Crime pays for prison operators

James Kilgore writes: Private corrections company The GEO Group celebrated the holiday season by opening a new 1,500 bed prison in Milledgeville, Georgia on December 12th. The $80 million facility is expected to generate approximately $28.0 million in annual revenues.

Though GEO (formerly Wackenhut) is hardly a household name, they are a major player in the private corrections sector, combining a self righteous amorality in profiting from human misery with a ruthless sense of just how to make a buck in this business. The GEO Group is so notorious that they were the target of an Occupy Washington D.C. action in early December. In addition, the United Methodist Church sold off more than $200,000 in stock in GEO Group over the holiday season, judging that holding these shares was “incompatible with Bible teaching.”

While such actions may irritate a few within the company’s rank, the GEO Group is thick-skinned. Over the years journalists have exposed a long history of violence, abuse and corruption in the company’s facilities. Such scandals would have driven most firms out of business, but GEO has always managed to find the way back to prosperity. While the U.S. economy has plummeted in the past eighteen months, GEO has been positioning itself for the future.

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One thought on “Crime pays for prison operators

  1. Tom Hall

    GEO’s website mentions the company’s “operations in the United States, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom”, ie. four of the least enlightened penal systems in the world, “offering a diversified array of turnkey services”. Yes, this is the sort of language the company uses to describe the business of incarceration: “turnkey services”. The site goes on to reveal that GEO manages or owns 116 facilities, with 80,000 beds. They also manage or own a fair share of elected officials. Through its involvement with the corporate pressure group The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), GEO participates in drafting legislation designed to expand opportunities for GEO and its main rival CCA in the prison-industrial complex. Only recently, CCA took a major role in writing the notorious Arizona anti-immigration law. The bill contained provisions which ensured that great numbers of people would be swept up and imprisoned in institutions run for profit by CCA and GEO. Information can be found at Another excellent and comprehensive source is

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