Journalist arrested in Winn Parish
James West, a reporter for newsmagazine Mother Jones, was arrested by the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office on Friday, March 13, for allegedly trespassing on C.C.A. property.
Story by: Charles Crain
Editor, Winn Parish Enterprise
[Update; 3/17/15, 3:46 p.m.] It has been revealed that a CCA employee who did not appear for work on Monday morning following this arrest officially resigned this morning. The employee is believed to also have been a reporter for the Mother Jones newsmagazine. The Enterprise has been contacted by CCA's main office in Nashville, TN., but an official statement from them has not been released.
A reporter for a San Francisco-based international publication was arrested in Winn Parish over the weekend for trespassing on Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) property in Gum Springs.
Thirty-three year-old James West, originally from Australia, but who had been staying in an apartment on Sibley Lake in Natchitoches, spent the night in the Winn Parish Jail following his arrest on Friday, March 13. The only identification in West’s possession was an Australian driver’s license, and he was driving a rented car with Texas license plates.
Guards at the Winn Parish Correctional Center saw the light from his cell phone, but he drove off in his car when he saw them approach. The Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted, and he was pulled over after they set up a perimeter around the grounds.
His license noted an address in New South Wales, Australia, but it is believed that he was here on assignment from New York.
He reportedly had a camera-carrying drone in his possession.
West is believed to have arrived in the area on Sunday, March 8. A few days before his arrest he had reportedly stuck his vehicle in the woods behind the prison facility and had to get a wrecker to get unstuck.
His arrest around the prison drew the interest of the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Police, Homeland Security and the FBI.
The Winn Correctional Center is a 1,538 capacity facility housing a male population for the State of Louisiana. It is managed by CCA, which manages facilities in 20 states throughout the U.S.
West is a senior producer for Mother Jones, named after a woman who fought for the underdog. The publication is under the flagship of the Foundation for National Progress and is a 501 (c) (3), nonprofit and has a readership of over 200,000.
West made bond and was released on Saturday afternoon.