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IssaEl21 IssaEl21 is offline
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Default Lie #3: “It’s impossible to measure recidivism from our prisons

Lie #3: “It’s impossible to measure recidivism from our prisons, because the prisoners may be housed in several different facilities during their incarceration.”—Terry Stewart, former Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and now consultant for MTC

We asked every one of the companies what their recidivism rate was, and none of them had an answer. Isn’t that convenient? These companies can make claims about how they supposedly are “changing lives” and rehabilitating people, and they don’t even have to prove it.

Probation departments, social service providers and re-entry programs all measure recidivism. They don’t say, “well, this guy is also getting services at the VA and the food bank, so there’s no way to measure the impact of our programs.”

Let’s face it–these corporations know that their recidivism rate won’t be any better than the state’s and probably worse.

What’s more, the Arizona Department of Corrections has all this data, they just won’t go to the trouble to analyze it. They could easily do a comparison between state prisoners who have been housed in private prisons at any point in their incarceration, and those who have only been in state facilities.

Lie #2: “What lawsuits?”

When directly asked whether the company had settled lawsuits over abusive conditions in its juvenile prisons in Michigan and Louisiana, GEO Group representatives hemmed and hawed and refused to answer the question. We consider this the same as lying.

As reported in the Dallas Morning News, GEO not only faced lawsuits over bad conditions, but they actually lost contracts due to their abuses.

The U.S. Justice Department sued the company in 2000, when it was known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp., alleging that juveniles at the company’s Louisiana facility were subjected to excessive abuse and neglect. Wackenhut agreed to a settlement that provided for sweeping changes to Louisiana’s juvenile justice system and required the company to move all juveniles from its facility. The former security chief pleaded guilty in 2001 to beating a 17-year-old handcuffed inmate with a mop handle. In October 2005, Michigan closed the state’s private youth prison run by GEO after an advocacy group sued the prison over inadequate inmate care.

And, rather than accepting responsibility for its actions, the company turned around and sued the state of Michigan for wrongful termination of contract. How’s that for being a “good corporate citizen”?

And the #1 Lie told at the Arizona Hearings: “I’m accountable to you”—George Zoley, CEO of GEO Group

Waaah! Ha! Ha! Good one, George! About 30 seconds after uttering this whopper, Zoley proceeded to tell the crowd that GEO does not even bother to measure recidivism and then refused to disclose how much money he makes. Accountability, indeed.

Fortunately, Frank Smith of Private Corrections Working Group was in attendance and informed the crowd that Zoley made $16 million last year. Zoley’s pay, he pointed out, is a matter of public record. As a follow up, Frank provided us with the exact figures. Zoley’s salary, per companypay.com, was $3,825,433. He made $23 million in stock trades in the last 18 months.

Just a note to the boys at GEO corporate—don’t send Zoley to these things. He creeps people out.
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