Tag Archive: Florida

Over 100 Private Prison Protestors Converge at GEO Group’s Shareholder Meeting


Company denies hunger strike at Texas family detention facility

From Prison Legal News

Boca Raton, FL – Today, over 100 people from across the country joined a protest outside the GEO Group’s annual shareholder meeting at the Boca Resort and Club. GEO, a private company, bills itself as the “largest provider of correctional services in the world.” Groups participating in the protest included the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) from Lake Worth, Florida and the Austin, Texas-based Grassroots Leadership.

HRDC associate director Alex Friedmann, an activist shareholder who owns a small number of shares of GEO Group stock, attended the meeting. When he asked about recent reports of hunger strikes by immigrant women held at the GEO Group-operated Karnes County Family Detention Center in Texas, he was informed by GEO Senior Vice President John J. Bulfin that there was no hunger strike; rather, he said it was a “boycott of dining facilities” at the detention facility.

GEO Group founder and CEO George C. Zoley further remarked that the women detained at Karnes awaiting asylum hearings “have a higher standard of living” than they had elsewhere, implying that they should be grateful for being incarcerated – along with their children – at the company’s for-profit detention center. (more…)

Protest the Prison Profiteers at GEO Group’s 2015 Shareholders Meeting


From Drop GEO

This month the GEO Shareholders will be coming to Boca Raton for their annual meeting!

JOIN OUR RALLY to let them know that we are watching them and that profiting off people in prison is WRONG!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Meet at us at 855 South Federal Highway
Boca Raton, FL 33432


GEO Group is the second largest for-profit prison operator in the nation – and their headquarters is located in Boca Raton, FL. GEO makes millions of dollars every year…but only if the prison beds are filled. (more…)

Record 346 inmates die, dozens of guards fired in Florida prisons

Jerry Washington (left); Latandra Ellington (middle); Randall Jordan-Aparo (right). All died in prisons at the hands of guards in the most unjust ways imaginable.

Jerry Washington (left); Latandra Ellington (middle); Randall Jordan-Aparo (right). All died in prisons at the hands of guards in the most unjust ways imaginable.

From Daily Kos

The United States has a prison crisis of epic proportions. With just five percent of the world population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States has, far and away, the highest incarceration rate, the largest number of prisoners, and the largest percentage of citizens with a criminal record of any country in the world.The highly respected Prison Policy Initiative breaks it down:

The U.S. incarcerates 716 people for every 100,000 residents, more than any other country. In fact, our rate of incarceration is more than five times higher than most of the countries in the world. Although our level of crime is comparable to those of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations, the United States has an incarceration rate far higher than any other country.Nearly all of the countries with relatively high incarceration rates share the experience of recent large-scale internal conflict. But the United States, which has enjoyed a long history of political stability and hasn’t had a civil war in nearly a century and a half, tops the list.

If we compare the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states and territories with that of other nations, for example, we see that 36 states and the District of Columbia have incarceration rates higher than that of Cuba, which is the nation with the second highest incarceration rate in the world.

Now, what we are learning is that the United States is not just imprisoning people at an outrageous pace, but that men and women are dying in these prisons at all-time highs, often at the hands of guards, in the most awful and brutal ways imaginable. The state of Florida, it appears, is ground zero for the deaths of prisoners, and the crisis is so deeply corrupt and out of hand that it needs immediate national intervention.In 2014, Florida recorded at least 346 deaths inside of their prison system, an all-time high for the state in spite of the fact that its overall prison population has hovered around 100,000 people for the five previous years. Hundreds of these deaths from 2014 and from previous years are now under investigation by the DOJ because of the almost unimaginable role law enforcement officers are playing in them.

Below the fold I will highlight some of the most egregious stories.


Marissa Alexander agrees to plea deal

alexanderFrom Corporate Media

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Facing a possible 60 years in prison for firing a gun at her estranged husband and his two sons, Marissa Alexander agreed Monday to a plea deal that effectively ends the four-year old criminal case against her.

According to the terms of the plea, Alexander was ordered to serve three years in prison after pleading guilty to all three counts against her. The Florida Times-Union reports the Alexander will get credit for the 1,030 days she’s already spent in jail.

That means she’ll have to spend 65 days in jail. Alexander will return to Duval County Jail following Monday’s hearing. She’ll be released on Jan. 27.

Because the second count against Alexander is considered an ‘open plea,’ she could still be sentenced to five years in prison at the hearing on Jan. 27. (more…)

Pensacola Prison Books In Urgent Need Of Solidarity

open booksFrom Open Books

For those who were not aware, Open Books–a non-profit bookstore which houses the Prison Book Project–was hurt very badly in the recent floods in Pensacola, Florida. As you can imagine, books and water do not mix well. Due to three feet of water entering our store, we lost approximately 3000 books and have an estimated damage amount at $10,000. We also lost a considerable amount of the stock for the Prison Book Project.

If you are not familiar with us, all of the proceeds at Open Books goes directly to fund the Prison Book Project. The Prison Book Project, which runs out of our store, has been in operation for 14 years. We have survived several hurricanes, flooding, and numerous economic calamities. However, this flood hit us very hard.

In the past, we have been incredibly fortunate to have great support throughout our various communities, both local and international. We have supported numerous prison books projects throughout the country. We’ve donated resources to several up-and- coming prison books projects, we have held fundraisers for others in need, we have taken thousands of letters from other projects which were in trouble, and have offered our experience to those who might need help. With the help of these communities in the spirit of mutual aid, we have been able to function for over a decade now, a great feat for any prison book project. And although we know everyone’s projects are always functioning on a shoestring budget, we reluctantly feel the need to ask for your help.

Many have asked what are the best ways to help. The best ways in which you can help us are as follows: (more…)

Gas explosion at Florida jail kills two prisoners and injures 150

escambia jail explosionEscambia County jail in Pensecola partially collapsed in blast but officials play down link between explosion and torrential rain

From The Guardian

An apparent gas explosion rocked a jail in the Florida Panhandle late Wednesday, killing two inmates, injuring more than 100 other people, and causing the building to partially collapse, according to a county spokeswoman.

At the blast site Thursday morning, glass was strewn about on the ground in front of the jail. The front of the building appeared bowed out, with cracks throughout.

The explosion happened about 11 pm CDT at a booking facility at the Escambia County jail, and as many as 150 inmate and corrections officers were injured, said Kathleen Castro, the county’s public information manager. About 600 inmates were in the Pensacola building at the time, and the uninjured were taken to jails in neighboring counties, she said.

Vigil Brings Demands from Detainees on Hunger Strike to GEO Group CEO’s Neighborhood

geocropFrom Earth First! Newswire

Demonstrators visually and vocally presented the suppressed demands of immigrant detainees on hunger striker to George Zoley, CEO of for-profit prison giant GEO Group. Zoley resides in a wealthy gated community in Boca Raton, Florida, just miles away from the company headquarters.

“We are here in front of George Zoley’s neighborhood to bring the demand of the immigrant detention center hunger strikers to him at his home and know that he cannot ignore them any longer,” said protestor Britni Hiatt.

Over the past two weeks hunger strikes have taken place at two different immigrant detention facilities owned and operated by the GEO Group, one in Tacoma, Washington and one in Conroe, Texas. The hunger strike began in Washington with 750 detainees refusing food and work, and spread to 120 detainees in Texas. Demands of the hunger strikers include: an immediate halt to all deportations, just treatment for detainees, an end to crowding in cells, an end to double judgment policies, adequate food and medical care, affordable calling prices and lower rates at commissary.

GEO Group has responded to both strikes by revoking the rights of detainees, threatening to force-feed strikers, putting strikers in solitary confinement, threatening their immigration status and cutting off communication with the outside world.

“The whistle has been blown,” says Cici Claar, “It’s time for GEO to address these offenses and stop engaging in retaliation and suppression.”


Freeing Marissa Alexander

Marissa_Sign_on_Restaurantby Victoria Law/, from Truthout

Three years ago, a single warning shot sent Marissa Alexander to prison. Last month, an appeals court overturned her conviction, ruling that the jury received flawed instructions on self-defense. Supporters are calling for the prosecutor to drop all charges rather than subject Alexander to a new trial.

As reported earlier on Truthout, Marissa Alexander, a mother of three and a survivor of abuse, had given birth to a baby girl in July 2010. The previous year, she had obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband Rico Gray. When she learned that she was pregnant, she amended it to remove the ban on contact while maintaining the rest of the restraining order.

On August 1, 2010, she and Gray were at home when Gray attacked her. “He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave,” Alexander recounted in an open letter to supporters.  This was not the first time that he had assaulted her. (more…)

TWAC Storms Prison Industry Giant GEO Group’s HQ in Boca Raton

[Update: As of 10:40 am, four TWAC folks who were occupying the GEO lobby have been arrested. The police removed the doors to the building to get them out. Sounds like that might be an inconvenience! We are told donations towards legal support can be made here. For those who missed the story last week, TWAC organizers also confronted the history of colonization and genocide in St. Augustine by disrupting a re-enactment of Ponce de Leon “discovering” Florida. Bad-asses.]


TWAC storms the GEO Group HQ in Boca Raton

TWAC storms the GEO Group HQ in Boca Raton

by EF! Newswire

The movement powerhouse which has come to be known across the country as TWAC, the Trans and Womyns’ Action Camp, has done it again!

This morning at 9am, following the first east coast TWAC camp, which took place in south Florida, activists stormed the lobby of GEO Group a prison-for-profit corporation located at 621 NW 53rd Street, Suite 700, Boca Raton, FL, 33487.

Two folks u-locked themselves to lobby doors, keeping them open long enough for a crowd to enter and disrupt business as usual for GEO Group (who is still reeling from an ass-whooping by FAU students which got their name kicked off the Boca campus’ new sports stadium.)

TWAC occupying GEO Group lobby

TWAC occupying GEO Group lobby

As of 10am, we’ve received updates that police have locked exterior doors to building with 5 activist remaining inside blocking office doors.  A crowd of 40 remains outside chanting and raising a ruckus. The entire road into the business complex of the GEO corporate office has been blocked by law enforcement!

TWAC, which was born out of the Earth First! movement in the Pacific Northwest, has become a leading example of linking struggles to grow a more effective solidarity-based grassroots direct action movement.

Women and trans folks out there feeling like you missed out? Don’t fret. TWAC Cascadia will be holding an ecodefense action camp this Summer in western Oregon, July 23-29, 2013: “a week of discussion, skillshares, networking, workshops, story telling, and action.”

The morning’s TWAC press release had this to say, in English and Spanish, about GEO Group:   (more…)

NC Activist Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Bad Policies Continue

From NC Dream Team

Organizing inside jail, Viridiana fights deportations from inside prison

NC Activist Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Bad Policies Continue

Viridiana Martinez, a member of both North Carolina Dream Team and National Immigrant Youth Alliance and well-known activist in North Carolina, placed herself inside Broward two weeks ago in order to find women who were eligible for discretion. Claudio Rojas, a father and family man who is doing the same on the men’s side of the prison, was taken to Broward after being arrested by Border Patrol when he mistakenly drove his car into the Ft. Lauderdale port. He is now aiding NIYA in finding cases and has began a hunger strike until he is returned to his family. Viridiana is eligible for deferred action and Claudio is eligible for prosecutorial discretion.

Viridiana has been actively fighting for immigrant rights in North Carolina since first beginning a hunger strike with two other women in 2010, and has now continued to fight by infiltrating a detention center in Florida. In 2011 she committed her first act of civil disobedience in Atlanta, GA, fighting Georgia’s top 5 universities for banning undocumented students.She has also helped in the organizing or several Know Your Rights trainings around the state and help stop several deportations. She’s been in the forefront of the struggle for immigrant rights here in NC, making appearances at the General Assembly and lobbying for our immigrant rights. Viridiana has been confronted by anti-immigrant organizations like Mr. William Gheen director or ALIPAC, and has been in numerous media outlets defending our community.

Since June 17, 2011, the Obama Administration has insisted that it has been using discretion in deportation cases which can be considered “low-priority” or cause undue hardship for citizen family members. In June of this year, Obama announced extending deferred action to undocumented youth after we occupied his campaign offices for two weeks, costing his campaign thousands of hours of staff time. (more…)