GEO Group is a global operator of private correctional, detention, and immigration detention facilities. Headquartered in One Park Place, Boca Raton, Florida, it operates 80,000 beds and 116 facilities in North America, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. It is the second-largest for-profit prison operator in the U.S. behind Corrections Corporation of America. 
Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (WCC) was formed as a division of Wackenhut Corporation in 1984, and was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1988. WCC began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as GEO in 1996, and in 2003 GEO's Board of Directors officially approved a name change to The GEO Group, Inc. 
Ties to ALEC
GEO parent Wackenhut Corporation has been a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Alleged Connections to Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Law
A National Public Radio (NPR) report from October 2010 suggested that private prison corporation CCA, through ALEC, was responsible for Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant law SB1070. 
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it's not about prisons. It's about what's best for the country. . . But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.
It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.
It's a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.
It was there that Pearce's idea took shape."
The report continued:
And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in "a significant portion of our revenues" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.
In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.
"There were no 'no' votes," Pearce said. "I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation."
Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law.
When the bill was introduced in Arizona, thirty of the 36 bill co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — the GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, and Management and Training Corporation.
The report continues:
"In May, The Geo Group had a conference call with investors. When asked about the bill, company executives made light of it, asking, "Did they have some legislation on immigration?"
After company officials laughed, the company's president, Wayne Calabrese, cut in.
"This is Wayne," he said. "I can only believe the opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what's happening. Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there's going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do.""
Allegations of Violence and Squalor in GEO Juvenile Prisons
WGYCF is a GEO-operated juvenile prison in Mississippi that is supposed to be safer environment for youth than typical state prisons. A legal complaint filed by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center alleges that the "for-profit entities that manage WCGYF perpetuate violence and corruption." It is alleged that some juveniles have been kicked and punched while handcuffed, and others have been stripped naked and placed in solitary confinement for weeks. One inmate claims to have been "held hostage in his cell for almost 24 hours, brutally raped and physically assaulted after prison staff failed to heed his plea for protection." 
GEO group has also been accused of permitting deplorable conditions at a juvenile prison in West Texas. Independent auditors conducted an investigation of the facility. After completing their investigation, the auditors reportedly “got so much fecal matter on their shoes they had to wipe their feet on the grass outside." They found that "cells were "filthy" and "smelled of feces and urine." They also noted the presence of extensive water leaks that made the facility "an unsafe environment for all youth and staff." In addition, the prisoners were racially segregated, with Hispanics not allowed to be cell mates with African-Americans. In 2007 employees of the Texas Youth Commission were fired for not reporting wretched conditions of the prison. It was later discovered that the workers were former employees of GEO. 
Between 2003 and 2011, GEO hired 72 lobbyists in 17 states to advocate on their behalf. It also made campaign contributions to over 400 candidates for state office within the same timeframe. 
Accessed October 2012: 
- George C. Zoley - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Founder
- Richard H. Glanton - Chairman, CEO and Founder, Philadelphia Television Network
- Norman A. Carlson - Former Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Anne Newman Foreman - Former Under Secretary, United States Air Force
- Clarence E. Anthony - President and CEO of Anthony Government Solutions, Inc.
- Christopher C. Wheeler - Former Member and Partner of Proskauer Rose LLP (Florida Office)
Resources and articles
- Mark Underwood - former president
- ↑ GEO Group website, Home page, accessed December 2, 2011.
- ↑ GEO Group website, "History", accessed December 2, 2011.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Laura Sullivan Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law, National Public Radio, October 28, 2010
- ↑ Rania Khalek, The Shocking Ways the Corporate Prison Industry Games the System, truthout, November 29, 2011
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Banking On Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration, ACLU, November 2011
- ↑ Geo Group Board, organizational web page, accessed October 7, 2012.