(Charlotte, NC) --- Residents of High Point, North Carolina, can sleep easier tonight, knowing that a facility for mentally ill persons - including those charged with violent crimes - will not be privately run by the troubled GEO Group, a for-profit prison corporation. As recently as last week, Florida-based GEO Care (a component of the GEO Group) had been in negotiations with North Carolina's Health and Human Services to convert the former Evergreens site into a 90-bed mental health hospital. But yesterday GEO Care announced that it would no longer pursue the contract after the Department of Health and Human Services turned down their proposal.
"The nature of this forensic psychiatric facility, which includes housing and treating mentally ill persons charged with serious crimes - or persons too ill to be tried - makes GEO a particularly poor choice of partner, with its checkered history and substandard practices," said Grassroots Leadership Executive Director, Donna Red Wing.
GEO Care submitted the only proposal to the state. The facility would have housed patients currently living at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, which is scheduled to close. In its bid to build in High Point, GEO Care encountered opposition from some members of the High Point City Council, who felt that the facility was not an appropriate use of the property. A move in December to rezone the property to prevent it from becoming a health facility failed after it was opposed by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
"This is a victory for patients and local residents alike," said Red Wing. "Correctional facilities of this nature require the kind of care and security that only a responsible public entity can provide - not a corporate venture where the eye is always on the bottom line, rather than the health and safety of the community."
Donna Red Wing
Mobile: 303-818-2820, Office: 704-332-3090, ext 1