% | $
Quotes you view appear here for quick access.

The GEO Group, Inc. Message Board

  • mcprison mcprison Sep 7, 2001 12:26 PM Flag

    Wall St 4

    The numbers are actually a bit more complicated. The average -- as
    opposed to marginal -- cost of housing a prisoner in a state-run facility
    comes to about $50 a day, but much of that reflects fixed costs, such as staff
    and building maintenance. The state average is also higher in part because it
    includes amounts not reflected in the private and regional per-diems. These
    amounts include expenses for parole supervision and the higher cost of
    handling Mississippi's maximum-security inmates, most of whom are directly
    housed by the state.

    Throughout January and February, legislators, wardens and county
    supervisors deluged the corrections department with pleas for prisoners. Mr.
    Johnson had no qualms about putting criminals behind bars. He had done it
    for most of his career as a cop. But it disturbed him to hear burglars, drug
    dealers and car thieves being portrayed as valuable assets.

    "The sole focus for many people is economic development: 'We can make
    money off of inmates,' " he says. "That's just gotten a little too skewed for
    my liking."

    One frequent caller to the corrections department was Charles Weissinger
    Jr., a lawyer, lobbyist and former state legislator who had helped plan the
    first two regional prisons in the 1990s. He now has contracts with six
    regional prisons to provide legal and other advice. A report released in July
    by the state legislature's auditing agency says these clients will pay him at
    least $332,000 this year.

    As spring neared, Mr. Weissinger implored Mr. Johnson and his aides to
    restore the regional prisons to their full, 250-inmate capacity. The lobbyist
    recalls saying that if extra prisoners had to come out of the private prisons,
    so be it, because the regionals are "the littlest and the poorest." Mr. Johnson
    didn't budge.

    Wackenhut's local lobbyist, Al Sage, made his own appeals. The folksy,
    silver-haired Mr. Sage, 53, is known for his dogged style. "If the capitol
    doors are open, I'm over there," he says. Sage Advice, his one-man firm in
    Jackson, had been hired by Wackenhut in 1994, when the prison-building
    push began. The prison company was his best client in 2000, accounting for
    $30,000 of his $124,100 in total revenue.

    Begging for inmates had become a big part of Mr. Sage's job. By
    mid-March, the inmate count at the Wackenhut-run Holly Springs prison
    had fallen below 800. Mr. Calabrese, the company's president, recalls telling
    Mr. Sage the prison needed at least 900 inmates to cover costs and
    generate a "reasonable" profit, which the company declines to specify. The
    lobbyist repeated the 900 minimum to any lawmaker who would listen.

    Wackenhut's Lobbying

    On March 22, Mr. Calabrese paid a visit to Mr. Johnson for a conversation
    both men describe the same way. They sat in the commissioner's conference
    room, facing a color-coded map of Mississippi prisons. Mr. Calabrese
    asked if he could expect more inmates anytime soon. The answer was no.

24.28+0.66(+2.79%)Oct 21 4:03 PMEDT