Earlier this week, we wrote about the news that Florida Atlantic found a… unique source to pay for naming rights to its stadium: the GEO Group, a for-profit prison company (or, as they’d rather put it, a “provider of correctional, detention, and community reentry services“). As word got out about this unusual deal, stories about the GEO Group gained wider exposure – stories that painted it not only as a private prison company, but a bad private prison company:
– In 2011, an Oklahoma jury ordered GEO to pay $6.5 million to the family of Ronald Sites, an inmate who was strangled to death by his cellmate in 2005.
– [T]he Florida Department of Children and Families said GEO Group’s neglect contributed to the death of a South Florida State Hospital patient. The man was being escorted by GEO Group employees to an appointment at Jackson Memorial Hospital when he hurled himself from the eighth story of a parking garage, the Miami Herald reported. A GEO Group employee should have stayed with the man at the first-story hospital entrance while the driver retrieved the van, DCF said.
– In 2007, Texas canceled an $8 million contract with GEO and closed the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center. Inspectors found feces on floors and walls, padlocked emergency exits and overuse of pepper spray on young inmates.
And there’s more where that came from. Needless to say, FAU accepting $6 million from the GEO Group in exchange for plastering the company’s name on its football stadium generated a fair bit of controversy – so much so that The Colbert Report’s staff took notice, and last night, Stephen Colbert dedicated a segment to the subject. You can see it below:
Not the funniest segment the show’s ever done, but that was mostly because it’s hard to be too funny when you’re dealing with phrases like “unnecessary deaths of people in their custody” and “pervasive level of staff sexual misconduct.” Still, pretty well-done – and as for FAU… well… uh, hey, more free publicity, guys!