Last year, the Obama Administration declared that the Justice Department would no longer contract with private for-profit prisons following widespread reports of corruption and mistreatment of prisoners by the global private prison company GEO Group.
In February that decision was reversed by Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the GEO Group donated six figures to a pro-Trump super PAC.
Which brings us to today’s press release:
The GEO Group announced that it has been awarded a contract by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for the development and operation of a new $110 million, company-owned 1,000-bed Detention Facility (the “Facility”) to be located in Conroe, Texas.
GEO expects to design, finance, build and operate the company-owned Facility under a ten-year contract with ICE, inclusive of renewal option periods. The 1,000-bed Facility is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is expected to generate approximately $44 million in annualized revenues and returns on investment consistent with GEO’s company-owned facilities.
“We are very appreciative of the continued confidence placed in our company by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” said George C. Zoley, GEO’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Twitter users were not amused by the announcement.
According to public records, the company has been the subject of several lawsuits in the United States by prisoners and families of prisoners for injuries due to poor treatment at prisons and immigrant detention facilities which it has operated. In addition, due to the settlement of a class-action suit in 2012 for its management of a Mississippi juvenile facility, the largest in the nation, the GEO Group lost its contract for this and two other Mississippi prisons.
Related federal investigations of kickback and bribery schemes associated with nearly $1 billion in Mississippi state contracts for prisons and related services have resulted in the criminal prosecution of several public officials there.
Despite GEO’s alarming record, the Trump administration is paying back support with a juice contract, paid by taxpayers.