Era of Running Delco’s Prison With a For-Profit Firm Coming to an End

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The George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Thornton
Image via Jose F. Moreno, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Thornton.

The Delaware County Jail Oversight Board voted 6-2 Sept. 28 to recommend ending Delaware County’s contract with the GEO Group out of Florida, writes Vinny Vella for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

A tactic that used a private for-profit entity, GEO Group, to run the prison instead of the county is coming to an end. The George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Thornton was the only county jail in Pennsylvania still privately run.

The County council will vote on the recommendation on October 6. If approved, the contract with GEO would end this spring.

The 1800-bed jail has been privately run since 1998. GEO oversees staffing and provides food, health care, and other services.

There have been complaints more recently of mismanagement and mistreatment of prisoners as well as staff shortages, extended lockdowns, and attacks on guards.

A spokesperson for GEO Group has said reverting to county control would not make the facility safer or improve inmate lives.

The county’s plan to replace GEO’s services with multiple contractors “will require significant administrative oversight,” he said.

A publicly-run prison could save the county up to $5.5 million a yea, r according to a study by CGL Cos.

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer about the George Hill facility being returned to public hands.

The Delaware County Jail Oversight Board here’s a presentation from CGL.

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