|"Kids for Cash" Judge Mark Ciavarella|
As reported in 2011 by the Christian Science Monitor, the jury found Ciavarella guilty on 12 of 39 counts in his indictment. Aside from racketeering, he "was also convicted of failing to record the secret payments on judicial financial disclosure forms from 2004 to 2007, and for filing false tax returns for those same years. In addition, the jury found him guilty of engaging in a money-laundering conspiracy to conceal the payments."
The perverse incentives that attach when private corporations seek to control a public function like crime and punishment, including sentencing and imprisonment, literally overwhelms both judges and corporate executives. That a private prison company would actually bribe judges to fill their prisons is appalling. Just as outrageous is that judges would, without remorse, destroy the lives of young kids by imprisoning them for minor crimes or misbehaviors, in order to receive bribes that the private industry seems more than willing to pay.
|GEO Group Headquarters in Florida|
The Nation reports: "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. . . .
In February and March, Pablo Paez, the Geo Group’s vice president of corporate relations, told media outlets, including the Financial Times and The Nation, that his firm would steer clear of immigration reform politics. . . . 'The GEO Group has never directly or indirectly lobbied to influence immigration policy. We have not discussed any immigration reform related matters with any members of Congress, and we will not participate in the current immigration reform debate.'
Geo Group’s quarterly lobbying disclosure tells a different story. A disclosure filed in April shows that the company turned to Navigators Global to lobby both houses of Congress on 'issues related to comprehensive immigration reform.' Navigators Global, a corporate government affairs firm founded by several Republican aides, has been retained by the Geo Group since 2011 . . . ."
The private prison industry is sordid, evidenced by judicial bribery and lying to investors and the public at large. How long will we stand for this debauchery?