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GEO Group CHS and CivicCore - you better call Saul

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Posted on July 11 2019

 

For Profit Immigration Detention Centers

 

I should say that this isn’t personal - it’s business and accountability. If you’re American then you probably already know that our tax dollars are being spent to affirm Trump’s heinous and cruel immigration policies.

 

This link will take you to the 18+ previous write ups concerning the DHS and Trump’a onerous Immigration Policies.

This link will take you to the 21 previous write ups concerning Unaccompanied Minors,

This link will take you to the two DHS-OIG Report concerning living conditions.

Three of the four facilities are run by the GEO Group, See part I and See Part II - where I walked you through the follow the money and it is a lot of money.

 

With respect to the previous GEO Group Part I -  I took the time to read ALL of their annual reports. In addition I then embedded their Annual Reports and then highlighted what I thought was relevant and factual. Again these aren’t opinions - these are the “facts” the GEO Group published to its investors. Moreover the DHS-OIG three scathing reports in so many days should have been a clarion call to tax payers.

 

On July 10, 2019 House OverSight Committee Chairman Cummings issued a batch  of formal letters to three private companies. Who many (correctly) assert are profiting from various federal contracts.

 

Since the start of 2018, CHS has received three HHS contracts totaling over $545 million for operating Homestead Shelter, including a $50 million award in February 2018, a $222 million award in July 2018, and a $273 million award in April 2019.  CHS has also recently received more than $71 million in HHS grants to operate other facilities housing immigrant children. Homestead is run by a subsidiary of Caliburn International, which recently announced that former White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, has joined its Board of Directors.

GEO Group received $300 million new ICE contract awards in fiscal year 2017, an increase of over $100 million over the prior year.  In fiscal year 2018, the value of ICE contracts awarded rose even higher, to nearly $342 million. The CEO of GEO Group recently boasted to his shareholders that “GEO’s first quarter in 2019 was financially and operationally the best in our history.”

CoreCivic received approximately $135 million in new ICE contract awards in fiscal year 2017, an increase of $36 million over the prior year.  In fiscal year 2018, the value of ICE contracts awarded rose even higher, to nearly $141 million. The CFO of CoreCivic told his shareholders that the company’s 2019 financial results have exceeded expectations—primarily due to an increase in CoreCivic’s detention facilities business.

 

The Chairmen Cummings and Raskin also sent letters to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services -specifically requesting the various contracts with “for-profit contractors” who  run the various immigrant detention centers and house immigrant children (unaccompanied minors); documents showing whether the agencies are ensuring the contractors comply with the law; and documents related to the contractors’ potential conflicts of interest.

The OverSight Chairmen sent letters to:

CoreCivic Letter - where do I even being with this Organization?

Let’s start with the following DHS-OIG Reports:

December 2017 DHS-OIH Report No OIG-18-32:

..five detention facilities raised concerns about the treatment and care of ICE detainees at four of the facilities visited. Overall, we identified problems that undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment.

 

February 2018 DHS-OIG Report No OIG-18-53

In fiscal year 2016, ICE received about $2.3 billion to house detainees at 203 detention facilities nationwide. ICE owns and operates five of these detention facilities. It secured the remainder by contracting directly with private companies, establishing intergovernmental agreements with the U.S. Marshal Service, or negotiating intergovernmental service agreements (IGSA)2 with state and local governments.

Although ICE should have contracted directly with the private company that operates the South Texas Family Residential Center, CCA,3 it instead created an unnecessary “middleman” by modifying its existing IGSA with Eloy. The modification was improper for two reasons: 1) the terms of the IGSA were negotiated directly with Eloy’s existing subcontractor, CCA, instead of the party legally responsible for the agreement (Eloy); and 2) the addition of family detention services was outside the scope of the original IGSA.

 

The federal lawsuit (thank goodness for advocacy groups like the SPLC), Torres-Soto v. Barr, explains how the federal government detains thousands of people each month, including asylum seekers, lawful permanent residents and victims of human trafficking, in Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center and Stewart Detention Center. You might find this 86 page internal ICE communications obtained by DHS-OIG an interesting read as it relates directly to the current Class Action Lawsuit of CCA’s Stewart Detention Center.

 

GEO Group, Letter as previously discussed this private for-profit Contractor run three of the four detention facilities that the DHS-OIG found deplorable conditions of immigrant children and adults. That the problematic overcrowding creates a serious health crisis for detainees and for staff.

 

 

DC Capital Partners, Letter “a firm that owns Caliburn International, whose subsidiary, Comprehensive Health Services (CHS), runs the nation’s largest shelter for immigrant children” the Chairmen note that the troubling reports of unaccompanied minors being sexual abused at CHS Homestead Center.

In November of 2018 - I had previously walked you through the HHS-OIG Report - which primarily focused on HHS-ORR’s lack of prerequisite FBI background checks for employees.

This is the supplemental HHS-OIG report concerning: Tornillo Influx Care Facility: Concerns About Staff Background Checks and Number of Clinicians on Staff (A-12-19-20000)

More to the concerns itemized by the Chairmen  - in late 2017 a CHS Employee was charged and found guilty - he was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison. See November 2017 DOJ-OPA Release which reads in part:

 

Former Shelter Worker Sentenced to 10 Years of Imprisonment for Attempting to Coerce and Entice An Unaccompanied Alien Minor to Engage in Illicit Sexual Activity

Merice Perez Colon, 35, of Homestead, Florida, was sentenced by United States District Judge Kathleen M. Williams to 10 years’ imprisonment and 50 years of supervised release following her conviction for attempting to coerce and entice an unaccompanied alien minor to engage in illicit sexual activity.

 

On June 26, 2019 after a seventh report of sexual abuse occurred at Homestead HHS issued this fact sheet. Upon closer review of the HHS-ACF “fact sheet” I actually had/have more questions. For example on pages 1 & 2:

As of June 10, DHS has referred over 52,000 UAC to HHS this fiscal year (FY), an increase of over 60 percent from the same time period in FY 2018. Preliminary information shows over 9,000 referrals in May- one of the highest monthly totals in the history of the program.

HHS has expanded bed capacity at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for UAC in Homestead, Florida to 2,470 based on need resulting from a current increase in UAC referrals from DHS. 

  

With respect to HHS’ role of placing Unaccompanied Minors with sponsors or related family members. What you might not be aware of is by law HHS must submit (twice a year) a Report to Congress.

 The reason these HHS reports are important is HHS-ORR takes custody of unaccompanied minors. HHS also controls a massive purse of appropriations. I now refer you to pages 47 of the HHS June 2019 Report (yes I know the dates say October 2018 to March 2019) but HHS didn’t release their semi-annual report to Congress until late last month.

 

The HHS-OIG also disclosed that one private contractor who is entrusted with the care of unaccompanied minors - Lincoln Hall could not account for some $28.7million and failed to adequately document placement. Which means those unaccompanied minors could have been placed in a non suitable/safe environment 

 

Various HHS-OIG Reports re UACs” 

 

However, some UAC case files were missing evidence of sponsor background checks and other required documentation. His House claimed only allowable expenditures. However, we identified areas in which His House lacked an efficient and effective system of internal controls when administering UAC program funds.

As a result, His House (1) might not have followed ORR policies for 652 children regarding sponsor background checks, prompt medical care, provision of appropriate clothing, sponsor placement decisions, post-release services, or the notification of the Department of Homeland Security of the child's release to a sponsor and (2) might have placed Federal funds totaling $9 million at risk of mismanagement or misappropriation.

 

Florida's RCA payments to beneficiaries were generally allowable in accordance with Federal and State regulations. However, Florida made some unallowable payments. Of the 100 RCA payments totaling $16,880 in our sample, 97 were correct. For the remaining three RCA payments, Florida made unallowable payments totaling $540.

These unallowable payments occurred because workers lacked adequate training from Florida to ensure that they were obtaining sufficient documentation to verify eligibility for some beneficiaries.

On the basis of our sample results, we estimated that Florida made unallowable RCA payments totaling at least $114,504 during our audit period.

Children's Village did not always ensure that its facility was free from potentially harmful conditions, did not meet or properly document that it met certain requirements for the care and release of children in its custody, claimed unallowable expenditures, and had inadequate financial management procedures. Specifically, Children's Village failed to meet or properly document that it had met certain requirements for the care and release of children in its custody in 46 of the 50 case files reviewed. Additionally, the files for 2 of 20 employees did not contain evidence that Children's Village had performed all required background checks.

In addition, Children's Village claimed unallowable expenditures totaling at least $2.6 million related to transactions that were not properly approved, allocated, or supported. Finally, Children's Village did not disburse drawdowns of Federal funds in a timely manner, drew down funds from one UAC grant to cover expenditures related to its other UAC grant, and did not separately track expenditures for its two UAC grants.

 

Lincoln Hall did not adequately meet employer requirements for 27 of 35 employee files reviewed and it did not have evidence of the proper care and release of children in its custody for 70 of 75 children sampled. In addition, Lincoln Hall could not identify the actual expenditures incurred that comprised the $29.8 million charged to the UAC program, the entire amount that Lincoln Hall received in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and did not ensure that its subrecipients and contractors met the terms and conditions of their agreements.

As a result, Lincoln Hall may have placed the health and safety of children at risk, may have charged unallowable expenditures to the UAC program, and the services provided by its subrecipients and contractors could have been inadequate.

While New York implemented some background check requirements established under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act, it had not fully implemented all of the new criminal background check requirements as of October 1, 2018-its deadline for implementing the requirements. New York must enact supporting legislation to make the changes necessary to its current Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program to come into compliance with the CCDBG Act.

Should New York continue to be noncompliant, the Administration for Children and Families could impose a penalty of 5 percent of the total discretionary CCDF funds awarded to New York for the fiscal year following its determination that non-compliance occurred.

 

It should be noted that on August 23, 2018 then Assistant Attorney General Yates issued the following Memorandum to the Acting Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons - that the Administration reduction of Private Prison Contracts. At this juncture I’m unable to find a superseding DOJ-Memorandum. In large part the DOJ’s Policy is absent a superseding Memo then the last one stands. Perhaps my research skills are rusty but I’ve tried numerous searches, which yielded zero.

 

Notwithstanding the aforementioned 2016 DOJ Memo states the end goal is to end private prison contracts - specifically for the Bureau of Prisons. In then AAG Yates’ Memo there’s a reference to a 2016 DOJ-OIG Report - concerning  Private Prisons.

 

 The DOJ-OIG report cited the following: 

contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions and that the BOP needs to improve how it monitors contract prisons in several areas.


two of the three contract prisons we visited were improperly housing new inmates in Special Housing Units (SHU), which are normally used for disciplinary or administrative segregation, until beds became available in general population housing. .

Regarding cellphone contraband, the private prison contracts compared to BOP facilities are - astounding - especially given the previous research as it relates to the small dataset of GEO Group - notwithstanding the DOJ-OOG report noted (see pages 15 & 16):

The large volume of cell phones confiscated at the contract prisons compared to the BOP institutions during the period of our review was striking. Further, we found that two contract prisons (Big Springs and Adams County) accounted for 3,981 of the 4,849 (82 percent) cell phones confiscated at the 14 contract prisons

With respect to weapons and tobacco the 4 year investigation disclosed that private prisons that the BOP. The holy subsection where private contract prisons had better statistics - drugs.

contract prisons had nearly twice as many weapons confiscated as BOP institutions (3.2 compared to 1.8) monthly. Also, the contract prisons had 2.5 tobacco finds monthly, on average, compared to 1.9 in the BOP institutions.

 

 I could literally write three blogs a day for the next year and I still would barely scratch the surface but I’m glad Members of Congress are starting to drill down on the for Profit contracts. -SpicyFiles Out.

PS no entry tomorrow I’m super slammed shoving bonbons in my calorie hole so my free time is extremely limited until next Tuesday. 

 

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1 comment

  • Maureen A Donnelly: July 15, 2019

    my hero.
    every single day

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