Today’s post picks up from a previous post, Crony Capitalism; Private Prison Stocks Have Doubled Since the Election.
We all remember the “Pay to Play” rhetoric from Donald Trump during the campaign. However, the Trump administration made a controversial decision last week to award their first Federal contract for an immigration detention center to the GEO Group. As mentioned in the previous post, a $100,000 donation by the GEO Group to Trump’s Super PAC may have violated federal. Private companies can’t make political donations while their contracts while holding or negotiating a federal contract. Then again, the GEO Group is unlikely to be penalized due to a technicality; one of their subsidiaries, which doesn’t have any federal contracts, made the donation.
Was there a quid-pro-quo for this newly acquired $110 million immigration detention center contract? There’s no evidence at this time, but the optics are horrible. Nonetheless, this type of decision was the exact scenario that Trump adamantly campaigned against. He was supposed to “drain the swamp.” He repeatedly pointed to the “Pay to Play System,” i.e. preferential treatment for Clinton Foundation donors. Now, he can be accused of the same kind of corruption.
Making matters worse, the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Justice issued a damning report yesterday about another private prison operator. Their office revealed clear corporate negligence at the infamous federal prison, Leavenworth, which is being operated by CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). CoreCivic compromised inmate and staff safety by understaffing and closing “mandatory” security posts. Remarkably, their company compensated, at times, by placing staff members who were not corrections officers into these security posts.
CoreCivic also repeatedly placed three beds into cells that were designed for two beds. Furthermore, their company tried to hide that decision from government auditors. There were other details demonstrating that this company prioritized profits over rehabilitation. You can view a condensed video of the Inspector general’s report:
Did this report impact the Trump administration’s decision to award the recent $110 million contract to the GEO Group? Again, there’s no evidence. And this latest report was years in the making. In fact, there’s no evidence suggesting that Jeff Sessions or the Trump administration considers the recommendations of the Inspector General’s Office in any manner. Otherwise, they would have not reversed the decision by the Obama administration to phase out all federal prison contractors, which was based upon a report by the Inspector General.