By Paul Laird, Western Region Vice President. Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Dec. 3, 2018. Over the course of my 31 years in corrections management, including more than two decades with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I have seen the development of corrections service providers and currently serve as the Western Region vice president for the GEO Group, which owns and operates two correctional facilities and manages a third in New Mexico.
The GEO Group applauds President Trump and the bipartisan group of lawmakers that support the FIRST STEP Act. We strongly encourage Congress to approve a compromise bill in the weeks ahead demonstrating that both political parties can collaborate to address the real challenges of recidivism.
Although GEO has never taken a position on criminal justice or immigration policies – such as whether to criminalize behavior, the length of criminal sentences, or the basis for or length of an individual’s incarceration or detention – we enthusiastically endorse the recidivism reduction strategies featured in the FIRST STEP Act.
GEO’s own program, the GEO Continuum of Care®, has already proven to reduce recidivism by combining in-custody offender rehabilitation programming (academic and vocational training, substance abuse, faith and character-based strategies) with intensive case management and followed by unparalleled post–release support services (transitional housing, clothing, food, transportation, and job placement assistance).
We know the Continuum of Care® works because program participants at our Graceville Correctional and Rehabilitation facility in Florida were 35 percent less likely to return to prison than those that did not participate in the program; this is why the GEO Continuum of Care® earned the American Corrections Association’s 2017 Innovation Award.
Since its inception, the Continuum of Care® has grown to 17 facilities in 10 states and we are anxious to expand this program because – as President Trump said – “our prisons can do much more to prepare inmates for release.”
The GEO Group has a proven success record and we look forward to playing a constructive role in ensuring that individuals successfully return to their communities.
By David Donahue, President of GEO U.S. Corrections and Detention. Published in Florida Politics on Oct. 30, 2018.This election cycle has been wrought with misinformation regarding Florida’s correctional institutions which are managed by private-sector service providers, specifically The GEO Group (GEO). For some politicians, these attacks have become nothing more than oft-repeated talking points without merit, truth or facts to back it up.
By Ann M. Schlarb, PhD, President of GEO Care. Published in Washington Times on Oct. 24, 2018. When a person is sentenced to jail or prison, their incarceration should be viewed as an opportunity for reform. A long-awaited discussion is currently taking place in Congress on how to meaningfully reduce recidivism rates, and to address this challenge, we must look to the evidence and programs that are well documented through research in order to know what actually works.
“For purposes of background, The GEO Group manages and/or owns 139 correctional, detention and community reentry facilities. We manage these facilities on behalf of our customers, which include state corrections agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
We take the findings outlined by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the Adelanto ICE Processing Center very seriously. While we believe that a number of the findings lacked appropriate context or were based on incomplete information, we have already taken steps to remedy areas where our processes fell short of our commitment to high-quality care.
It’s important to note that in some instances, the report failed to consider all aspects related to the implementation of the federal government’s Performance-Based National Detention Standards. For the instances in which we have identified the standards were not properly met, GEO immediately worked with ICE to rectify procedures and has already implemented corrective actions and increased oversight and compliance measures well ahead of the public release of the OIG report. We are also conducting an in-depth review with our third-party medical services subcontractor to ensure all medical and dental care is provided at the highest quality and in a timely manner, and to hold accountable those who are not meeting these expectations.
Our commitment is always, first and foremost, to high-quality care. For over thirty years, our employees have taken pride in our ability to provide quality services in safe, secure and humane environments for those entrusted to our care, and these findings of inadequacies are not consistent with our core values.
We believe every human being entrusted to our care must be treated with dignity and his or her basic human rights must be respected and preserved at all times. Whenever and wherever these values are threatened, our company’s leadership will take appropriate action to ensure that standards are met, and – most importantly – these men and women are cared for and provided with quality services.
While we are proud of our record in providing safe and secure environments, we take full responsibility when faced with shortcomings and pledge to redouble our efforts to ensure safe and humane treatment in all of our facilities.”
By Johnny Choate, Opinion Contributor. It is disheartening to open a newspaper or turn on the TV only to see misleading information and politically-driven insinuations about the services The GEO Group (GEO) provides to the federal government. I have been a proud employee at GEO for more than 20 years, and currently serve as the facility administrator of the Aurora ICE Processing Center, which was established in 1986 on a contract with ICE’s predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). While it makes for a popular talking point to suggest The GEO Group plays a role in public policy decisions, the truth is quite the opposite. GEO does not take positions on, nor advocate for or against, any immigration enforcement policies, which includes laws governing detention of noncitizens.
By Leyla Santiago, Khushbu Shah and Rachel Clarke, CNN. Gabriela Hernandez is being held in government detention. Yet, this is the happiest she has been in weeks. Compared to what she and the boys have gone through in the last two months, her current living status — even if under guard — is a relief. Hernandez says she fled her home in Honduras when gangs threatened to kill Omar, her 6-year-old. She sought some safety traveling north through Mexico in the migrant caravan, but it wasn’t easy. The whole family was hungry. Each of them, including a pregnant Hernandez, became sick. They struggled to ride on top of freight trains carrying scrap metal in the blazing sun and frigid nights. They waited days for buses, living off donations from strangers. And when the United States was in sight, they camped in a chilly Tijuana, waiting for the US border post to open.
On January 8, 2018, The GEO Group (GEO) was proud to accept the “Innovation in Corrections” Award at the American Correctional Association (ACA) Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida. This prestigious award was presented to Dr. George C. Zoley, GEO’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder by Victoria C. Myers, Chair of ACA’s Correctional Awards Committee.
ACA’s Correctional Awards Committee selected the “GEO Continuum of Care” program at the Graceville Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility in Florida as the ACA 2018 “Innovation in Corrections” awardee. The award was based on an independent nomination of the “GEO Continuum of Care” program, which was submitted by Dr. John Smykla, Director and Professor of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.