GEO Group

Humpday Hall of Shame: High Point, NC Planning & Zoning Commission

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 Hall of Shame inductee is the Planning & Zoning Commission in High Point, NC.  Last night its members had an opportunity to halt The GEO Group from building a for-profit facility for the mentally ill in the criminal justice system.   A rezoning motion (Zoning Case 11-16) would have halted the troubled private prison corporation’s proposed forensic psychiatric hospital at the U.S. 311 and Greensboro Road interchange.

The commission issued a unanimous recommendation opposed to a City Council request to rezone the Evergreens Senior Health Care property, a request by the Council that would have prevented industrial use and block the facility.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Rick Scott

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

According to the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, the Sunshine State has seen a significant drop in crime over the past decade; violent crime by 

41% and property crime by 46%. And during this period of plummeting crime rates, the number of incarcerated rose from 47,012 in 1992 to 98,192 in 2008 and in June of 2010 there were 102,232 in custody in Florida’s 144 prison facilities. Approximately 8% of the prison population was housed in the state’s for-profit facilities at a cost to the taxpayer of approximately $133 million a year.

Florida Governor Rick Scott received generous contributions from the private prison industry.  The GEO Group contributed $400,000 to GOP candidates in the 2010 election cycle and the maximum $25,000 to the Governor’s Inaugural Fund.  In fact, politicians in Florida received nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from private prison corporations in that time frame. The Governor appointed top lobbyist, Brian Ballard, who works for both The GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America, to his Inaugural Fund and Ballard reciprocated by raising $3million for the event.  Ballard has hosted fundraisers at his home where Governor Scott was the guest of honor.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Arizona's John Kavanagh

Welcome to The Humpday Hall of Shame - every Wednesday we'll be high-lighting  the private prison industry's influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

Our inaugural Hall of Shame inductee is Arizona State Representative John Kavanagh.  Kavanagh is the Chair of the powerful Arizona House Appropriations Committee and outgoing Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which earlier this year approved an RFP for 5,000 new private prison beds in Arizona.  Kavanagh also appeared on Arizona Public Television recently debating in favor of privatization.

And, guess what?  Kavanagh has deep ties to the private prison industry!  Some of those ties are to private prison corporation GEO Group, according to a story at the Tuscon Citizen ("Arizona’s Private Prison Pay-To-Play Scandal Widens: Chair of House Appropriations Committee Appropriated by Geo Group," July 20).  Read an excerpt from the article after the jump.

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