"Why would the state continue to award companies with an incredibly troubled record like GEO's?," asked Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a group that opposes private prisons. "I think one answer is that Geo has spent millions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying over the last several years. That lobbying power pays off when you have riders that explicitly benefit the company." Read more about Behind the Private Prison Company That May Take Over Kerrville State Hospital
Grassroots Leadership In The News
“These policies have led to the point where about half of federal prisoners are now Latino,” said Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, who authored “Operation Streamline: Costs and Consequences,” a report released on Wednesday. [...]
Since Streamline began in 2005, the federal government has spent $5.5 billion incarcerating undocumented immigrants, according to the Grassroots Leadership report. That money is funneled into private profits. Read more about Advocates Want Halt to Expansion Of Private Prisons For Non-Citizens
The coalition, which includes Justice Strategies, the ACLU of Texas, Grassroots Leadership and the Sentencing Project, argued that “petty immigration violations” are sending more Latinos to prisons where they face “poor management, lack of medical care, prolonged lockdown and human rights violations.”
(also ran in the Tuscon Sentinel and Utne) Read more about Advocacy Groups Target Private Prisons for Immigrants
Bob Libal, a member of a group called Grassroots Leadership, said in a press release, “I think that the GEO Care record in Florida, where the three deaths occurred, and in Montgomery County, where GEO Care is currently being fined by DSHS for lack of quality patient care, has already shown itself to be similar to what we’ve seen in the GEO correctional facilities.”
Grassroots Leadership is a nonprofit fighting to end the for-profit prison industry and is part of the coalition opposing GEO’s Kerrville bid. The coalition includes groups from the Texas ACLU to a board of the United Methodist Church. Their position is that hiring GEO to run that facility, while being proposed as a cost-saving move, could carry a high cost, not only in patient suffering but also in taxpayer dollars, in the long run. Read more about Low-Bidding Mental Illness: The company that brought us deadly private prisons wants to run Kerrville State Hospital.
“When private, for-profit companies bid on contracts to privatize public facilities like Kerrville State Hospital, they often promise to save the tax-payer money, which is enticing to a state like Texas that continues to face a serious budget crisis,” said Kymberlie Quong Charles of Grassroots Leadership. “But that promise is in conflict with their first priority of making a profit. They may be able to cut their operating budget, but at the cost of peoples’ jobs and patients’ safety.” Read more about Private Prison Company’s New Profit Source: Mental Health
"The Geo Group has a long and troubled history in Texas," said Bob Libal, whose organization, Grassroots Leadership, signed the letter along with groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Disability Rights Texas, Texas NAACP, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the United Methodist Church.
(originally ran in the Texas Tribune) Read more about Advocacy groups blast privatization plan for state psych hospital