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The GEO Group, Inc. Message Board

  • mcprison mcprison Dec 11, 2000 1:16 PM Flag

    FBI, 2

    Guards and inmates also complained Wackenhut did
    not feed the inmates
    adequate rations and hid
    deficiencies from state
    officials.
    The allegations come
    after the state prison board in October issued
    its
    own complaints about Wackenhut's handling of
    the
    Newport prisons. Officials gave Wackenhut until February
    2001 to correct
    deficiencies at the two prisons.
    The board will then
    decide whether to begin
    negotiations with Wackenhut for a new
    two-year
    contract.
    The company told the board in October that it must
    have more money from
    the state to continue
    operating the prisons.
    Former Correction Department
    assistant director Randall B. Morgan said
    he wasn't
    surprised to hear of problems at the
    privately operated
    prisons.
    "This was a big I-told-you-so for me," Morgan
    said.
    Morgan was on the committee that evaluated proposals
    from private prison
    contractors in the mid-1990s.
    He opposed using a
    contractor to run the two
    prisons because he didn't believe a private
    company
    could operate prisons efficiently for less
    money
    than the state.
    Morgan suspects Wackenhut gave a
    "low-ball" bid to secure the contract
    and planned from
    the beginning to ask for more
    money
    later.
    Wackenhut officials in recent interviews insisted the
    company's initial
    estimates were accurate but that a
    labor shortage and
    higher-than-expected medical
    costs at the women's prison forced them
    several
    times to ask for more money from the state.
    If the
    two sides do not reach agreement on a new contract,
    the state
    must take over operation of the Newport
    units or find a
    new contractor.
    Morgan, who is
    now director of the Pulaski County regional jail,
    said
    that either way the state will have to pay more to
    operate
    the prisons.
    "The taxpayer's burden is going to go
    up no matter what happens," he
    said.
    Tyler
    said it was too soon to say whether the FBI
    investigation would
    affect renewal of the state's contract
    with Wackenhut.
    "If you found widespread abuse and
    illegal use of force, of course it
    would have a
    bearing," she said.
    Claims by inmates of guard brutality
    are "not all that rare," she said.
    "Just because
    you have an investigation doesn't mean it
    is
    true."
    She said she didn't know if FBI agents were
    interviewing inmates and
    guards at Newport.
    "They were
    there to talk to someone, but as to who they were
    talking to,
    I'm not privy to that information," she
    said.
    Tyler said the investigation would continue "until the
    allegations are
    resolved, however long it takes."

 
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