Julie Myers Wood / Image courtesy cnn.com

By Christopher Zoukis

Private prison corporation GEO Group is not only the recipient of fat federal contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and other agencies: it’s also the retirement location for the former federal officials charged with awarding GEO Group its contracts.

GEO Group has a long history of hiring federal corrections officials from the agencies that hire it at taxpayer expense.  GEO Group’s director, Norman Carlson, was the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons until 1987, when he retired, the same year that GEO Group obtained its first federal contract.  GEO’s senior vice president for corrections and detention, John Hurley, was a BOP warden for 26 years.

Image courtesy geo.com

A distinguished career in federal service is apparently not a requirement.  The latest recipient of GEO Group’s largesse is Julie Myers Wood, the former ICE executive bounced after awarding a best costume to an ICE employee dressed in a dreadlock wig and blackface, whom Wood said was a Jamaican detainee who had escaped from an ICE detention facility.  Wood left the agency after failed attempts to destroy photos of her posing with the “prisoner.”  Wood’s windfall as a member of GEO Group’s board of directors includes salary and stock awards valued at about $250,000 per year.

Wood is the second former ICE executive now sitting on GEO Group’s board as it strives to increase its multi-million dollar contracts with the government each year.

To learn more about this developing story, read CounterPunch‘s article Private Prison Corporation Geo Group Expands Its Stable of Former Top Federal Officials.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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