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GEO expansion

Private prison companies continue to expand under Trump

The private prison business is booming under President Trump, reports the Houston Chronicle.

 

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to crack down on undocumented immigrants in the U.S. In the first three months of Trump's presidency, over 113,000 immigrants were locked up across the country in 180 different facilities. The Houston Chronicle says this is a 10 percent increase from the same time period in 2016. These increases mean big business for CoreCivic and GEO Group, the two largest private prison companies in the U.S.

 

The increase in business revenue comes from the number of individuals detained, and also from the length of time they are detained. In most cases, private prison companies are paid on a per diem rate per prisoner, meaning the longer they are detained the more money private prisons companies make.

 

This will have a large impact in Texas. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) works with at least 25 facilities in the state, which hold about one third of the nation's ICE prisoners. Texas already has more privately run prisons than any other state, and is expecting to see that number grow. ICE already awarded a contract to GEO Group to construct and operate a new $100 million immigrant detention center in Conroe, Texas. Residents of Conroe are unhappy with the contract, and have been protesting what will become the largest immigrant detention center once it is constructed.

 

As shown by the residents of Conroe, private prisons are not welcome in our communities and should not be built or used. When will the government listen to the voices of the people?

Residents protest newest immigration lock-up in Texas

The people of Conroe, Texas are getting a new immigration detention center in their town, regardless of whether they want it or not, reports the Texas Observer.

 

In April, the GEO Group was awarded a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to build a new immigrant detention center in Conroe. The contract includes the construction and operation of the $110-million facility, which the company expects to earn $44 million in annual revenue. However, city officials and residents are not impressed.

 

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell  said, "It’s going ahead; I don’t think I have any say-so," in deciding whether the facility will be built or not. When the idea for the detention center was first brought up in 2013, members of the community spoke out against the construction, stating they did not want Conroe to become "Con-vict-roe." These protests continued as community members spoke out against the new facility.

 

Unfortunately, the contract is between ICE and GEO, who already received the necessary building permits. Mayor Powell claims he was powerless to stop the issuing of permits.

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GEO Group closes purchase of Community Education Centers

The GEO Group, a private prison company, has finalized the purchase of Community Education Centers, reports Seeking Alpha.

As reported earlier, GEO Group spent $360 million in an all-cash transaction to purchase Community Education Centers (CEC), another for-profit prison company that owns or manages over 12,000 beds in jails and detention centers. CEC operated 8 different facilities in Texas, where there have been wrongful deaths, contraband in jails, and breakouts from their facilities.

 

GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies in the United States, did not purchase CEC to revamp or improve the facilities however. Facilities operated by GEO Group have their own history of mistreatment, including sexual assault, prisoner suicide attempts, and smuggling drugs into the facilities. GEO Group is expecting a revenue boost of $250 million.

This isn't the first time that GEO has bought out a competitor. In 2010, they bought Houston-based Cornell Companies for $374 million. Then in 2015, GEO purchased a smaller private prison company, LCS Corrections, for another $350 million. These purchases, along with the recent purchase of CEC, give GEO a huge hold on prisons in Texas.

GEO Group buys two facilities in Texas

The GEO Group has bought two more correctional centers in Texas, reports the News-Review

Officials in Maverick and Jones counties confirmed that their closed detention centers have been bought by the for-profit company GEO Group, which runs the most immigrant detention centers in Texas. GEO did at one time operate the facility in Maverick County, but in 2013 there was a disagreement over the contract and how profits were divided up between the company and the county. This led to GEO Group pulling out of the contract, with the county attempting to operate the facility and repay the bonds. They were unsuccessful and the county eventually had to foreclose on the facility. 

GEO Group has steadily worked since 2010 to expand its' influence in Texas by purchasing smaller private prison companies such as Cornell (2010), LCS Corrections (2015), and Community Education Centers (2017). The for-profit company has also recently been awarded a contract to construct a new 1,000 bed detention facility in Texas which is expected to generate $44 million in annual revenue for the company.

The influence isn't a positive one, however, as GEO facilities have a history of wrongful deaths, sexual assault, and locking up children who have cancer.   

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GEO Group spend $360 million on acquisition of Community Education Centers

The GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies in the US, has just brokered a deal to expand their brand even more. According to Reuters, the GEO Group spent $360 million dollars in an all-cash transaction to acquire Community Education Centers (CEC), another private prison company which also operates in Texas. The report states that GEO will integrate CEC into GEO Corrections & Detentions and GEO Care, which will give GEO Group an even stronger hold on private prisons here in Texas. The transaction is set to increase GEO Group's total annual revenues by approximately $250 million.

Facilities operated by Community Education Centers have faced multiple lawsuits and allegations of sexual abuse. Guards from the facilities have also been sentenced to jail for bribery and indicted for attempting to bring drugs into the facility.

While some may think that CEC being bought by GEO may lead to improvements in care & how facilities are run, it is highly unlikely. Facilities run by GEO Group have experienced prisoner escapes, inmates committing suicide, and have faced lawsuits for the mistreatment of prisoners. GEO Group was even indicted in the murder of one of their prisoners who was scheduled to be released four days before his death.

Some people may think that changing names or companies can improve a situation, but it doesn't help if the underlying issues of private prisons are not taken into account.

Controversy over Karnes Commissioners Court approval of GEO expansion

On Decemb

Karnes Commissioners Court
Karnes Commissioners Court
er 1st, the Monday after Thanksgiving, the Karnes County Commissioners Court convened for a rapidly summoned special session on the expansion of the GEO-run family detention center, now called the "Karnes County Residential Center." Though the privately operated prison company has already made record profits in the few months since it was granted a contract to detain immigrant families, they are now asking to more than double the facility's capacity from 600 beds to 1300.

Immigrant advocates and attorneys testified about the humanitarian costs of child detention and the sexual assault allegations filed by women in the detention center that are still being invistigated. Other community members were concerned that GEO is attempting to bully Karnes County into approving the expansion, despite forcing the county to shoulder the burden of investigating sexual assault cases and transporting victims. Some also expressed that many jobs were given to people outside the community and the income the county receives from the prison didn't justify the costs. GEO officials claimed that the county is contractually obligated to approve the expansion.

Due to the controversy, the commissioners extended discussion to the December 9th Commissioners Court meeting where they were to vote on the measure. However, after hearing more testimony of human rights abuses, reports of understaffing from a supervisor who works at the GEO facility, and contractual guidance from county attorneys, the decision was once again delayed.

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