What Isn't Going Wrong in GEO Group's Texas Prisons?

Last week's horrendous news that guards have allegedly sexually assaulted female detainees at the GEO Group's South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall made me reflect on the scandals that have rocked the company in the past year and half. Consider that in the last year alone the following events have happened in the GEO Group's prisons, jails, and detention center facilities in Texas:

  1. Last week, WOAI reporter Brian Collister reported allegations of widespread sexual abuse of female immigrant detainees at the company's South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall. The allegations were varified by a number of former guards at the facility.

  2. The same Pearsall detention center was the subject of a lawsuit last September alleging that a mentally disabled prisoner was proper denied medical care and generally mistreated.

  3. The Texas Youth Commission shuttered GEO's Coke County Juvenile Correctional Center "filthy" and "unsafe" conditions including feces on walls and fire exits chained shut were found at the facility. In the wake of the scandal revelations that the TYC monitors at the facility were former GEO employees, State Senate John Whitmire called hearings on private prison oversight. GEO Group responded by sending in lobbyists, and substantially increased its lobbying expenditures in the state over the following months. Seven youths then sued the company over conditions at the facility.

  4. The suicide of Idaho inmate Scot Noble Payne last spring at GEO's Dickens County Correctional Center lead to an investigation into the facility's operation. The Associated Press's expose on the prison described the facility as "squalid" while Idaho's Department of Corrections Director of Health Care called the prison the worst he's ever seen and "beyond repair." Noble Payne's family has subsequently sued GEO over conditions at the prison.

  5. In November 2007, a former GEO Group guard has been indicted on federal civil rights charges for twice striking a federal detainee while employed at the Val Verde Correctional Center. The Val Verde Detention Center had been subjected to two well-publicized lawsuits in the past several years. In a 2005 suit, an employee reported that his superior displayed a hangman’s noose in his office and took pictures in his prison uniform donning KKK garb. The second lawsuit was brought by a civil rights organization on behalf of the family of LeTisha Tapia, a detainee who committed suicide after reporting that she had been sexually assaulted and denied medical care. GEO settled both suits. The settlement from the Tapia suit included a full-time county monitor to the prison.

  6. This summer, Val Verde was again rocked after four inmates came down with a mysterious illness. Three of the inmates later died, but a state investigation could find nothing at the prison linking the prison to the illnesses.

  7. In March 2008, a 20 year-old Val Verde GEO Group guard was indicted for smuggling marijuana into the correctional facility. Similar charges were filed against two other GEO Group jailers who attempted to smuggle liquor and contraband into the facility.

The list is long enough and filled with enough serious incidents that it makes me wonder why GEO continues to earn lucrative contracts like the three new Texas contracts that Nicole reported on last month. One reason might be the high-priced lobbyists and former state officials that GEO keeps employed. We'll keep you posted on ongoing problems at GEO's Texas facilities.

Comments

GEO Pitiful Place

GEO destryed my son after Newton County TX. Sheriff put him there to HOLD.  They held him alright. After 16 days of begging to hear from him and being told  every day that he was just fine. No phone call, no Judge.  No anything until a guard got word to me that my son was dying. Called Sheriff office and GEO every day and was told  he was fine, called GEO and insited I speak to the Warden, I was told that my son was in ICU.  They left him with crippled and a Feeding Tube.  Had not had a bite of food for 11/2 yrs. and had surgeriies every 2 wks. Two Dr.s in Galvaston said repeatly that only Sulfic Acid put into his mouth could have done that kind of damage, he could not even swallow his own saliva and the nerves were so damage in his feet. I have some paperwork that actually came from GEO as to the shape he was in.  His feet were the size of footballs when we saw him in ICU, they destroyed him and  intended to let him die.  He finally diid that himself after Galvason was hit by the Hurricaine, he had no life left. They had told us in the beginning that it would take 2 yrs. of surgeries and then the only place around that had the HIgh Tech, to do the surgery was destroyed.  You people need to really check GEO out and what they hire for employees, because animal shelters don't run like what I know about. Do a dog that way and the Law steps in, this was the LAW that did all this and then sent him home in a wheel chair.  I lost my son and my Grandson lost his Daddy, my son had custody of the boy.  They took no responsibilty at all for anything.  I tried to get different Attornies to help but seems no-one wanted to go against small time USA. Buddy, Buddy system. Well Thanks for letting me tell about GEO... not fit for dogs, let alone human beings. If they will do it to one, they will do it to another. There is not one family in the USA that does not have one relative withen the prison system. May not be a son or a brother or sister, but somewhere in your family there is one.

Newton County

Hi Martha, My considerable conolences to you and your family. Please contact me if you'd like us to publicize this case further or if you need help in locating an attorney.  I'm at blibal (at) grassrootsleadership (dot) org. 

goe group sanfrancisco

what about more recent incidents for instance my daughter...she was raped by a monitor at the residednce he threatened to violate her and send her back to prison if she didnt comply , this was july 2 2011 he was was suspended or rather transfered to oakland when the investigation was thru,   my daughter was kicked out due to a dirty test.....or so they say...the circumstances surrounding ,and timing of ,this situation look,smell ,feel,like a set up and they are ...they did not allow her to get a rape kit, nor file a report with the police , and during the 3 months between the insodent and her so called violation her life was made miserable...she was attending school, working, paying them 25 to 50% of her wages, now she is looking forward to another prison term...where is the justice?????? we need help now before more women are subject to sell there souls......for favors or freedom....there is more to this...

 

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