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Indiana Prison Operator - GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections) - Has Long "Rap Sheet" of Neglect and Abuse

Reported by Marie Therese - April 24, 2007 -

There is a breaking news report on FOX of a "full-scale riot" at an Indiana medium-security prison. During today's Your World show, host Neil Cavuto announced that the prison is run by a private security group called The GEO Group. What he didn't tell his viewers is that GEO Group is the new improved version of the old Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (WCC). In a poignant and spontaneous phone interview with Deborah Fleishman, mother of one of the prisoners, we learned that the inmates themselves specifically requested that she contact FOX News, apparently believing that FOX News would actually take the time to investigate this situation. Unfortunately for Mrs. Fleishman, in my opinion, that's the last she'll ever hear from Mr. Cavuto or FOX News. Oddly enough, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have all recently called for investigations into the private providers of prison security. With video.

Under the heading "Warden for Profit" the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast reports that George Zoley, CEO of The GEO Group was a large contributor to the Bush 2004 campaign.

"[George Zoley] makes no secret of what he wants from Bush: big-dollar contracts for his security firm, the GEO Group, to guard federal prisons. 'We don't want to provide guards at the local shopping center,' he says. 'We are looking at a single government payer for our services.' Zoley's company, formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections, is the world's largest operator of private prisons, earning more than $600 million a year incarcerating inmates. Its facilities are notorious: In Louisiana, where guards routinely beat and tear-gassed teenage offenders, a Republican judge lambasted GEO for treating children 'as if they walked on all fours.' In Texas, where male guards molested female inmates, a fourteen-year-old named Sara Lowe committed suicide after her release. Asked by CBS whether Lowe deserved an apology, Zoley said, 'Not that I'm aware of. I don't know what you meant by that.'

According to The GEO Group's corporate timeline, the name Wackenhut Corrections was officially changed to GEO Group in November 2003. In an interesting twist, both Wackenhut (now owned adn operated by the British firm Securicor) and GEO Group have offices and business concerns in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as the United States. (Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation also has major holdings in the same three countries.)

The GEO Group has a long rap sheet of complaints of abuse and neglect, published on the web by the Private Corrections Institute, a watchdog group that monitors "for-profit" prison managment companies. Their record of mismanagement spreads across states as diverse as New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Alaska and stretching to its interests outside the US as well. It seems that Indiana has now joined that group.

"While GEO Group is a separate corporate entity, at least one watchdog site thinks that GEO and its former owner, Group4 Falck (now Securicor), are just a little too chummy," reports the site LabourNet.

"Group4 Falck, Securicor, Geo Group Incorporated, Premier Custodial Group and Global Solutions are the leading names vying for contracts in the Criminal Justice market. With so many different companies there is an appearance of what free market advocates would describe as healthy competition. What actually exists is a complicated and ever changing set of unhealthy relationships. In 2002 Group 4 bought a 57% stake in the US based Security Corporation, Wackenhut. The US company bought back the stake in July 2003 (Prison Privatisation Report No 58 October 2003)) but their relationship with Group4 Falck remained cosy. In 2004 Group4 Falck announced it was considering a £200 million bid from Geo Group Incorporated for its subsidiary Global Solutions Limited. An apparent new comer, the company was none other than the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation rebranded in November 2003 for trade in the UK (Greg Dropkin) (Prison Privatisation Report No 59 December 2003). Wackenhut’s interests included shared ownership of Premier Custodial Group with another company Serco. Following a legal battle and attention from the Competition Commission, Wackenhut sold its share to Serco (Prison Privatisation Report No 55 May 2003 and No 56 June 2003). Meanwhile, on 02/02/2004 Group4 became the world’s second largest security company announced its merger with Securicor (Bloomberg 05/03/2004)." (Source: LabourNet.com, a British-based group)

Watch the video and listen to the trust in Deborah Fleishman's voice. She honestly believes, as do the inmates, that FOX News has their best interests at heart and will actually send in a crew to do an "investigation." Little does this poor woman know that FOX News has been bought and paid for by the very interests that abused her son in the first place.

Check out the tone in Cavuto's voice at the very end of the segment and see if you think he's ever going to speak with this woman again.

However, one would hope that she will get some satisfaction from the Democrats in Congress, especially in view of the fact that three of their most prominent Presidential candidates have called for an investigation into the Bush administration practice of farming out the care of our prison populations to international security concerns.