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Idaho prisoners moved to Texas (again)

Despite a history of catastrophe, CBS reported that 250 prisoners from Idaho will be transferred to Karnes County Correctional Center in Karnes City, Texas. The article cited a shortage of prison beds in Idaho as the state’s reason for the transfer. The Karnes County Correctional Center is operated by private prison corporation GEO Group. As we have previously reported, the long-distance separation of prisoners from their families can have devastating impacts.

The transfer of prisoners from Idaho to Texas, described as the GEO Group ‘shell game,’ was ended previously when two prisoners from Idaho died in two separate GEO Group facilities. These facilities were described as “squalid” and “horribly understaffed.”

One of those incidents took the life of Scot Noble Payne, who committed suicide in GEO’s Dickens County Detention Center after spending a year in solitary confinement. In 2007, Payne’s mother filed suit against the Idaho Department of Corrections for $500,000, the maximum amount allowed under the state law. For full coverage of Idaho to Texas prisoner transfer, see our archive here.

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GEO Group earning call highlights contract bids in Texas

GEO Group's quarterly conference call was held on Monday.  The calls are a great way to see how the private prison industry thinks about the prison system and where expansion opportunities may lie.  

On this call, GEO executives talked to investors about recent company developments and where it sees its future business opportunities, including several in Texas.  Here are some of the highlights, as it relates to Texas' private prison industry:

  • GEO has activated the 600-bed Karnes County Civil Detention Center, the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement-contracted facility, which the company expects will bring $15 million annualized revenues.
  • GEO Care, a GEO Group fully owned subsidiary, is planning on bidding for on a formal RFP to operate one state mental health hospital.
  • GEO's transport division is bidding on contracts with ICE in the Dallas area and a Customs and Border Patrol contract along the SW Border.  These were described as the two largest transport procurement options currently in bidding.
  • GEO's BI electronic monitoring subsidiary is poised to increase profits if a recommended 40-50% budget increase goes through to expand Immigration and Customs Enforcement's electronic monitoring contract.

The company mentioned that they are closely monitoring developments on all of these fronts, and so will we.  We'll keep you posted on developments.  

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