1,000 Inmates Riot at Texas Private Federal Prison

For the second time in a month, there's a riot underway at a private Texas prison.

This time it's the Reeves County Detention Center in West Texas. More than 1,000 prisoners are involved. The prison is run by The GEO Group, based in Boca Raton, Fla. Here's a list of the prisons they operate in the U.S.

The Reeves County Detention Center, according to GEO, is low security and houses 2,400 inmates. Check out its description of programs -- almost sounds like a cross between rehab, summer camp and a hotel:

Programs offered at the facility include classes in electrical repair, typing, basic computer skills, basic home wiring, GED classes, and “English as a second language” classes.

There are also vocational programs such as auto mechanics and horticulture. These programs help keep the inmates busy and productive, and provide skills that play an important role in reducing recidivism upon release. Our Substance Abuse Counselors are highly qualified and experienced, and provide high quality drug and alcohol counseling. Recreational activities available to inmates include leather and hobby crafts, the opportunity to play in one of several inmate bands, and the opportunity to participate in sporting tournaments.

Things can't be that good if 1,000 of the residents are rioting.

Update: Yesterday, at a GEO run private prison in Indiana, a guard was arrested for helping a prisoner escape. The company was also named in that strange indictment out of Texas charging Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales.

Here's a "rap sheet" on GEO, formerly known as Wackenhut. (The immigrant detention center in Denver/Aurora used to be run by Wackenhut. It's now owned by GEO which will be adding 1,100 beds in 2009. You can read all about how well GEO is doing despite the terrible economy in this transcript of their 3rd quarter earnings call.

< Bite Mark ID Leads to Wrongful Conviction | Is the Exclusionary Rule Dead? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    ah, our reality, (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 04:25:29 AM EST
    vs the republican reality! so near, but yet so far, far away!

    yeah, geez, that description made it sound almost like club med, without the beach, and no freedom. if 1,000 prisoners, in this "almost summer camp" environment are rioting, why do i get the distinct impression that perhaps the description provided by GEO, and the reality on the ground, are two polar opposites?

    could just be the cynic in me.

    A cage is a cage.... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 11:07:01 AM EST
    with or without internet access and cable tv.

    I'm amazed there isn't a riot in every prison most everyday.


    I remember (none / 0) (#2)
    by JamesTX on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 05:12:02 AM EST
    when I was in school, long ago, prior to the conservative movement. When we were taught about the virtues of the Constitution and America in general, it was often through examples of historical injustices which have been corrected through the rule of law. One of those injustices we were taught about was "private jailers", as if it was a bad idea that had finally been overcome by the rule of law.

    Corporations running prisons is a conflict of interest. Period.

    I suppose (none / 0) (#3)
    by JohninNVA on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 07:34:51 AM EST
    that the argument for a private company running a prison is that "they can do it cheaper."  To me it seems that some things (prisons and military) should be the sole domain of government regardless of the cost.

    I suspect that had this prison been run by government the riot could have been dealt with much faster.  I noticed in the article that the prison had to call police officers in from outside the prison.  Are private prisons unequipped to deal with riots?  Do the guards not have authority to deal with situations such as riots?

    In reality (none / 0) (#6)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 11:15:03 AM EST
    The price per prisoner has been shown to be more expensive - to the taxpayer - in private prisons than in those ran by the government; even though the privatizing industry lobbied congress based upon cost savings.

    So now they lobby based upon job creation.

    Just another example that if you want to make more money than the free-market would allow just get a contract with the government.

    Also yet more proof that your average lobbyist is just a snake...  
    And why no one would ever confuse an american businessman with a Humanist...
    Even if one uses Randian definitions of virtue.

    Also. What kind of person could even consider themself a competent businessman if they ran a company less efficiently than the government...

    Privatization is about a big a lie to the american people as the war on drugs...just another way to funnel money into the hands of politicians and their friends in a way that would make Blago blush...

    Good luck getting your average american apalled with privatization as much as they are with Blago though


    Is a "Storming of the Bastille"... (none / 0) (#7)
    by cwolf on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 03:16:35 PM EST
    ...type event in the offing for a corrupt US prison system?

    From the mud grows the Lotus Blossom,  or something like that.  Successful uprisings are always co opted by some high society or another, but they almost always seeded by the activities of untouchables.

    The US is no more immune from death than the Soviet Union or Rome. This nation is on life support, not just the economy, but the whole Fn country.

    Actions like caving in to the wrongs on rubbers portend poorly for the future. If Florida sinks beneath the waves of changing climate, so will the US.

    Only by removing her boots from our necks can this nation avoid a quick demise.