Monday, November 22, 2010

Close the Revolving Door

So much has gone on in the time I've been away that I hardly know where to begin.  Unfortunately I can't commit a ton of time right now to the stories going around, which is terrible because they certainly warrant the type of consideration and analysis I've grown accustomed to giving.

Very briefly, Stacia Hylton, a former consultant for the GEO Group, has been nominated to be the next head of the US Marshals' Service, one of the main government agencies that contracts with private prisons, especially the GEO Group.  She's also got some connections to CCA that I honestly haven't had the chance yet to review myself, but from preliminary reports are nearly as damning.  Basically though this is another sad example of the revolving door between the industry and the government that I've spoken about in the past. 

As Ken Kopczynski of the Private Corrections Working Group said, this is "Like the fox watching the henhouse."  But Ms. Hylton doesn't think the more than $110,000 she earned as a GEO Group consultant will influence her in a position in which she'll have authority over the awarding of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal contracts.  She's wrong.

Thankfully, a collection of organizations, led by the great team over at Prison Legal News, has already stepped up to oppose Ms. Hylton's confirmation.  Among the organizations opposed to her leading the agency responsible for 13% of GEO's revenue is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).  WhyIHateCCA strongly supports this effort to prevent a private prison industry insider from taking the reins of a government agency with such tremendous authority over the awarding of contracts.

More on this story:

TPM Muckraker's coverage

Information from the National Lawyers' Guild, another of the organizations opposing Ms. Hylton's nomination

More coverage of the nomination and Ms. Hylton's blatant conflict of interest

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