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
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.
In the Public Interest
AFSCME Local 3807 - Texas Correctional Employees
Catholic Committee of the South
Children's Defense Fund
International CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants)
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