GEO

Apr 29, 2015
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Palm Beach Post

Hunger strike? What hunger strike? GEO asks as protests mark meeting

Outside, more than 100 activists from half a dozen organizations were protesting the Boca Raton firm. Members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Enlace International, SEIU-Florida and the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition were on hand, as was Texas-based Grassroots Leadership, which has worked with Karnes facility immigrants.

Protesters blasted the billion-dollar company’s fundamental business, which hinges on a daily payment rate for every prisoner or immigrant it houses. Read more about Hunger strike? What hunger strike? GEO asks as protests mark meeting

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.
Read more about Over 100 Private Prison Protestors Converge at GEO Group’s Shareholder Meeting

Apr 21, 2015
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Fox News Latino

Study: Private prison firms spend millions to ensure steady supply of undocumented immigrants

Private prisons that have contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to keep a steady population of 34,000 migrants detained at all times, a study by the Austin, Texas-based Grassroots Leadership group found.

Grassroots Leadership researched detention conditions across the country and concluded that nine of the 10 facilities used by the Department of Homeland Security to house undocumented immigrants were private, and eight of them were owned by two corporations that have posted record profits since 2009. Read more about Study: Private prison firms spend millions to ensure steady supply of undocumented immigrants

Apr 19, 2015
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RawStory

Asylum-seeking mothers launch hunger strike over inhumane conditions at Texas detention center

Detained asylum-seeking mothers at a for-profit detention center in Texas have gone on a hunger strike seeking their release, Freedom Speech Radio News reports.

The women, many of whom fled their countries in Central America  out of fear of violence or persecution, have all passed the “credible fear test” and qualify as asylum seekers. Despite that, they are still held with their children — some as young as 2 years old — in the Karnes Residential Center, a prison-like facility in South Texas, waiting for their cases to be processed.

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According to a new report from the Grassroots Leadership, private for-profit prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep a mandatory immigrant detention quota.

Today, 9 out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers are private, with 8 owned by only two corporations, the GED Group and CCA. Since the end of 2007, the GEO Group has increased their profits by 244% and CCA by 46%. Read more about Asylum-seeking mothers launch hunger strike over inhumane conditions at Texas detention center

Apr 19, 2015
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International Business Times

Report: Private Prison Lobbyists Spend Millions To Keep Immigrants Locked Up

A report released last week by Grassroots Leadership, a Texas non-profit, details how private prison companies have spent five years lobbying the government, not only to maintain the quota, but to enact conservative immigration reform that would continue to ensure a steady flow of inmates into its detention centers.

“Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention,” says 62 percent of all ICE detention beds now are operated by for-profit prison companies. In fact, nine out of the 10 largest immigrant detention camps are private, with eight owned by only two corporations -- Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group. Those two corporations reaped about $500 million in 2014 alone.

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“The immigrant detention quota continues to be a prime example of how money and political gain can drive policy decisions," the report notes. "Those harmed by the immigrant detention quota have far less power and money: immigrants, their families, and the average American taxpayer." Read more about Report: Private Prison Lobbyists Spend Millions To Keep Immigrants Locked Up

Apr 16, 2015
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Common Dreams

'Profiting From Misery': Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

Private prison companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government for harsher immigration laws that, in turn, spike corporate profits by driving up incarceration levels, a new report from the national social justice organization Grassroots Leadership reveals.

Entitled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, the report's release on Wednesday coincided with a renewed hunger strike at a privately-run immigrant detention center in southern Texas, where asylum-seeking mothers incarcerated with their children report inhumane conditions, including sexual assaults by prison guards and staff.

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Report coauthor Bethany Carson declared in a press statement, "The immigrant detention quota is taxpayer-financed insurance for private prison corporations that the government will maintain their bottom line at all costs. Now, we are seeing those same corporations invest millions in the Congressional committee that created that insurance policy for them."

Carson added, "Congress’s vast immigrant detention system is tearing apart families and communities, and creating an enormous profit from human misery." Read more about 'Profiting From Misery': Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

Apr 16, 2015
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The Dallas Observer

Arresting Illegal Immigrants in Texas Is Making Private Prisons Companies Rich

No detention center has bigger plans for illegal immigrants than the South Texas Family Center in Dilley. The center is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America and is under expansion. By May 2015, the facility will be able to hold 2,400 people. "If this expansion proceeds, Dilley will be the largest immigrant detention center in the U.S.," says a new report about the troubling role that private prison companies play in U.S. immigration policy. The report was published by Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group that is critical of the industry.

Using government and financial records and news articles, the Grassroots report details how two companies -- Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group -- have benefited from locking up illegal immigrants, and how the South Texas border surge in arrests has been especially profitable to the CCA and GEO Group. Texas has 7,602 private beds for the immigrant detainees, Grassroots Leadership found, a figure that represents 39 percent of all private prison beds in the whole country.

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But the Grassroots report raises a bigger argument, that it's probably not a good idea to let our immigration policies be influenced by a few companies with something to gain. Read more about Arresting Illegal Immigrants in Texas Is Making Private Prisons Companies Rich

Apr 16, 2015
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The Austin Chronicle

Detainees Strike for Freedom: Hunger strikes call attention to conditions at Karnes, elsewhere

Advocates have trained their sights on a similar, newly opened facility in Dilley – 150 miles south, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Austin. By next month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforce­ment will have capacity to hold up to 2,400 at what will be the nation's largest immigrant detention center. Opened in late December, Dilley is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, while the Karnes site is run by the Geo Group Inc., both for-profit companies contracted by government agencies. Some opponents question the logic of spending money to incarcerate immigrants rather than helping them integrate into the community; according to Reuters, the cost to run the Dilley site is $296 per person per day.

"It's incredibly profitable for these corporations," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. "I'd argue these are the only people these facilities are good for. It's very detrimental to the well-being and health of the kids and moms detained and enormously expensive for taxpayers to be footing the bill of about $300 a day to detain those individuals." Locally, Grass­roots Leadership and St. Andrew's Pres­by­terian Church will each charter two buses to take protesters to Dilley on May 2, calling for closure of such facilities. They'll be met by other buses from San Antonio, the Valley, Houston, and elsewhere. Read more about Detainees Strike for Freedom: Hunger strikes call attention to conditions at Karnes, elsewhere

Apr 16, 2015
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The Spokesman Review

Editorial: Bed quotas for immigration detainees a costly flub

Illegal border crossings are in decline, but Homeland Security officers nonetheless have a detention-bed quota they must meet. Private prison companies are reaping the benefits, and taxpayers are being shortchanged.

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Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit social justice group, released a report Wednesday highlighting the plight of some detainees and the lobbying efforts of CCA and GEO Group, particularly with the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. CCA has spent nearly $10 million lobbying the panel since 2008. Both companies deny trying to influence immigration policy. Read more about Editorial: Bed quotas for immigration detainees a costly flub

Apr 16, 2015
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ThinkProgress

Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says

Private prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep immigrants in detention centers, a new report released Wednesday found. The Grassroots Leadership report, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, found that lobbying efforts of the two largest private prison corporations have made them the main beneficiaries of aggressive immigration detention policies. For-profit family detention centers have come under scrutiny in recent times as migrant women renewed a hunger strike this week in Texas, demanding that they be released on bond with their children. Read more about Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says

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