The Parmelee Post: Mississippi Prison Promises Better Conditions for Out-of-State Lobbyists | Humor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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The Parmelee Post: Mississippi Prison Promises Better Conditions for Out-of-State Lobbyists


Published September 21, 2018 at 1:06 p.m.

  • Photo Illustration: Bryan Parmelee | Dreamstime
CoreCivic, the private prison corporation that operates the Mississippi facility slated to house Vermont’s out-of-state inmates for the next two years, has addressed concerns about that prison's conditions.

“I would like to assure the fine people of Vermont that the lobbyists we have working in your great state will receive nothing but the absolute best care and treatment that we can possibly provide,” said CoreCivic spokesperson Holden Cellife.

“Human dignity is our number one priority,” he said of the company, which built a fortune helping America to achieve the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Cellife said concerns about CoreCivic’s lobbying conditions were first raised after the corporation successfully convinced the administration of Gov. Phil Scott to propose building a $140 million prison in Vermont.

“Suddenly we had all these Vermonters demanding to know who would possibly be dumb enough to trust a corporation whose very existence depends upon the perpetuation of mass incarceration,” complained Cellife. “Our lobbyists, who are not accustomed to considering the moral implications of their work, felt as though we had neglected and abused them.”

After a year of urging its lobbyists to “just hang in there,” CoreCivic improved conditions enough to convince Vermont officials to sign off on a different contract — one that would grant Mississippi guards a turn to abuse the Green Mountain State's nomadic inmates.

“With this new contract, and its option to renew in two years, CoreCivic can all but guarantee that conditions will be better than ever for our out-of-state lobbyists,” said Cellife. “Our lobbyists can now peacefully continue their noble work of spending tens of thousands of dollars to teach Vermont politicians to say, ‘We wish we could keep our inmates here in the state, but its just not feasible at this time.’”

Lobbyist Richard “Dick” LeShill said he's looking forward to continuing to give both Republican and Democratic candidates in Vermont wads of cash without fear of repercussion.

“It’s very easy to write off lobbyists as people who made poor life choices and therefore deserve whatever abuse comes their way,” said LeShill. “But do you have any idea how hard it is to convince Vermont officials to send their constituents’ tax dollars outside of the state instead of using them here to try and reduce the prison population?

"OK, fine," he continued. "It’s not very hard at all. But still, it’s technically a job — and jobs suck!”

LeShill and his fellow lobbyists are scheduled to be moved into a Montpelier facility in October.

The Parmelee Post is an occasional series featuring tough investigative reporting on news that hasn't happened.

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