Unfortunately for the state, which gives the company $10 million annually to allow its citizens to be murdered, their own officials have faced significant difficulties in trying to extract information from the facility. The aforementioned report of the Solicitor General noted major obstacles the agency encountered in trying to conduct an investigation of conditions Hawaiian prisoners were housed in. Maybe it’s because CCA doesn’t give a shit about the people it houses, and does everything possible to prevent governments from seeing just how poorly their tax dollars are being spent.
The GEO Group has just been slapped with a $6.5 million verdict for the wrongful death of a prisoner in their facility in Lawton, Oklahoma. In 2005, Ronald Sites was strangled to death by his cellmate. During the course of the trial, attorneys for Sites’ family demonstrated gross negligence on the part of the staff at the facility.
The killer had actually spent time in solitary confinement previously for threatening to kill his cellmate. He had previously stabbed another inmate and been found to be in possession of a weapon twice while incarcerated.
Sites was supposed to be in protective custody for crying out loud; a classification which should have prevented him from being housed with any other prisoners. Not only was he housed with multiple prisoners while in PC; he was housed with one that had a history of violence and had previously talked about killing his cellmate.
$6.5 million wasn’t nearly enough. Two of the jurors were pushing for a penalty of $25 million to be imposed, but they were overruled during deliberations. I’m sure this isn’t justice for Mr. Sites’ family; hopefully it will at least serve as a wake-up call to the GEO Group to have them clean up their act.
A prisoner with a long history of mental illness and prior suicide attempts killed himself last week while under the guard of GEOCare, a subsidiary of the GEO Group. This would be the same company who just spent 3/4 of the million dollars spent on lobbying for the prison industry in just this past election cycle. Lobbying that resulted in the state’s super pro-privatization Governor successfully shepherding his plan to privatize the correctional services of 18 counties through the legislature.
The GEO Group has long had a cozy relationship with the Floridian government, being based in Boca Raton and peddling their influence for years through campaign contributions and lobbying. They managed to convince the state to embark on one of the most ambitious prison privatization schemes in history, which they will likely stand to benefit the most from given their relationship and the ease with which they’ve been awarded contracts by the government in the past. And they will now get control over thousands of new prisoners, some of whom will undoubtedly have similar psychiatric situations to Mr. Bragman.
This is shaping up to be a disaster of monumental proportions. This is what Florida’s taxpayers have just unwillingly signed up for.
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