Thank you to all of the participants and attendees who helped us hold a successful public hearing in Media, PA, on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
Members of DelcoCPR’s leadership team spoke about the private management of George W. Hill Correctional Facility, calling for Delaware County Council to:
Stop hiding behind the Prison Board by requiring them to report publicly in County Council meetings.
Terminate the contract with GEO Group and return George W. Hill Correctional Facility to County management and public oversight.
Special thanks to Richard Mosley of Put People First! PA for speaking about the human cost of incarceration:
“I believe that we all have stock in this, because I’m sure we all want to see these men and women be productive and contribute to society.”
Family of those currently and formerly incarcerated at George W. Hill spoke about their relatives’ experience at the prison, as well as their own experience as citizens trying to visit and support their family members. Tonita Austin relayed the story of “Eddie” who was incarcerated at George W. Hill from March to July 2017:
“Even though people are arrested, they shouldn't be treated like animals. I used to love going to the zoo, but now I'll never go again."
Delaware County Councilman Brian Zidek explained his efforts to fully understand the laws and regulations governing the Delaware County Prison Board and its relationship to both County Council and the contract with GEO Group. It is unclear exactly how the Prison Board has the legal standing to sign a contract with a private prison management company like GEO Group without County Council approval.
The general understanding is that GEO Group is not incentivized to reduce the number of people incarcerated in its facilities, and has no incentive to reduce recidivism. Several members of the public spoke about the impact of mass incarceration on their community, the negative public health impacts of the issues at George W. Hill, and the desire to take further action for positive change.