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The GEO Group aka CivicCore & the Trump Admin Part I

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Posted on June 07 2019

 

The Geo Group - it’s time

About six months ago, I walked you through a partial research file concerning unaccompanied minors (UAC), of which the Trump Administration retains “custody” of said UACs. That embedded December 2018 write up was in fact a follow up to the March 2018 entry. And the follow up June 2018 write up. While the tweets are gone (which represented incalculable amount of pro bono research) some of the text remains. Should you be inclined this link will take you to the 20+ write ups specific to UACs. This link will take you to the 55+ write ups concerning the Trump Administration’s Immigration “Policies”. 

 

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It is actually difficult to enumerate how many hours went in to those various entries. The vast majority of the time I do research after-work and on the weekends - essentially in my “free time”. I use that to procure  receipts, contracts, Congressional Testimony, court filings and other types of original documents. I then cross referencing that data with State Databases. Finding and sourcing original documents is labor intensive. It also requires additional time to then read each document. And then I attempt to regurgitate said data in to a cohesive write up. Sometimes I’m successful and others times I’m like “what in the hell did I just write”.

While it might only take you a few minutes to read any article - I have a new found appreciation for actual journalist. They work incredibly hard and the average consumer may not fully understand or appreciate the intensive labor that goes in to the “end result”.

 

ICYMI - yesterday I pushed out the two most recent DHS-OIG reports -which detailed in the starkest of terms the egregious living conditions of ICE detainees. It wasn’t until I read Report No 19-47 did I realize three of the four ICE detention centers are “managed” by The Geo Group. Which means the Geo Group bares some if not all the responsibilities of the horrid living conditions detailed in the DHS-OIG reports.

 

In order to have a completely intellectually honest discussion, it makes sense to acknowledge the following factual predicates;

Yes the ICE Detainees entered our Country illegally. There is a high probability that some of the illegal immigrants have a credible asylum claim. That some of the detainees might be criminals. Although I’d argue children 0 to 12 are hardly criminals - but we’ve previously discussed the UACs at length. That said these are human beings and they should be treated with some dignity.

Also it is interesting to me that the DOJ and Trump Administration actually have two Immigration Courts run out of:

LaSalle - GEO Group ICE Detention Facility

Aurora CO - GEO Group Facility 

Moreover to give you an understanding of just how big The Geo Group is. They have 69 Facilities with >74K beds. Their greatest expansion is in Australia - 2016 to 2018 they actualized a >4% increase in contract revenues. But what’s most alarming, given the horrible juvenile scandal that forced The Geo Group to close its Walnut Grove Facility in 2013, they still have 11 “residential facilities” with >1.2K beds. Frankly that’s beyond terrifying, read the DOJ Report I embedded further down.

 With respect to my assertion that The GEO Group has literally ZERO business managing the care of illegal minors - aka UACs - even after a Court injunction The GEO Group IS STILL SEPARATING CHILDREN. See May 2019 Article (it might be behind a paywall for those sans LN account). Seriously The GEO Group should have all Federal and State contracts involving minors terminated, I pulled a few CPS reports and it’s disgusting and disturbing - especially the violations in Texas Pennsylvania and Virginia....worse than Southwest Key 

Twenty-six immigrant fathers and sons have sued The GEO Group, which runs immigration detention centers for the federal government, alleging that armed men swarmed their rooms in a Texas-based detention center and used excessive force to separate them, in violation of a nationwide preliminary injunction against family separations. (emphasis added)

GEO told the children, some as young as 6, that they’d be separated permanently from their fathers, and mocked them by saying their fathers were in jail, the complaint said. The children were isolated in the Karnes detention center’s medical center all night, the plaintiffs alleged.

“At least one child hid under his bed in the isolation room out of fear, and at least another considered committing suicide,” the complaint said.

The next day, on Aug. 16, 2018, GEO took the fathers back to the Karnes detention center. Eventually they were reunited with their children.

 

 

 

As briefly discussed in yesterday’s entry - The Geo Group has a long and litigious history. To that end I could in fact write an entry everyday for a decade and I still would not capture all of The Geo Group’s scandals. For example the protracted battle with The Geo Group and wage disparity among female employees. In March of 2019 the 9thCCOAs ruled in a Published Opinion 

The 9thCCOAs held that the District Court erred in dismissing several members of the “certified class” - which is problematic given the legal standards set forth in determining if a “class” should be certified. As such the District Court’s Summary Judgement was vacated, the case was remanded back to the District Court with specific instructions.

 

 

Shortly thereafter The Geo Group petitioned SCOTUS - 

THE GEO GROUP, INC. V.  EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION

SCOTUS DOCKET - No. 16-302 Status - DENIED

This DOJ link will take you to the Obama-Administration 2016 Opposition to The Geo Group’s SCOTUS Petition

It can not be emphasized enough that the aforementioned case is one of hundreds. The reason I’ve embedded this case is it will give you a factual basis to fundamentally understand the “cooperate” culture for The Geo Group employees, especially if you’re a woman. Granted this was in the context of an official EEOC Complaint. 

The GEO Group Employees Indictments

 

I know that some might think I’m cherry picking various DOJ OPA releases, I can’t change what the Department of Justice releases but here’s a small sampling of a quick search I ran on the DOJ’s website. Of the most egregious GEO Group scandals (and there are a lot) the horrid conditions which culminated in this 2012 DOJ Report Re: Investigation of the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility/ Walnut Grove, Mississippi this alone should have disqualified The GEO Group from any tax payer funded contracts. Because the report is probably one of the worst. This ACLU link will take you to the 2012 settlement - eventually The GEO Group closed this facility but they still operate several youth facility that have total contract values (TCVs) in the tens of millions of dollars.

 

October 2016 DOJ-OPA Release, (former) GEO Prison Guard Leticia Martinez Garza - was sentenced to one year for having a sexual relationship with an inmate.

 

May 4, 2016, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a ward.  By pleading guilty, the defendant admitted that between May 15, 2014, and September 18, 2014, while employed as a Laundry, Property and Supply Supervisor at GEO Corrections Val Verde Correction facility in Del Rio, she had sexual intercourse on multiple occasions with an inmate who was under her custodial, supervisory or disciplinary authority.

 

January 20, 2017 - the DOJ-OPA Release - GEO Employee Ray Alexander Barr, was indicted and arrested for allegedly attempting to provide contraband to an inmate inside the federal detention facility:

 

Barr a kitchen supervisor at GEO, a federal pre-trial detention facility in San Antonio, asked several inmates if they wanted contraband smuggled into GEO in return for money.  Barr agreed to smuggle alcohol and ICE methamphetamine into the facility in exchange for money.  Agents arrested Barr immediately after he accepted payment but before he could smuggle in the contraband.

 

January 2017 - DOJ announcement  that a Federal Grand Jury in San Antonio Returns Separate Indictments Against Two Former Central Texas Detention Facility-GEO Prison Guards:

 

Indictment # 1 - Barbara Jean Goodwin of San Antonio on one count of sexual abuse of a ward. According to Goodwin’s indictment, between February 2016 and August 2016, she allegedly engaged in sexual acts with a federal prisoner who at the time was under her custodial, supervisory, or disciplinary authority.

Indictment # 2 The federal grand jury also indicted 28-year-old Ray Alexander Barr of San Antonio. Barr is charged with one count of providing contraband in prison. The indictment alleges that on December 27, 2016, Barr attempted to provide methamphetamine and alcohol to a federal prisoner.

 

June 13, 2017 - DOJ-OPA Release Former Central Texas Detention Facility - GEO Prison Guard Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Abuse of a Ward:

 

On March 14, 2017, Goodwin pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a ward. By pleading guilty, Goodwin admitted that from February 2016 to August 2016, she engaged in sexual acts with a federal prisoner who at the time was under her custodial, supervisory or disciplinary authority.

 

October 13, 2017 DOJ-OPA announcement  Of Three Florida Residents Charged for Receiving Bribes from Aliens in Exchange for Immigration Benefits:

 

Elisa Pelaez, 54, Ginou Baptiste, 48, and Fritz Cyriaque (a/k/a “Joseph,” a/k/a “Ferguson”), 50, all of Miami, were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to solicit, demand and accept money or anything of value in excess of $5,000, from aliens, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, and series of transactions, of Behavioral Intervention, Inc. a/k/a BI, Inc. (BI, Inc.), a Geo Group Company, an organization that received in any one year period, benefits in excess of $10,000, under a federal program involving a contract.

 

 

November 27, 2017 DOJ-OPA Release, also see DOJ-OIG May 2018 Release announcing the sentencing of CHARLES DANIEL LYNN and JOSE TOMAS CASTILLO-GARZA: 

 

According to an indictment filed on August 16, 2017, Lynn served as a correctional officer at Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton, Oklahoma, during the latter half of 2016.  Operated by GEO Group, Great Plains is a low-security institution that contracts with the Bureau of Prisons to house approximately 1,871 federal inmates

 

December 15, 2017 the DOJ announce multiple Indictment of GEO Guards that conspired to smuggle drugs in to Prison.

 

Indictment # 1GEO guard Jewel Roberto Jefferson of San Antonio, GEO detainee Brian Keith Gonzalez of San Antonio and 36–year-old Stephanie Ann Villarreal of San Antonio are charged with one count of providing contraband in prison.  According to court records, Jefferson allegedly agreed to smuggle crystal methamphetamine, heroin and hydroponic marijuana into the facility and give it to Gonzalez in exchange for $1,000.  On November

Indictment # 2: GEO guard Abigail Jolynn Abrego and 55–year-old Leonard Belmares of San Antonio are charged with one count of providing contraband in prison.  According to court records, on November 12, 2017, Abrego and Belmares met with an undercover agent and agreed that Abrego would smuggle crystal methamphetamine to a GEO detainee in exchange for $1,500. 

 

On September 19, 2018 - (former) GEO Prison Guard Abigail Jolynn Abrego was sentenced to 57 months, after she pleaded (yes that’s the correct legal terminology) guilty to attempting to providing contraband in to a prison. See official DOJ-OPA announcement.

 

On February 7, 2019 - a federal grand jury handed down Indictment for two GEO Employees, a nurse and a Corrections Officer - Rebecca Fussell, for Conspiracy and Sexual Abuse of a Ward, and Melissa Batten for Conspiracy and False Statement: 

Fussell was a correctional officer and Batten was a registered nurse employed by the GEO Group, a private contractor that operates the D. Ray James Correctional Institution, in Folkston, Ga., under contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons. An investigation began after another employee saw Fussell engaging in sex with a male inmate in a medical treatment room at the prison, leading to the discovery that Batten facilitated and helped cover up repeated sexual activity between Fussell and the prisoner.

 

 

As previously mentioned the scandals that plague The Geo Group are voluminous. The greater concern is the Trump Administration’s propensity to heavily rely on Pubic-Private Partnerships. In 2016 The Geo Group via their Annual Investor Prospectus told potential investors that their business model held >63% in US Corrections and Detention Center Contracts.

If you zoom in on the 2016 Geo Group Annual Report you will see the actual breakdown. They have a significant portion of their business in Federal Contracts; 18% ICE, 14% BOP, 10% US Marshall = 42% cumulative. The other 23% comes from various state contracts.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 The Geo Group Annual Report - disclosed 2017 showed The Geo Group lost contacts with the State of Alaska & Texas. Whereas they saw a (1%) reduction in BOP reviews while a 1%+ increase in ICE revenues, whereas the US Marshals contracts remain flat

 

2018 Geo Group - Annual Report - indicates a 1% increase in ICE Contract Revenues, a (1%) decrease in BOP revenues but a 1% increase in US Marshals. Although it does appear that their international business picked up -especially when view in a year to year comparisons. 

 

 Should you be inclined you can review GEO Group’s Annual Reports 2001 to present via their investors page, found here. You might ask why did I pick 2016 to 2018 - granted it does seem like an odd fiscal time frame. Well after spending hours hunting down GEO Group’s Federal Contract awards via I found data to make me zero in on this time frame.  For fiscal year 2016 they received 23 Federal Contracts. In fiscal year 2017 they were awarded >100 additional contracts (all after Trump was sworn in). Subsequently their 2018 contract awards added on to the 2018. 

Tomorrow I will push out an updated entry where I will drop the  actual contracts and the terms and conditions - my gut is the DHS-OIG Reports The GEO Group might be in material breech but mu bon-bons are getting cold so it’s not like they are going to eat themselves...plus I still have the CoreCivics Inc files to download and read. I got to page 3 of the original complaint in Case No: 1:18-cv-01051-STA-egb and became physically ill - Mr Johnson a prisoner was brutally beaten to death all while guards laughed. This is why I’m so against any Public-Private partnerships for Federal Prisons - it’s should not absolve the Federal Government from accountability but it does and it’s wrong... until then I’ll leave this video right here - I’m pretty sure it’s the same GEO Group facility in the DHS-OIG Report 

 

 

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1 comment

  • TFCOCS: June 11, 2019

    Hey—-let me know if I can be of any help with this one.

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