GEO Group

May 4, 2015
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CQ Roll Call

Republicans Bedcheck an Immigration Detention Program

A House lawmaker says he expects the Obama administration to find enough illegal immigrants to fill the detention beds Congress funds — or face budgetary consequences.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, says the administration is confused in its interpretation of  a law (PL 114-4) that funds 34,000 beds for those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Culberson says the agency is required to fill the beds, not just have them on hand.

If ICE keeps falling short of the quota, Congress will use its power of the purse to push changes, he told CQ RollCall in an interview.

...

Meanwhile, legal advocacy groups are making the case that immigrants shouldn't be imprisoned for minor civil infractions. They're protesting private prison companies they say lobby for policies that over-criminalize immigrants.

Grassroots Leadership, a social justice group that opposes for-profit incarceration, says ICE's two largest private prison contractors – Geo Group Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America – were major supporters of increases to the detention bed quota, which was first written into law in 2010.

Since then, the two companies have increased their share in the immigration detention system, now operating eight of the 10 largest detention centers and 72 percent of the privately contracted ICE beds, according to a recent report by Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]

Over 100 Private Prison Protestors Converge at GEO Group’s Shareholder Meeting

Boca Raton, FL – Today, over 100 people from across the country joined a protest outside the GEO Group’s annual shareholder meeting at the Boca Resort and Club. GEO, a private company, bills itself as the “largest provider of correctional services in the world.” Groups participating in the protest included the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) from Lake Worth, Florida and the Austin, Texas-based Grassroots Leadership.
 
HRDC associate director Alex Friedmann, an activist shareholder who owns a small number of shares of GEO Group stock, attended the meeting. When he asked about recent reports of hunger strikes by immigrant women held at the GEO Group-operated Karnes County Family Detention Center in Texas, he was informed by a GEO executive that there was no hunger strike; rather, he said it was a “boycott of dining facilities” at the detention facility.
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Apr 28, 2015
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The Washington Post PostEverything

How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about

There’s even a lockup quota at the federal level: The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention budget includes a mandate from Congress that at least 34,000 immigrants remain detained on a daily basis, a quota that has steadily grown each year, even as the undocumented immigrant population in the United States has leveled off. Private prisons have profited handsomely from that policy, owning nine of the 10 largest ICE detention centers, according to a report released this month by Grassroots Leadership.

With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit. [node:read-more:link]

Apr 14, 2015
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Huffington Post

Mothers Launch A Second Hunger Strike At Karnes City Family Detention Center

"...Some activists view the private prison industry as partly responsible for the growth of family immigrant detention. The country’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, operates the newly constructed, 2,400-bed family detention center in Dilley, Texas. The second-largest private prison company, GEO Group, runs the 500-bed facility at Karnes City.

Christina Parker [sic], the immigrant programs director at the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, said Tuesday that letting private companies run detention centers only creates an incentive to lock up more migrants.

'Every bed and every crib represents more profits for them,' Parker said." [node:read-more:link]

Apr 14, 2015
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Houston Chronicle

Hunger strike by undocumented women at Texas detention facility

"...According to Abdollahi and Cristina Parker, a coordinator with Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, this is the second hunger strike at the Karnes facility because a group of almost 80 women started one in the week that started on Monday March 30th that lasted almost one week.

However, ICE denied in a statement there was a hunger strike at the detention center and said that allegation is 'false.'" [node:read-more:link]

Apr 10, 2015
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Southern Studies

Immigrant mothers held in private detention facility in Texas threaten to renew hunger strike

"Individual women have shared their experiences at Karnes in letters posted to the website of the End Family Detention advocacy network. One woman who has been held there since the facility was converted into a family detention center last August wrote that her daughter wasn't eating and was losing weight. She was also worried about unsuitable drinking water at the center, which is located in an area where thousands of oil and gas wells have been drilled, but didn't have enough money to buy water from the store. Colorlines reported that the women are paid $3 a day to work at the facility -- the price of a single bottle of water.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokespeople have denied being aware of a hunger strike at the center. However, advocates in contact with the detainees reported that the women experienced retaliation from guards and ICE officials in response to the protest. Three women and their children were even locked in an unlit room in the medical infirmary on the first day of the strike. Mothers were also threatened with separation from their children and with deportations. Such threats are routinely made in the facility in response to issues like children's misbehavior but increased during the strike, according to Cristina Parker withGrassroots Leadership, a nonprofit that advocates for the abolition of private prisons." [node:read-more:link]

While mothers and children languish in detention, private prison companies reveal million dollar compensations for top executives

Private prison companies GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) recently released proxy materials revealing million dollar compensations for their top executives. Both documents included charts that reflected salary figures, stock awards, option awards, among various other means of monetary compensation. [node:read-more:link]

Grassroots Leadership's roots in prison divestment, Part I: Kymberlie's story

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s students across the U.S. and Canada kicked off a student-led movement against prison profiteering and the Prison-Industrial Complex more broadly.  By coincidence, long before the trajectory of their professional lives as advocates against our country’s over-reliance on criminalization and immigration detention was clear, two Grassroots Leadership staff members got their organizing feet wet as participants in their respective campus’ campaigns to end university contracts that facilitated prison profiteering,    

We release this three-part series now to harken back to our own roots in the struggle(s) for true justice, and to spotlight the re-emergence of a flourishing prison divestment movement in which students, again, are playing  a central role.  It is in this context that Grassroots Leadership and our long-time partner Enlace, are anchoring major national actions against CCA and the GEO Group, the country’s largest private prison companies, in May 2015.  We hope  that this series will elucidate the historic power that individuals have had on challenging the for-profit prison industry, and to compel participation in the exciting events on the horizon.

Kymberlie's Story, Earlham College, Class of ‘02

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