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ITPI Leads National Sign-On Letter to Temple University on Ethics Complaint

Today, In the Public Interest (ITPI), the nation’s leading resource center on privatization and responsible contracting, joined with other leading equality, labor and community groups in sending a letter to Temple University in reference to an ethics complaint filed against Professors Simon Hakim and Erwin Blackstone alleging they breached their ethical responsibilities when they did not disclose in their original paper that their research on prison privatization had been funded by for-profit prison companies. The complaint was filed by Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, in June 2013.

 

A copy of the letter is below.


 

May 22, 2014

 

Temple University

Dr. Neil D. Theobald, President

1801 N. Broad Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122

 

Dear Dr. Theobald,

 

We, the undersigned, write you in reference to an ethics complaint filed against Temple Professors Simon Hakim and Erwin Blackstone. Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, submitted the complaint in June 2013. Mr. Friedmann filed the complaint with Interim Senior Vice Provost Michele Masucci and alleged violations of Board of Trustees policies 4.16.02 and 02.54.01 III(L)(5).

 

We feel that the seriousness of Mr. Friedmann’s allegations and the extraordinary amount of time that has lapsed since his complaint was submitted provide an imperative for the Temple administration to act promptly regarding this matter.

 

Mr. Friedmann alleged that Professors Hakim and Blackstone breached their ethical responsibilities when they did not disclose in their original paper that their research on prison privatization had been funded by for-profit prison companies. Additionally, the authors of the paper submitted editorials to media outlets in several states, most of which failed to disclose the source of their research funding. Repeatedly in these editorials, the professors referred to findings of the American Correctional Association to support their research, while also failing to disclose that the ACA is an organization that is partially funded by the for-profit prison industry.

 

As criminal justice researchers, academics and advocates, we find these allegations to be serious and well substantiated. Further, we feel that in not addressing Mr. Friedmann's ethics complaint in a timely manner, Temple has called into question the University's integrity and credibility as a research institution.

 

In closing, we request that the administration at Temple act swiftly and transparently in response to Mr. Friedmann's complaint. We look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

In the Public Interest

 

AFSCME Local 3807 - Texas Correctional Employees

 

Catholic Committee of the South

 

Children's Defense Fund

 

Grassroots Leadership

 

International CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants)

 

Justice Strategies

 

Maricopa County NAACP

 

National Lawyers Guild

 

National Police Accountability Project

 

Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project

 

Private Corrections Working Group

 

Southern Center for Human Rights

 

Teamsters Local 700

 

Bonnie L. Kift, Attorney

Law Office of Bonnie L. Kift

 

Christopher Petrella, Researcher

University of California

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