NJ Prison Divest Launch! Rally at Geo Group Halfway House

NJprisondivestNew Jersey Prison Divest is a coalition of student, advocacy, and grassroots organizations coming together to fight mass incarceration and criminalization through the tactic of prison divestment.

We will be officially launching our coalition with a rally at the Newark Residential Reentry Center – a halfway house opened in 2014 by Geo Group, one of the biggest private prison corporations in the country. Until at least 2012, NJ state law prohibited for-profit companies from contracting with the state for halfway house services. We demand to know how Geo Group is able to open a residential re-entry center in New Jersey and demand that Geo Group get out of our communities.

The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) is the second largest for-profit private prison in the United States operating in 17 states. GEO has federal and state contracts to manage maximum, medium and minimum security prisons; immigration detention centers; the transportation of prisoners; and halfway houses. GEO also has an exclusive contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide supervision and reporting services for non-detained non-citizens in the immigration court system. Over the last ten years, GEO’s consolidated revenue has grown from $517 million in 2002 to $1.69 billion in 2014. In 2013, GEO Group and CCA successfully qualified as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) under lax IRS guidelines; this classification allows both companies to dodge income taxes.

We recognize that the pivot of private prison corporations to alternative services like residential reentry is a move to further extract profit from our communities. GEO Care – the company’s subsidiary charged with re-entry services – asserted that they continue to find revenue generating opportunities despite criminal justice reforms at the federal level and will make additional annual investments of $5 million dollars to their “continuum of care” projects.

According to Ann Schlarb, Senior Vice President and President of GEO Care, the Newark Residential Re-Entry Facility a company-leased 240-bed residential reentry center under contract with the State of New Jersey, is expected to generate approximately $5.5 MILLION IN ANNUALIZED REVENUES.

We seek to expose and oppose the financial ties and profit motive behind mass incarceration and criminalization in NJ. Private halfway houses MUST be part of the conversation in opposing the privatization of any correctional facilities and the overall fight against mass incarceration and criminalization.

As NJ Prison Divest, we oppose incarceration and criminalization of all people. Targeting private prison corporations is a step towards dismantling the overall prison industrial complex.


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