought up the point that the study itself has got to be costing the county more than they budgeted…

I know that the contract with Phoenix is based on an hourly rate and since this report was due months ago and presumably more time has been spent than was originally forecast,” she said. The initial cost for the study was $100,000.

On the very next day, in the very same newspaper, there’s this headline…

Delco prison passes multiple accreditations in the last year

At the same time the Phoenix folks are painfully trying to get through with their study in the prisons, whoever the guys are who do prison accreditations are simultaneously doing their study. Somehow, Team Accreditation  gets things done and claims to have…

evaluated 383 standards from security and tool control to environmental conditions, medical care and food service.

Here’s the real kicker…

During the three-day evaluation, the ACA audit team randomly selected 85 staff members and 70 inmates.

That’s right. They got all this information in 3-whole-ass-days.

Let’s review.

  • Phoenix group: $100,000. Report due late summer, not turned in yet.
  • Team Accreditation: Unknown cost. Done in 3 days.

Silly me concludes that somebody needs to hire Team Accreditation to do Phoenix’s work. Or maybe Phoenix should turn over that $100,000 to the accreditation team and get their data.

Some of Team Accreditation results were listed in the paper. Here are the ones that caught my eye…

“During the eight past months, there were 19 suspected suicide attempts,” Byrne said. “While these attempts were serious, none of these were successful.”

Let me see if you see what I see. Did they say 19 suicide attempts in 8 months? That’s 19 suicide attempts in a place where the average stay is less than 50 days. And that’s a passing grade?

officials stated that 25 total allegations of sexual abuse were reported last year. Of them, 21 were unfounded or unsubstantiated.

I guess 84% of the inmates could be lying. I also guess 84% of the inmates could be lied on.

The food was also found to pass grade, in particular the chili con carne, rice, carrots, corn bread, cookie, margarine and fortified drink, which was the meal the auditors tried.

“The meal was found to have very generous proportions and was palatable to the taste,”

In the 3 days they took to do this study, they had time to evaluate the damn corn bread and cookies.

I’m done!