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“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 companies are well-skilled at the art of evading scrutiny.

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Critics argue that all of the problems that made privately run prisons a poor investment are still present: the facilities are sometimes understaffed and unsafe — three inmates have died at a GEO-run detention center in California since March — and the companies are about as transparent as a cinder block, aided by the knowledge that few Americans will shed any tears if a bunch of prisoners claim they’re being mistreated.

You won’t find the late George Wackenhut on any Philadelphia-area murals that celebrate famous local sons.

As a member of the Army Corps of Engineers, he witnessed hundreds of Japanese fighter planes launch a surprise attack on American battleships in Pearl Harbor on Dec. A separate arm called Wackenhut Corrections was formed in 1984 to tap into the growing world of private-prison services; it landed its first federal contract three years later to manage a processing center for federal immigration detainees.

In the decade that followed, the company became publicly traded as demand for housing and transporting inmates soared.

“They did absolutely nothing to help him.” When the agony became too much, Bryant hanged himself with prison-issued linens on Nov. He was one of 12 inmates who died at the facility between 20, according to a lawsuit Bryant's family filed in 2009 against the GEO Group, an international conglomerate that manages George W.

Hill and 21 other facilities across Pennsylvania, including two halfway houses and a day reporting center in Philadelphia. GEO and other leading for-profit prison corporations have been plagued by health and safety issues for years, with prisoner and staff complaints and wrongful-death lawsuits piling up like mounds of unopened jail mail. Bureau of Prisons to annually house more than 34,000 federal inmates.(It was renamed the GEO Group in 2003, a year before Wackenhut died at 85.) Thanks in part to a nationwide embrace of tough-on-crime policies as part of the war on drugs, the overall number of federal inmates in the United States mushroomed from 25,000 in 1980 to a peak of 219,000 in 2012, according to the Inspector General’s Office.GEO, Core Civic (formerly known as CCA), and companies like them were supposed to help the overwhelmed Bureau of Prisons safely manage a percentage of this ever-growing prison population — and for less money than it would have cost to simply enlarge the bureau.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.All the secrecy makes it hard to answer a simple question: Why are privately run prisons more dangerous? Litigation over inmate deaths cut into GEO's profits and drove the company to abandon its contract to run the sprawling prison in 2009.

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