By Alan Bean
When the for-profit giant Geo Corp insisted a few months ago that they would stay out of the immigration reform debate I was suspicious. These people are in the money-making business and real reform would have a disastrous impact on the bottom line. The industry wants the US government to lock up as many people for as long as possible because that’s what a decent ROI demands. The private prison people don’t care about the families that are ripped apart by the draconian policies they advocate or whether the punitive approach makes a lick of sense. They aren’t in the making sense business; their in the money-making business. Which is why they should not and must not influence the political process. As this article from the Nation makes clear, the private prison industry is deeply invested in the political process because the shape of reform emerging from Washington is a make or break proposition. It is particularly significant, as I have frequently noted, that the for-profit prison boys are big supporters of the the Gang of Eight (more on this below).
Earlier this year, one of the largest private prison corporations in the country sent out a statement to reporters claiming that it would not lobby in any way over the immigration reform debate. A new disclosure shows that the company, the Boca Raton–based Geo Group, has in fact paid an “elite team of federal lobbyists” to influence the comprehensive immigration reform legislation making its way through Congress. (more…)