Congratulations, GEO! You've been given another honorable mention in our Humpday Hall of Shame!
According to the Digital Journal, Healthyroads Incorporated awarded the Fit Company Award to the GEO Group because of their "GEO-fit-for-life" program, run through... you guessed it... Healthyroads Incorporated.
Stephen V. Fuller, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at GEO, spoke favorably of the fitness program: "Thanks to our wellness program, employees are getting more exercise and eating better...More importantly, though, they're enjoying themselves and building camaraderie in the process, which is what will lead to better relationships and lifelong healthy lifestyle changes."
Ironically enough, GEO has a horrific track record of abuse, neglect and retaliation of people locked up in their for-profit private prisons and detention centers.
GEO's rap sheet includes sexual assault; violating detained mens' human rights by retaliating during hunger strikes at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, TX and the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA; and endangering patients' lives at the Montgomery County Mental Health Treatment Facility.
Workers don't necessarily benefit from working in private prisons either. GEO employees also went on strike in 2011, at the GEO-operated South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall, where union members alleged there hadn't been a pay raise in six years.
In addition, James Austin's study, "Emerging Issues on Private Prisons," claims that private prisons only offer a slight cost benefit, which is achieved through staffing cuts and reducing other labor costs, such as benefits. Having your pay and benefits cut obviously impacts health for private prison gaurds but there's more. They are also at greater risk of violence in privately run facilities. The study claims:
Privately operated facilities have a significantly lower staffing level than publicly operated prisons and lack MIS support.They also report a significantly higher rate of assaults on staff and inmates.
For all its supposed concern about the health and well-being of its employees, GEO does not seem at all bothered by the suffering and ill health suffered by the people in their custody, or working in their facilities. While GEO employees are allegedly working out, munching on healthy snacks and "building camraderie," let's not forget that the entire purpose of their operations is to profit from the mass incarceration of human beings.
So shame on you, GEO for pretending like you care about anyone's well-being, and shame on you, Healthyroads Incorporated, for recognizing this company for anything other than being the world's leading jailer. Y'all deserve each other.