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The GEO Group, Inc. Message Board

  • gambler74_2000 gambler74_2000 Apr 19, 2000 11:20 AM Flag

    Wackenhut Problems

    4/18/00 - Wackenhut Corrections A Prisoner of Its
    Own Problems



    Apr. 15 (The Miami
    Herald/KRTBN)--After a decade as a leading operator of corporate-owned
    prisons, Wackenhut Corrections has become a prisoner of
    its own problems.
    A series of scandals in at
    least four states has hurt Wackenhut where it hurts the
    most -- on its bottom line. But it has also sullied
    the company's reputation in an industry that is
    trying to overcome widely held apprehensions about
    housing prisoners for profit. Criticism is mounting:


    In New Mexico, a 500-page legislative report written
    by five consultants calls for a near-total overhaul
    of state prison operations, including two run by
    Wackenhut. After an Aug. 31, 1999, riot that left an inmate
    and a guard dead, Wackenhut was faulted for having
    inadequate and ill-prepared staff earning Wal-Mart wages.


    In Texas, Wackenhut was stripped of a
    $12-million-a-year contract last September and fined $625,000 for
    failing to live up to promises in the running of a state
    jail. Twelve former guards were indicted for having sex
    with female inmates. Civil lawsuits were brought by
    women who claimed they'd been raped in three Wackenhut
    prisons in Texas.

    In Fort Lauderdale, five guards
    at a Wackenhut work-release facility were fired or
    punished for having sex with inmates last summer. No
    charges were filed, but Sheriff Ken Jenne wants to
    renegotiate contract terms with Wackenhut.

    Finally,
    on April 5, Wackenhut agreed to surrender control of
    its 15-month-old juvenile prison in Jena, La. That
    came a week after the U.S. Justice Department named
    Wackenhut in a lawsuit seeking to protect imprisoned boys
    from harm at the hands of guards and fellow inmates.
    The government accused Wackenhut of beating boys,
    throwing tear gas indoors, spraying them in the face with
    pepper spray, and not providing them with adequate
    education and counseling.

    "It was run so poorly and
    is so violent and dangerous for the kids
    incarcerated in it that the Justice Department felt it
    imperative to name them in the lawsuit," said David Utter,
    an attorney for the Juvenile Justice Project of
    Louisiana, an advocacy group in New Orleans.

    Housing
    prisoners for profit is one of the more expansive forms of
    privatization, wherein cash-strapped governments outsource
    traditionally public functions to the private sector. In the
    United States, nearly 100 prisons are run by
    corporations. About 15 percent of all new prison beds are going
    the corporate route.

 
GEO
35.52+0.21(+0.59%)Jul 23 4:03 PMEDT

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