This just isn’t safe – what does it take until someone will admit it?

Last weekend’s press coverage in the Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror is further evidence that at least some sections of the media recognise a good story when they see it.

Sadly, those stories sometimes have to include reports of desperate tragedies and in the case of the murder of a young woman (allegedly by a former partner), who it is claimed slipped through the cracks caused by TR, it will be no consolation to the families and friends of the victim when they ask the inevitable question of why did this happen?

For the record, it gives me (and I am sure all Napo members) no personal satisfaction in pointing to such incidents and saying to this Government ‘we told you so.’

Our focus on the safety aspects of TR and the diminution of our members professional standing in the midst of the TR abomination, are issues on which we need all of our members to get their shoulder behind in this critical period of the campaign.

Napo is continually demonstrating that will leave no stone unturned in our quest to get the message across nationally, but also appreciate the attempts that local branches are making in terms of lobbying and contacting regional media. Remember to let us know of your successes.

Should these people really be let loose in Probation?

While we await a response from the MoJ to or our demand to see the shortlist of prospective bidders for the CRC’s, information reaching me from one of our members (whose identity I will keep confidential) ties in with our own intel which suggests that the Geo Group has submitted joint bids with staff mutuals and a community interest company in three areas. These are Innovo (to deliver services in Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire), Delta (covering North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire) and MCA/Willowdene (for West Mercia and Warwickshire).

The origins of GEO are complicated. In 2002 G4S acquired a 57% stake in Wackenhut Correction Corporation (WCC). The following year WCC management raised funds to repurchase all common stock held by G4s and changed the name of the new company to GEO Group, source Inc. (Prison Privatisation Report No 58 October and International.

My avid researcher comments as follows (but be warned as the following does not make for entertaining reading and you may need to cut and paste the links, so bear with) pointing firstly to an association with right-wing terrorists in Belgium, where The Wackenhut Corporation (TWC) obtained special permission to operate in 1977-78. Ed Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan (The "Terrorism" Industry,1989) terrorism Industry) note that ‘TWC hired a number of right-wing thugs.

These included Marcel Barbier, an anti-Semite and member of the fascist Westland New Post (WNP). Barbier was involved in a spree of killings in the early 1980s and was convicted in 1987 for a double homicide committed in 1981. Barbier had been the guard of a Jewish synagogue on the Rue de la Regence in Brussels on behalf of Wackenhut when it was bombed in 1982. In August 1983, a search of Barbier's home disclosed that he had maps showing the plan of the synagogue, with details of points of access. Wackenhut's local director in Brussels, Jean-Francis Calmette, was himself a rightist and arms enthusiast, who not only hired but gave instructions on methods of combat to members of WNP. In the early eighties, it was reported in the press that Wackenhut guards were regularly luring immigrant children into basements and beating them. TWC left Belgium shortly after these disclosures.


Wackenhut management (whose track record is notorious in the States), boasted in 1965 that the company kept files on 2.5 million US citizens with civil rights activists being particularly targeted, giving a clear indication of their political sympathies. These sympathies went as far as the association of prominent Wackenhut officials with radical right wing groups such as the John Birch Society, which was opposed to the Civil Rights movement. (Inside the Shadow CIA John Connolly 1992

Old form maybe, but the change of name to Geo Group has not brought about an alteration of practice. In 2005 an African-American guard at the Val Verde Detention Centre in Del Rio, Texas sued GEO for racial discrimination after his superior, who kept a noose in his office, posed for pictures in Ku Klux Klan garb. (

Abuse of the elderly and disabled.

In January 2013 an 84 year old Canadian, Alois Dvorzac was detained in Harmondsworth Detention Centre run by GEO. He suffered from dementia and doctors noted he was ‘unfit for deportation or detention, and requires social care’. He died 10/02/2013 of a suspected heart attack while handcuffed. In November 2012 another man had died within 7 hours on undergoing Angioplasty. He was kept cuffed while sedated. (Cases noted 16/01/2014 in report by Chief Inspector of prison Nick Hardwick quoted by Clare Sambrook 16/01/2014. and Alan Travis, The Guardian,Thursday 16 January 2014.) On 06/02/2014 Baroness Stern raised issue of the use of restraint in House of Lords (

At the Frio County Detention Centre, Pearsall Texas in 2007, a disabled female detainee sued GEO after she was denied necessary medication, put into isolation, stripped, ridiculed, and had her crutches taken away by guards. (

Serious sexual misconduct. 

In December 1999 12 former guards at Travis County Detention Centre, Texas were indicted for sexual assault including rape and harassment of 16 female prisoners. One former prisoner informed an American Statesman that sex was routinely traded for shampoo and underwear. The woman reported that while under psychiatric medication a guard entered her cell and raped her. She stated that over the next three months guards hit her to deter her from reporting the crime. Only after she appeared in court heavily bruised and emaciated did the investigation begin. In the meantime she attempted suicide twice. (In Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002

In 1999, at Coke County Juvenile Justice Centre in Bronte, Texas several female juvenile detainees claimed they had been sexually abused by a Wackenhut employee who had a prior conviction for sexual abuse of a child. ( . The Coke County Detention Centre housed girls as young as 12. In a lawsuit against Wackenhut Dallas Lawyer Penny Raney stated ‘The girls were forced to live in an environment in which sexual contact, deviant sexual intercourse and statutory rape were frequent and where residents were physically injured to the extent of being hospitalised with broken bones.’ (Miami Herald 16/04/2000 quoted in Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002 The state filed charges against 2 prison guards who pled guilty.

Further claims against Wackenhut were settled with the sum of $1.5 million for the victims of abuse. (Corrections Professional 27 July 01 quoted in Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002 The abuse in prisons by Wackenhut staff was the subject of a prime time CBS news show ‘60 minutes II’ aired 09/05/2000. (Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002

In 2007 the company reportedly settled a lawsuit with the family of a woman who committed suicide in Val Verde County Jail, Texas. Prior to her death she had reported being raped by male prisoners housed in the same cell block. She also reported being sexually humiliated by guards after informing the warden that staff were permitting sexual contact between male and female prisoners. (

Between August 2010 and July 2012 Geo Groups ran the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility Mississippi. The company was subject of a law suit filed by the American Civil Liberty Union and the Southern Poverty Law Centre after juveniles were stripped naked and kept in solitary confinement. A US Department of Justice investigation reported ‘deliberate indifference’ in several major areas including sexual misconduct between staff and detainees. (

Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) a Wackenhut subsidiary lost the contract to run the Detention Centre. (Quoted in Daily Record 15/08201  This followed an Australian Government enquiry in February 2001 into claims that employees attempted to cover up the rape of a 12-year old boy at the South Woomara Immigration Detention Centre. Two nurses from the Detention Centre told the authorities that management deliberately suppressed evidence of an attack on the 12-yearold boy by his father and that other inmates had sex with the boy in return for cigarettes. Also there had been abuse of other children (Scotland on Sunday, 10 December 2000 quoted in Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002

A particularly disturbing allegation is that a senior manager at South Woomara prevented a nurse from arranging for a doctor to see the boy. (Quoted in The Age 20/05/2000 Within the Detention Centre there was an absence of segregation of children from adult males, Amnesty International's refugee coordinator, Graheme Tom, stated ‘Under the Convention of the Rights of the Child it clearly states that children should not be detained with other adults and that they should be separated. Certainly if they're detaining whole families then those families should be separated from the adult population’. ( May 20 2003).

There are indications that staff shortages were a contributory factor in the child sex abuse scandal. The Australian Government was also allegedly misled over staffing levels at South Woomara so ACM could boost its profit margins. ACM's former Woomera Operations Manager, Allan Clifton, stated: ‘They would send in reports stating that we had the required number of staff when in fact we didn't ... (sounds familiar?) and quite often we were told at a local level to fudge the figures. At times we got down to where we were 40, 50, 60 staff below the number that we were supposed to have, and I guess more importantly, the number of staff that ACM were getting paid to have on the ground. (Quoted in The Age 20/05/2000 The capacity of staff to protect children would have been greatly reduced in these circumstances.

Health & Safety Violations

June 2012 Occupation and Safety and Health Administration imposed fines totally $104,100 for sub-standard conditions at a correctional facility. Clyde Payne OSHA stated Geo Group ‘knowingly put workers at risk of death or injury by failing to implement well recognised measures that would protect employees from assaults by inmates.’ A $ 70,000 fine was imposed for failing to keep enough guards on duty, $16,500 for failing to conduct medical evaluations on staff required to wear respirators, $17,600 in penalties that included failure to store respirators away from dust and chemicals and failure to make plans to control bacteria and viruses transmitted by exposure to blood and other bodily substances. (

Sexual Harassment of Staff

In 2010 US Equal Opportunities Commission sued Geo Group for allowing sexual harassment of female staff in 2 prisons in Florence Arizona. In one incident a male GEO manager ‘grabbed and pinched the breasts and crotch of a female corrections officer.’ (

Falsification of official reports

Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper quote letter from member of nursing staff employed at HMP Kilmarnock to their MSP. The letter complained that when a prisoner attempted to strangle them, the incident was not recorded as an assault because it would cost the company £7000. Instead it was recorded as an obstruction. (Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002

Trade Union recognition

HMP Kilmarnock was Scotland’s first private prison opened in 1999 run by Premier a subsidiary of Wackenhut. In 2002 Premier did not recognise a trade union. Relations between management and staff were conducted through a Work Council. (Privatised Prisons and Detention Centres in Scotland: An Independent Report Phil Taylor and Professor Christine Cooper 2002

All similar contributions (subject to them containing source references) will gladly be blogged. Let’s see what anyone has on Carillion, Sodexo, Sentinel and Capita, for starters? I bet some of them can match some of this?

And should this man be let loose - anywhere?

For once I will add no comment; just see what Claire Sambrook of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has to say

recent performance

‘Booze Tags’ not a long term solution

Which is what I said today, live with Adam Boulton on Sky news, following London Mayor Boris Johnsons usual ‘jolly hockey sticks’ style announcement of his launch of the London pilots of Transdermal Tags.

A good opportunity to blow the Anti TR trumpet even though that was not in the Sky script. Here is the press release we issued

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General Secretary's Blog