May 17, 2004
Lane McCotter is the man who organized and directed the reopening of Abu Ghraib last year. He came well "qualified" for the job. When appointed to it, the private prison company where he was a top executive, Management & Training Corp., was then under investigation for brutality by the Justice Department.
McCotter had originally headed up the Utah state prison system until he was forced to resign in 1997, after several scandals broke. A naked prisoner had died when shackled to a chair for 16 hours. And the prison system had hired a psychiatrist whose medical license was on probation and who wrote prescriptions for drug addicts.
Leaving the Utah state prison, he joined Management & Training Corp., the third largest private prison company in the country operating 13 prisons, which already had a record for brutality. At one of its prisons, in Wichita Falls, Texas, Roderick Johnson, a prisoner, was repeatedly raped by other prisoners, even after he appealed to guards for help, and was allowed by the guards to be treated as a slave, bought and sold by gangs. Judge Wayne Justice of the U.S. District Court wrote of this prison, "Many inmates credibly testified to the existence of violence, rape and extortion in the prison system and about their own suffering from such abysmal conditions." In 2003, the Justice Department criticized Management & Training's Santa Fe, New Mexico jail for unsafe conditions and the lack of medical care.
No one can say his record wasn't known when McCotter was tapped for the job in Iraq. It's exactly his record that made him well qualified for setting up Iraqi prisons– from the U.S. military's perspective.