You are here

Kerrville

TPJ Files Ethics Complaint Against GEO PAC for Campaign Contribution Reporting

Last week, Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint (PDF) with the Texas Ethics Commission claiming irregularities in reporting by the Political Action Commission of private prison corporations GEO Group.  

The complaint alleges that GEO reported that it had given State Representative Harvey Hildebran and State Senator Troy Fraser campaign donations of $1,000 and $5,000 respectively.  However, neither donation showed up on the candidates filings, indicating that the donations may have been returned, a fact that GEO's PAC should have reported.

The donations occured in the midst of a heated fight over a bid to private the Kerrville State Hospital by GEO subsidiary GEO Care.  Kerrville is represented by both Hilderbran and Fraser, and both opposed privatization of the hospital.  After outrage from mental health and criminal justice organizations (including Grassroots Leadership, my organization), local residents, and elected officials, the privatization proposal was scrapped.

Big Stories of 2012 - #2 - GEO Group Loses Bid to Expand Mental Health Care Operations, Take Over Kerrville State Hospital

As we usher in 2013, Texas Prison Bid'ness is highlighting the top private prison stories of 2012, based on stories covered by our blog.  Our number two story of the year is GEO Group's failed attempt to take over operations at the Kerrville State Hospital.   

TPB Big Story #2 - GEO Group Loses Bid to Take Over Kerrville State Hospital

This summer, media in Texas reported tha

t GEO Care, a subsidiary of private prison corporation GEO Group, had plans to take over the management of a Texas State Hospital, where indigent people with mental illness and forensic patients incompetent to stand trial are rehabilitated.  The takeover would be pursuant to a rider snuck into the 2011 legislative session that mandated the privatization of one state hopsital.  It quickly was discovered that GEO Care had submitted the sole bid on to take over one facility - the Kerrville State Hospital. 

Pointing to GEO's troubled record, mental health care advocates and criminal justice reform groups immediately worked to stop the privatization effort.  A coalition of Texas organizations, including Grassroots Leadership, a co-sponsor of this blog, sent a sign-on letter urging state leaders to halt privatization efforts.  In September, more than 700 people from across Texas signed an online petition to stop private prison corporation GEO Group from taking over the Kerrville State Hospital.  State and local officials spoke out against privatization, and the media across the state ran exposés on GEO’s  troubled record operating prisons and jails.

The organizing efforts paid off.  In October, state leaders announced that they rejected GEO Group’s bid to take over the Kerrville State Hospital.  However, Kerrville and other state hospitals may not be out of the woods yet.  GEO Group continues to tell investors that they see opportunities in mental health facilities in Texas.  

Subscribe to Kerrville