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Private dream, public reality

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In October 2005, Michigan closed the state's private youth prison run by GEO after an advocacy group sued the prison over inadequate inmate care. Budget shortfalls also played into the prison's closure. Tom Masseau, director of government and media relations for Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service Inc., said his watchdog group found juvenile inmates who needed special education but were not receiving it and inmates who were not receiving appropriate mental health care. The prison also managed problem juveniles by putting them in solitary confinement, he said. Mr. Masseau said his group tried to work with GEO and the state before filing a lawsuit, but the problems remained unsolved and inmates faced reprisals. "The youth would report back that they were retaliated against for meeting with us," Mr. Masseau said. "We said enough is enough" (45 ).

public concerns

Youngstown Ohio Mayor George McKelvey tells about one escape, "I guess an inmate tapped the guard on the shoulder and said, I want to tell you something.". The guard said "So what do you want to tell me?" The inmate replied "Well, there's a big hole in the fence, and six inmates are gone." The mayor added "you know, if I didn't laugh, I'd cry. This could have been the largest prison break in the history of the United States. There were more than 200 inmates in that yard who could have gone through that hole, because the guards, nobody knows where they were. Now, that's incompetence."(46 ).

In La Villa Texas six inmates escaped from a private prison. This prison has repeatedly violated state standards according to the Texas prison board eight days after the escape, inspectors found, the prison employed too few guards adding an unauthorized number of bunks and keeping unlicensed guards on the payroll(47 ).

The Texas Youth Commission (TYC) fired three monitors for not reporting for reporting danger and filthy conditions of a private prison their were in charge of overseeing. Another thing they use to work for the private prisons they were hired to oversee. Two were hired directly from GEO the company, a third had worked briefly for GEO four years before being hired(48 ).

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