GEO Group

It's Elementary: The Cost of Immigration Detention Doesn't Add Up

This week, National Immigration Forum posted their report, The Math of Immigration Detention: Runaway Costs for Immigration Detention Do Not Add Up to Sensible Policies, examining the cost to taxpayers of detaining immigrants, the majority of whom have no criminal record.  Additionally, the report highlights how the private for-profit prison industry stands to gain the most from the growing number of immigrants in detention facilities.   

The report paints a clear picture of the exorbitant amount of money the federal government continues to spend on detaining hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year, while funding allocated for alternatives to detention, which would keep immigrants in their communities with their families, remains dwarfed in comparison to detention.  

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GEO Group Celebrating Its Independence... Oh, the Irony!

The latest issue of Geo World, private prison corporation GEO Group’s quarterly magazine for it’s employees, is dedicated to celebrating the private prison company’s “10-year anniversary of its independence,” or its transition from a corporate subsidiary of Wackenhut Corrections Company to an independent corporation.  The magazine touts their Employees of the Year and various international & community services. 

A corporation that reaps billions from caging human beings is celebrating independence... oh, the irony! Here are just some examples of why we believe that ten years of GEO Group and profiting from imprisonment is nothing to celebrate:

  • Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility - GEO Group has been implicated in the serious mistreatment of young people at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Mississippi, which Federal Judge Carlton Reeves called a “cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts.” A report released by the Justice Department describing conditions at the facility included prison staff having sex with incarcerated youth, in addition to brutal beatings and excessive use of pepper spray by poorly trained guards among others.

 

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GEO Group lauds industry-funded study, Ohioans deserve all the facts

A guest column, Privately run prisons offer value to Ohio, ran in the Toledo based paper, The Blade, on Monday.  The authors, economic professors from Temple University, Simon Hakim and Erwin Blackstone, point to findings from their recent study to argue that private for-profit prisons are “proven solutions that deserve a second look” from state governments.  GEO Group, the nation’s second largest private prison operator, posted the piece on their website and lauded the study’s findings on twitter.  

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Secret's Out: McAllen, TX Seeking New Private Prison

UPDATE:  There will be a public forum at McAllen City Hall on WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 11th at 5:30 PM for the residents of McAllen, TX to voice their views on the construction of a new private prison!  Click here to see details, sign the petition, and find out what you can do to make your voice heard.

This week, we learned that McAllen, TX has been keeping a dirty secret.  Located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, the city plans to publish a formal request for qualifications this week from private prison operators willing to build a new 1,000-bed lock-up.  The new prison would house federal prisoners for the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) under an existing agreement with the city. 

McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said, “There’s a great need to have their prisoners held in a facility that’s local.” Currently, the federal government pays McAllen $52 a day per prisoner housed at the Public Safety Building, located blocks from the courthouse, but only capable of housing 30 prisoners. USMS transports prisoners from private prisons in Laredo and La Villa to McAllen for court hearings, described as the cause of “logistical headaches” for the Marshals Service.  Under the new deal, the private prison operator would pay the city of McAllen to house prisoners, but that amount is still being negotiated.  The location of the new prison is also yet to be determined.

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GEO Group Stadium is no more!

Instead of our usual Humpday Hall of Shame post, we have good news to report this week: yesterday, GEO Group announced that it would no longer be buying the naming rights to Florida Atlantic University’s new football stadium.  In February, we covered an arranement between GEO Group and FAU in which GEO would pay six million dollars over twelve years in exchange for its logo emblazoned across the stadium.  University president Mary Jane Saunders faced immediate backlash from her own students, as well as organizations and individuals across the country.  Over 70,000 people signed petitions online and Grassroots Leadership helped organize 60 organizations to sign on to a public letter to Saunders and the FAU Board of Trustees (circulated by Grassroots Leadership).  Even FAU's faculty senate condemned the deal.

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A Double Dose of Privatization Pitfalls

A prison physician – Dr. Mark E. Walden - has been accused of sexually abusing at least 25 men incarcerated at two separate private prisons in New Mexico.  Alleged abuses began in 2010 and include excessive and inappropriate digital anal penetration and probing during examinations, according to lawsuits.  

The allegations against Walden point to a double dose of privatization gone amuck.  [node:read-more:link]

What Schools are Promoting Private Prisons?

Last week, the announcement that GEO Group had bought the naming rights to Florida Atlantic University’s new football stadium set off a firestorm.  The for-profit private prison corporation’s $6 million donation to the school is shocking, but its ties to FAU go back much further; CEO George Foley isn’t just an alum, he’s also a former chair of the FAU Board of Trustees and member of the Foundation board of directors.  He even served chair of the Presidential Search Committee that hired Mary Jo Saunders, who has been quoted calling GEO Group “a wonderful company” and that she is “very proud to partner with them.”

This incidence of crossover between the for-profit private prison industry and schools is not unique – both GEO Group and CCA have close ties to universities.  In this Humpday Post we'll look into a few other universities elevating and validating the private prison industry.

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Students Protest Naming Stadium After GEO Group, FAU President Agrees to Public Meeting

Private prison industry giant GEO Group has promised a $6 million gift to Florida Atlantic University in exchange for naming rights to their new football stadium. Yes, the GEO Group logo will plague the school’s stadium building for at least the next 12 years...

Or will it?  

Interesting move for a for-profit prison company whose track record is marred with abuse and inadequate medical care among other human rights violations.  Up until the announcement Tuesday, GEO Group ran their prison business largely under the public radar.  Just three days later, however, the controversial deal has been covered by numerous news outlets from the Huffington Post to the New York Times (who quoted Grassroots Leadership’s very own Bob Libal), two petitions -- from the DREAM Activists and Beyond Bars -- are circulating the web, one with over 9,000 signatures, FAU students organized a protest, and even Stephen Colbert weighed in on his Comedy Central show. [node:read-more:link]

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