The GEO Group Inc

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GEO
company headquarters
USA
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The world’s second-largest private prison company. It owns and operates prisons and jails, including immigration jails and “community corrections” centers, and uses forced prison labor. It also provides e-carceration technologies, transportation, and other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

 

The GEO Group, Inc. formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (WCC), is a Florida-based company that owns, leases, and operates prisons, immigration detention centers, and residential reentry centers in the U.S., Australia, and South Africa. As of 2021, GEO owns and manages 106 prisons and “community corrections” centers worldwide with a total capacity of 86,000 beds and e-carcerates an additional 250,000 people using electronic monitoring technologies.

GEO generated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2021, 57.5% of which came from contracts with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS), and the rest mostly from contracts with local, state, and international prison agencies.

Because a large portion of its revenue depends on BOP and USMS contracts, GEO has sought ways to circumvent the Biden administration’s 2021 directive on eliminating the use of private prisons operated by these agencies. For example, in the summer of 2021, GEO proposed paying the city of McFarland, California $500,000 in administrative fees to contract with the USMS to hold up to 770 “pretrial detainees.” In return, McFarland would subcontract with GEO Group to imprison these individuals at its Western Region Detention Facility. By contracting with county, rather than federal, agencies, GEO Group could continue its existing relationship with the federal government.

Between 2013 and 2020, GEO Group was incorporated as a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which meant it was not subject to federal corporate income taxes. As a REIT, the company was required to distribute 90% of its income to stockholders, making it reliant on short-term loans from banks to fund its growth. Following announcements by most major U.S. banks that they would stop financing private prison companies, the company reorganized as a taxable corporation in January 2021.

U.S. Private Prisons

GEO Group opened its first U.S. prison in the late-1980s. The company operates its prisons under county, state, or federal contracts according to three different models. Under the first model, the company owns and manages prisons; under the second, it manages government-owned prisons through manage-only contracts; and under the third, it leases some of the prisons that it owns to third parties or government agencies.

In the U.S., the company owns or manages 53 prisons and jails, which incarcerated 51,232 people on an average day during 2021, making it the second-largest U.S. private prison company after CoreCivic. 15 of these prisons or jails operate under contracts with county or state prison authorities, while 12 operate under contracts with the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) or United States Marshals Service (USMS). Some of its prisons are empty (“idle”) and others are leased to be operated by third parties.

GEO Group prisons throughout the country have long faced allegations of inhumane living conditions, understaffing, violence, inadequate medical care, forced prison labor (see more below), phsyical and sexual abuse, including illegal strip searches, overcrowding, “staff corruption,” prolonged use of solitary confinement, and other problems. For example, the Department of Justice announced in 2021 that Riverbend Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility, a GEO-operated prison, would be one of 16 Georgia prisons investigated for systemic prison violence and abuse.

As part of its private prison operations, GEO Group also provides prison transportation services via its “in-house transportation division,” GEO Transportation, Inc. (GTI). GTI provides armed, secure ground and air transportation services to federal, state, and local prison authorities. The company boasts that it has transported over 3.4 million incarcerated people since its founding in 2007.

Until 2021, GEO Group also owned and operated Abraxas, a youth and family “residential treatment” company that runs “youth centers” for “hard-to-place juvenile populations.” One of its centers, Abraxas Academy in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, has reportedly been used to hold migrant teenagers detained by ICE. The detention center has also been cited by state regulators for sexual harassment and abuse, as well as excessive use of force to restrain children. In 2018, an employee pled guilty to sexually harrassing and assualting an Abraxas “resident,” and at least one other employee was terminated after being caught on video physically assaulting a child. At the Abraxas-Hector Garza Center in San Antonio, Texas, monitors found that 81% of children held there had reported being put in painful restraints.

In July 2021, GEO Group divested the operational side of Abraxas, which became a non-profit organization. GEO still retains ownership of the buildings that Abraxas operates in and has entered into lease agreements with Abraxas for its six youth jails.

Immigration Jails and Surveillance

GEO Group owns and/or manages 18 immigration jails for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as of 2021, with a total capacity of approximately 20,510 people. ICE contracts accounted for 33.1% of the company’s total 2021 revenue. ICE pays GEO at a pier diem rate based on the number of immigrants it imprisons. ICE’s current contract with GEO group stipulates a guaranteed minimum of 1,170 detained immigrants at a per-diem rate of $76.64 per bed.

Following the Trump administration’s announcement in 2018 of its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and plans to add 15,000 more beds to facilitate family detention, GEO Group’s stock prices increased by 1.79%. The company also identified “declines in crossings and apprehensions along the Southwest border” as a risk to its shareholders.

While the Biden administration executive order regarding private prisons does not apply to contracts with ICE, GEO Group has stated that changes in federal immigration policies and changes in federal immigration policies may impact the government’s use of public-private partnerships with “secure detention facilities and immigration processing centers,” and may therefore negatively affect the company’s contracts with ICE.

GEO Group continues to expand its immigrant jailing capacity. In August and October 2021, respectively, the company entered into five-year contract renewals for its Broward Transitional Center and Aurora ICE Processing Center. From 2019 to 2020, GEO Group activated contracts at its previously idled immigrant detention centers, including El Centro Detention Center, Golden State Annex, South Louisiana Processing Center, and Reeves County Detention Center I and II.

In addition, in 2020, just before President Biden took office, ICE awarded the company a new 10-year contract for the continued operation of its South Texas ICE Processing Center. Organizers and advocates have observed that ICE deliberately extended this contract by an unusually long period of time in order to extend “the harm of this administration far beyond Trump’s term in office.”

GEO Group has lied about its involvement in family detention and separation. Since 2014, the company has managed the Karnes County Family Residential Center, an ICE detention center designed to hold up to 830 families with children. In a still ongoing lawsuit filed by RAICES in 2019, 13 immigrant fathers held at Karnes alleged that GEO Group guards violently separated them from their kids, in violation of a nationwide preliminary injunction against family separations. GEO Group has previously claimed that it “has never had any involvement, in any way” with the separation of families.

GEO Group’s immigration jails have been implicated in numerous human rights abuses, including sexual abuse, forced labor (see below), medical neglect, spying, excessive use of solitary confinement, deprivation of food and recreation time, and other inhumane conditions that have resulted in deaths and self-deportations.

A seven-month-long, 2021 EPA investigation found that GEO Group violated the law by misusing the toxic pesticide HDQ Neutral inside of its Adelanto Detention Facility. Detained immigrants at Adelanto who participated in so-called “volunteer” work programs were required to administer HDQ Neutral without proper ventilation, instructions, or personal protective equipment, multiple times a day. The pesticide caused immigrants detained at Adelanto to suffer from breathing issues and other health complications.

In 2019, the ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit against GEO Group for the 2017 wrongful death of Kamyar Samimi, who died after being denied adequate medical care while detained at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility.

Also in 2017, at least three people died within three months at GEO Group’s Adelanto Detention Facility. Adelanto has faced numerous accusations of insufficient medical care and poor conditions since it opened, and in 2015, 29 members of Congress sent a letter to ICE and federal inspectors requesting an investigation into health and safety concerns at the detention center. That year, some 400 immigrants jailed at Adelanto began a hunger strike, demanding better medical care and an improvement in conditions.

As part of its involvement in immigrant detention, GEO Transport, Inc. provides ICE with transportation services, including deportation flights. In September 2021, the company was awarded a $15.8 million contract with ICE for “chartered passenger air transportation” of Haitan migrants. That month, thousands of migrants and asylum seekers from Haiti were deported via “repatriation flights” from Texas.

A 2016 GEO report also revealed that the company purchased two “New Specialized Transport Buses” for its Karnes County Residential Center. The buses, outfitted with child safety seats, were intended to be used to transport children ages four to 17 to “field trips,” court appearances, and immigration appointments. The buses, lined with infant car seats, have been criticized as “prison buses for babies.”

Prisons and Immigration Jails Outside the U.S.

GEO Group has international operations in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. In addition to managing three prisons in Australia, one prison in South Africa, and one “immigration removal centre” in the U.K., the company has provided services for the design and construction of 11 new prisons and for the renovation and expansion of two additional prisons abroad. Through a joint venture, GEOAmey PECS Ltd., GEO Group also provides transportation services to prisons and immigration detention centers in the UK. In 2021, these international operations accounted for approximately 9% of the company’s overall revenue.

As with its U.S. prisons and immigration jails, GEO’s prisons abroad have been linked to various human rights abuses and incidents of violence and death. For example, in the United Kingdom, individuals—including victims of torture and persons found to be at the highest risk for mental health-related problems—have been held at the Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre, a 217-bed, GEO-managed immigration jail, for “unncessarily prolonged” periods of time. In 2020, a jury concluded that GEO’s neglect and gross failures contributed to the 2012 death of Prince Fosu, a Ghanian national who was held at the UK’s Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre (then operated by GEO Group UK Ltd). Fosu died of hypothermia, dehydration, and malnourishment while experiencing a six-day psychotic episode, during which GEO staff and management failed to recognize his “deteriorating condition” and approriately refer him for a mental health assessment.

In 2021, an Aboriginal man imprisoned at GEO’s Junee Correctional Centre in New South Wales was hospitalized after concerns were raised that the prison was not adequately caring for a serious infection he was experiencing. Reports of the company’s mistreatment of Aboriginal individuals also includes a 2020 incident in which a GEO prison officer withheld food from an Aboriginal man held in isolation, as well as the death of Danny Whitton, an Aboriginal man who died in GEO custody in 2015 after being denied medication. The same year as Whitton’s death, a judge found that GEO’s negligence contributed to the 2011 death of Colin Johnson at the Fulham Correctional Centre. Despite these incidents, the company constructed a 137-bed expansion at Fulham Correctional Centre in 2021.

In 2014, individuals incarcerated at GEO’s Kutama-Sinthumule Correctional Centre, a 3,024-bed national prison in South Africa, “threatened to burn down the prison” after guards reportedly left them in locked cells, without access to food and medication, for days.

GEO Group also manages the New Brunswick Youth Centre, a secure custody jail for children, located in Miramichi, Canada. Canadian politicians and others have called for the closure of the jail, citing its lack of mental health facilities, overcrowding, and its history of detaining adults alongside children. Reporting from 2017 and 2005 reveals that young children with psychiatric disorders and mental disabilities were held in the jail and that children were regularly shackled and placed in handcuffs and leg irons.

GEO Group reported it will continue to expand its international operations, capitalizing on “foreign governments’ initiatives to enter into public-private partnerships for secure services.”

Prison Labor

GEO Group routinely uses prison labor as part of its prison operations. For as little as 50 cents per day, people incarcerated in the company’s prisons and assigned to “facility work programs” cook and serve food, operate commissaries, launder clothing, clean common areas, landscape, or perform other prison upkeep duties. This labor saves GEO Group millions of dollars each year.

In addition to working prison maintenance and operations jobs, some people held in GEO Group prisons work for specialized industries, such as metal fabrication, manufacturing, woodwork, horticulture, auto mechanics, commercial cleaning, carpentry, painting, and plumbing. Some of these programs operate within prison walls, such as in two New Mexico prisons in Guadalupe and Lea County, which house “state industry programs.” Other such programs operate outside the prison. For example, in 2016, GEO Group’s Phoenix West prison in Arizona established an off-site partnership with local construction company Erickson Framing. As of 2017, 20 people from the prison were fabricating and assembling building materials for Arizona’s housing market as part of this program.

Others incarcerated in GEO Group prisons participate in voluntary “community service” work programs. For example, some people incarcerated at the company’s New Castle Correctional Facility in Indiana are required to complete an annual 365 hours of unpaid community work. This work has included farming and harvesting thousands of pounds of produce, repairing town property, and picking up trash alongside highways. In 2017, New Castle’s prison workers performed 24,349 hours of unpaid labor that, at a minimum-wage rate, would have cost the state $176,000. In 2020, work crews from Fulham Correctional Centre in Australia were assigned to months of similar, unpaid “community projects.” In 2014 alone, these work crews spent over 30,000 hours doing unpaid community service.

While GEO Group presents prison jobs as voluntary work programs, vocational training courses, or community service opportunities, its “inmate handbooks” reveal that these jobs are often performed under the threat of punishment. According to one such handbook from a Pennsylvania prison, those who refuse to work or encourage others to refuse to work may lose privileges, including commissary and “good time” earnings, be assigned to administrative segregation, or be placed under disciplinary custody status. Another handbook from a New Mexico prison states that “failing to report to work” constitutes “escape without force” and can be punished by up to 365 days of “punitive segregation” and the loss of privileges, including all “good time” earnings. In 2020, the NAACP and a group of people incarcerated in three Arizona GEO Group prisons filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company’s use of prison labor is akin to slavery. The case is still pending as of April 2022.

GEO Group also routinely uses forced labor in the immigration jails that it operates for ICE. More than 50,000 immigrants have been working in the company’s immigraiton jails without pay or for $1 a day, according to a 2014 class-action lawsuit filed against the company by immigrants held in ICE’s immigration jail in Aurora, Colorado. While this case is still pending as of May 2022, it produced multiple documents that shed light on the company’s practices. Under the company’s sanitation policy for its Aurora jail, immigrants were required to work as janitors. The jail’s 2013 “detainee handbook” further specifies that “[e]ncouraging others to participate in a work stoppage or refusing to work” may be punishable by disciplinary segregation or the loss of privileges, including commissary.

Some immigrants also worked in “voluntary work programs” for $1 a day, performing prison maintenance and operations tasks such as stripping and waxing floors, doing laundry, preparing food, cutting hair, and working as library aides. Aurora’s 2012 Detainee Work Plan shows that work shifts last between three and eight hours, and that workers are paid $1 per day regardless of the number of hours they work. According to one account, during a single month in 2012, work performed by immigrants in Aurora would have cost GEO Group at least $125,000 in wages had the company hired outside personnel. Instead, the company paid a total of $1,680 for the same labor, and hired only one outside janitor for the entire jail.

Lawsuits were also filed against GEO Group in Washington and California in 2017. The Washington lawsuit alleges a violation of state labor laws.  In October 2021, a federal jury in the case determined that GEO Group violated Washington’s minimum wage laws by paying detained workers at its Northwest ICE Processing Center only $1 per day and that it must pay nearly $17.3 million in back pay for the work that they performed. The California lawsuit, which is still pending as of October 2021, claims that forced labor in immigration jails operated by GEO Group violates the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The TVPA prohibits forced labor. In two similar lawsuits against CoreCivic, the courts ruled that anti-trafficking laws apply to private immigration jails.

"Community Corrections," "Residential Reentry," and "Day Reporting" Centers

GEO Group is the largest provider of “community corrections” services in the U.S., owning, managing, and/or leasing out 49 residential community corrections/reentry centers and 84 non-residential reentry centers or Day Reporting Centers (DRCs). Combined, GEO Group’s residential community corrections/reentry centers are designed to hold approximately 10,675 people, including children, who are “reenter[ing] the community after incarceration” or who have been diverted there as a so-called “alternative” to incarceration. The company’s DRCs surveil thousands more awaiting trial or on parole or probation via daily check-ins, drug and alcohol monitoring, and “intensive case management.”

GEO Group began its expansion into this industry in 2010, when it began acquiring companies that provide community corrections services. In August of 2010, it acquired Cornell Companies, a rival private prison operator that specialized in “corrections and treatment programs,” including residential reentry centers, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and “alternative education.” In 2017, GEO Group acquired Community Education Centers (CEC), a New Jersey-based private prison company that operated residential reentry centers, halfway houses, and in-prison drug treatment programs. The acquisition added 12,000 beds to the company’s operations, 4,100 of which were “community reentry beds.” GEO Group’s expansion into this “alternatives to incarceration” industry was, in large part, a strategic response to increased public scrutiny surrounding the use of private prisons. The company has stated that “expansionary projects” and “strategic acquisitions” in the community corrections industry is “accretive to [the] company’s earnings and cash flows.” GEO Group reported in 2017 that the acquisition of CEC alone was expected to add $250 million to its annualized revenues.

As of 2022, GEO Group operates community corrections, residential reentry centers, and DRCs in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. The majority of these centers operate under contracts at the state level, although 14 of them operate under contracts with the BOP.

Like its prisons, GEO Group’s community corrections, residential, and day reporting centers have documented histories of abuse, neglect, and mismanagement. In 2020, The Intercept reported that GEO Group systematically ignored the spread of coronavirus, allowing cases to skyrocket at its halfway houses throughout the country while boasting to shareholders about its handling of the pandemic. A 2020 lawsuit similarly alleges that GEO Group did not observe proper Covid safety and health protocols at one of its halfway houses in Houston, Texas, and threatened individuals if they called any agencies to report coronavirus-related deaths or request information or testing.

In 2019, more than 200 reentry center “residents” in Houston, Texas sued the company, alleging that during Hurricane Harvey they were left in a flooded GEO Group halfway house surrounded by toxic waste and without food, clean water, or medical care.

E-Carceration of Individuals Within the Criminal Punishment System

In line with GEO Group’s attempt to reposition itself as a provider of re-entry services and alternatives to incarceration, the company has expanded its reach within the electronic monitoring (EM) industry through its subsidiary BI Incorporated (BI). As of December 2021, Geo Group monitors over 150,000 individuals “through an array of technology products including radio frequency, GPS, and alcohol monitoring devices.”

Founded in 1978 to monitor cattle and livestock, BI now effectively employs the same technology to monitor and control people. In 2018, BI monitored 144,000 people across all 50 U.S. states using EM technology. BI holds contracts with local, state, and federal law enforcement and prison agencies to monitor immigrants and individuals within the criminal punishment system.

In 2004, ICE contracted BI to be the exclusive EM technology provider for its expanded “Alternatives to Detention” program called Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP). The ISAP program aimed to reduce the costs for ICE of detaining refugees and migrants during their asylum or deportation proceedings by placing them on ankle bracelets that monitored their movements 24/7. BI still holds the exclusive contract for ISAP, which was renewed in 2009 and most recently in 2020 for five years. The contract is worth a potential $2.2 billion. From 2004 to 2008, BI received over half a billion dollars from ICE to oversee ISAP. The company monitored over 84,000 people under ISAP in 2017 alone.

In 2011, GEO Group purchased BI for $145 million. With this acquisition, Geo Group “ensured that whether ICE is expanding detention or expanding alternative forms of detention, they’re getting paid.” While the “Alternatives to Detention Program'' is designed to focus on people with serious criminal histories or who pose a threat to public safety, 89% of individuals in ISAP are not considered “dangerous or violent” by ICE’s own criteria. In 2015, immigration attorneys from Texas filed a formal complaint to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, documenting how asylum seekers were deliberately misled and/or coerced into agreeing to wear ankle bracelets in order to be released from detention. The complaints included charges that personnel threatened to withhold medical care for their children if they chose to seek bond hearings instead of agreeing to wear the ankle monitors.

The Illinois Department of Corrections, one of the largest users of EM technologies in the country, has contracted with BI to surveil and monitor individuals in Illinois since 2003. Between 2014 and 2019, the Illinois Department of Corrections contracted BI to be its exclusive provider of EM technologies for $6.5 million per year. BI also oversees a number of EM subsidiaries purchased by GEO Group. For example, Protocol Criminal Justice Inc, an EM company acquired by GEO Group in 2014 for $13 million, manages tracking data for monitored individuals on BI EM technologies. Between 2010 and 2019, Protocol has received $49 million from the state of Illinois to manage EM data.

Political Influence and Lobbying

Through the for-profit model of private prisons, GEO Group and other private prison companies are incentivized to increase their profits through the expansion of the carceral system. GEO Group has influenced policy through both federal and state lobbying, campaign contributions, and participation in associations that draft policy. As of November 2021, the company has a team of 16 hired lobbyists, 14 of whom previously held government positions.

GEO Group spent $17.2 million on lobbying Congress and federal agencies between 2002 and 2020. The company also spends significant amounts of money on influencing state politics, spending $14.8 million in Florida, California, and Texas between 2002 and 2020. In May 2017, GEO allegedly lobbied Republican representatives in Texas to submit a law allowing immigration jails to obtain child care licenses. This would have enabled private companies like GEO to circumvent a 2015 federal ruling that limits the detention of immigrant children to 20 days.

Since 2009, private prison companies have more than doubled their federal contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and as of January 2020, private prisons hold 81% of people detained in ICE custody. In January 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order instructing the Department of Justice not to renew contracts with private prison corporations. This order, however, does not apply to contracts with ICE.

GEO Group affiliates (the company’s PACs; individual members, employees, or owners; and those individuals’ immediate family members) also make contributions to electoral campaigns. From 2004 to 2020, GEO affiliates spent $4.05 million on campaign contributions,—$2.64 million in 2020 alone—with the vast majority of funds awarded to Republican candidates. $122,164 went to President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

GEO Group has been the subject of multiple complaints regarding campaign contributions and facility standards. One of these complaints was filed in 2016 by the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding a company violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). In 2016, GEO Group contributed $270,000 to the Rebuilding America Now super-PAC, a pro-Trump group, while also working on a project with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The CLC argued that this contribution was an illegal maneuver to reverse Obama-era policies to end U.S. ties to private prisons. In October 2020, the case was dismissed.

Until at least 2020, GEO Group was a member and financial supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a business-backed group that brings together corporate lobbyists and conservative legislators to develop and spread pro-incarceration state legislation for Congress. ALEC is known for its role in the rapid growth of mass incarceration in the 1980s and 90s, as well as its influence on "stand your ground" laws, voter suppression, and prison labor expansion. It is unknown whether or not GEO Group is still involved with ALEC.

Economic Activism Highlights
  • In March 2021, Canada’s largest public sector pension fund, PSP, sold all 600,000 of its shares in CoreCivic and Geo Group. This was following a public campaign led by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a union that represents the majority of federal employees.

  • In April 2020, Danish pension funds PKA, which runs pension funds in the social and healthcare sector, and Lærernes Pension, the Danish teachers pension fund, divested from CoreCivic and GEO group.
  • In October 2019, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest pension fund in the U.S., announced that it will sell its stocks of private prison companies GEO Group and CoreCivic.
  • In August 2019, PNC Bank became the seventh major bank to announce that it would not no longer finance private prisons and immigrant detention centers, including private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group.
  • On August 6, 2019 the Denver City Council voted to not renew future contracts with private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group to operate halfway houses in the city. The future contracts were directed to community corrections facilty operations and would have been worth $10.6 million.
  • On July 31, 2019, Barclays PLC announced that it will stop providing future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities, joining other major lenders in shunning the industry. Barclay's current financing of GEO Group would expire in May 2024. 
  • On July 30, 2019, Adweek reported that the public relations firm Edelman terminated a lucrative contract with GEO Group shortly after agreeing upon it because of internal pressure from Edelman staffers protesting the partnership and worries of potential blowback that could endanger relationships with other clients. 
  • On July 15, 2019, Fifth Third Bank became the sixth major bank to announce that it would not provide future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities, including GEO Group. The decision comes at the heels of SunTrust Bank and BNP Paribas' decisions to end future financing of private prison companies. 
  • On July 12, 2019, BNP Paribas announced it will no longer provide future financing for US private prison operators, including GEO Group. BNP Paribas became the fifth major bank and first foreign bank to distance itself from the industry, announcing the decision only days after SunTrust Bank's decision to end future financing of the private prison industry.
  • On July 8, 2019, SunTrust Bank, the fourth largest bank in the US, announced, "Following an ongoing and deliberate process, SunTrust has decided not to provide future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities." SunTrust's decision follows three other major US banks deciding to end future contractual relations with CoreCivic and GEO Group.
  • On July 5, 2019, it was announced that the Candian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) which manages $299 billion USD in pension funds, quietly divested from GEO Group and CoreCivic from their list of foreign public equity holdings. In December 2018, the CPPIB held nearly $8 million USD in GEO Group and CoreCivic stock. Federal MP Charlie Angus argued that public pressure convinced the CPPIB to drop its holdings. Advocacy groups SumOfUs and LeadNow collected more than 55,000 signatures calling for the divestment of GEO Group and CoreCivic from the CPPIB portfolio. The CPPIB has declined to comment on the divestment.
  • On March 12, 2019, Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan declared that the bank decided two years ago to end its business relationships with Geo Group. A bank's spokesperson later confirmed that Wells Fargo will "cut ties" with Geo Group when its current obligations expire.
  • On March 5, 2019, JPMorgan announced it would no longer finance private operators of prisons and detention centers citing the bank's ongoing evaluations of the costs and benefits of serving different industries.
  • On November 7, 2018, the Teachers’ Retirement Board of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System voted to direct investment staff to remove the Fund’s holdings in the two U.S. publicly-held companies that operate private prisons: CoreCivic and GEO Group. As of November 6, 2018, combined CalSTRS Global Equities and Fixed Income Portfolios’ holdings in CoreCivic and in GEO Group were $12,142,211.
  • On July 17, 2018, the Metro Nashville City Council voted to pass a resolution to not invest or contribute to any private company going forward. The resolution specifically named CoreCivic, a publicly-traded company that operates private prisons in Tennessee and profits from the detention of immigrant detainees, but it also applies to other large private prison companies such as G4S and Geo Group.
  • On July 13, 2018, New York State announced that it will fully divest from private prisons and private immigrant detention center corporations, becoming the first in the country to eliminate private prison stock holdings in CoreCivic and GEO Group. The campaign was led by Make the Road New York with the support of Enlace.
  • On October 26, 2017, the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement divested $1.2 million from private prison companies, including The GEO Group, Inc.
  • In August 2017, Cincinnati City Council proposed divesting $2.5 million from companies involved in private prisons, stating that the city "should not support an 'immoral' system." The companies the city is proposing to divest from include G4S, CoreCivic, and the GEO Group.
  • On June 8, 2017, New York City's pension funds divested $48 million from private prison companies, including GEO. 
  • In March 2017, a class-action lawsuit is filed against GEO for forced labor in its immigration detention center. The class-action lawsuit, originally filed in 2014, marks the first time a class-action suit against a private prison in the United States has moved forward. 
  • On July 22, 2016, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution to divest from "major human rights violators," including GEO. 
  • On February 25, 2016, University of California Davis ASUCD passed prison divestment resolution that urges “both the Board of Regents of the University of California (UC Regents) and the ASUCD to undertake practices of corporate social responsibility by divesting in corporations which are directly and indirectly involved in the private prison industry,” including CoreCivic, Inc., Geo Group, and Wells Fargo.
  • On February 22, 2016, Portland’s Social Responsible Investments Committee unanimously voted to recommend to the city to divest from Wells Fargo & Company for its ties to private-prison companies, such as Geo Group.
  • On February 10, 2016,  California State University, Los Angeles administrators have agreed to divest from private prison companies after pressure from CSULA Black Student Union.
  • In December 2015, University of California Chief Investment Officer announced that the UC endowment, covering 10 campuses across the state, divested from private prisons, including GEO.
  • In December 2015, the California Endowment divested its holdings from "companies that derive significant annual revenue from private prison services," including GEO Group. 
  • In July 2014, Columbia University divested its shares in GEO Group after a student-led campaign. The decision also prohibits any future investment in the prison industry.
  • In April 2014, three investors, Scopia Capital, DSM, and Amica Mutual Insurance pledged to remove their collective investments of about $60 Million from the CoreCivic, Inc. and the GEO Group. DSM President Hugh Welsh explained, “In accordance with the principles of the UN Global Compact, with respect to the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights, the pension fund has divested from the for-profit prison industry.” This marks full divestment for DSM and Amica and a 27% decrease in shares for Scopia, which has decreased its private prison stock by 59% since December 2012.
  • In December of 2013, Systematic Financial Management divested 74,550 shares of GEO stock, thereby exiting from the private prison industry completely. Systematic Financial Management is an investment company that manages over $13 billion in investments for local governments, retirement funds, corporations, wealthy individuals, and unions. 
  • In April 2013, Florida Atlantic University ultimately rejected a 6 million dollar donation from GEO Group in exchange for naming rights on the university's football stadium, after severe pressure from students, faculty, and community activists protesting the company's human rights record and links to the prison industry. 
  • In 2012, Wells Fargo divested nearly 33 percent of their holdings in GEO Group.
  • In 2012, the United Methodist Church voted to permanently divest its shares in GEO Group and simultaneously moved to institute a screen against future investment in any prison-related industry. 
  • In 2011, Enlace International launched the Prison Industry Divestment Campaign “to address the root causes of harm to communities of color caused by the Criminal and Immigration System” and to call on all public and private institutions to divest from GEO Group.
Unless specified otherwise, the information in this page is valid as of
27 June 2022