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N4T Investigators: County contractor kept incomplete transport logs

TUCSON – A private company has not been keeping contractually obligated records to prove they are treating Pima County inmates properly.

Pima County pays Security Transport Services to extradite people to the local jail from all over the country.

Thomas Bray said he was falsely accused of a felony by his ex-wife. His charges were later dropped with no chance of being refiled.

Bray’s order to appear in court was mailed to the wrong address. He was extradited from Texas. He was in an STS van with other inmates.

“They could have just reached over and killed me if they wanted to,” Bray said. “They’re not shackled to a bar or anything like that.”

The contract between STS and Pima County requires, “Vehicles shall be clean inside and out at all times.”

“The floor was soaked with piss and vomit,” Bray said.

The contract requires restroom stops at least every 5 hours.

“It had to have been at least 6 hours,” Bray said. “I’m being nice at 6 hours.”

Prisoners are entitled to at least 2,467 calories per day, 3 meals per day. Meals cannot be more than 14 hours apart.

“It wasn’t substantial. It wasn’t healthy,” Bray said. “And for guys like me with type 2 diabetes, they could have killed me.”

The contractor is required to record a transit log of each transport. The log is supposed to include meals, rest stops and stretch breaks. It is supposed to be signed by the prisoner and delivered at the end of the trip.

The News Four Tucson Investigators spent months requesting the public records. They were never fully completed by STS.

STS President Thomas Baumann stated in an email, “Security Transport always follows the rules for rest stops, medical/medication meals and rest overnight on transports. Employees have completed travel logs most of the time, but have been advised that it is necessary on all future transports.”

The logs included overnight stops, but they did not all include breaks, meals or inmate signatures. Some were just a few notes on a spreadsheet.

“We have told Pima County that we have not adhered as closely as we agreed to on the transit logs,” Baumann stated, “We are correcting that and although we were performing the practices, did not notate as agreed.”

Some members of Congress recently requested information from another private transport company, concerned about its practices.

Corene Kendrick is a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office. She said transport companies across the country lack supervision and accountability.

“Pima County has an obligation to the taxpayers who are paying for this,” Kendrick said, “to make sure that their contractor is abiding by the requirements of the contract.”

Bray and STS disagree about his treatment, but STS does not have the contractually obligated logs to prove he was cared for properly.

“They’re making money,” Bray said. “That’s all they care about. Each inmate is a dollar sign to them and it’s all it will ever be.”

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department stated in an email, “The Pima County Sheriff’s Department maintains a policy where prisoners/arrestees shall be kept securely, treated firmly but humanely, and not subjected to unnecessary restraint or use of force. Further, Department members shall conduct themselves professionally in all transactions with persons who are in the custody of any criminal justice agency. Should the Sheriff’s Department be made aware of malfeasance in regard to the treatment and welfare of inmates being transported by an independent contractor, we along with the assistance of Pima County Procurement will examine the services provided.”

The STS contract was signed in 2016. It is subject to 1-year renewals for 4 years.

Sam Salzwedel

Sam Salzwedel is an investigative reporter at News 4 Tucson – KVOA.

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