Source: The Atlantic Monthly 
Copyright: 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company 
Pubdate: Dec 1998 
Author: Eric Schlosser



THE black-and-white photograph shows an inmate leaning out of a prison
cell, scowling at the camera, his face partially hidden in the shadows.
OURS." The photo is on the cover of a glossy brochure promoting AT&T's
prison telephone service, which is called The Authority. BellSouth has a
similar service, called MAX, advertised with a photo of a heavy steel chain
dangling from a telephone receiver in place of a cord. The ad promises
"long distance service that lets inmates go only so far." Although the
phone companies rely on clever copy in their ads, providing telephone
service to prisons and jails has become a serious, highly profitable
business. The nearly two million inmates in the United States are ideal
customers: phone calls are one of their few links to the outside world;
most of their calls must be made collect; and they are in no position to
switch long-distance carriers. A pay phone at a prison can generate as much
as $15,000 a year -- about five times the revenue of a typical pay phone on
the street. It is estimated that inmate calls generate a billion dollars or
more in revenues each year. The business has become so lucrative that MCI
installed its inmate phone service, Maximum Security, throughout the
California prison system at no charge. As part of the deal it also offered
the California Department of Corrections a 32 percent share of all the
revenues from inmates' phone calls. MCI Maximum Security adds a $3.00
surcharge to every call. When free enterprise intersects with a captive
market, abuses are bound to occur. MCI Maximum Security and North American
Intelecom have both been caught overcharging for calls made by inmates; in
one state MCI was adding an additional minute to every call.

Since 1980 spending on corrections at the local, state, and federal levels
has increased about fivefold. What was once a niche business for a handful
of companies has become a multibillion-dollar industry with its own trade
shows and conventions, its own Web sites, mail-order catalogues, and
direct-marketing campaigns. The prison-industrial complex now includes some
of the nation's largest architecture and construction firms, Wall Street
investment banks that handle prison bond issues and invest in private
prisons, plumbing-supply companies, food-service companies, health-care
companies, companies that sell everything from bullet-resistant security
cameras to padded cells available in a "vast color selection." A directory
called the Corrections Yellow Pages lists more than a thousand vendors.
Among the items now being advertised for sale: a "violent prisoner chair,"
a sadomasochist's fantasy of belts and shackles attached to a metal frame,
with special accessories for juveniles; B.O.S.S., a "body-orifice security
scanner," essentially a metal detector that an inmate must sit on; and a
diverse line of razor wire, with trade names such as Maze, Supermaze,
Detainer Hook Barb, and Silent Swordsman Barbed Tape.

As the prison industry has grown, it has assumed many of the attributes
long associated with the defense industry. The line between the public
interest and private interests has blurred. In much the same way that
retired admirals and generals have long found employment with defense
contractors, correctional officials are now leaving the public sector for
jobs with firms that supply the prison industry. These career opportunities
did not exist a generation ago. Fundamental choices about public safety,
employee training, and the denial of personal freedoms are increasingly
being made with an eye to the bottom line.

One clear sign that corrections has become a big business as well as a form
of government service is the emergence of a trade newspaper devoted to the
latest trends in the prison and jail marketplace. Correctional Building
News has become the Variety of the prison world, widely read by
correctional officials, investors, and companies with something to sell.
Eli Gage, its publisher, founded the paper in 1994, after searching for a
high-growth industry not yet served by its own trade journal. Gage is
neither a cheerleader for the industry nor an outspoken critic. He believes
that despite recent declines in violent crime, national spending on
corrections will continue to grow at an annual rate of five to 10 percent.
The number of young people in the prime demographic for committing crimes,
ages fifteen to twenty-four, is about to increase; and the demand for new
juvenile-detention centers is already rising. Correctional Building News
runs ads by the leading companies that build prisons (Turner Construction,
CRSS, Brown & Root) and the leading firms that design them (DMJM, the DLR
Group, and KMD Architects). It features a product of the month, a facility
of the month, and a section titled "People in the News." An advertisement
in a recent issue promoted electrified fences with the line "Don't Touch!"

PRIVATE-prison companies are the most obvious, the most controversial, and
the fastest-growing segment of the prison-industrial complex. The idea of
private prisons was greeted with enthusiasm during the Reagan and Bush
Administrations; it fit perfectly with a belief in small government and the
privatization of public services. The Clinton Administration, however, has
done far more than its Republican predecessors to legitimize private
prisons. It has encouraged the Justice Department to place illegal aliens
and minimum-security inmates in private correctional facilities, as part of
a drive to reduce the federal work force. The rationale for private prisons
is that government monopolies such as old-fashioned departments of
corrections are inherently wasteful and inefficient, and the private
sector, through competition for contracts, can provide much better service
at a much lower cost. The privatization of prisons is often described as a
"win-win" outcome. A private-prison company generally operates a facility
for a government agency, or builds and operates its own facility. The
nation's private prisons accepted their first inmates in the mid-1980s.
Today at least twenty-seven states make use of private prisons, and
approximately 90,000 inmates are being held in prisons run for profit.

The living conditions in many of the nation's private prisons are
unquestionably superior to conditions in many state-run facilities. At
least forty-five state prison systems are now operating at or above their
intended capacity. In twenty-two states prisons are operating under
court-ordered population caps. In fifteen states prison conditions are
being monitored by the courts. Life in the aging, overcrowded prisons
operated by many state agencies is dangerous and degrading. Most of the
34,000 state inmates currently being held in the nation's jails for lack of
available prison cells live in conditions that are even worse. Private
prisons tend to be brand-new, rarely overcrowded, and less likely to house
violent offenders. Moreover, some private prisons offer programs, such as
drug treatment and vocational training, that a number of state systems have
cut back. And yet something inherent in the idea of private prisons seems
to invite abuse.

The economics of the private-prison industry are in many respects similar
to those of the lodging industry. An inmate at a private prison is like a
guest at a hotel -- a guest whose bill is being paid and whose check-out
date is set by someone else. A hotel has a strong economic incentive to
book every available room and encourage every guest to stay as long as
possible. A private prison has exactly the same incentive. The labor costs
constitute the bulk of operating costs for both kinds of accommodation. The
higher the occupancy rate, the higher the profit margin. Although it might
seem unlikely that a private prison would ever try to keep an inmate longer
than was necessary for justice to be served, New York State's experience
with the "fee system" during the nineteenth century suggests that the
temptation to do so is hard to resist. Under the fee system local sheriffs
charged inmates for their stay in jail. A 1902 report by the Correctional
Association of New York harshly criticized this system, warning that judges
might be inclined to "sentence a man to jail where he may be a source of
revenue to a friendly sheriff." Whenever the fee system was abolished in a
New York county, the inmate population dropped -- by as much as half. Last
year a Prudential Securities report on private prisons described some of
the potential risks for the industry: a falling crime rate, shorter prison
sentences, a move toward alternative sentences, and changes in the nation's
drug laws. Nonetheless, the report concluded that "the industry appears to
have excellent prospects."

Private-prison companies can often build prisons faster and at lower cost
than state agencies, owing to fewer bureaucratic delays and less red tape.
And new prisons tend to be much less expensive to operate than the old
prisons still used in many states. But most of the savings that
private-prison companies offer are derived from the use of nonunion
workers. Labor represents 60 to 80 percent of the operating costs at a
prison. Although private-prison companies are now moving into northern
states and even signing agreements with some labor unions, the overwhelming
majority of private-prison cells are in southern and southwestern states
hostile to unions. Correctional officers in these private prisons usually
earn lower wages than officers employed by state governments, while
receiving fewer benefits and no pension. Some private-prison companies
offer their uniformed staff stock options as a retirement plan; the
long-term value of the stock is uncertain. The sort of cost-cutting imposed
on correctional officers does not extend to managers and administrators.
They usually earn much more than their counterparts in the public sector --
a fact that greatly increases the potential for conflicts of interest and
official corruption.


LAST year a videotape of beatings at a private correctional facility in
Texas provoked a great deal of controversy. The tape showed correctional
officers at the Brazoria County Detention Center kicking inmates who were
lying on the floor, shooting inmates with a stun gun, and ordering a police
dog to attack them. The inmates had been convicted of crimes in Missouri,
but were occupying rented cells in rural Texas. One of the correctional
officers in the video had previously lost his job at a Texas state prison
and served time on federal charges for beating an inmate. The Brazoria
County videotape received nationwide publicity and prompted Missouri to
cancel its contract with Capital Correctional Resources, the private
company operating the facility. But the beatings were unusual only because
they were captured on tape. Incidents far more violent and surreal have
become almost commonplace in the private prisons of Texas.

The private-prison system in Texas arose in response to the violence and
disarray of the state system. In 1980 conditions in Texas state prisons
were so bad that the federal judge William Wayne Justice ruled that they
amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment." He appointed a special overseer
for the prison system and ordered the state to provide at least forty
square feet of living space for each inmate. By the mid-1980s, however,
conditions had grown even worse: Texas prisons were more overcrowded; gang
wars between inmates resulted in dozens of murders; and local jails were so
crammed with the overflow of state inmates that a number of counties later
sued the state for relief. In 1986 Judge Justice threatened the state with
a fine of $800,000 a day unless it came up with a plan to ease the
overcrowding in its prisons. While the Texas legislature scrambled to add
new prison beds to the system, entrepreneurs sensed that profits could be
made from housing state inmates in private facilities. Developers cut deals
with sheriffs in impoverished rural counties, providing the capital to
build brand-new jails, offering to run them, and promising to share the
profits. Privately run correctional facilities sprang up throughout rural
Texas, much the way oil rigs were once raised by wildcatters. The founders
of one large private-prison developer, N-Group Securities, had previously
sold condominiums and run a Houston disco. One critic quoted by the Houston
Chronicle called the speculative new enterprises "Joe's Bar and Grill and

The private-prison building spree in Texas -- backed by investors such as
Allstate, Merrill Lynch, Shearson Lehman, and American Express -- soon
faced an unanticipated problem. The State of Texas, under the auspices of a
liberal Democratic governor, Ann Richards, began to carry out an ambitious
prison-construction plan of its own in 1991, employing inmate labor and
adding almost 100,000 new beds in just a few years. In effect the state
flooded the market. Private firms turned to "bed brokers" for help, hoping
to recruit prisoners from out of state. By the mid-1990s thousands of
inmates from across the United States were being transported from
overcrowded prison systems to "rent-a-cell" facilities in small Texas
towns. The distances involved in this huge migration at times made it
reminiscent of the eighteenth-century transport schemes that shipped
British convicts and debtors to Australia. In 1996 the Newton County
Correctional Center, in Newton, Texas, operated by a company called the
Bobby Ross Group, became the State of Hawaii's third largest prison.

The private-prison industry usually charges its customers a daily rate for
each inmate; the success or failure of a private prison is determined by
the number of "man-days" it can generate. In a typical rent-a-cell
arrangement a state with a surplus of inmates will contact a
well-established bed broker, such as Dominion Management, of Edmond,
Oklahoma. The broker will search for a facility with empty beds at the
right price. The cost per man-day can range from $25 to $60, depending on
the kind of facility and its level of occupancy. The more crowded a private
prison becomes, the less it charges for each additional inmate. Facilities
with individual cells are more expensive than those with dormitories. Bed
brokers earn a commission of $2.50 to $5.50 per man-day, depending on how
tight the market for prison cells is at the time. The county -- which does
not operate the prison but simply gives it legal status -- sometimes gets a
fee of as much as $1.50 a night for each prisoner. When every bed is
filled, the private-prison company, the bed broker, and the county can do
quite well.

The interstate commerce in prisoners, like many new industries, developed
without much government regulation. In 1996 the State of Texas encountered
a number of unexpected legal problems. Its private prisons were housing
roughly 5,000 inmates from fourteen states. In August of that year two
Oregon sex offenders escaped from a Houston facility operated by the
Corrections Corporation of America. The facility normally held illegal
aliens, under contract to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Faced
with empty beds, CCA had imported 240 sex offenders from Oregon. Texas
officials had no idea that violent offenders from another state were being
housed in this minimum-security facility. The escaped prisoners were
eventually recaptured -- but they could not be prosecuted for escaping,
because running away from a private prison was not a violation of any Texas
state law. The following month a riot erupted at the Frio Detention Center,
a private facility operated by the Dove Development Corporation, which
housed about 300 inmates from Utah and Missouri. The Texas Department of
Criminal Justice had to send thirty of its officers in riot gear to regain
control of the prison. A month later two Utah prisoners, one of them a
convicted murderer, escaped from the same facility. A manhunt by state
authorities failed to recapture them. Six other Utah inmates had previously
escaped from facilities run by Dove Development; three were murderers. Last
year the Texas legislature passed a bill that made it illegal for an
offender from any state to escape from a private prison and that held the
owners of such facilities responsible for any public expense stemming from
riots or escapes. Few other states have even attempted to pass legislation
dealing with these issues.

The private companies that now transport thousands of inmates across the
United States every day face even less government oversight than
private-prison companies. Indeed, federal regulations concerning the
interstate shipment of cattle are much stricter than those concerning the
interstate shipment of prisoners. Sheriff's deputies and U.S. marshals have
traditionally been used to pick up inmates in one state and deliver them to
another. During the late 1980s private companies began to offer the same
service for about half the cost. The firms saved money by employing
nonunion guards and making multiple pickups and deliveries on each trip.
Prisoners today may spend as long as a month on the road, visiting dozens
of states, sitting for days in the backs of old station wagons and vans,
locked up alongside defendants awaiting trial and offenders on their way to
prison. Driving one of these transport vehicles is a dangerous job, one
that combines the stresses encountered by correctional officers with those
of long-distance truckers. Moreover, prisoners tend to view their days in
transit as an excellent time to attempt an escape. The turnover rate among
the transport guards and drivers is high; the pay is relatively low; and
training for the job rarely lasts more than a week. As a result, violent
criminals are frequently shipped from state to state in the custody of
people who are ill equipped to deal with them. Local authorities often
don't learn that inmates are passing through their towns until something
goes wrong.

In August of 1996 Rick Carter and Sue Smith, the husband-and-wife operators
of R and S Prisoner Transport, were taking five murderers and a rapist from
Iowa to New Mexico. At a public rest stop in the Texas Panhandle one of the
convicts assaulted Carter on the way to the men's room. The others
overpowered his wife and seized the van. Carter and Smith, who had set off
unarmed, were taken hostage. A passing motorist dialed 911, and the six
inmates were recaptured by Texas police officers after a chase. On July 30
of last year Dennis Patrick Glick -- a convicted rapist, sentenced to two
life terms, who was being transported from Utah to Arkansas -- commandeered
a van owned by the Federal Extradition Agency, a private company. One of
the guards had fallen asleep, and Glick borrowed his gun. Glick took the
guard and seven other inmates hostage in Ordway, Colorado; abandoned the
van; took a local rancher hostage; stole two more vehicles and a horse;
eluded sixty law-enforcement officers through the night; and was captured
the next morning on horseback. In December of last year Homer D. Land, a
prisoner being transported from Kansas to Florida, escaped from a van
operated by TransCor America. The van had stopped at a Burger King in
Owatonna, Minnesota. While one guard went inside and bought eleven
hamburgers, the other guard (who had been a TransCor America employee for
less than a month) opened the van's back doors for ventilation, enabling
Land and two other inmates to get away. Land took a married couple hostage
and spent the night at their house in Owatonna before being recaptured in
Chicago. The same TransCor America van had been commandeered four days
earlier by Whatley Roylene, a prisoner traveling from New Mexico to
Massachusetts and facing charges of murder and armed robbery. At a gas
station in Sterling, Colorado, Roylene grabbed a shotgun from a sleeping
guard. Officers from the Colorado state police and the local sheriff's
department surrounded the van; the standoff ended, according to a local
official, when other prisoners persuaded Roylene to hand over the gun.

THE Bobby Ross Group, based in Austin, Texas, has proved to be one of the
more troubled private-prison companies. The company's founder, Bobby Ross,
was a sheriff in Texas and a successful bed broker before starting his own
business, in 1993. He eventually set up operations at seven Texas
facilities and one Georgia facility, signing contracts to accept inmates
from states including Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and
Virginia. It did not take long for problems to begin. In January of 1996
nearly 500 Colorado inmates, many of them sex offenders, were transferred
to a Bobby Ross facility in Karnes County, Texas; two later escaped, and a
full day passed before state authorities were notified. At the Bobby Ross
prison in Dickens County, Texas, fights broke out between inmates from
Montana and Hawaii that spring. A few months later a protest about the poor
quality of food and medical care turned into a riot, and the warden ordered
guards to shoot live rounds. The warden was replaced.

Montana canceled its contract with the Bobby Ross Group in September of
last year. Three Montana inmates had escaped, and one had been killed by an
inmate from Hawaii. Montana investigators found that many of the inmates at
the Dickens County prison were going hungry and waiting days to see a
doctor. "We really dislike losing a customer," an attorney representing
Bobby Ross said to a reporter. In October an inspector for the Texas
Commission on Jail Standards gave the Dickens County prison the highest
possible ratings. A month later the same inspector acknowledged that in
addition to his official duties he worked as a "consultant" for the Bobby
Ross Group, which paid him $42,000 a year. In December eleven inmates from
Hawaii escaped from their dormitory at the Newton County facility operated
by Bobby Ross, released nearly 300 other inmates, and set fire to one of
the buildings. In February of this year inmates rioted again at Newton and
set fire to the prison commissary. In brighter days, before the riots and
fires, Bobby Ross had explained the usefulness of employing William
Sessions, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as a
"special adviser" to the company. "He goes with us on sales calls to
potential clients," Ross told a reporter for the Colorado paper Westword.
"That kind of thing."

The U.S. Corrections Corporation, for years the nation's third largest
private-prison company, has encountered legal difficulties even more
serious than those of the Bobby Ross Group. In 1993 an investigation by the
Louisville Courier-Journal discovered that the company was using unpaid
prison labor in Kentucky. Inmates were being forced to perform a variety of
jobs, including construction work on nine small buildings at the Lee County
prison; construction work on one church and renovation work on three others
attended by company employees; renovation work on a company employee's
game-room business; painting and maintenance at a country club; and
painting at a private school attended by a prison warden's daughter. The
Courier-Journal concluded that "U.S. Corrections has repeatedly profited
financially from its misuse of inmate labor." Although the state Department
of Corrections confirmed these findings, it took no action against the
company. A year later J. Clifford Todd, the chairman of U.S. Corrections,
pleaded guilty to a federal charge of mail fraud, admitting that he had
paid a total of roughly $200,000 to a county correctional official in
Kentucky. In return for monthly payments, which for four years were
laundered through a California company, the official sent inmates to U.S.
Corrections. Todd cooperated fully with an FBI investigation, but later
became embittered when a federal judge denied his request for a term of
house arrest. The head of the nation's third largest private-prison company
was sentenced to fifteen months in a federal prison.

The nation's second largest private-prison company, Wackenhut Corrections,
has operated with a far greater degree of professionalism and discretion.
Its parent company, the Wackenhut Corporation, has for many years worked
closely with the federal government, performing various sensitive tasks
such as guarding nuclear-weapons facilities and overseas embassies. Indeed,
the company has long been accused of operating as a front for the Central
Intelligence Agency -- an accusation that its founder, George Wackenhut,
has vehemently denied. In the early 1950s Wackenhut quit the FBI, at the
age of thirty-four, and formed a private-security company with three other
former FBI agents. He went on to assemble the nation's largest private
collection of files on alleged "subversives," with dossiers on at least
three million Americans. During the 1970s the Wackenhut Corporation
diversified into strike-breaking and anti-terrorism. The company,
headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has branch offices in
forty-two states and in more than fifty foreign countries. Its annual
revenues exceed $1 billion. George Wackenhut remains the chairman of the
company, but the day-to-day operations are handled by his son, Richard.
Over the years Wackenhut's board of directors has read like a Who's Who of
national security, including a former head of the FBI, a former head of the
Defense Intelligence Agency, a former CIA director, a former CIA deputy
director, a former head of the Secret Service, a former head of the Marine
Corps, and a former Attorney General. After the company decided to enter
the private-prison industry, it hired Norman Carlson, who had headed the
Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Last year Wackenhut Corrections became the first private company ever hired
by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to manage a large facility. The federal
government's long-standing relationship with Wackenhut has developed an odd
equilibrium: one wields the power while the other reaps the financial
rewards. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the current director of the Federal Bureau
of Prisons, is responsible for the supervision of about 115,000 inmates,
including drug lords, international terrorists, and organized-crime
leaders. Her salary last year was $125,900. George C. Zoley, the chief
executive officer of Wackenhut Corrections, is responsible for the
supervision of about 25,000 state and federal inmates, mostly illegal
aliens, low-level drug offenders, petty thieves, and parole violators. His
salary last year was $366,000 -- plus a bonus of $122,500, plus a
stock-option grant of 20,000 shares. At least half a dozen other executives
at Wackenhut Corrections were paid more last year than the head of the
Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Corrections Corporation of America is the nation's largest
private-prison company; it recently participated in a buyout of the U.S.
Corrections Corporation, thereby obtaining several thousand additional
inmates. CCA was founded in 1983 by Thomas W. Beasley and Doctor R. Crants,
Nashville businessmen with little previous experience in corrections.
Beasley, a former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, later told
Inc. magazine his strategy for promoting the concept of private prisons:
"You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or
hamburgers." Beasley and Crants recruited a former director of the Virginia
Department of Corrections to help run the company. In 1984 CCA accepted its
first Texas inmates, before it had a completed facility in that state. The
inmates were housed in rented motel rooms; a number of them pushed the
air-conditioning units out of the wall and escaped. A year later Beasley
approached his good friend Lamar Alexander, the governor of Tennessee, with
an extraordinary proposal: CCA would buy the state's entire prison system
for $250 million. Alexander supported the idea, saying, "We don't need to
be afraid in America of people who want to make a profit." His wife, Honey,
and the speaker of the Tennessee House, Ned McWherter, were among CCA's
early investors; between them the two had owned 1.5 percent of CCA's stock;
they sold their shares to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.
Nevertheless, the CCA plan was blocked by the Democratic majority in the

CCA expanded nationwide over the next decade, winning contracts to house
more than 40,000 inmates and assembling the sixth largest prison system in
the United States; but it never lost the desire to take over all the
prisons in Tennessee. In order to achieve that goal, CCA executives
established personal and financial links with figures in both political
parties. During the spring of last year CCA's allies in the Tennessee
legislature began once again to push for privatization. Crants said that
letting CCA run the prisons would save the state up to $100 million a year;
he did not specify how these dramatic savings would be achieved. George
Zoley, the head of Wackenhut Corrections, argued that handing over the
Tennessee prison system to a single company would simply turn a state
monopoly into a private one. Wackenhut employed the law firm of the former
U.S. senator Howard Baker to lobby on its behalf, seeking a piece of the

By February of this year a compromise of sorts had emerged in Tennessee.
New legislation proposed shifting as much as 70 percent of the state's
inmate population to the private sector; CCA and Wackenhut would both get a
chance to bid for prison contracts. The new privatization bill seemed a
sure thing. It was never put before the legislature for a vote, however. On
April 20 CCA announced plans for a corporate restructuring so complex in
its details that many Wall Street analysts began to wonder about the
company's financial health. The price of CCA stock -- which in recent years
had been one of the nation's top performers -- began to plummet, declining
in value by 25 percent over the next several days. At the annual CCA
shareholders meeting, last May, Crants compared Wall Street investors to
"wildebeests" stampeding out of fear, and blamed the stock's plunge on a
single broker who had sold 640,000 shares.

Crants neglected to tell CCA shareholders a crucial bit of information: he
himself had sold 200,000 shares of CCA stock just weeks before the
announcement that sent its value tumbling. By selling his stock on March 2,
Crants had avoided a loss of more than $2.5 million. When asked recently to
explain his CCA financial dealings, Crants declined to comment. The timing
and the size of that stock transaction are likely to be of interest to the
attorneys who have filed more than half a dozen lawsuits on behalf of CCA

Although conservatives have long worried about the loss of American
sovereignty to international agencies such as the United Nations and the
World Bank, the globalization of private-prison companies has thus far
eluded criticism. A British private-prison company, Securicor, operates two
facilities in Florida. Wackenhut Corrections is now under contract to
operate Doncaster prison, in England; three prisons in Australia; and a
prison in Scotland. It is actively seeking prison contracts in South
Africa. CCA has received a good deal of publicity lately, but few of the
articles about it have mentioned that the largest shareholder of America's
largest private-prison company is Sodexho Alliance -- a food-service
conglomerate whose corporate headquarters are in Paris.
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Checked-by: Richard Lake