Wednesday, July 28, 2010

State Senator Johnny Grant, Sonny Perdue & GEO, Inc, Part 2

Yesterday I told you that GEO Inc was partnering with the state of Georgia on a new 1500 Bed Facility in Baldwin County. In addition I mentioned how Perdue transferred 71 acres from DHR to DOC by executive order during the later part of 2008, & goes on to say that DOC will put out an RFP (Request for Proposals) for a private prison, and the winner of the RFP will have a "40-year" ground lease with the state of Georgia. The property conveyance bill was introduced on 2-17-10, and signed by Gov. Perdue on 6-4-10.

There's more, State Senator Johnny Grant (R-Milledgeville) who faces a challenge from former State Senator & Mayor Floyd L. Griffin (D-Milledgeville) for SD 25 got $2000 from GEO INC, (formerly Wackenhut Corrections) in Oct. 2008, (he had no opposition), and another $2400 from them on 6-30-10.

GEO, INC the company who is providing private correctional and detention management as well as mental health services for the new prison was a Rap Sheet that the local media up in Milledgeville are not informng the people of Baldwin County.

The CEO OF GEO, INC, George Zoley was one of George Bush's "pioneers"(raised over $100,000 for Bush) at one time. GEO, which operates approximately 60 detention facilities in the U.S, is a “major political spender” that’s spent an estimated $1.8 million on political candidates and causes since 2002, according to the nonprofit Center for Political Accountability.

GEO INC, (which was formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections) has had a history of problems at its institutions that it have operated.

At the company’s Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, federal prosecutors charged a GEO prison administrator in September 2008 with “knowingly and willfully making materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements to senior special agents” with ICE, according to court filings. A February 2008 audit found that over a period of more than two years ending in November 2005, GEO hired nearly 100 guards without performing the required criminal background checks. The GEO employee responsible, Sylvia Wong, pleaded guilty. In the plea agreement the federal government stated that Wong falsified documents “because of the pressure she felt” while working at the GEO lockup to get security personnel hired at the detention center “as quickly as possible.”

Here's more:

South Bay Correctional Facility, South Bay, Florida

February 11, 2010 Palm Beach Post

Federal and state officials announced this afternoon the arrest of corrections officers and others on drug and bribery charges. A total of 22 were charged, including 18 corrections officers. Sixteen face federal charges including conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Six face state charges, including bribery of a public official and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility. The arrests culminate a two-year investigation between local and federal authorities between April 2007 and February 2009. A SWAT team from the FBI made arrests at Glades Correctional Institution and at South Bay Correctional Facility today. Today's announcement was only the latest black eye for the nation's third-largest prison system. Most recently, a former corrections officer at South Bay Correctional Facility, run by the GEO Group, was sentenced to a year in jail following her conviction for introducing contraband and conspiring to introduce contraband into the facility.

Frio County Detention Center, Frio County, Texas

July 15, 2010 News Express

The GEO Group, a Florida firm that contracts with local governments to run jails, has agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging indiscriminate strip searches of inmates at six facilities, including three in Texas. The Frio County Detention Center in Pearsall, the Dickens County Detention Center in Dickens and the Newton County Correctional Center in Newton and jails in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Illinois were named in the suit, which was litigated in federal court in Pennsylvania. The suit alleged GEO employed a uniform practice or policy of strip-searching all pre-trial detainees who entered certain GEO-operated jails, regardless of the crime or violation for which they were detained, and without making the legally required determination of whether reasonable suspicion existed to justify a strip search.

To put this all in perspecetive, prisons that are run by GEO, INC has had problems of Inmate Abuse, Substandard Conditions for inmates & correctional workers, Unexplained Deaths of Inmates, Strkies by Correctional Officers, & Inmates. Officers that have spoken out against Private Prisons, for example, have they had hurt their future job prospects. Back in 2009 David Garrett of Auckland Central Remand Prison (which was run by GEO INC from 2000-2005) made remarks that came hot on the heals of accusations that the Government attempted to intimidate and silence people. Those claims were sparked by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett releasing benefit details of two women who criticised a government decision to cut a training allowance. A group of prison officers, representing 30 officers who had previously worked for a privately run prison, made a submission to Parliament's law and order select committee which is considering legislation to enable private operators to run prisons.

The people of Milldegeville & Baldwin are being kept in the dark in regards to GEO INC problems at other facilities that are operated by them. They have no idea what they are getting in GEO. The Union Recorder hasn't made any attempt to shine a light on this story.

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