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“The private-prison industry is a little bit of a black box,” said Lauren-Brooke Eisen, a former prosecutor who now works as a senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Criminal Justice at New York University School of Law.
“There’s little transparency.” Open The Government, a coalition for government transparency that includes the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Society of News Editors, recently began encouraging Senate leaders to support legislation to apply the Freedom of Information Act to federally funded private prisons.
The simple life he once knew in Chichester — one where he worked at a steel mill and provided for his two kids — was a faded memory, a snapshot from a stranger’s photo album.
GEO, based in Boca Raton, Fla., now has 64 prisons across the U. that can house 74,000 inmates, and seven other prisons overseas that can hold an additional 7,800.
The company also has 60 day reporting centers scattered around the country that serve about 166,000 former inmates. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is its biggest client; deportation efforts rose sharply under the Obama administration and have surged even more with Trump in the White House.
In early August, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General released a troubling report that showed contract prisons had far higher rates of violence and lockdowns, and poorer access to medical care, than comparable federally run facilities.
GEO officials contend the report painted a grossly distorted portrait of its prisons.