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December 2010

Senate confirms Stacia Hylton, former GEO consultant, to head U.S. Marshals

US Marshals
US Marshals
The Senate last week confirmed Stacia Hylton, a former consultant for the GEO Group, to head the U.S. Marshals Service, a government agency with multiple contracts with the company (TPM Muckracker, "Senate Confirms U.S. Marshals Director With Private Prison Ties,' December 24th).

Critics said that Hylton, was too cozy with private prison companies that work with the U.S. Marshals Service in part because she worked as a consultant for the GEO Group, the second largest private prison company in the U.S. But Hylton defended her work during her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that she followed all ethics requirements and regulations before she left federal service in early 2010.

A coaltion of groups, including Private Corrections Working Group, Detention Watch Network, The Alliance for Justice, Human Rights Defense Center, Private Corrections Working Group, Grassroots Leadership, National Lawyers Guild, International CURE, Detention Watch Network and Justice Policy Institute had opposed Hylton's nomination based on her ties to GEO. According to the coalition's press release:

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Chemical spray used, two prisoners injured in disturbance at CCA's Mineral Wells facility

Corrections Corporation of America's troubled Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility was the site of a disturbance this week that drew the use of chemical spray by guards, according to the Mineral Wells Index ("Two inmates hurt in CCA disturbance" December 21):

Two inmates reportedly received minor injuries during a disturbance Friday night at the Corrections Corporation of America Pre-Parole Transfer Facility but facility personnel were able to gain control of the inmates within a short time. “At about 8:45 p.m. Friday evening, approximately 30 offenders refused to go to their assigned housing locations on the north side [of the facility],” facility manager Maria White said.

The inmates reportedly encouraged others to join them, according to White.  “With minimal use of chemical agents, supervisors maintained control of the unit and quelled the incident within an hour,” White said. “At no time was public safety threatened as the incident was quickly contained by staff.”

Two of the 48 inmates believed to be involved received minor injuries, were transported to the hospital for treatment and released back to the facility.

CEC's Dickens County Jail contract expires, inmates sent to Lubbock

On Friday, Community Education Centers (CEC) decided to let their contract with the Dickens County Jail expire. All the inmates from that facility were transferred to the Lubbock County Detention Center. The US Marshals will pay the city of Lubbock a $40 per diem rate, and $10 per hour for guards, but the jail's Chief Deputy said they would negotiate for a higher rate in order to recover the cost of Lubbock's sending to Dickens in the first place. Now that Lubbock has a new and larger jail, they want their inmates back:
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GEO Group sued over death at Reeves, awarded new ICE contract on same day

It was an interesting day for the GEO Group, perhaps Texas' most troubled private prison corporation.  Yesterday morning, the ACLU of Texas said it was suing the company over the death of Manuel Galindo at the Reeves County Detention Center in west Texas: 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and El Paso co-counsel Mike Torres and Leon Schydlower today the filing of a lawsuit against the federal government and administrators of a West Texas for-profit prison on behalf of the survivors of Jesus Manuel Galindo. Mr. Galindo, 32, died on December 12, 2008, after suffering a seizure in solitary confinement where he had been placed for complaining about the facility’s failure to provide him medication to control his epileptic seizures. ...

The suit names as defendants individual employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, The GEO Group (which operates the for-profit prison), Reeves County and the facility’s contracted medical provider, Physicians Network Association (PNA).

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Private prison corporations hiring well-connected lobbyists in Texas

In the wake of NPR's story that Corrections Corporation of America played a major role in writing Arizona's controversial "show-me-your-papers" immigration law, we posted a list of campaign contributions that private prison corporations made in Texas in the run-up to last month's election. 

Now that the election is over, we thought we'd take a look at who is lobbying for private prison corporations here in Texas.  This was of particular interest as it has also been reported that CCA lobbyists have been political advisors to Arizona governor Jan Brewer.

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