GEO Group

Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Rewarded for being a "Fit Company" while detainees starve in hunger strikes

Congratulations, GEO! You've been given another honorable mention in our Humpday Hall of Shame! 

According to the Digital Journal, Healthyroads Incorporated awarded the Fit Company Award to the GEO Group because of their "GEO-fit-for-life" program, run through... you guessed it... Healthyroads Incorporated

Stephen V. Fuller, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at GEO, spoke favorably of the fitness program: "Thanks to our wellness program, employees are getting more exercise and eating better...More importantly, though, they're enjoying themselves and building camaraderie in the process, which is what will lead to better relationships and lifelong healthy lifestyle changes."

Ironically enough, GEO has a horrific track record of abuse, neglect and retaliation of people locked up in their for-profit private prisons and detention centers.

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Northwest Detention Center hunger strike ends: "TO ALL OF YOU, THANK YOU FOR NOT LEAVING US ALONE"

After 56 days, the hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, operated by the GEO Group, has come to an end. This strike inspired the hunger strike at Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas, which lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to retaliate against the strikers

The Tacoma strike began on March 7 and the men, who now call themselves the "Collective of NWDC-T Detainees" announced on May 1 that they were ending the hunger strike. In so doing, the Collective also issued a letter to their supporters, titled "Assessment of one phase of struggle," which recounts ICE's retaliation exacted upon strike participants. The Collective maintains its committment to its goal, including an end to deportations and for President Barack Obama to take action. Roughly 1200 men participated in the strike. 

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Part 2 of KSAT-San Antonio exposé follows the private prison money trail

On Friday, KSAT – San Antonio ran Corportations profit from immigration system, part two of reporter Steve Spriester’s Defender’s Investigation into the shady practices of private prison corporations. Spriester’s exposé – which featured Grassroots Leadership Executive Director Bob Libal – revealed the way in which private prison corporations strategically pour money into campaign contribution and lobbying efforts that will produce benefits for their bottom line by ensuring a large and steady flow of detainees.

As Spreister put it, “A stalemate on immigration reform in this country is very good for their business.”

Added Libal, "They're banking on there being a steady and increasing number of immigrants behind bars."

 

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Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Doesn't Make Enough Money?!

Congratulations, it's a tie! Today's Humpday Hall of Shame award goes to the GEO Group and Rep. John Kavanagh.  

Last Friday, Arizona House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Kavanagh allegedly wrote an additional $900,000 into the Arizona budget the for-profit prison corporation. Kavanagh maintains that GEO Group lobbyists requested the money, but Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Doug Nick, however, claims that no additional funding was requested for GEO. 

Such a deal perhaps should not come a surprise, since Kavanagh apparently received six campaign contributions from GEO during the last election cycle. In fact, GEO CEO George Zoley, senior vice presidents Thomas Wierdsma, John Bulfin, Jorge Dominicis, and Stephen Fuller, and employee James Black all donated the maximum individual donation amount, $424, between June 29 and and July 9, 2012. Kristin Boilini and and Nicholas Simonetta, two lobbyists for GEO's lobbying firm Pivotal Policy Consulting, also donated to Kavanagh during that time. 

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Humpday Hall of Shame: De-coding prison profiteering

Despite a combined revenue of more than $3.2 billion in 2012, private prison companies like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) are typically careful not to highlight the fact that they exist to make a profit.  But, regardless of what their PR teams may lead you to believe, these companies have business models that rest on perverse incentives — the more people they incarcerate the stronger their bottom line. [node:read-more:link]

GEO Group Bankrolls Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar

Principle number four of the Public Safety and Justice Campaign, a national coalition for which Grassroots Leadership provides coordination, reads:

Public safety and justice can only be achieved when criminal justice policy is free of corporate influence and expressly intends to enhance the public good.

 

Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat representing a large chunk of Texas’ border with Mexico, provides a prime and disappointing example of the consequences of allowing the for-profit private prison industry to lobby and financially contribute to political campaigns.  

 

Cuellar’s 28th district is literally on the front lines of the national debate on “comprehensive immigration reform” and “border security”. In our report Operation Streamline: Costs and Consequences, the Southern District of Texas' federal court system, which includes part of the 28th Congressional district, topped the list of prosecutions for entering the country without authorization. The Southern Districted trailed only Arizona for felony prosecutions of re-entering the country, with more than 4,800 felony convictions for the crime. Needless to say, the conclusion of these debates and subsequent policies will have a significant impact on the residents of Cuellar’s district, both documented and undocumented, and on the Congressman’s own reputation.   

 

At first glance, Cuellar’s reputation appears to be a mixed bag.  He voted against building a fence along the U.S./Mexico border, and he does not support the Minutemen Project, a volunteer-based movement of civilians taking on surveillance of the border region, claiming to do what they believe ought to be the duty of the Federal Government.  He was also a champion of the aforementioned Operation Streamline, the 2005 policy that funnels immigrants into the federal criminal justice system to be prosecuted for entry or re-entry without authorization which will be expanded under the immigration bill currently in play.  Grassroots Leadership has critiqued Operation Streamline heavily, in large part because when the number of prosecutions of these two crimes increases, such as they have in the Southern District, for-profit private prison companies benefit substantially.  

 

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Victory - McAllen, TX City Commission Rejects Proposal to Build a New Private Prison!

 

Grassroots Leadership and our allies are celebrating today as the McAllen, TX City Commission has rejected for-profit prison company GEO Group’s proposal to build a new private prison for immigrants!  

In July, we caught wind that the city planned to seek a private contractor to build and operate a new 1,000-bed facility under their existing contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.  In doing so, the city would have not only contributed to the expansion of an industry that reaps billions from incarcerating human beings, but also the rising trend of profiteering from the criminalization of migrants under Operation Streamline.  

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