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The GEO Group, Inc. Message Board

  • mcprison mcprison Jul 20, 2001 12:31 PM Flag

    sex offenders, 3

    In a hearing before Judge Blanc this month, Miami-Dade assistant public defender John Morrison said
    that no state-approved regulations for the holding facility are in place, and that Wackenhut has
    improvised rules from its own detainee handbook. Morrison called those rules "clearly inadequate" and
    said they left prison guards "without constraint." At the hearing, Morrison said that "Wackenhut's
    attitude is, 'These aren't prisoners. We can throw away the rules.' No hearing. No notice. One guy was
    in solitary for six months."

    The Florida attorney general's office, representing Kearney, has challenged the standing of the public
    defenders in the Charles case, arguing that it constitutes a class-action suit and that public defenders are
    prohibited by state law from participating. But Johnson and Morrison insist that they represent a
    collection of individual clients, not a class.

    Johnson says that news of the challenges to the Ryce Act's weaknesses has spread throughout the South
    Bay inmate population, and that all 130 Ryce Act detainees may file habeas corpus claims.

    Wackenhut spokeswoman Margaret Pearson told the Daily Business Review that her company had
    established an "internal local procedures handbook" for South Bay operations that was "tailor-made" to
    the facility population and to "Wackenhut's contractual obligations." She cited no statutory basis for the
    handbook, saying it had been reviewed by the Department of Children and Families.

    But Greg Venz, director of the Sexually Violent Predator Program, said he has "no idea where
    [Wackenhut] pulled [their guidebook] from." He added that "it didn't seem inappropriate." Venz said
    that there's 50 years of case law to draw on in crafting detention rules for correctional facilities.

    Venz said his agency is still learning how to administer the Jimmy Ryce program because it's a "new
    approach, part detention, part rehabilitation." But he cautions that "not every decision that's made for
    behavior management implies a right to due process."

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