Amid a recent audit report released by the state which indicates private prisons in Georgia are costing more per inmate per day, AllOnGeorgia examined the influence private prison companies have on Georgia’s legislators.

The GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) both have automatically renewing contracts with the State of Georgia that are not negotiated annually and have been in place for over two decades. The contracts require that the four facilities under private supervision maintain a certain occupancy rate or the state faces a penalty.

Information from the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission shows that the nation’s two largest private prison companies donated more than $174,000 to elected officials over the last two years.

Donations Cross Party Lines

Lawmakers on any particular side of the aisle were not exclusive recipients of donations from either company. Among the top recipients were Democrat Minority Leader Bob Trammell and Republican Speaker of the House David Ralston. Newly-elected Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan received $3,000 during the election cycle in 2018 from the GEO Group.

Also of note, soon-to-be former Governor Nathan Deal, who has prided his administration on criminal justice reform, received $6,100 from the GEO Group when he was first elected and the Georgia Republican Party received $70,000 from the GEO Group during the 2018 election cycle. Corecivic provided $1,500 to the Georgia Senatorial Committee as well and $2,000 to The Democratic Party of Georgia.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr also received $3,000 from the GEO Group in the General Election cycle while Governor-elect Brian Kemp brought in $6,600 from the GEO Group and $9,100 in from CoreCivic.

Additionally, House Appropriations Chairman Terry England received $2,500 from the GEO Group in 2017 and $2,600 in 2018. He was recently quoted in an AJC article regarding the legitimacy of the audit released citing private prisons as less cost-effective, saying it’s possible the report is not all-inclusive.

$15,000 was also donated to ‘Changing Georgia’s Future’, which was said to be a pro-Cagle PAC.

Numbers illustrate 2017 and 2018 donations per the Georgia Campaign Finance website. The numbers do not include the last quarter of 2018.

Democrat lawmakers

Sen. Gail Davenport $1,000
Rep. Calvin Smyre $1,000
Rep. Bob Trammell $1,500
Sen. Valencia Seay $1,000
Sen Freddie Powell Sims $750
Sen. Stephen Henson $1,000
$6,250

 

Republican lawmakers

2017-18 donations
Lt. Gov Casey Cagle $13,500
Rep. Terry England $7,600
Sen. Butch Miller $5,100
Sen. Jack Hill $4,500
Rep. John Burns $4,000
Sen. Tyler Harper $3,500
Sen. David Shafer $3,500
Sen. John Albers $3,000
Rep. Jan Jones $3,000
Rep. David Ralston $2,700
Sen. Bill Cowsert $2,000
Rep. Matt Hatchett $2,000
Rep. Alan Powell $2,000
Sen. Jesse Stone $2,000
Rep. Terry Rogers $1,500
Sen. Blake tillery $1,500
The Georgia House Republican Trust $1,500
Georgia Senatorial Comm $1,500
Rep. John Corbett $1,000
Sen. Michael Dugan $1,000
Sen. Chuck Hufstetler $1,000
Sen. Burt Jones $1,000
Sen. John Kennedy $1,000
Rep. John Meadows $1,000
Rep. Rick Williams $1,000
Rep. Barry Fleming $750
Rep. Jimmy Pruett $750
Rep. Mandi Ballinger $500
Rep. Geoff Cauble $500
Rep. Geralde Greene $500
Sen. Jeff Mullis $500
Rep. Emory Dunahoo $250
$75,150

In April 2018,  the Corrections Accountability Project released the names of over 3,100 corporations—including over 2,500 privately traded companies—that profit from the United States prison system. (That report is here) The information detailed above only includes that of the two largest companies in the nation and the two with active contracts with the state of Georgia.

Related:

New audit says private prisons are not more cost-effective than state-run prisons

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