GEO Group

Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Group aims for take-over of Texas state hospital

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

In Texas, where both incarceration and immigrant detention rates soar, we’re accustomed to scrutinizing the state’s privatization efforts of these facilities.  However, there’s a new trend afoot in our state; privatizing state mental health facilities under the guise of cost savings to taxpayers, and Texas is turning over control of these facilities to companies that run for-profit prisons to provide care and safety to our state’s mentally ill population.

The state is currently considering a bid to privatize a state-run psychiatric facility by GEO Care, who promises to save the state millions of dollars a year.  

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Idaho set to send prisoners out-of-state again?

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week we return to Idaho, a familiar location for the Humpday Hall of Shame.  Back in April, we reported that Idaho, despite a long run of horror stories and lawsuits involving private prison corporations, continues to contract with private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).   CCA operates the Idaho Correctional Center, a facility with a reputation so violent that it has earned the nickname “Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

Now, Idaho is looking to export prisoners to a CCA prison in Colorado.  See more from an AP article after the jump.

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Who's pushing private prisons in New Hampshire?

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

For today's Humpday Hall of Shame, we go back to New Hampshire to look at who is being paid to push private prisons in the "Live Free or Die State."  They include the current mayor of Concord and several well-connected lobbyists.

According the New Hampshire Business Review, the current Request for Proposals to privatize the state's entire prison system would reach historic proportions:

"Will New Hampshire become the first state in the nation to hand over its entire prison population to a corporation based out of state? And is it in the middle of doing so right now?  The New Hampshire Department of Corrections has put out a request for proposal that would essentially hand over the keys to a future penitentiary to an outside contractor for 20 years. Though the RFP still has to clear several hurdles, four companies have responded with plans to build, and probably run, a new prison for all of New Hampshire's male (and perhaps female) inmates."  ("Proposal under review would put all New Hampshire prisoners in private, for-profit facilities -- the first state to do so," April 6) [node:read-more:link]

Idaho's "Gladiator School" problems & history of private prison abuses

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This is the first in a two-part piece on the history of the State of Idaho's contracting with private prison corporations.

Idaho, despite a long run of horror stories and lawsuits involving private prison corporations, continues to contract with private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America.  Here's the latest story:

"Guards at a private prison instigated - and watched - a gang fight that left him brutally beaten and unconscious, says a man who claims that Corrections Corporation of America guards "foster" brutality between inmates, and conceal injuries in the prison's "in-house" medical center. Jacob Clevenger sued Corrections Corporation of America, CCA Western Properties, and Philip Valdez, warden of the CCA's Idaho Correctional Center, in Federal Court." ("Brutality alleged at private prison," Courthouse News, March 26)

As we reported in November, Clevenger's accusations are not the first at the Idaho Correctional Center.  In fact, the facility has a reputation as being one of the most violent correctional facilities in the nation, earning its nickname “The Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

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“Whack-A-Mole” in Michigan

Keeping up with the goings-on of the private prison industry is like playing “Whack-a-Mole.” Every time you smack down a proposed prison, another one pops up elsewhere, like the pesky critter in the old carnival game. Just a few weeks ago, an extraordinary coalition of people of faith joined with labor, and civil and human rights groups to expose Florida’s hasty attempt to deliver more than two-dozen, publicly-run prisons into the hands of the private prison corporations.  It would have been the largest mass prison privatization in the history of the nation.  But on-the-ground pressure coupled with solid research and data helped move the issue. The bill was eventually defeated by just two votes.

These past few weeks the for-profit prison industry has its sights on Michigan.  The Michigan House of Representatives is considering bills HB 5174 and HB 5177 to reopen a youth correctional facility in order to house adult inmates. The North Lake Facility for Youth, or Baldwin facility, was opened in 1998 by Wackenhut Corrections Corporation – now know as The GEO Group shuttered the facility in 2005.  GEO, in a speculative move with high hopes of filling the prison with Californians, expanded the prison from less than 500 to about 2400 beds. The expected California contract did not fully materialize and the GEO Group’s Lake County facility, dubbed the ‘punk prison’, stood empty for some years.  See more about Wackenhut/GEO Group’s atrocious track record at the youth facility after the jump.

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An Eye on Crete

Just a few years ago, as Illinois folks scratched their heads about a privatized Chicago Skyway, for-profit parking meters, parking lots and more, there was real confidence that even though the move towards privatization was strong, prisons and detention centers would be safe because of the Private Correctional Facility Moratorium Act.

In 1990, the State of Illinois, with bi-partisan support, banned most privately run detention centers and prisons through the Moratorium Act.  The law has kept private prison giants Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group out of the Land of Lincoln.  Read some of the text of that bill (730 ILCS 140/2) (from Ch. 38, par. 1582) after the jump.

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Bi-partisan support kills prison privatization sweetheart deal in Florida

On Valentine's Day the Florida state Senate killed Senate Bill 2038: Privatization of Correctional Facilities, which would have instigated the largest mass privatization of prisons in the nation's history. Private corrections corporations gave Florida lawmakers almost $900,000 in the last campaign cycle. Florida lawmakers pulled out all the stops - trying to bypass both public and media scrutiny - to get it passed. In an extraordinary move, nine Republicans broke ranks, defied their leadership and joined with their Democratic colleagues to stop the bill.

SB 2038 was fast tracked through the Senate. Despite powerful testimony against the bill in the Rules Committee, it was rushed through to the Budget Committee - circumventing the committees that would ask the hard questions about this legislation.  Senate President Mike Haridopolos thought he had the votes he needed.  But a second reading saw a handful from his own party questioning the bill.  And it all fell apart.

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Florida’s Ongoing Privatization Saga - Call in the Clergy?

During the temporary postponement of SB 2038 Privatization of Correctional Facilities we see a once smug Senate President, Haridopolos, scrambling for support.  After trying to fast-track a vote on what would become the largest prison privatization move in the nation, its supporters are scrounging for the 21 senate votes it needs to deliver to the multi-million-dollar private prison corporations what they had promised.

The senate president fired Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, from his chairmanship of the budget panel in charge of prisons because Fasano dared to suggest an amendment that would require real study and real thought. Oh, and he publicly stated that privatizing was a payback to GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America.  And, he called Haridopolos a bully.

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Which Republican Candidates Do Private Prison Corporations Support?

Welcome to the Humpday Hall of Shame – every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

With the political world buzzing with Iowa caucus results, we thought we'd explore which Republican presidential candidates had received campaign contributions from private prison corporations.  See what we found after the jump, via data obtained at TransparancyData.com.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Federal Budget Gives Private Prison Corporations a Merry Christmas

Welcome to the Humpday Hall of Shame – every Wednesday we’ll highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week's inductee is the United States Congress.  Even as lawmakers have been unable to extend a payroll tax break for working Americans and unemployment insurance for those out of work, they have been able to provide a benefit for one group this holiday season - private prison corporations that benefit from the detention of immigrants.

Last Saturday, December 17th, Congress agreed on funding for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2012.  While the measure actually reduces overall spending by the department by $111 million, it increases Immigration and Customs Enforcement's by more than $50 million from Fiscal Year 2011.  The increase includes an allocation for 34,000 daily immigration detention beds, up from 33,400 last year.  After the jump, see how the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services puts it in a recent press release.

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