By Alan Bean
Florida Atlantic University didn’t know what it was getting into when it agreed to name it’s football stadium after the private prison giant GEO Group. George Zoley, the CEO of GEO Group calls FAU his alma mater and was willing to hand over a $6 million donation. The good folks at FAU who gladly took Zoley’s money didn’t realize that private prisons are highly controversial.
As the article below makes clear, GEO Group, like every other private prison company, has been dogged by a long list of abuse allegations in places like Broward County, FL, Walnut Grove, MS, and Jena, LA. Immigrant rights and DREAM Act groups immediately sprang into action, linking to GEO Groups Wikipedia article to corroborate their unflattering portrait of the private prison company. In a desperate attempt at damage control, GEO Group gave the Wikipedia article a radical edit, replacing all the unflattering facts with its own corporate propaganda.
I first learned about the FAU-GEO Group connection on Tuesday morning at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference in Dallas. I had just finished my presentation on the private prison industry when a woman in the audience stood to announce the breaking news. This morning, my Google Alert on Walnut Grove led me to the article below.
Private prisons are cheap because they cut corners at every turn, diverting tax dollars into corporate coffers and massive bonus checks for men like George Foley. They must understaff their prisons to remain in the black. (more…)