Friday, February 28, 2020

County to EVICT For-Profit Private Prison Company. $495M At Stake for GEO Group Execs, Who Locals Accuse of ‘Destroying the Last Private Prison in Pennsylvania’

The GEO Group is spinning out of control with executives scrambling to keep the for-profit private prison empire afloat after a series of body blows from various scandals have tarnished the corporation. 

“I want to make it abundantly clear – we stand absolutely behind the idea that the profiteering on the incarceration of individuals is not something that should be happening in Delaware County and the ignominy of being the only privately-run for-profit prison in the state of Pennsylvania needs to end,” Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden said Wednesday night.

The building is owned by Delaware County but managed and operated by The GEO Group, a Florida-based company that claims to specialize in privatized corrections, detention, and mental health treatment. They maintain facilities in North America, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. 


One of the things that’s going to have to happen to deprivatize the prison is to be able to move all of those employees back to the county payroll.

Delaware County Councilwoman Christine Reuther

By a 5-0 vote in Dec. 2018, the former prison board signed a $259 million contract with the scandal-scarred corporation for a five-year initial term but includes two 2-year options that could extend it to a nine-year contract at a cost of $495.9 million, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

“The first step is really to make sure that we understand the implications of transitioning and that we have thought through all the steps necessary to safely transition to a publicly run model,” Councilman Madden continued. “During the time of the transition, that doesn’t take us off the hook from overseeing GEO and that doesn’t mean we can’t reform the way in which the prison is run.”

Councilwoman Christine Reuther revealed current correctional officers and other employees who suffer under GEO Group will finally become county employees – which comes with generous benefits. 

“One of the things that’s going to have to happen to deprivatize the prison is to be able to move all of those employees back to the county payroll,” she said.

“People are dying in that prison. It’s not just an issue of deprivatizing the prison, there’s lives at stake right now.”

Delaware County Jail to Close Doors, $495M At Stake for GEO Group for Destroying Last Private Prison in Pennsylvania
📸: YC.NEWS ILLUSTRATION/DAILY TIMES SOURCING

HOWEVER, irrational GEO Group executives are known for absconding towns if prematurely poked, leaving locals scrambling to hatch together an often-rough transition. The warning comes from an insider at GEO Group’s Charlotte campus, who says the company nearly crippled a Colorado community when handed their walking papers. 

“The Pennsylvania facility is just one out of several dozen that spiraled out of control. GEO hired a firm to conduct ‘crisis management,’” the employee told Your Content under the condition of anonymity. “One lie begets another lie begets a bigger lie. When everything comes out, they will become the most hated corporation in America.” 

Conor Cahill, a spokesman for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, recently told the Colorado Sun rapid closure is “another reason the state should not heavily rely on private prisons, which are clearly motivated by profit margins and which do not help reduce recidivism.”


The state has made its intentions clear; that it wants to manage this population within its own facilities, and we will work with them toward that end.

GEO Group Statement to Colorado Sun

Gov. Polis was elected governor of Colorado in 2018, defeating Republican nominee Walker Stapleton. He recently expressed interest in closing Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry Center (CMRC), a Level 3 custody private prison owned by GEO Group. 

But on Jan. 7, hardnosed corporate divas beat Colorado to it and issued a statement giving over 600 inmates 60 days to leave the facility. 

“I knew that this certainly was going to be a possibility,” Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Dean Williams said in a recent statement to the Colorado Sun. “We knew that this could possibly turn south. I thought we were on track, however, that we would continue to work this situation out.”

Williams told the Colorado Independent if lawmakers do not vote to approve the opening of a new facility, several hundred inmates could wind up sleeping on makeshift beds on the floor of single-person cells.

“I would have welcomed that phone call in a heartbeat because we have been maintaining what I thought was cooperative discussions,” Williams said. “You’d have to ask them, but I’m sure it was a corporate decision. That’s the deal that you make with a private prison corporation. You know that if it starts to go south, you don’t really have long-term leverage to keep a prison going that they are operating.” 

The pitiless private prison corporation replied: “The state has made its intentions clear; that it wants to manage this population within its own facilities, and we will work with them toward that end.”

27-year-old Fatima Muse, who was imprisoned for a probation violation as a result of a summary offense, has died while in custody at George W. Hill Correctional Facility following an incident on Christmas.
📸: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/JOSE F. MORENO

“GEO was under the false belief that the decision making would remain in the hands of certain individuals in DelCo,” the employee continued. “Well, on Nov. 6 they realized that the naysayers were wrong.”

The fanatical execs behind the for-profit private prison are accused of being engaged in a sordid Nixon-style corruption operation to cover up the scope of their liability at George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

“Inmates in the DUI building were told yesterday they’ll be in the dayroom for six to 8 hours while the floors are stripped and redone,” a source previously told Your Content on Jan. 20. 

“If the allegations are authentic, we’re talking about massive jail time – long prison sentences! Everyone here has been keeping up with what’s transpiring at our Pennsylvania facility.” 

Acting under GEO Group orders, staff and inmates cleaned house over the past few weeks, as the corporate tribe bullied other investigators into silence, according to the GEO Group insider. 

“The pact had been in place since day one. But it all changed on Nov. 6 when the local Republican power players lost power,” said the insider. “It was always agreed that if GEO Group would face potential civil rights issues, they’d have an extra layer of protection.”

“Now it’s every man for themselves. Rumor has it they’ve all lawyered up in the event criminal actions arise,” the GEO Group insider continued. “They aren’t worried about anything civil – that’s what insurance is for. But there is no policy that covers criminal acts.”

The GEO Group did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The last two weeks have witnessed a series of troubling allegations from prison inmates and former staff who long held their tongues for fear of retribution of their career, or retaliation. But the conditions became too harsh for them to remain silent. Among those revelations: 


This is an ongoing investigative special. Stay with yc.news for the latest updates. Have a story or news tip? Contact our 24/7 newsroom at 833.336.8013 or e-mail our tip line: [email protected]

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Jonathan Riches » for Your Content
Jonathan Riches is a Chief Investigative Correspondent & Justice Editor for Your Content. He is best known for his writings about prison reform and culture, including the social media scandal dubbed the ‘Feeling Cute Challenge’ — which ended with a widespread dismissal of prison guards throughout the United States.

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