Grassroots Leadership Blog
Two weeks ago we were disappointed to learn that both Washington state and Vermont awarded contracts to private prison corporation, GEO Group, to house overflow prisoners at the long-shuttered North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, MI.
This is concerning not only because of GEO’s particularly egregious history at the Baldwin private prison, but also because shipping prisoners out-of-state for profit is regressive and harmful criminal justice policy.
However, our ability to hold the government accountable becomes compromised when it outsources core functions, like incarceration, to private companies. Currently, federal U.S. agencies (Bureau of Prisons, ICE, and the U.S. Marshalls) have outsourced the management of prison and immigrant detention facilities to private, for-profit companies like Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, and MTC (Management and Training Corporation). Private corporations are not subject to FOIA laws even though they assume the role of the federal government in the administration of U.S. federal carceral facilities and are compensated with public tax dollars. This fact creates tremendous barriers to justice for those who are incarcerated in privately-run federal facilities because the people who are tasked with protecting their rights do not, in this moment, have the right to request information about what is happening inside of these facilities. This lack of transparency contributes, in our opinion, to the rampant cases of mismanagement, neglect, and other types of prisoner abuse that we have tracked for decades in private facilities, such as those documented in our Dirty 30 report.Read more about U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) reintroduced the Private Prison Information Act
Last Thursday the Michigan House approved legislation that would help private prison company, the GEO Group, get one of their shuttered prisons up and running again.
House Bill 4467, if passed, would allow GEO Group to house Level V high-security prisoners at the now-empty North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, MI. Although the prison has been empty since 2011, Michigan law allows for the GEO prison to house prisoners, including those from other states, but only prisoners requiring Level IV security and below.Read more about Michigan, don't help GEO reopen troubled private prison. Stop HB 4467 now!
Recently, Grassroots Leadership Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coordinator, Eshe Cole, participated in Nation Inside’s webinar on Mental Health and Criminal Justice. Read more about Eshe Cole, Grassroots Leadership Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coordinator, on Nation Inside Webinar
Several weeks ago we asked you to communicate to members of the House County Affairs Committee your support for HB 549, a bill that protects the face-to-face visitation rights of people incarcerated at Texas county jails from being replaced with expensive, poor quality video chats. (see more background here) Read more about ACTION ALERT | Take action to protect in person visitation at Texas County Jails!
Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General released a report chronicling a number of egregious practices taking place at the one of the world’s largest for-profit prisons. Reeves C