Family of murdered prisoner wins $42.5 million in suit against GEO Group

I contributed a short headline report to Free Speech Radio News today on this story.  Listen here.

The Texas 13th Court of Appeals upheld a judgment today to award $42.5 million in damages to the family of a prisoner murdered a private prison  The man was beaten to death in 2001 at GEO Group’s (then called Wackenhut) Willacy County jail by two inmates as prison officials, including the warden, stood by and laughed.  Video evidence of the beating was either lost or destroyed.

I interviewed Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership for the story.  He’s optimistic that this strongly-worded ruling, on top of increasingly frequent and well-documented abuses and scandals at private prisons around the state, will help push the Texas Legislature towards re-regulating corporate-run facilities in important ways.  Real justice, i.e. the abolition of private jails and detention centers in Texas, is probably still a ways off.  But this is progress.  (Image from texasprisionbidness.org.)

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