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FOCUS: Private Prisons Fight for Their Lives in Florida Against Andrew Gillum
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=37536"><span class="small">Zaid Jilani, The Intercept</span></a>   
Friday, 02 November 2018 12:27

Jilani writes: "Gillum has stated clearly that he is opposed to the prison industry."

Geo Group correctional officer. (photo: AP)
Geo Group correctional officer. (photo: AP)

Private Prisons Fight for Their Lives in Florida Against Andrew Gillum

By Zaid Jilani, The Intercept

02 November 18


lorida-based Geo Group is the second-largest private prison company. Its operations across the United States and in several foreign countries netted $2.26 billion in revenue in 2017.

But its operations in the state where it is headquartered are threatened by the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

Gillum has stated clearly that he is opposed to the prison industry. Over the summer, he pledged not to take any money from private prison corporations and vowed to eliminate them from the state of Florida. “I believe private prisons ought to be illegal in the state of Florida. They should not exist,” he said.

On the other side of the aisle, Geo Group has  given heavily to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis’s campaign. Filings show that the company gave $50,000 to DeSantis’s committee Friends of DeSantis on March 26, 2017.

On August 15, the company gave another $50,000 to the campaign. Its CEO and founder, George C. Zoley, gave $50,000 on the same date. On October 3, Zoley gave another $50,000 to the committee, as well as a separate $3,400 donation.

Geo Group money is also finding other ways into the campaign. For instance, it has received a total of $150,000 over three October donations from the group Jobs for Florida. Geo Group has given $25,000 to Jobs for Florida this year.

The company is also active in the attorney general’s race, giving $45,000 between two October donations to Republican candidate Ashley Moody’s independent political committee. Jobs for Florida has given the same amount. Ron Book, a GEO Group lobbyist notorious for successfully pushing for the implementation of draconian restrictions on sex offenders across the state, gave $2,000 as well.

To be clear, the vast majority of Florida prisoners are in state-run prisons, not the private sector. The Sentencing Project notes that in 2016, around 12 percent of Florida’s prisoners were in privately run facilities. That’s for now, however. There was a 211 percent increase in that population between the years 2000 and 2016.

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Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2018 12:55


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+24 # chapdrum 2018-11-02 18:42
It is difficult to imagine anything more cynical than prisons for profit (replete with shareholders).
+24 # jon 2018-11-02 19:46
Without transparency and accountability, there is no Democracy.

Therefore, for a "Democracy" to sell part of its legal structure to a party that is neither transparent, nor accountable for its actions, is clearly not Constitutional.
+6 # 2018-11-02 23:11
Private prisons are in business to make money.
It is not in their best interests to rehabilitate prisoners. They want the prisoners coming back. If they don't have prisoners, they don't get money.
+6 # Realist1948 2018-11-03 03:42
A primary objective of any business in a capitalist system is growth. But a sensible objective for any society IMHO is to minimize the number of people who it finds necessary to incarcerate.

Privatized incarceration puts these two objectives in diametric opposition to each other.
+7 # elizabethblock 2018-11-03 07:49
It used to be said that we can't live by taking in each other's washing.
Neither can we live by imprisoning more and more people.
Private or state, prisons are run with tax money.
+4 # Allears 2018-11-03 08:46
Blithely, or purposefully, ignorant shareholders are at root, the cause of much of the worldwide destruction of societies and the ecosystem of the planet. How can a human, without any pangs or guilt or concern whatsoever, profit monetarily from the misery of another-the result of the concerted, tax-free, PR campaigns of the last few decades on the part of the mutated version of what being 'conservative' (and Christian) means,
that tells members of democratic-capi talist countries, that being kind is stupid, that only the intelligent survive.
+5 # hiker 2018-11-03 12:13
Let's see, a for profit industry that makes it's money by putting people in cages... What could possibly go wrong?