"In particular, the demand for our correctional and detention facilities and services and BI's [a prison industry company Geo acquired in 2011] services could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws. For example, any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Similarly, reductions in crime rates could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. Immigration reform laws which are currently a focus for legislators and politicians at the federal, state and local level also could materially adversely impact us."
This is an industry that needs misery, long sentences, rounded-up undocumented immigrants and increasing crime to flourish. In order to keep the prison beds filled, The GEO Group and others have paid out millions of dollars to lobbyists, federal and state legislators, and governors to allow our immigration problem to go unsolved, to make sure that no drugs are decriminalized and that an ineffective War on Drugs continues, and to make certain that long term prison sentences, like California's three-strikes-and-you're-imprisoned-for-life laws, keep a steady flow of revenue and profits flowing to their shareholders. They are also hoping that our national drop in crime is just a temporary trend.
The GEO Group does do a brisk business, mainly through the federal and state governments. According to a thorough report, "Gaming the System," which was issued last year by the Justice Policy Institute, the "state and federal prison population increased 722 percent between 1970 and 2009," while as "of 2010, GEO contracts with 13 states, the Federal Bureau of Prison, the U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In 2010, 66 percent ($842 million) of GEO's $1.27 billion in revenue was from U.S. corrections contracts. Of the $842 million in revenue, 47 percent came from corrections contracts with 11 states."
Wells Fargo sees Geo Group and the prison industries as a good investment. According to an article by Charles Davis in Salon:
A driving force behind the push for ever-tougher sentences is the for-profit prison industry, in which Wells Fargo is a major investor.... Wells Fargo has been busy expanding its stake in the GEO Group, the second largest private jailer in America. At the end of 2011, Wells Fargo was the company's second-largest investor, holding 4.3 million shares valued at more than $72 million. By March 2012, its stake had grown to more than 4.4 million shares worth $86.7 million.
According to "Gaming the System":
President Obama's appointed Director of the United States Marshals Service, Stacia Hylton, has strong ties to the private prison industry. In 2010, Hylton started a private prison consulting firm, called Hylton Kirk and Associates, while still working at the Department of Justice as the Federal Detention Trustee. After retiring from the trustee position, Hylton agreed to a consulting contract with The GEO Group worth $112,500. As Director of the U.S. Marshals, Hylton will head an agency that has a long-standing contractual relationship with The GEO Group. In 2010, the U.S. Marshal's accounted for 19 percent of GEO's revenue. With Hylton in a position to oversee government contracts with private prisons, the ongoing influence of private prison companies in the public sphere is virtually guaranteed.
Hylton had a long career within the US Marshals Service, went through the revolving door to cash in on the lucrative private prison business and then went back to the top job in the Marshals Service.
John M. Hurley is the senior vice president and president of GEO Detention & Corrections. After working 26 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he supplemented his government pension with a $1.5 million compensation package of $1.5 million.
Norman A. Carlson is on The GEO Group's board of directors. After 17 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, including a stint as the director, he had a compensation package of $173,500 in 2010, as well as his government pension. In case you are worried that he was not making enough, he made $854,484 in 2007, and he did well in other years. http://www.justicepolicy.org/research/2614
The unbelievable brutality unleashed on kids in for-profit prisons.
On March 26, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued a blistering court order approving the settlement of the lawsuit. He wrote that the GEO Group Inc., the company that runs Walnut Grove, “has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate.”
What’s more, both the prison staff and the Mississippi Department of Corrections, which pays GEO $14 million each year to run the prison, showed “deliberate indifference” to these problems.
In other words, nobody cared. Nobody cared that the bottom line – private profit, secured in part by dangerously understaffing the prison – was more important than providing humane conditions and services that would protect youths from violence and help get them back on the right track.
They should care – if not out of basic human decency then because these young men will eventually get out of prison. They will re-enter their communities, many lacking an education, many lacking treatment for their disabilities, many severely scarred both physically and psychologically by their experience.
GEO purchased the company, Cornell Companies Inc., that had been operating the prison since 2003.
GEO, which was born as Wackenhut Corrections Corp. in 1984, is the second-largest prison company in America, with 66,000 beds at 65 prison facilities across the U.S. and another seven overseas. With a total of 4,000 beds in three prisons, including Walnut Grove, the company houses about a quarter of Mississippi’s prison population.
Built with $41 million in taxpayer subsidies, Walnut Grove has generated about $100 million in revenue for the companies operating it since the doors opened in 2001.
With the acquisition of Walnut Grove and its other prison projects, GEO is riding a wave of privatization efforts.
Los Angeles students protest school police citations that hit blacks, Latinos.
Los Angeles public-school students rallied Thursday against the large volume of court citations they have been issued for seemingly minor infractions, including tardiness, having a marker or “tool” for graffiti and for acting disruptive.
The citations, issued by the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department, have been the subject of recent stories by the Center for Public Integrity. Television station KTLA in Los Angeles covered the rally, posting on its website that: “The Center for Public Integrity took a closer look at exactly how school policing is being done, and their findings are raising some major concerns.” KTLA describes some of the Center’s findings from an analysis of three years’ worth of citations recently released by the school district police.
More than 40 percent of 33,500 court summonses issued to students between 10 and 18 went to students 14 and younger. African American students, 10 percent of enrollment, were 15 percent of those cited last year and 20 percent in 2010. The district’s school police force, with 340 sworn officers and staff, is the largest in the nation.
Southern California public radio station KPCC, which co-reported a piece on the citations with the Center, also covered the students’ protest rally Thursday. KPCC reported that some community groups believe a moratorium on ticketing should be declared until the district completes a thorough analysis of the data. One of those groups, the Labor-Community Strategy Center has released its own analyses of the new citation data. KPCC reported that school police don’t plan to stop ticketing.http://www.iwatchnews.org/2012/05/04/8813/los-angeles-students-protest-school-police-citations-hit-blacks-latinos
Ex-Con shareholder goes after world's biggest prison corporation.
On May 11, 2012, at the annual meeting of Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private prison company, shareholder activist Alex Friedmann will have exactly two minutes to speak about the unconventional resolution he introduced earlier this year to the chagrin of CCA's board.
The resolution is unconventional because it concerns not corporate profits or dividends, but the well-being of the roughly 81,000 inmates in CCA's care. Friedmann, too, is unconventional, for although he holds just $2,000 or so worth of CCA stock, he has inside knowledge of the company's practices—because he served time at one of its prisons.
Indeed, Friedmann spent six years at CCA's South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee—part of his 10-year sentence for attempted murder, armed robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery. Since getting out in 1999, he has been an advocate for prisoners' rights and criminal justice reform. Now he's an editor with Prison Legal News and head of Private Corrections Institute, a nonprofit watchdog.
Friedmann's controversial resolution addresses the longstanding problem of rape in US prisons and jails. If it passes, CCA's board will have to submit twice-a-year reports to stockholders detailing the board's oversight of company efforts to curb rape and sexual abuse, and include detailed statistics on any such incidents. "If CCA has to report this information they will have a greater incentive to reduce rape and sexual abuse because it will make the company look bad if they have very high numbers," he says. "And if they have to report this, the public, i.e. CCA shareholders, will be able to judge the effectiveness."
In a 2007 survey of local jails by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a CCA facility in Torrance County, New Mexico, clocked in with the highest rate of sexual victimization (13.4 percent), more than four times the national average. It also had the highest rate of staff-on-inmate sexual victimization—7 percent, as compared with a national average of around 2 percent.
CCA can certainly afford to address the issue. The longtime industry leader in prisons and immigrant detention, it owns or operates 67 facilities (see table of its customers below) and boasts about $1.7 billion in annual revenues—more than 40 percent of which come from the federal government and most of the rest from the states and localities. The company reportedly employs 35 lobbyists on Capitol Hill, and hundreds more in 33 states over the past eight years.