GROUP 4/Securicor
(AKA Wackenhut, G4S, ArmorGroup)
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Abu Ghraib, Iraq

October 28, 2005 Macon Telegraph
Abu Ghraib means different things to different people. For the people of Iraq, it is where tens of thousands of family members died in Saddam Hussein's death house or were tortured under his regime. Around the world, it is the scene of the infamous prisoner abuse scandal that led to U.S. soldiers doing time for war crimes. For retired Macon firefighter John Wood, it is now home. Before beginning his role as a civilian firefighter working for Wackenhut Services LLC, Wood spent two weeks at Camp Victory near Baghdad, Iraq, to get acclimated to the heat. The prison-turned-military base is home now to some 5,000 detainees, U.S. soldiers and a multinational force that operates a combat supply hospital, Wood said. "It just blew me away," Wood said of his arrival at Abu Ghraib. "I didn't know what to expect, and when I got there, it was beyond my worst expectation."

Afghanistan
July 8, 2011 POGO
Private security contractor ArmorGroup North America Inc. (AGNA) agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it violated procurement rules that put the security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan at risk. AGNA's parent company said the settlement was made solely "to avoid costly and disruptive litigation—and that there has been no finding or admission of liability." This is the same company whose employees are depicted in lewd pictures POGO made available in fall 2009—which demonstrated a serious breakdown in discipline among the security personnel defending the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian called it a 'Lord of the Flies' environment. Former AGNA director of operations James Gordon was the whistleblower who filed the lawsuit—he will receive $1.35 million from the $7.5 million AGNA has agreed to pay. According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, these are the whistleblower allegations that were resolved by the settlement: •"AGNA submitted false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan"; •"[I]n 2007 and 2008, AGNA guards violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by visiting brothels in Kabul, and that AGNA’s management knew about the guards’ activities"; •"AGNA misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 third country national guards it had hired to guard the Embassy"; and •"AGNA failed to comply with certain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the embassy contract, and on a separate contract to provide guard services at a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain." Gordon’s lawsuit was filed in September 2009. Nearly a year and a half later, DOJ joined Gordon’s whistleblower lawsuit on April 29, 2011. Slightly more than two months later, AGNA settled. According to DOJ statistics, whistleblower lawsuits (or qui tam lawsuits) that allow insiders to sue on behalf of the federal government have a much higher success rate when the government intervenes and joins the whistleblower, known as a relator, in their lawsuit (or parts of their lawsuit). In 2009, Gordon stated that he filed his lawsuit “to hold ArmorGroup accountable for the blatant disregard of its obligations to ensure the safety and security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In an industry where good people are required to face extreme risk on a daily basis it is essential that those companies who disregard the rules be removed as they not only endanger their own staff but also endanger the mission, all in order to increase profit.” On September 14, 2009, POGO’s Executive Director Danielle Brian provided testimony on the breakdown of discipline among many of AGNA’s employees in Kabul before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shortly after the Commission hearing, Brian was contacted by Samuel Brinkley, Wackenhut Services, Inc. (WSI)’s Vice President of Homeland and International Security Services, who offered to work with POGO on behalf of WSI and AGNA to identify and remedy mistreatment of victims of this hazing, retaliation against some of the whistleblowers who had come to POGO, and other matters raised in POGO’s disclosures. WSI is AGNA’s parent company. During the intervening months, Brinkley and Brian had many discussions regarding the fair and appropriate treatment for POGO’s whistleblowers and others not involved in the wrongdoing. As a result, POGO was pleased that WSI/AGNA resolved the employment concerns of those five personnel at issue. WSI issued a statement yesterday as well in response to the DOJ press release announcing the settlement. WSI disputed the DOJ’s assertion that there was a violation of the False Claims Act, that it did not have an anti-trafficking policy in place, and that it violated rules regarding third country nationals, and foreign mitigation requirements. It also said “the sole individual confirmed to have frequented prostitutes was fired by AGNA in normal course when his conduct became known.” WSI noted that the period of AGNA’s alleged behavior predated WSI’s acquisition of AGNA. Regarding the violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Gordon’s allegations are more serious than they sound in the DOJ press release. Last year, the Washington Post/Center for Public Integrity wrote about Gordon’s case in the context of a perceived lack of U.S. enforcement regarding alleged sex trafficking by U.S. contractors and subcontractors: In Afghanistan, evidence of trafficking came to light when 90 Chinese women were freed after brothel raids in 2006 and 2007. The women told the International Organization on Migration that they had been taken to Afghanistan for sexual exploitation, according to a 2008 report. Nigina Mamadjonova, head of IOM's counter-human trafficking unit in Afghanistan, said the women alleged in interviews that their clients were mostly Western men. In late 2007, officials at ArmorGroup, which provides U.S. Embassy security in Kabul, learned that some employees frequented brothels that were disguised as Chinese restaurants and that the employees might be engaged in sex trafficking. A company whistleblower has alleged in an ongoing lawsuit that the firm withheld the information from the U.S. government. James Gordon, then an ArmorGroup supervisor, alleged that a manager "boasted openly about owning prostitutes in Kabul" and that a company trainee boasted that he hoped to make some "real money" in brothels and planned to buy a woman for $20,000. The settlement is a victory for accountability, but ultimately may be unsatisfying for critics of the government's less-than-robust oversight of contractors. Can we really expect other contractors to see this settlement as a wake-up call? The State Department fell asleep at the switch with AGNA and still has yet to prove that it's serious about contract oversight and enforcement of trafficking in persons regulations.

October 8, 2010 CBS News
U.S. reliance on private security in Afghanistan that is poorly monitored and often results in the hiring of Afghan warlords is profiting the Taliban and could endanger coalition troops, according to a Senate report. Military officials warn, however, that ending the practice of hiring local guards could worsen the security situation. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee which issued the report, said Thursday that he is worried the U.S. is unknowingly fostering the growth of Taliban-linked militias and posing a threat to U.S. and coalition troops at a time when Kabul is struggling to recruit its own soldiers and police officers. The investigation follows a separate congressional inquiry in June that concluded trucking contractors pay tens of millions of dollars a year to local warlords for convoy protection. "Almost all are Afghans. Almost all are armed," Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said of the army of young men working under U.S. contracts. State Dept. Awarding Contractors Up to $10B -- "These contractors threaten the security of our troops and risk the success of our mission," he told reporters. "There is significant evidence that some security contractors even work against our coalition forces, creating the very threat that they are hired to combat." "We need to shut off the spigot of U.S. dollars flowing into the pockets of warlords and power brokers who act contrary to our interests and contribute to the corruption that weakens the support of the Afghan people for their government," he added. A well placed source in the Afghan government told CBS News' Fazul Rahim that the senate report "is what we have been saying for the past couple of years. This report confirms our suspicions." The Defense Department doesn't necessarily disagree but warns that firing the estimated 26,000 private security personnel operating in Afghanistan in the near future isn't practical. This summer, U.S. forces in Afghanistan pledged to increase their oversight of security contractors and set up two task forces to look into allegations of misconduct and to track the money spent, particularly among lower-level subcontractors. The Defense Contract Management Agency has increased the number of auditors and support staff in the region by some 300 percent since 2007. And in September, Gen. David Petraeus, the top war commander in Afghanistan, directed his staff to consider the impact that contract spending has on military operations. The military says providing young Afghan men with employment can prevent them from joining the ranks of Taliban fighters. And bringing in foreign workers to do jobs Afghans can do is likely to foster resentment, they say. Also, contract security forces fill an immediate need at a time when U.S. forces are focused on operations, commanders say. "As the security environment in Afghanistan improves, our need for (private security contractors) will diminish," Petraeus told the Senate panel in July. "But in the meantime, we will use legal, licensed and controlled (companies) to accomplish appropriate missions." Levin says he isn't suggesting that the U.S. stop using private security contractors altogether. But, he adds, the U.S. must reduce the number of local security guards and improve the vetting process of new hires if there's any hope of reversing a trend that he says damages the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. His report represents the broadest look at Defense Department security contracts so far, with a review of 125 of these agreements between 2007 and 2009. The panel's report highlights two cases in which security contractors ArmorGroup and EOD Technology relied on personnel linked to the Taliban. Last week, EOD Technology was one of eight security companies hired by the State Department under a $10 billion contract to provide protection for diplomats. A statement released by EOD Technology said the Lenoir City, Tenn.-based company had been encouraged to hire local Afghans and that it provided the names of its employees to the military for screening. The company said the military has never made it aware of any problems with its handling of the contract. In the case of ArmorGroup, the Senate panel says the company repeatedly relied on warlords to find local guards, including the uncle of a known Taliban commander. The uncle, nicknamed "Mr. White" by ArmorGroup after a character in the violent movie "Reservoir Dogs," was eventually killed after a U.S. raid that uncovered a cache of weapons, including anti-tank land mines. ArmorGroup, based in McLean, Va., lost a separate contract this year protecting the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after allegations surfaced that guards engaged in lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, said the company only engaged workers from local villages upon the "recommendation and encouragement" of U.S. special operations troops. Pitcher said that ArmorGroup stayed in "close contact" with the military personnel "to ensure that the company was constantly acting in harmony with, and in support of, U.S. military interests and desires." In August, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that private security contractors would have to cease operations by the end of the year. The workers, he said, would have to either join the government security forces or stop work because they were undermining Afghanistan's police and army and contributing to corruption.

April 27, 2010 RTTNews
An Afghan court has jailed a British manager of a firm providing security to the British embassy in Kabul on graft charges. Bill Shaw, serving for British security firm Group 4 Securicor, was found guilty of corruption by an anti-corruption court partly funded by British government, reports said Tuesday. He was sentenced to a two-year jail term, and fined $25,000. His lawyers said they were planning to appeal the verdict in a higher court. During trial, the defendant admitted that he had paid money to get two armored cars impounded by Afghan authorities under the belief that it was an official release payment. The prosecution case was that Shaw struck a deal with one Eidi Mohammad to secure the release of the vehicles, confiscated by Afghanistan's National Directorate over licensing irregularities, after agreeing to pay $25,000. However, Shaw denied this. Shaw, who was arrested on 3 March, will shortly be moved to the notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison located outside the capital Kabul. Shaw served in the British army for 28 years and was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire). Reports say Shaw's case is being used by Afghan authorities to show the world that foreign nationals were responsible for most of the corruption in the country.

December 8, 2009 Rueters
The State Department will not renew the contract of a security company embroiled in a scandal involving the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, where guards were accused of drunken conduct and sexual hazing. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday Virginia-based ArmorGroup would not have its contract renewed when it expires in June, although it will receive a six-month extension to allow the contract to be put up for new bids. Toner said officials had reviewed the contract and "concurred that the next option year should not be exercised and that work begin immediately to compete a new contract." He said the review included both recent misconduct allegations against ArmorGroup personnel and the company's "history of contract compliance deficiencies." This week a report by the non-partisan Government Accounting Office identified a number of shortcomings in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security including staffing shortage and increased reliance on contractors in high-risk posts. The Kabul embassy scandal broke in September, when a watchdog group accused ArmorGroup of jeopardizing security at the embassy by understaffing the facility and ignoring lewd, drunken conduct and sexual hazing by some guards -- and provided graphic photos as evidence. ArmorGroup North America, now owned by Florida-based Wackenhut Services, was also hit by a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that said it had ignored brothel visits by guards and other misconduct because of what a lawyer said was a "myopic preoccupation with profit" in its five-year, $187 million contract with the State Department. State Department officials said the safety of embassy staff was never in jeopardy. But they subsequently said 12 embassy guards had been removed or resigned, ArmorGroup's entire senior Kabul management replaced and alcohol banned at the group's camp. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a thorough review of how contractors are used. The GAO report noted that worldwide, the U.S. diplomatic security budget had grown to $1.8 billion in 2008 from just $200 million in 1998, when truck bomb attacks on U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed more than 300 people including 12 Americans. The bureau's workforce has also doubled over the same period but is failing to keep pace with rising security threats including those faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, it said. "Staffing shortages in domestic offices and other operational challenges -- such as inadequate facilities, language deficiencies, experience gaps, and balancing security needs with State's diplomatic mission -- further tax its ability to implement all of its missions," the report said. The report urged the State Department to develop a strategic plan to directly address the rising demands of diplomatic security including increased staffing.

September 18, 2009 AP
A top executive of the private security contractor hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was informed in July 2008 of alleged illegal and immoral conduct by guards, attorneys for a whistleblower suing the company said Friday. The claim contradicts the sworn testimony of Samuel Brinkley, a vice president for Wackenhut Services, the owner of ArmorGroup North America. Brinkley told the Commission on Wartime Contracting under oath on Monday that he and other corporate officials outside of Afghanistan didn't know until a few weeks ago of problems that reportedly included lurid parties and ArmorGroup employees frequenting brothels in Kabul. But in a 10-page letter to the commission, the attorneys say their client, James Gordon, told Brinkley during a meeting on July 15, 2008, of alleged guard misconduct. The meeting took place in Brinkley's office in Arlington, Va., Gordon said in a separate e-mail through the lawyers. Gordon was ArmorGroup's director of operations until February 2008. He says he was forced out of the job after trying to get the company to fix a long list of shortcomings with the $189 million embassy security contract that the State Department awarded ArmorGroup in March 2007. He filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court claiming the company retaliated against him for telling the department about the deficiencies. Brinkley and Wackenhut did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a previous statement on the lawsuit, a Wackenhut spokeswoman called Gordon's claims baseless and said he voluntarily resigned from the company. Clark Irwin, a spokesman for the wartime contracting commission, said the congressionally mandated panel is reviewing the letter. At the commission's Sept. 14 hearing on ArmorGroup's performance, Brinkley portrayed himself and other company executives as being blindsided by the misconduct of a small number of employees. "I am not here to defend the indefensible," Brinkley said. "Certain of our personnel behaved very badly." During a series of heated exchanges, commissioners pressed Brinkley to explain why he didn't tell the State Department of reports that guards were behaving inappropriately, potentially putting security of a key U.S. diplomatic outpost at risk. Brinkley said ArmorGroup managers in Afghanistan only told him about an Aug. 11 incident involving nine employees who got drunk at a bar near their living quarters. Those workers were counseled by the on-site manager and a temporary ban on alcohol was imposed. He said the State Department was informed of this incident on Aug. 26. Brinkley said he wasn't aware of the scope and duration of the misconduct until Sept. 1 when a watchdog group released a report with photos showing guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. The watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, also said guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors who created a hostile work environment. The letter from Gordon's attorneys says they are concerned Brinkley's testimony did not provide the commission with a "full and accurate understanding of many of the events in question."

September 14, 2009 Government Executive
The State Department should terminate ArmorGroup North America's contract for security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, witnesses and panelists said during a Commission on Wartime Contracting hearing on Monday. The recent photographs and report from the Project on Government Oversight detailing alleged lewd, drunken behavior by guards at the embassy just describe the latest and most egregious violation by ArmorGroup, witnesses told the panel. State Department Undersecretary of Management Patrick Kennedy testified that the contract has required "extensive oversight and management." Since awarding the contract to ArmorGroup on March 12, 2007, State has issued seven deficiency notices addressing 25 deficiencies, one cure notice and one show-cause notice. Each notice demanded separate correction action plans to resolve contractual issues and several involved serious allegations, including that the contractor had deceived the government in its contract proposal. Despite these problems, State has not terminated the contract with ArmorGroup and has, in fact, exercised an extension of the contract period. State officials said they are awaiting the results of an ongoing investigation into the contractor's conduct at the embassy. Commissioner Clark Kent Ervin pressed Kennedy to pledge State would terminate the contract if the probe validates the allegations made against the contract employees. While Kennedy was hesitant to speculate on a hypothetical situation, he said he could imagine an outcome of the investigation that would lead the agency to terminate the contract. "We're seeing a serious case being made for termination," he said. William Moser, deputy assistant secretary of State for logistics management, told the commission a public hearing was not the proper forum to talk about future contract actions. Regardless, he said the department is discussing potential alternatives and approaching the reevaluation of the contract "with a great deal of seriousness." Danielle Brian, executive director of POGO, said the organization's investigation shows State officials were notified of serious issues relating to the ArmorGroup contract repeatedly, and took limited action. "For the two years of this contract, State's response to whistleblowers' sustained complaints and to its own finding of severe noncompliance consisted mainly of written reprimands and the renewal of ArmorGroup's contract," Brian said. "Simply documenting a problem or even levying a fine is not effective oversight when those same problems continue to occur." Brian said State has been "stubbornly defensive" in not recognizing its own failures, and how those failures have caused misconduct and potential lapses in security. While POGO strongly believes the contract should be canceled and ArmorGroup -- or its parent company, Wackenhut -- should be debarred from doing business with the government, that will not prevent future problems, Brian said. To ensure proper conduct by contractors overseas, State must shorten the rotations of its regional security officers, perform more frequent audits and independent verification of contractor reports of compliance, and prioritize accountability, she said. "This cultural shift will be aided by canceling contracts when the contractor consistently underperforms -- which will have the added benefit of acting as a deterrent to future contractors -- and by disciplining the State Department officials who are responsible for the failed oversight of the ArmorGroup contract," Brian said. Commissioner Linda Gustitus said State already lost authority with industry by not terminating its contract with Blackwater Worldwide in the wake of the Nissor Square shooting incident in Iraq. "That helped to send a message to other contractors that you can do a lot and not have you contract terminated," Gustitus said. Several commissioners joined Brian in urging Kennedy to hold accountable the State employees responsible for managing Armor Group by firing them, withholding bonuses or taking some other disciplinary action.

September 14, 2009 Wayne Madsen Report
At a September 10 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, two former managers for ArmorGroup North America (AGNA), headquartered in McLean, Virginia and a subsidiary of ArmorGroup International (AGI), revealed a litany of contract fraud and abuse charges against AGNA and AGI and provided further details of sexual deviancy among AGNA security guards in Kabul tasked with protecting the U.S. embassy. ArmorGroup is now owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The two former employees are suing AGNA, AGI, Wackenhut, and Corporation Service Company for wrongful termination, false claims, and conspiracy. John Gorman, a retired Marine Corps veteran who was the camp manager at the security guard force’s Camp Sullivan, blew the whistle on contract non-performance, security pitfalls, and sexual deviancy, and was placed under virtual house arrest in June 2007 by AGNA’s top manager in Kabul, Michael O’Connell, and flown out of the country. Gorman was terminated and confined for some 24 hours, along with two other AGNA managers, James Sauer, a retired Marine sergeant major and Pete Martino, a retired Marine colonel, who filed complaints to both AGNA and the Regional Security Office (RSO) for the U.S. embassy in Kabul, also Marine Corps veterans. Because they told the RSO they feared for their personal safety after bringing the charges against AGNA, he offered them the security of his apartment on the embassy compound, which they turned down only to later have their cell phones and weapons confiscated by AGNA and being confined before their flight out of the country. Gorman said no one at AGNA “ever mentioned or indicated a concern for the actual security at the embassy -- the greatest and only concerns were the profit margin and the bottom line.” Gorman said the project manager for the security contract, Sauer, a man with 35 years of experience as a 30-year career Marine with private security contractor experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, was “ignored, second guessed, and rejected.” Sauer had vehemently objected to allowing security personnel to be deployed to Kabul who had engaged in “lewd and deviant behavior” during their subcontractor training in Texas. After Gorman, Sauer, and Martino made their complaints known to McConnell, the corporate executive replied that ArmorGroup was a publicly traded company and could, therefore, not hire more people “because he had a responsibility to the shareholders.” The effect was the hiring of clearly unqualified personnel for the security guard force. Gorman said that there were people hired as guards who had “no DD214s, driver’s licenses, passports,” including one person who had been fired from a previous security project for pulling a pistol on another employee while drunk. AGNA, according to Gorman, covered up the security contract failures because the firm was “to assume the $187 million a year security contract for the American embassy in Kabul in less than two weeks and they were bidding on the more lucrative $500 million contract for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. James Gordon, a New Zealand citizen and New Zealand Army veteran who is married to an American, worked for ArmorGroup Iraq as the operations manager, a subsidiary of AGI, also spoke about corporate malfeasance involving AGNA. He later became the business development director for AGNA headquarters in McLean. In 2007, Gordon took over as operations director for the Kabul embassy security contract and attempted to bring the contract into compliance with State Department requirements. Eventually, Gordon was forced out of the company because instead of correcting contract violations the firm’s only goal was to “maximize profits.” Gordon said among AGNA security personnel were unqualified personnel, some of whom had serious criminal records. Some guard recruits had engaged in “disgusting behavior” during their initial training at AGI’s subsidiary’s training facility, International Training Inc. (ITI) of Pearsall, Texas. Sauer, Martino, and Gorman had received reports that some of the AGNA recruits, while undergoing pre-deployment in Texas, had engaged in “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior, including sexual hazing, urination on one another and equipment, bullying, ‘mooning,’” exposing themselves, excessive drinking, and other conduct making themselves unfit for service on the contract. The AGNA employees who were later forced out of the company attempted to ensure that the trainees in Texas never arrived in Kabul. Several email exchanges (“e-pong”) show they tried to block the sexual deviants from duty in Kabul. AGNA also misrepresented ethnic Nepalese Gurkha farmers hired as security guards for the Kabul embassy job as Gurkha military veterans of the British and Indian armies. In fact. the Gurkha farmers hired from Nepal and northern India were not proficient in English as required under the State Department contract. In fact, some could speak no English. The language test had never been administered to the Gurkha recruits. When some Gurkha guards walked off their jobs in May 2007 because of poor wages and treatment, Carol Ruart, AGI’s human resources director in London, ordered AGNA management in Kabul to “lock [the Gurkhas] in their rooms until they agree to work for less.” Gordon also stated that AGNA never invested in secure vehicles to transport embassy guards between the embassy and other locations. AGNA used broken down vehicles called “white coffins.” After the State Department released funds to AGNA to buy secure vehicles, the firm never bought the vehicles but transferred the money to AGI in London. AGNA also hired a “rogue” South African program manager for the embassy contract in Kabul, according to Gordon. DuPlessis replaced Sauer. Jimmy Lemmon replaced Martino as deputy program manager. During the tenure of the South African, Nick duPlessis, ammunition went missing from Camp Sullivan where the guards were bivouacked and illegal weapons were stored at the facility. Moreover, duPlessis did not possess a security clearance to receive classified briefings, a requirement for the program manager position. In addition, Gordon stated that the AGNA logistics manager, Sean Garcia, used contract funds to purchase counterfeit North Face and Altama jackets and boots for the security guards from his wife’s company in Lebanon, Trends General Trading and Marketing LLC of Beirut. Gordon said, “the cheap knock-offs could never keep the men warm during the cold winters in Afghanistan.” After Gordon notified the State Department about the contract breach, the order to remove him was ignored and the State Department continues to own sub-par counterfeit material. Gordon sent an email dated September 3, 2007 to duPlessis and his staff in Kabul. Gordon also said that the AGNA armorer in Kabul, responsible for maintaining all the weapons, had to be “forcibly removed” from a brothel in Kabul. Many of the prostitutes working in Kabul, according to Gordon, are young Chinese girls who were taken against their will to Kabul for sexual exploitation. When Gordon ordered the armorer’s immediate termination, he discovered that the AGNA medic, Neville Montefiore, and duPlessis, the program manager, had also frequented the brothels with the armorer. Gordon also discovered that there had been an outbreak of sexually-transmitted diseases among the AGNA guards in 2007 and this was never reported to the State Department as required by the contract. Prostitutes also frequently visited Camp Sullivan. Gordon also discovered that the guard force routinely visited brothels in Kabul and Montefiore’s replacement discovered the improper storage of regulated narcotics at Camp Sullivan’s medical facility, including morphine. “You can rest assured that there is no hiding of information from the DoS [Department of State]. Anyone who thinks that they can get away with this will probably end up in a Federal Penitentiary. It is our duty to report on all aspects of the contract performance and we are required to be transparent and honest in our dealings. Personally I wouldn’t accept anything else.” Gordon’s plans to visit Kabul to conduct an investigation were immediately shut down by ArmorGroup’s parent office in London. Gordon said it is contrary to U.S. law for a foreign company to direct or influence any activities on a classified contract. Moreover, the British parent conducted their own investigation, which resulted in a three-page whitewash. Gordon was denied access to all information about AGI London’s investigation. After the whitewash, Gordon received a report that an AGNA trainee wanted to be hired on as a security guard at the embassy in Kabul because he knew someone “who owned prostitutes there.” The trainee boasted that he could purchase a girl for $20,000 and earn a handsome profit each month. The trainee, according to Gordon, had previously worked in Kabul under duPlessis. Neither AGNA nor the State Department conducted a follow-up investigation of the violations of the U.S. Trafficking in Victims Protection Act by AGNA employees. AGNA responded to Gordon’s warnings by blaming him for all the contract’s failures and he was forced to leave the firm on February 29, 2008. After Wackenhut Services Inc. bought ArmorGroup, after Gordon left the company, he met with Sam Brinkley, the vice president of Wackenhut, to discuss the contract problems. Brinkley promised to remove duPlessis and investigate all the charges of misconduct. On June 10, 2009, Gordon was present during hearings held by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Gordon said that Brinkley and the State Department testified to McCaskill’s subcommittee on contracting oversight that AGNA was “fully compliant” on the security contract for the embassy in Kabul. Brinkley told the subcommittee that he “was proud” of the way the company had been managing the embassy security contract. Gordon said the situation at Camp Sullivan had worsened and the U.S. Embassy was facing a grave security threat. McCaskill and ranking Republican member Susan Collins (R-ME) never heard testimony from any of the whistleblowers on AGNA’s poor security record in Kabul. The only witnesses heard were Brinkley and William Moser, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Logistics Management. Brinkley, in addition to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, has responsibility for the security contract for the U.S. Naval Support Activity in Bahrain, which, according to ex-AGNA sources, may be using untrained Gurkha farmers from the Indian subcontinent as crack veterans of the British and Indian armies. The Gorman/Gordon lawsuit states that on October 10, 2007, the AGNA security force in Kabul was involved in a number of serious incidents, including: detaining a group of Afghan civilians and involuntarily transporting them to the U.S. embassy; verbally and physically engaging in an altercation with Afghan Ministry of Interior policemen and handcuffing the policemen; confronting an Afghan general and several Ministry of Interior policemen; refusing an order from the embassy RSO to withdraw from a checkpoint to defuse a potentially explosive situation. The statements of the two ex-AGNA employees reveal a culture of depravity and unprofessional behavior that Gordon stated still exists to this very day in Kabul.

September 14, 2009 AP
A member of a federal commission investigating wartime spending said Monday that photos showing private security guards in various stages of nudity at drunken parties may be as damaging to U.S. interests in Afghanistan as images of detainee mistreatment at Abu Ghraib were in Iraq. Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller, made the comment at a hearing Monday held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting on allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct by employees of ArmorGroup North America, the company hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Zakheim said the photos are circulating heavily on the Internet and give Muslims in Afghanistan a negative image of the United States. Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's management chief, acknowledged the department should have been paying closer attention to the activities of the ArmorGroup guards at their living quarters near the embassy. The private security contractor hired to protect the embassy said Monday it erred by not immediately telling the State Department about an alcohol-related incident involving its guards that proved far more serious than company officials first believed. "I am not here to defend the indefensible," said Samuel Brinkley, vice president of Wackenhut Services, the company that owns the contractor, ArmorGroup North America. A manager for ArmorGroup counseled nine guards after they got drunk at a bar near their living quarters in Kabul on August 10. But after photos surfaced showing the guards had been at a party where ArmorGroup employees engaged in lewd and inappropriate behavior, they realized they made a mistake by not alerting U.S. officials. Photos showed guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. Brinkley said the manager's response, which included a temporary ban on alcohol, seemed adequate at the time. "In retrospect, we were wrong in not notifying the State Department," Brinkley said in testimony before the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting. Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, told the commission the State Department is very concerned about ArmorGroup's delays in reporting its knowledge of any misconduct by its employees. The State Department has been sharply criticized for its management and oversight of the security contract at one of the country's most important diplomatic outposts. In addition to the allegations of misconduct, other problems have included a shortage of guards and inferior equipment. As the department's top management officer, Kennedy said he takes full responsibility for having failed to prevent the problems that reportedly ranged from out-of-control parties to Armor Group supervisors frequenting brothels in Kabul. The State Department has launched an investigation into ArmorGroup's handling of the $189 million contract embassy security contract. Kennedy told the commission that the misconduct "dishonored" the State Department in Afghanistan, where "the success of U.S. objectives depends on the cultural sensitivity of all mission personnel, including employees under contract." But he and other State Department officials said no decision will be made on whether to terminate the contract with ArmorGroup until the investigation is complete. Members of the commission pressed Kennedy to be more aggressive, saying the evidence already available is enough to warrant firing ArmorGroup, which was awarded the contract to protect the embassy in March 2007. "To me, it's just totally out of control and it's been going on for a long time," said Michael Thibault, co-chairman of the commission. Commissioner Clark Ervin asked Kennedy to pledge to terminate the contract if the investigation proves all the allegations prove to be true. Kennedy refused to commit, saying the inquiry needs to run its course. However, Kennedy added, "We are seeing a very, very serious case being made for termination."

September 13, 2009 Washington Post
In 2005, the State Department hired a Northern Virginia company to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Diplomats quickly became concerned about whether the new guards, who barely spoke English, could protect such a sensitive site. "They had serious problems," recalled Ronald E. Neumann, who was ambassador at the time. The department then brought in another security contractor, ArmorGroup North America. But the difficulties didn't cease. In recent days, evidence of ArmorGroup's failings has burst into public view -- photos depicting its guards in semi-naked hazing rituals and official documents showing persistent staff shortages. Harold W. Geisel, the acting inspector general of the State Department, told Congress last week that his investigators are checking for possible criminal conduct by ArmorGroup, and a congressional hearing is scheduled for Monday. Lawmakers and watchdog groups are questioning how the department could have continued to employ a company that, in addition to tolerating bullying and understaffing, failed to ensure that its guards had proper security clearances and sufficient equipment -- or that they spoke English. The criticism is particularly intense because the State Department had promised to improve oversight after a 2007 shooting incident in Iraq involving bodyguards from security contractor Blackwater that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. "State's management of these contracts has been self-evidentially abysmal," said Peter W. Singer, an expert on government contracting at the Brookings Institution. ArmorGroup's efforts to guard the Kabul embassy were troubled from the start, according to congressional hearings, internal State Department documents and interviews. The McLean-based company submitted "an unreasonably low price" in 2007 for the contract, said Samuel Brinkley, an official with Wackenhut Services, the firm's parent company, at a congressional hearing in June. Former ArmorGroup supervisors have said in interviews that the company slashed guard staffing so it could squeak out a profit. State Department officials have expressed outrage about the lewd behavior shown in the photos. Still, they defend their selection of ArmorGroup, saying they are legally required to award such contracts to the lowest qualified bidder and noting that ArmorGroup was well-regarded. They also insist that the embassy was never endangered by the guard problems -- even though internal department documents say it was. "The fact you find something is wrong means something is wrong. But you find it," the department's undersecretary for management, Patrick F. Kennedy, said in an interview. He emphasized that many of the guards' failings emerged in documents written by department officials. "There was oversight present," he said. The troubles at the Kabul embassy raise questions about how authorities will manage what is expected to be a surge in the number of contract guards at U.S. facilities in Iraq as the American military presence declines. The scandal has also given new impetus to a debate over whether too many government wartime jobs are being outsourced. "The State Department should consider whether the security for an embassy in a combat zone is an inherently governmental function, and therefore not subject to contracting out," Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this month. Brian's group released the photos of what it called near-weekly sessions of hazing and sexual humiliation of ArmorGroup guards at their camp. The State Department has for years used local contract guards to secure the perimeters of its embassies, while generally keeping a modest Marine contingent for interior access. But in Iraq and Afghanistan, the department decided not to use local guards because of vetting concerns, officials say. Instead, as the military withdrew forces from around those embassies in recent years, the department turned to contractors such as ArmorGroup. But the department, which suffers from a shortage of contracting staff, has had a rocky history of managing such guard contracts. Each of its three contracts in Kabul has come under fire. The first was awarded to McLean-based Global Strategies, to replace a Marine combat force withdrawing from the U.S. Embassy in March 2005. The department justified the $6-million-a-month sole-source contract by saying it had received late notification of the Marines' departure. But the inspector general found that the Defense Department had given six months' official notice, and scolded the State Department for poor planning. By July 2005, the State Department had signed a contract with MVM of Ashburn, cutting its guard costs to less than $2 million a month, according to the inspector general's report. But MVM could not provide enough guards, partly because it was paying much less than its predecessor, according to Neumann. And, he said, the guards spoke so little English that they could not understand instructions. "We went back to the State Department and said, 'These people are unacceptable,' " Neumann said. State canceled MVM's contract and kept on the Global guards temporarily. MVM's chief executive, Dario O. Marquez, did not return a call seeking comment but told the Wall Street Journal last year that the State Department did not give him enough time to fix the problems. Neumann said the department was handicapped in selecting guard companies because of regulations stipulating that the contract go to a qualified U.S. firm that offers the lowest bid. "People low-bid, and then they're not competent," he said. Finally, in March 2007, the department turned to ArmorGroup. The firm, which also guarded the British Embassy in Kabul, was one of only two bidders deemed technically qualified by the department's acquisition and security specialists. Its price was about $3 million a month, officials say. "ArmorGroup was not a small, undercapitalized, underfunded, fly-by-night organization," Kennedy said. "They put forth a proposal that met every requirement." But within weeks of the company starting work, the State Department sent ArmorGroup a warning that its deficiencies -- including shortages of guards and armored vehicles -- were so serious that "the security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy," according to the House Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. State Department officials issued eight more warnings to the company over the next two years, including one last September threatening to terminate the contract. Despite the problems, the department stuck with ArmorGroup, agreeing this summer to extend its contract for a year. State Department officials have said that the company appeared to be making progress and that changing firms would be disruptive. A spokeswoman for Wackenhut, which took over ArmorGroup North America last year, declined to comment. In a lawsuit filed last week, former ArmorGroup supervisor James Gordon accuses the company not only of failing to properly staff the embassy but also of lying to the State Department about its capabilities. The operation "was a complete shambles," he said.

September 12, 2009 New York Times
When a security guard at the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was leaving for breakfast Monday morning, he froze at the sight of a crude poster of a rat hanging on his door. “Warning!” the poster said in stark, black letters. “Rats can cost you your job and your family.” The guard was a whistle-blower who had told of security lapses and lewd, drunken bacchanals by fellow workers, sparking an outcry and enraging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now he wonders whether he should have kept his mouth shut. “Threats are still running rampant here,” he said in a telephone conversation from Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “So even though it looks like State may finally turn things around, no one’s ready to celebrate yet.” Such skepticism may be warranted. A review of two years of e-mail messages, letters and memos reveals that the State Department had long known of the serious problems with ArmorGroup, the contractor chosen to protect its embassy. The complaints went beyond the lurid pranks that made headlines, the documents show, and included serious understaffing, bullying by management, petty corruption and abusive work conditions. In fact, the deficiencies became so severe that they threatened the security of the compound, the documents show, and State Department officials withheld payments to ArmorGroup as a way to compel it to comply with the terms of its agreement. On a few occasions, government officials warned the company that if it did not correct the most egregious problems it would lose the five-year, $189 million deal. Yet both times the contract came up for renewal, in 2008 and 2009, the State Department opted to extend it, officials confirmed. The troubles with the ArmorGroup contract, and the State Department’s frustrated dealings with the company over two years and through two administrations, illustrate how the government has become dependent on the private security companies that work in war zones, and has struggled to manage companies that themselves are sometimes loosely run and do not always play by the government’s rules. With a stretched military, the government relies on the security companies themselves to vet, train, and discipline the guards, all at the lowest cost. “It’s expensive for the State Department to withdraw a contract from one company, rebid the project and award it to a new one,” said Janet Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who represents one of the ArmorGroup whistleblowers. “So businesses know that once they get a contract, State may ding them around a little bit, but it’s not going to fire them.” The perils of this reliance were most graphically illustrated in Iraq in 2007, when security guards from another contractor, Blackwater, were involved in shootings that left 17 civilians dead on a Baghdad street. But interviews and documents show that the ArmorGroup affair, in its mundane, unsavory details, offers perhaps a more representative look inside the troubled relationship between contractors and the government in war zones. State Department officials acknowledge they had a litany of complaints about the company, none of which, they insist, compromised the security of the embassy. But they profess to being deeply embarrassed by reports of parties where security guards were photographed naked, fondling and urinating on each other. “I’ve been doing this for 37 years; I’m proud of what I do,” said Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management who oversees outside contractors. But, he added, “This is humiliating.” Mr. Kennedy, however, defended the State Department’s overall handling of the contract. The frequent letters of complaint the government sent to ArmorGroup, he said, were evidence that the department was keeping close tabs on the company. The “greatest majority” of the failures cited in the letters were addressed, he said. Part of the problem, officials said, was that the guards are housed in a complex six miles from the embassy, Camp Sullivan, with little oversight by State Department officials. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, the American subsidiary of the Danish company that owns ArmorGroup, referred questions to the State Department, saying only that it was cooperating with the government’s investigation. On Monday, the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan will hold a hearing to examine the State Department’s oversight of the contract. Christopher Shays, a former congressman and co-chairman of the commission, said there was “a serious failure on the part of the State Department in being unable to compel the contractor to fulfill its commitment.” The disclosures, which were originally made by a nonprofit organization, Project on Government Oversight, deeply rattled the State Department. At a staff meeting following the release of the group’s report, senior officials said, Mrs. Clinton vented her anger about the lurid pictures. Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army general who became President Obama’s ambassador to Afghanistan last May, was livid, an official said, because he had never been briefed about the problems. Despite their unease with contractors, officials acknowledged the department had no choice but to keep using them. “In situations where there is a surge of intense security requirements, it is a real challenge,” said Jacob J. Lew, the deputy secretary of state for management and resources. “We cannot reduce the security presence.” The State Department was not in a buyer’s market when it looked for a company to protect its embassy in Kabul. It picked ArmorGroup in March 2007, after its previous choice, MVM, proved unable to marshal the necessary personnel or equipment, officials said. Of the eight companies that bid for the contract the second time around, only two were deemed technically capable. ArmorGroup was the cheapest. The company’s most recent contract extension was granted in June this year, after a Senate hearing in which one of its executives, Samuel Brinkley, a Wackenhut vice president, said in sworn testimony that his company was in full compliance with the terms of its contract, and a State Department official, William H. Moser, a deputy assistant secretary of state, also under oath, said he was satisfied with the company’s performance. In interviews, ArmorGroup whistleblowers said they felt betrayed by the testimony. By many measures, they said, things were worse, not better. After largely uneventful company barbecues morphed into what have been described as scenes from “The Lord of the Flies,” at least a dozen of the men started a document trail of their own, sending e-mail messages and photographs to the Project on Government Oversight. According to interviews and those documents, from July 2007 to April 2009, the State Department issued ArmorGroup at least nine warnings, nearly one every other month, about contract violations that ranged from mundane concerns about the company’s ability to keep accurate personnel logs, to more critical concerns about corruption among company managers and the hardships faced by sleep-deprived, underpaid guards — the majority of them Gurkhas from Nepal — who could not understand simple commands in English. While the Gurkhas were largely the source of the language problems, the lewd hazing rituals were largely the activity of the native English speakers, a mix of Americans, South Africans, New Zealanders and Australians. In 2008, after ArmorGroup was acquired by the Danish company, G4S, Wackenhut informed the State Department it was taking control of the Kabul contract, and promised to fix any problems. Government officials agreed to give the new owners a chance. According to their own correspondence, their optimism seemed to dim fairly quickly. On Aug. 22, 2008, the State Department wrote to ArmorGroup to express concerns that staffing shortages were so severe the company might not be able to provide security after a situation with mass casualties. On Sept. 21, 2008, the State Department deducted $2.4 million in payments from ArmorGroup, warning that its failure to provide a sufficient number of guards “gravely endangers the performance of guard services.” In March 2009, the department again advised ArmorGroup that it had “grave concerns” about staffing shortages, noting that inspectors on a recent tour found 18 guardposts left uncovered. In April, it denied ArmorGroup’s request for a third waiver to the requirement that it teach its foreign guards English. A month later, without much explanation, ArmorGroup told the State Department that deficiencies relating to language and staffing had been resolved. And a month after that, a senior State Department official told the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight that “despite contractual deficiencies, the performance by ArmorGroup North America has been and is sound.” “I sat in the audience that day, and shook my head in disbelief,” said James Gordon, a former ArmorGroup executive who has filed a whistleblower’s lawsuit against the company. He says he was forced out for complaining about the problems. “I knew that conditions at Camp Sullivan were deteriorating, that the contract continued to be understaffed, that the conditions in Kabul were getting more dangerous, and that the U.S. Embassy was facing grave threats.”

September 10, 2009 New York Times
Two former employees of a private contractor hired to provide security at the United States Embassy in Afghanistan charged that State Department officials were aware as early as 2007 that guards and supervisors were involved in lewd conduct. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, one of the former employees, James Gordon, a native of New Zealand who served as director of operations at the contractor, ArmorGroup North America, charged that he had spoken numerous times with State Department officials about significant problems that threatened security at the embassy. Among other things, he said that ArmorGroup hired guards who could not speak English and had no security experience; that the company employed fewer guards than needed and worked them for longer hours than at other embassies to cut costs; and that it allowed managers and employers to hire prostitutes. “Their goal was to perform the contract as cheaply as possible,” said Mr. Gordon, speaking by telephone from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, where he is now employed by another private security contractor which he declined to name. “Their goal was to do everything they could to prevent the State Department from discovering their multiple contract violations and operational shortcomings. Their goal was to provide a fig leaf of security at the embassy, and to pray to God that nobody got killed.” Mr. Gordon and another former supervisor, John Gorman, said they warned State Department officials in Kabul several times that ArmorGroup was plagued with problems and that it was determined to cover them up. They said that as a result of their efforts to correct the problems and to make the government aware of the issues, ArmorGroup forced them to leave their jobs. As evidence to support his assertions, Mr. Gorman provided a packet of memos and e-mail messages that he said he and two other former employees gave State Department officials in June 2007, including a three-page memo in which he outlined an array of contract violations. Among them, he wrote: “The training program run for new hires has been plagued with hazing and intimidation of students by students. This included physical threats and perversions.” Senior State Department officials said they were unaware that guards had engaged in that kind of activity at their living quarters at a base in Kabul. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about a continuing investigation. The charges echoed those in a report released last week by an independent group, the Project on Government Oversight, which accused the guards and supervisors of deviant behavior. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ordered an investigation, and about 16 guards and supervisors were fired or have resigned. ArmorGroup North America, based in McLean, Va., was acquired in 2008 by a Danish security company, G4S, and its American subsidiary, Wackenhut Services Inc. In a written statement, Wackenhut described Mr. Gordon’s allegations as “overstated, ill-founded, not based on any personal knowledge or otherwise lacking in legal merit.”

September 10, 2009 AP
A former manager for the security contractor protecting the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan says the company lowballed its bid for the work and then failed to hire enough guards or fix faulty equipment. The allegations come after an independent watchdog group said last week that ArmorGroup guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors who created a climate of fear and intimidation. On Thursday, James Gordon, former director of operations at ArmorGroup North America, alleged the company bid too low in order to win the contract and then cut corners to keep profits up. Gordon says he was fired for reporting the problems. He also claims ArmorGroup withheld from Congress information about employees who went to brothels. Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, had no immediate comment.

September 8, 2009 Government Executive
A contract employee in Afghanistan claims he was forced to resign or risk being fired outright in retaliation for his role in exposing alleged lewd and drunken behavior of security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Terry Pearson worked for 16 months as an operations supervisor for RA International, a Dubai-based food service provider at Camp Sullivan, the off-site base that was home to the ArmorGroup North America security guards alleged to have participated in the incidents reported last week by the Washington watchdog group the Project on Government Oversight. A native of Great Britain, Pearson said he was disgusted by the behavior of some guards, including one episode in which an apparently drunken supervisor allegedly accosted a young Afghan employee. Pearson reportedly complained about the incidents to RA International and ArmorGroup -- the prime contractor on the $187 million State Department embassy contract -- but when the two companies failed to address his concerns, he contacted a Washington law firm. Internal company e-mails obtained by Government Executive show that RA International executives suspected Pearson was a whistleblower. In one of the messages, RA International Chairman Soraya Narfeldt asked Pearson to admit that he was the source of the complaint about the guards. Narfeldt also questioned Pearson in two separate e-mails about calls to the Washington attorney. "They have stated that a staff member of RAI reached out to another law firm in D.C. regarding information pertaining to AGNA," Narfeldt wrote. "I cannot see how they could have this information if it was not true and if you have reached out using the RAI e-mail address then this is quite serious. How can a D.C. firm pluck RAI out of thin air to call with no information? Makes no sense." Narfeldt punctuated the e-mail by noting that ArmorGroup "is our client" and what the company "does within themselves is not our concern." Shortly after receiving the message, Pearson gave his 30-day notice of resignation. Five hours later, he rescinded his resignation, but Scott Fardy, the firm's country manager in Afghanistan, told him to have his personal property removed from Camp Sullivan by the end of the day, e-mails show. Pearson later told the Project on Government Oversight that, "This is definitely a case of get rid of the whistleblower." RA International, however, insists that Pearson left the company voluntarily for reasons that were "not associated" with the guard controversy. "The employee independently made the decision to leave the company," Fardy said in an e-mail to Government Executive. "His notice was received on Sept. 1, 2009. We have very clear [human resource] procedures in place both for dealing with grievances and issues -- in confidence if necessary -- and for ensuring that an employee's decision to leave the company is validated. There was no coercion leading to his resignation and, in fact, RA International's response highlighted that he was welcome to reapply to the company for positions in the future." Fardy said he spoke with Pearson twice following his resignation "to check that he felt he was making the right decision." Once Pearson made up his mind, Fardy said, the company had to move on. RA International has more than 1,000 employees worldwide and, in addition to Afghanistan, holds reconstruction assistance contracts in Darfur, Sudan; and the Central Republic of Chad. Pearson was among the first to blow the whistle on alleged hazing and alcohol-filled debauchery of ArmorGroup guards, much of which was caught on camera and video. On Aug. 1 an ArmorGroup supervisor and four others reportedly entered a Camp Sullivan dining facility that was run by RA International wearing short underwear and brandishing several bottles of alcohol. Before leaving the facility, the supervisor allegedly grabbed the face of a young Afghan national employed by RA International, and began abusing him with foul and sexual language, according to a complaint filed by the employee. Pearson was in charge of taking the statement from the Afghan national. POGO investigators said Pearson was punished for speaking out and that if he had been fired, he would have had difficulty finding work elsewhere as a security contractor. By resigning, however, he can find work with another company. During an interview with CNN over the weekend, Pearson said he does not regret his decision to speak out about the scandal. "If I had the chance to turn back the clock and do something different, I don't think I would," he said. "I would still end up doing exactly the same thing because people's dignity at work and respect at work are more important than the job itself." Meanwhile, other embassy whistleblowers have reportedly been threatened for coming forward with their accusations. POGO said posters were produced and distributed at several locations in Afghanistan calling the whistleblowers "RATS" and warning them that if they continued revealing negative information, then they could be in danger. POGO brought the posters to the attention of the State Department, which has since reportedly put up its own posters stating that, "Threats and/or intimidation are completely unacceptable and should be reported immediately." The posters include the name and phone number of a special agent for the embassy for whistleblowers to contact. On Friday, the State Department announced it had fired eight ArmorGroup contractors who appeared in the photographs. The embassy originally reported that two other guards had resigned their positions. But, POGO said the State Department later rescinded those resignations and fired the employees. State's inspector general office is investigating the conduct of the ArmorGroup guards. RA International is cooperating with the probe, Fardy said.

September 4, 2009 Government Executive
The State Department on Friday announced it has fired eight security contractors assigned to guard the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, after photos surfaced of the men involved in lewd and embarrassing behavior. The guards from ArmorGroup North America left Afghanistan on Friday, according to a statement from the embassy. In addition, the company's senior managers in Kabul are "being replaced immediately," the statement said. The embassy did not release the names of the dismissed employees. "The embassy security office continues its interviews of every one of the ArmorGroup guards," the statement said. The embassy originally reported that two other guards who appeared in the now infamous photographs had resigned their positions. But, sources told the Project on Government Oversight, the watchdog group that broke the scandal, that the State Department rescinded their resignations, fired them and revoked their security clearances. That essentially will prevent them from finding work with another security contractor. But, POGO is concerned that some of the employees who lost their jobs were young recruits who might have been pressured to participate in the sexual and alcohol-fueled escapades captured in the photos. "We have been told people are being fired for simply being in the photographs," POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said. "We do know a number of those were unwilling participants. We also want to hear that the supervisors who were responsible for this debacle are being held fully accountable and not simply allowed to resign and go to another contractor." A team from the State Department's inspector general office arrived in Kabul this week and is conducting an investigation of the allegations. On Thursday, POGO learned that one of the whistleblowers who helped expose the guard scandal allegedly was forced to resign. The whistleblower's company, RA International, is a Dubai-based food service provider at Camp Sullivan, the off-site base where the guards lived.

September 2, 2009 The Guardian
Pictures have emerged showing private contractors at the embassy holding 'deviant and lewd' parties. The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has ordered an investigation into allegations that private contractors employed to protect the American embassy in Afghanistan were engaged in "deviant and lewd" parties that have been compared to Lord of the Flies. The decision to launch the inquiry came after an independent group sent her a 10-page dossier yesterday claiming that the security guards at the embassy had been engaged in drunken parties involving prostitutes and the kind of ritual humiliation associated with gang initiation. Pictures and video footage were attached to the dossier. The dossier, compiled by the independent investigative group Project on Government Insight, includes an email allegedly from a guard currently serving in Kabul describing scenes in which guards and supervisors are "peeing on people, eating potato chips out of [buttock] cracks, vodka shots out of [buttock] cracks (there is video of that one), broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity". The allegations are an embarrassment at a time when the Obama administration is struggling to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and the Muslim world in general. It comes against the backdrop of the continuing controversy over the widespread use by the US of private contractors in war zones, of which the most notorious was Blackwater, now named Xe. The group at the centre of the new allegations are the ArmorGroup, part of the Florida-based Wackenhut group, one of the biggest private security organisations in the US. The organisation did not respond immediately today to the allegations. The Project on Government Insight, which was established in 1981 to track military procurement and bring to light evidence of any corruption, described the environment at Camp Sullivan, where the guards were housed outside Kabul, as comparable to the anarchy in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. It said about 300 of the 450 ArmorGroup guards are Gurkhas and the rest are a mix of Australians, South Africans and Americans. In the dossier, it said that guards were "engaging in near-weekly deviant hazing and humiliation of subordinates" . It claimed that some guards had barricaded themselves in their rooms out of fear that the alleged hazing might harm them physically. It further claims that guard force supervisors "made no secret that, to celebrate a birthday, they brought prostitutes into Camp Sullivan, which maintains a sign-in log." According to the report, Afghan nationals, as Muslims, were humiliated by the behaviour and the apparently free-flowing use of alcohol. The pictures could be picked up by the Taliban and used as propaganda against the US and its allies. But the Project on Government Insight stressed that comparisons should not be made with the pictures of abuse at the Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, because no allegations of torture are being made. The report says that the general breakdown in discipline poses a threat to the security of the embassy. Ian Kelly, the state department spokesman, said of the reports of wild, anarchic partying: "These are very serious allegations, and we are treating them that way." Clinton has "zero tolerance" for the behaviour described and has directed a "review of the whole system" for farming out security to private contractors that may have threatened the safety of embassy personnel, Kelly said. The embassy said today: "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of all embassy personnel - Americans and Afghan - and respect for the cultural and religious values of all Afghans." It added: "We have taken immediate steps to review all local guard force policies and procedures and have taken all possible measures to ensure our security is sound." Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who heads a subcommittee on contractor oversight, wrote to the state department calling for the inquiry in the light of the report. McCaskill's committee earlier this year conducted its own hearings on the involvement of ArmorGroup in Afghanistan.

September 1, 2009 Washington Post
Private security contractors who guard the U.S. embassy in Kabul have engaged in lewd behavior and hazed subordinates, demoralizing the undermanned force and posing a "significant threat" to security at time when the Taliban is intensifying attacks in the Afghan capital, according to an investigation released Tuesday by a government watchdog group. The Project on Government Oversight launched the probe after more than a dozen security guards contacted the group to report misconduct and morale problems within the force of 450 guards that lives at Camp Sullivan, a few miles from the U.S. embassy compound. In one incident in May, more than a dozen guards took weapons, night vision goggles and other key equipment and engaged in an unauthorized "cowboy" mission in Kabul, leaving the embassy "largely night blind," POGO wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlining the security violations. The guards dressed in Afghan tunics and scarves in violation of contract rules and hid in abandoned buildings in a reconnaissance mission that was not part of their training or mission. Later two heads of the guard force, Werner Ilic and Jimmy Lemon, issued a "letter of recognition" praising the men for "conspicuous intrepidity (sic)" with the U.S. State Department logo on the letter head. "They were living out some sort of delusion," one of the whistle-blower guards said Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post from Kabul. "It presented a huge opportunity for an international incident," said the guard who spokes on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution. The report recommends that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates immediately assign U.S. military personnel to supervise the guards and remove the management of the current force. It also calls on the State Department to hold accountable diplomatic officials who failed to provide adequate oversight of the contract. The report also found that supervisors held near-weekly parties in which they urinated on themselves and others, drank vodka poured off each other's exposed buttocks, fondled and kissed one another and gallivanted around virtually nude. Photos and video of the escapades were released with the POGO investigation. "The lewd and deviant behavior of approximately 30 supervisors and guards has resulted in complete distrust of leadership and a breakdown of the chain of command, compromising security," POGO said in the letter to Clinton. The guards work for ArmorGroup, North America, which has an $180 million annual contract with the State Department to secure the embassy and the 1,000 diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals who work there. The State Department renewed the contract in July despite finding numerous performance deficiencies by ArmorGroup in recent years which were the subject of a Senate subcommittee hearing in June. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, Inc., the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. company that owns ArmorGroup, declined to comment on Tuesday's POGO report. Conduct of contractors providing security in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the subject of controversy and other investigations in recent years. The government relies heavily on such contractors for security and other needs. A new Congressional Research Service report has found that as of March, the Defense Department had more contract personnel than troops in Afghanistan. The 52,300 uniformed U.S. military and 68,200 contractors in Afghanistan at that time "apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DOD [Defense Department] in any conflict in the history of the United States," the report said. Some 16 percent of the contractors are involved in providing security, a much higher percentage than the 10 percent that were used in Iraq. Although contractors provide many essential services, "they also pose management challenges in monitoring performance and preventing fraud," according to Steven Aftergood, who first disclosed the congressional report on his Secrecy News Web site.

September 1, 2009 AP
Guards hired by the State Department to protect diplomats and staff at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan live and work in a "Lord of the Flies" environment in which they're subjected to hazing and other inappropriate behavior by supervisors, a government oversight group charged Tuesday. In a 10-page letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Project on Government Oversight contended the situation has led to a breakdown in morale and leadership, compromising security at the embassy in Kabul where nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals work. The group is urging Clinton to launch an investigation of the contract with ArmorGroup North America. It also recommends that she ask the Pentagon to provide "immediate military supervision" of the private security force at the embassy. The oversight group's findings are based on interviews with ArmorGroup guards, documents, photographs and e-mails. One e-mail from a guard describes lurid conditions at Camp Sullivan, the guards' quarters a few miles from the embassy. The message depicted scenes of abuse including guards and supervisors urinating on people and "threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity." Multiple guards say these conditions have created a "climate of fear and coercion." Those who refuse to participate are often ridiculed, humiliated or even fired, they contended. The group's investigation found sleep-deprived guards regularly logging 14-hour days, language barriers that impair critical communications, and a failure by the State Department to hold the contractor accountable. Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, had no immediate comment on the allegations. The State Department also had no immediate comment. The State Department has been aware of ArmorGroup's shortcomings, the letter says, but hasn't done enough to correct the problems. It cites a July 2007 warning from the department to ArmorGroup that detailed more than a dozen performance deficiencies, including too few guards and armored vehicles. Another "cure notice" was sent less than a year later, raising other problems and criticizing the contractor for failing to fix the prior ones. In July 2008, however, the department extended the contract for another year, according to the notice. More problems surfaced and more warning notices followed. Yet at a congressional hearing on the contract in June, State Department officials said the prior shortcomings had been remedied and security at the embassy is effective. The contract was renewed again through 2010. Nearly two-thirds of the embassy guards are Gurkhas from Nepal and northern India who don't speak adequate English, a situation that creates communications breakdowns, the group says. Pantomime is often used to convey orders and instructions. On the Net: Project on Government Oversight: http://www.pogo.org/

Altcourse Prison, UK
Jan 2, 2015 telegraph.co.uk
Prisoner with phone in cell makes hoax Isil bomb threats
A private jail has defended its policy of installing phones in prisoner's cells after one sparked a terrorist alert during a string of hoax calls in which he claimed to be an Isil bomber. Daniel Truelove made the calls from the phone given to him by prison chiefs for "good behaviour". But he caused panic after threatening to blow up Liverpool's Lime Street station, claiming: "I'm from ISIS". "In one call he told the operator he was part of Liverpool ISIS, carrying an Islamic State flag and wearing a tactical vest containing explosives." Now as he faces further time behind bars G4S who run Altcourse Prison on Merseyside said they have no plans to ditch the controversial scheme. Magistrates heard the 20 year-old made the calls from a phone installed in his cell as part of a project to help rehabilitation by "strengthening support networks outside the prison". Truelove claimed he was a member of the Islamic terror group, responsible for numerous atrocities including the attacks in Paris last month which left 130 dead. He made four calls warning of a bomb at Liverpool's main station to the Samaritans and to Crimestoppers.
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Hannah Griffiths, prosecuting, said: "In one call he told the operator he was part of Liverpool ISIS, carrying an Islamic State flag and wearing a tactical vest containing explosives. "On another call, Truelove said he was by a pay-phone at the station and was under pressure to behead his family. He was arrested after the calls were traced to his cell." Liverpool Magistrates' Court was told as a result of the calls British Transport Police increased searches of the station and deployed extra officers authorised to carry Tasers. Ms Griffiths said Truelove shared his cell with another man and no-one else could have had access to the phone at the time the calls were made. There is no suggestion his cell mate was behind the calls. She said: "The defendant admitted making the calls as a prank and said he thought they would be anonymous." Truelove, of no fixed address, appeared via video-link from Altcourse and pleaded guilty to communicating a bomb hoax and will be sentenced later this month. Altcourse prison, which is privately run, was named the most dangerous in the country for staff in 2014, according to official figures. Director of HMP Altcourse Dave Thompson said: "In line with many prisons across the country HMP Altcourse is moving to install telephones into prisoners' cells as evidence suggests it supports the rehabilitation and resettlement on their release. "Prisoners can only dial approved numbers such as members of their family and we routinely monitor and record calls to ensure telephones are being used appropriately. "Prisoners who abuse this opportunity to remain in contact with their families can expect to face sanction and as this case shows, further action through the courts."

November 9, 2010 BBC
A dentist who tricked the NHS out of more than £300,000 by claiming twice for working in a private jail has been jailed for two and a half years. John Hudson, 58, admitted two counts of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit from the NHS, and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday. Hudson was paid by HMP Altcourse but also claimed £307,000 over two years. Patients from his practice at Whitworth near Rochdale, wrote letters of support for him to the court. 'Blatant dishonesty' -- Judge Graham Morrow QC said Hudson had been a pillar of the community in Whitworth, but was guilty of "calculated, blatant and persistent dishonesty" in taking money which should have gone for patient care. The court heard that dental services at the privately-run jail near Liverpool were also privately run. But Hudson exploited a weakness in the NHS system. When the NHS changed the way it ran prison dental contracts in 2006 Hudson should have ticked a box which stated he was already being paid privately at Altcourse. Box ticking -- The prosecution said that when he did not tick the box he was fully aware of what he was doing - effectively getting paid twice for the same work. The dentist approached Liverpool Primary Care Trust about a contract at the jail demanding £247,000 a year but accepting half that figure. Despite lengthy negotiations Hudson never revealed his private payments. The court heard he spent some of the money on holidays and education fees for his three children, but he is also more than £40,000 in debt and the NHS is suing him for £500,000.

October 5, 2010 Liverpool Echo
A PRISON dentist defrauded the NHS of more than £300,000 – and could now face jail himself. John Hudson treated inmates at HMP Altcourse, in Fazakerley, for more than two years. But the 58-year-old, who was paid £130,000 a year by the private jail, wrongfully billed the NHS for the work. Between May 2006 and July 2008, £306,961 flowed into his NatWest bank account. At Liverpool crown court yesterday, Hudson pleaded guilty to 27 counts of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit. Judge Graham Morrow QC granted the dentist unconditional bail, but warned him he could receive a custodial sentence when he returned to court on November 9. It was also alleged Hudson cheated East Lancashire primary care trust out of £32,000 at his private practice in his home town of Whitworth, Rochdale. Hudson denied those two offences and five further charges of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit of £65,385 from the NHS over four months between August and December 2008. Kevin Slack, prosecuting, told the court he did not think it would be in the public interest to pursue those charges.

December 17, 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
A LIVERPOOL prison is among five in the country allowing its inmates to watch satellite television. More than 4,000 prisoners enjoy the privilege in private jails nationwide. Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley, is among the contractor-run prisons allowing access to a “limited number” of satellite channels. The number of prisoners allowed to watch satellite varies according to behaviour. But Justice minister and city MP Maria Eagle revealed the number was currently around 4,070. The Garston MP was responding to a written question from Tory MP Philip Davies. She said no inmates in public sector jails have access to satellite in their quarters. But they do at Altcourse and other GS4-run prisons in South Wales and Warwickshire. The other private prisons offering satellite television are run by Serco in Staffordshire and Nottingham. Ms Eagle said: “In these establishments, satellite television in cells is generally only available to prisoners on the enhanced or standard level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme.” There are 84,500 prisoners in England and Wales, meaning around one in 20 has access to satellite TV.

November 5, 2009 Liverpool Echo
PRISONERS in a Liverpool jail are commanding their organised crime empires using mobile phones. A damning report into HMP Altcourse slams the authorities for not investing in jamming technology that would make mobiles obsolete. Independent inspectors say prison officers at the jail have to conduct laborious yard searches and intelligence gathering exercises in vain attempts to crack down on the phones. The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) – a national body which inspects prisons for the Government – says buying a signal deviator is an “urgent requirement”. Its report adds: “This Board is tired of being fobbed off with excuses from the prison service and ministers alike concerning the progress as to installation of mobile phone deviators.” An IMB spokesman also said: “The current situation is having profound implications, particularly in terms of allowing prisoners the opportunity to organise both the availability of drugs within the prison and to control criminal activity outside the prison.” The situation is becoming more critical as inmates are better connected than ever as handsets get more high-tech. Altcourse inmates could use web-enabled smartphones to transfer money, the IMB warns. The category B jail, which has a maximum capacity of more than 1,320, is run by private outfit G4S. Some of the prison officers there are represented by the Prison Officers Association (POA). POA spokesman Glynn Travis told the ECHO: “I believe deviators should be used. There would be no need for mobile phones within the establishment at all. “It would stop the drug trafficking, the bullying and the violence that goes with the mobile phones.” He said they are also used to taunt victims and their families. Mr Travis said mobiles are hot property inside and are worth up to £200 and can be rented out for £150. But they are contraband and if a rented mobile is confiscated owners often dish out harsh punishments and fines – on top of those handed out by the prison authorities. Mr Travis added: “It’s a real problem. On average there’s one mobile for every 10 prisoners. “If every cell was fitted with a phone, would prisoners use it? No – because they want to use them for illicit activity.” The IMB report also expressed concerns about the transfer of inmates to Altcourse from the West Midlands. There has been an influx from HMP Hewell, in Redditch, to ease overcrowding. Around half have been near the end of their sentence, which the IMB says shows little regard for their “human care”. Altcourse also houses around 120 foreign criminals. But some of them are being kept there well over the end of their sentence as immigration papers are processed. The IMB say they deserve a more “humanitarian service”. A Prison Service spokesman said: “We thank the IMB at HMP Altcourse for their report which is being fully considered by ministers. We will be responding in due course.” A spokeswoman for G4S added: “It’s up to the Ministry of Justice whether they give deviators to prisons. We just do the best we can to try to stop mobile phones coming in with searches and the like.”

Alexander Youth Services Center, Alexander, Arkansas
(AKA Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center)
January 26, 2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
The state's youth detention center near Alexander has been accredited for the first time by a national correctional association. But while officials expressed optimism that the center's beleaguered past was nearing an end, two days later they were explaining a Jan. 19 incident involving mistreatment of a teenager that resulted in the firing of three staff members. The private Virginia-based company, G4S, operates the 140-bed detention center under a contract with the state Youth Services Division. Officials said Wednesday the American Correctional Association inspected the quality of life, security, food service, medical care and educational programs in November at the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center, and later accredited the facility. Center administrator Todd Speight said he viewed accreditation as a sign that the center was making progress. "I see this as turning a corner," Speight said. "We've got a long way to go, but we're making good progress." The previous contractor, Houston-based Cornell Companies Inc., was fired in late 2006. G4S has run the center for about a year. Previously known as the Alexander Youth Services Center or the Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility, the center is the state's largest youth residential treatment facility. Two days after announcing the accreditation, officials said one staff member lost his job for using inappropriate physical force and two others were fired for trying to protect him. Speight said a male employee physically restrained a 17-year-old boy in a dormitory in a manner that was "completely inappropriate." He said two others were fired for misleading investigators because the original report attempted to conceal the nature of the scuffle. Speight, who did not disclose the employees' names, said he was disappointed by the firings, but stressed that center employees are hard workers who try to do their best. "These three did something inappropriate and were held accountable," he said. The Bryant Police Department and the Arkansas State Police are investigating. Scott Tanner, a state ombudsman for juvenile justice issues, said the teenager apparently suffered a sore ankle but his safety was not an issue. "This doesn't seem to be standard operating procedure, but something out of the ordinary," Tanner said. The center's history includes incidents of abuse, mismanagement and educational shortfalls. In 2003, the state and the U.S. Justice Department signed a court agreement to improve shortcomings in fire prevention, suicide prevention, religious policies and educational programs.

July 25, 2007 Arkansas News
The state is developing a plan to improve special education programs at an embattled state lockup for troubled youth, officials told lawmakers Tuesday. Special education at the Alexander Juvenile Correction Facility were found lacking in a report last month. "Yes, we intend to fix the problems out there," former state Rep. Steve Jones, now deputy director of the state Department of Human Services, told lawmakers at a meeting Tuesday. DHS oversees the Division of Youth Services, which runs the Alexander unit and other juvenile facilities in the state. During the meeting, legislators expressed concern with a June report by the state Department of Education, which found that DHS is not in compliance with several state and federal regulations regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The report found procedures for the evaluation of specific learning disabilities were lacking at the Alexander facility, which houses some of the state's most violent youth offenders. Other problem areas included individualized education programs and, in some cases, children were advanced a grade even though DYS was not providing an appropriate education to them. Also, parents of the children were not being informed of their rights regarding special education programs. "Just because a kid is in jail doesn't mean they don't deserve a good education," said Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, upset with DYS. About 500 children a year stay at the 143-bed facility in Saline County. Marcia Harding, associate director of special education for the state Department of Education, told lawmakers DYS is supposed to present a correction action on how it plans to deal with some of the problem on Aug. 1. A plan to address the rest is due Sept. 15. The officials addressed a joint meeting of the Senate Committee on Children and Youth and the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs. Also during the meeting, Hendren and other lawmakers said they did not understand why the special-needs education deficiencies identified in a study two years ago have still not been addressed. "Who is in charge of getting this mess fixed?" Hendren asked, saying he did not want to "beat this up time and time again." DHS Director John Selig agreed the problems should have been addressed, but he said a variety circumstances, including the firing of the facilities management, Cornell Cos. Inc., in November, and the hiring of G4S Youth Services in January, were partially to blame.

June 19, 2007 The Morning News
A new report identifying problems in the special education program at the former Alexander Youth Services Center -- some of which were previously identified in a 2005 study -- drew frustrated comments Monday from legislative panels that oversee the state's youth lockups. "It seems we're planning ourselves to death but we're not getting anything accomplished," said state Rep. Bobby Pierce, D-Sheridan, during a joint meeting of the House and Senate committees on children and youth. In a report released this month, the state Education Department cites about 50 practices at the facility, now known as the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center, that don't comply with state and federal regulations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The department has directed the Division of Youth Services to develop a plan of action for correcting the problems. Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, said that on visits to the facility in Saline County she has been "extremely unimpressed" with the educational practices she saw, which she said seemed to consist of youths playing on a computer. "Do we have any way of determining if they're really learning something, or if we're just letting a computer baby-sit them?" she asked. The House chairwoman, Rep. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, said a lack of sufficient information gathering is one of the problems highlighted in the report. Chesterfield said scrutiny is needed for the educational services the state provides to all youth in custody, not only those in need of special education. Scott Tanner, ombudsman coordinator for the state Public Defender Commission, testified that the Division of Youth Services has had chronic problems with its education system at least since 2000, the year he became an ombudsman. Education services at the facility are provided by Group 4 Securicor, the private company that took over operation of the facility in January. The state fired the facility's previous operator, Cornell Companies, in November after a state investigation found evidence that psychotropic drugs may have been administered improperly to some youths as a restraint. The facility also was investigated in 2005, after 17-year-old Lakeisha Brown died from a blood clot in her lungs two days after complaining to staff that she felt ill. Cornell was ordered to revamp some of its policies as a result of that investigation. Madison asked Monday whether it would be more appropriate for the education of youth in custody to be undertaken by the state rather than a private company. Education Department attorney Scott Smith said he did not believe it would. Trying to incorporate students in custody into the state's public education system would require compliance with numerous state and federal mandates that currently are waived, he said. "The reason I ask is, there's something wrong with the picture in my mind when you have state agencies ..... firmly committed to a free public education, and then we turn around and hire a private company to deliver that," Madison said. "I just have a hard time thinking that that's a good idea." Steve Jones, a former state representative who recently became deputy director of the Department of Health and Human Services, told the committee the Division of Youth Services is working on a plan to correct the problems. Rep. Dawn Creekmore, D-Hensley, noted that the division developed a plan of action previously, after a 2005 report cited problems with the facility's educational system. "It's time to quit putting plans of action on paper and time to bring something to the table, take some action, physical action, for improvement. These children are still here, and we're just letting them down continuously, year after year after year," she said. "It is children that the state Department of Education is all about, and it is children that DYS is all about," Chesterfield said. "Somewhere the bureaucratic -- we're not going to use the alliterative -- the bureaucratic stuff, if you will, has got to be overcome for the children." Jones assured the committees the division would achieve real results.

April 21, 2007 AP
Two employees at the Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility have been fired after allegations that they physically abused a 15-year-old girl, the lockup's administrator said. Todd Speight, facility administrator, said two employees were fired because of an incident involving the girl, but emphasized there are many more employees who are trying hard to be a positive influence on the youths. "Our philosophy is we will treat kids right. We truly believe we will turn Alexander around. Not a doubt," Speight said. "We understand there are going to be some negative things at a program that large but we are all about correcting those things with oversight and supervision." The girl, who had been at Alexander for about four months, called advocacy group Disability Rights Center in early April to report the abuse. The teen told the group's investigator that on March 25 she lost consciousness while she was restrained on the floor of her dorm, according to a report released by the Disability Rights Center. While the group was investigating, the girl's family called and reported that she had bruises on her body from another restraint on April 10. This is the fourth incident at Alexander investigated by the Disability Rights Center, which has released reports on the allegations of abuse to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "It's not just one bad thing that we can say, 'It happened but we fixed it,' and can go on," said Dana McClain, a senior attorney with Disability Rights Center. "It's an ongoing thing." The center is run by G4S Youth Services, which took over after the state fired the previous contractor, Cornell Cos. Inc. Cornell was fired after allegations that nurses inappropriately gave anti- psychotic medications to calm bad behavior. Julie Munsell, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Human Services, said the agency is closely watching G4S' work at Alexander. "We want to send a very clear message that change is still going on out at Alexander, very positive change," Munsell said. "We've seen a change in the demeanor not only of the staff but also of the campus as a whole."

March 16, 2007 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Advocates investigating a claim of abuse by a teenager at the Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility say employees failed to help the boy even as his screams could be heard behind a closed door in an office without a surveillance camera, according to a report released to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Thursday. In its eight-page report, the Disability Rights Center claims the 15- year-old boy was restrained on the ground for too long during an obscenity-laced encounter with staff members. The advocacy group released its report to the state and to G4S Youth Services, the company that runs the facility, and is calling for disciplinary action against some employees. G4S is investigating the incident with renewed vigor, said John Morgenthau, the company’s chief operating officer and vice president.

January 18, 2007 KATV
Lawmakers said Thursday they plan to study the future of the Alexander youth lockup--and whether they should continue using private companies to run the facility. The Joint Budget Committee reviewed a $4.9 million contract for G4S Youth Services of Virginia, which will take control of the Alexander juvenile facility beginning Sunday. John Selig, director of Department of Health and Human Services, told lawmakers he's confident the company will provide better management than Cornell Companies, which was fired last year for inappropriately injecting children with antipsychotic medications. State Senator Shane Broadway, a Democrat from Bryant, says he wants the Legislature to have more oversight of the youth facility. Broadway says he hopes there is further discussion on the future of the lockup.

January 11, 2007 Arkansas News Bureau
The state Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to enter into a short-term contract with a company to operate the troubled Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility in Saline County, agency officials said Wednesday. The agency has signed a $4.5 million contract with G4S Youth Services in Richmond, Va., a division of the British-based Group 4 Securicor, for the company to operate the facility from Jan. 21 through June 30, DHHS spokeswoman Julie Munsell said. The contract is pending approval by the Department of Finance and Administration. At the end of the six-month period, the state will have the option of renewing the contract for an additional year, Munsell said. Munsell said no bids were taken because the agreement was reached under emergency procedures. The agency considered the situation an emergency because of safety and welfare concerns for the 143 youths at the facility, she said. The state fired Cornell Companies, the Pennsylvania-based company that previously ran the facility, in November after a state investigation indicated psychotropic drugs may have been administered improperly to some youths to restrain them. Munsell said Cornell is still at the site, but the state has been in charge since Nov. 3.

Arkansas Nuclear One, Arkansas
May 16, 2005 Courier News
After Friday’s negotiations between Arkansas Nuclear One security force representatives and Wackenhut Corp., there’s a good chance no strike will occur at the plant. According to Darrell Williams, president of the United Government Security Officers of America Local 23, the second meeting between the two parties was more productive than the first. However, the final decision on whether Friday’s revised contract will be accepted is up to the 79 unionized security guards. That decision will be made later this week when Williams and his negotiations committee present the new information. “I really think the new contract will be accepted,” Williams said. “We’ve done all we can do without going to even more drastic measures, so hopefully we will have a contract by the end of (this) week.” After the guards’ threat of a strike in mid-April with claims of low wages and poor benefits, Wackenhut, who has contracted with Entergy since 1991 to guard Arkansas’ only nuclear power plant, brought some new contract plans to the table.

Aurora Facility, Aurora Colorado
June 9, 2010 Department of Labor Press Release
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has announced that The Wackenhut Corp., doing business as G4S Wackenhut, has entered into a consent decree to settle findings of hiring discrimination at its Aurora, Colo., facility. The consent decree settles OFCCP's allegations that Wackenhut engaged in hiring discrimination against 446 rejected African-American applicants for the position of traditional security officer for a two-year period. Wackenhut is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. "The department is committed to ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors hire, promote and compensate their employees fairly, without respect to their race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion or veteran status," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of OFCCP, who is based in Washington, D.C. "This settlement of $290,000 in back pay on behalf of 446 African-Americans should put all federal contractors on notice that the Labor Department is serious about eliminating systemic discrimination." OFCCP investigators found that the company engaged in hiring discrimination against African-Americans from Jan. 1, 2002, through Dec. 31, 2003. Under the terms of the consent decree and order, filed with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Administrative Law Judges, Wackenhut will pay a total of $290,000 in back pay and interest to the 446 rejected African-American applicants and will hire 41 of the applicants into traditional security officer positions. The company also agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law and will immediately correct any discriminatory practice. In addition, Wackenhut will ensure compliance with Executive Order 11246 recordkeeping requirements. "We strongly encourage other employers to take proactive steps to come into compliance with the law to prevent workplace discrimination," said Melissa Speer, OFCCP acting director of OFCCP's Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regions, who is located in Dallas.

Baxter Immigration Facility, Australia
September 6, 2011 The Australian
THE refugee lawyer who helped extract a multi-million-dollar payout for Cornelia Rau from the Howard government is preparing multiple civil lawsuits on behalf of asylum-seekers who claim they were assaulted and drugged on Christmas Island during mass escapes and rioting in March. George Newhouse will also ask West Australian police to investigate alleged assaults, sedations and wrongful detention of boatpeople as far back as July 2009 when Labor awarded a five-year contract to security firm Serco. Mr Newhouse told The Australian he was acting for detainees who had been isolated at Christmas Island's high-security "behaviour management unit" called Red Block, had their possessions taken from them and who believed sedatives had been put in their food without their knowledge. "I have been approached by a number of former detainees from Christmas Island who say that they were sedated without their consent and we are putting together a brief for the West Australian police," he said. Mr Newhouse intends to advertise in the Arabic and Farsi press for other detainees to come forward. The advertisement, entitled "A Message to All Former Immigration Detainees", states in part: "If you were assaulted, had your possessions taken from you, sedated without your consent and/or moved into restrictive custody, you may be entitled to pursue your legal rights and entitlements." The push comes six years after Ms Rau, an Australian resident, won a payout reported to be $2.6 million over her wrongful detention at Baxter detention centre. The treatment of Ms Rau, a psychiatric patient, sparked a government inquiry into the possible wrongful detention of more than 200 people. Mr Newhouse worked on that case and said yesterday he still had serious concerns about the use of force on immigration detainees, who were "obviously seriously mentally unwell". He said he regarded any sedation of anyone without their knowledge or consent as an assault. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship was not aware of any instance of detainees being sedated without their knowledge or consent. "The department requires medical intervention to occur with the person's consent within immigration detention facilities at all times. This includes sedation," a spokesman said. The Australian has been told at least two detainees allege they were assaulted and sedated on Christmas Island between March 13 and March 17 after being deemed ringleaders.

June 5, 2005 The Advertiser
SECURITY guards have been moved on to the grounds of Glenside Mental Health Service to watch over nine Baxter detainees receiving treatment. The guards, employed by the Baxter Detention Centre operators, are costing an estimated $150,000 a month. Effectively, two guards have been assigned to each detainee. They operate out of a hired demountable hut which was recently delivered to the grounds of the hospital. State health officials have made it clear the guards are not welcome. Director of Mental Health, Learne Durrington, said she has approached the Immigration Department about the impact of the guards on other patients. "We're running a hospital here and it needs to be managed as a hospital," Ms Durrington said. "I've proposed that we get rid of the guards and replace them with our own staff who are better trained in mental health care." The Baxter guards are employees of Global Solutions Limited (GSL) subsidiary Group 4, the security company that has the contract to operate the Baxter Detention Centre. "We've taken additional troops from another part of our company," the spokesman, who did not wish to be named, said. "As a result we've got staff shortages and we're recruiting more people – mainly for our Baxter contract." One of the guards told a visitor to Glenside hospital the demountable was hired at a cost of $300 per day. Figures from the Miscellaneous Workers Union show the salary costs of the 54 daily eight-hour shifts to be more than $150,000 per month. A spokesman for the Glenside hospital confirmed two guards were allocated for each detainee. "That's 18 guards on three eight-hour shifts, making a total of 54 guards on a daily basis," he said. The increase in numbers of detainees needing mental health treatment has occurred subsequent to the Cornelia Rau case where an Australian resident suffering psychosis was wrongly detained in Baxter until her real identity was discovered in February this year. Health officials have confirmed that in the year prior to the Rau case only one person had been referred to Glenside, but now nine people were in treatment. Glenside hospital officials are still waiting for a response from the Commonwealth on the presence of the Group 4 guards. Meanwhile, the legal team assisting the Rau family's submission into the Palmer inquiry has questioned the timing of an internal Baxter memo about the identity of a detainee. A story in the Sunday Mail of November 21, 2004, described a missing woman as 168cm tall, 58kg, with dark blonde hair, brown eyes and a brown mole on her left cheek. It subsequently turned out to be Cornelia Rau. It's since been revealed that an internal memo dated November 24 raised the possibility a detainee was an Australian citizen. Legal representatives for the Rau family will ask the Palmer Inquiry to check if the memo was sparked by the article in the Sunday Mail.

February 9, 2005 The Age
The detention centre where mentally ill Australian Cornelia Rau was wrongly held was not visited by a psychiatrist for at least three months last year, documents filed in Adelaide's Federal Court suggest. South Australian Legal Services Commission lawyer Claire O'Connor claimed in documents that Group 4 Falck, the company that runs Australia's detention centres, and the Department of Immigration had breached their duty of care by failing to provide adequate psychiatric care for three mentally ill Iranian men at the Baxter detention centre. Outside the court, she said there were parallels with the Rau case. "Cornelia was sick and wasn't treated, my clients are sick and they are not being treated," Ms O'Connor said. "She is no different to people in there." In documents supporting her attempt to get urgent psychiatric treatment for the men, Ms O'Connor said the centre's suicide and self-harm unit did not employ a psychiatrist. "It is believed there has been no psychiatric visit . . . since about August 2004 and certainly none since November 2004," she said in an affidavit. Ms O'Connor said the problem of the lack of psychiatric care at Baxter was compounded by the fact that the centre itself was contributing to the poor mental health of detainees. She said psychiatrists visited Baxter infrequently and were forced to deal with a series of seriously ill people in a short time. "All they can do is medicate them, they just keep renewing the prescriptions," she said.

February 7, 2005 The Age
Only a full judicial and public inquiry would be sufficient to establish the facts about the detention of a mentally ill Australian woman, her sister said today. Cornelia Rau, a 39-year-old former flight attendant who was released from Baxter immigration detention centre last week after spending 10 months locked up, has caused a national debate over services for the mentally ill. Her sister, Christine Rau, said an inquiry independent of the government and open to public scrutiny was necessary to get to the bottom of the case. Adelaide public defender John Harley, who represents mentally ill people, said he had grave concerns for the fate of other people suffering mental health problems imprisoned by the immigration system. "This is not isolated at all," Mr Harley told ABC radio. "I was informed that (Ms Rau) was in solitary confinement and that involves her being under lights 24 hours a day (with) closed circuit television. "She was allowed out of her room six hours a day, but in some occasions it required four men in riot gear to remove her back into her cell," he said.

February 7, 2005 Herald Sun
THE Federal Government will hold an inquiry into the detention of a mentally ill Australian women at the Baxter centre for illegal immigrants. Prime Minister John Howard yesterday said it was regrettable Cornelia Rau was held in custody for three months in Baxter and before that six months in a Brisbane jail. "Obviously it's . . . a very regrettable incident," Mr Howard said. Ms Rau, a 39-year-old former Qantas flight attendant, was released from Baxter in South Australia on Friday. Australian Democrats leader Lyn Allison said the Government should not be trusted to investigate its own actions. "It is bad enough that Ms Rau was being held in an immigration detention centre," Senator Allison said. "But why did she spend six months in a women's prison before that?
Senator Allison said state and federal governments had allowed prisons and detention centres to become "the new psychiatric asylums".

February 5, 2005 The Age
A family snapshot of Cornelia Rau, detained as a suspected illegal immigrant. A mentally ill Australian woman found by Aborigines in a remote Cape York township has been mistakenly held in immigration detention for nearly a year while her distressed family thought she was dead. Cornelia Rau, 39, who suffers from schizophrenia, was last seen in March after she escaped from the psychiatric unit of Sydney's Manly Hospital. The Immigration Department confirmed last night that Ms Rau, who was speaking German and some English, had been held in a Queensland women's prison until September when she was transferred to Baxter detention centre. Ms Rau's sister, Chris Rau, a Sydney journalist, read an article from The Age last Monday about a mystery German-speaking woman held at Baxter, known only as "Anna". Baxter authorities faxed her a photograph, which showed her missing sister. "We're just relieved that she is alive," Chris Rau said. They were also bewildered why the department could not establish her identity when police had her details. Ms Rau was first taken into detention in April. She had been staying near an Aboriginal camp at Coen, in far north Queensland. The Aborigines became concerned that she was sick and brought her into Cairns police. A spokesman for Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said the woman was handed over to the Department of Immigration by police in April 2004. She was held in a Queensland women's prison until September when she was transferred to Baxter.
Greens senator Kerry Nettle last night called for an inquiry into "this staggering case of mismanagement and abuse". During her three months in Baxter, Ms Rau was kept in isolation for a week, then in a high- security unit locked in a room on her own for 18 hours a day, refugee advocate Pamela Curr said. She said her sister had "been through hell". "We don't know what the implications are going to be for her future condition or her treatment."

December 13, 2004 The Age
The immigration department today accused refugee advocates of inciting incidents within the Baxter detention centre by exaggerating reports of a detainee hunger strike. Refugee support group Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) today said 27 Iranians within the South Australian centre were participating in the hunger strike, now into its second week. Among those were five men who had sewn their lips together and three who were staging a protest on the centre's gymnasium roof, RAR spokeswoman Kathy Verran said. She said those on the roof had been denied water since last night, after guards stopped other detainees bringing water to the men. Ms Verran said detainees had also reported the guards were bouncing balls against the ceiling of the gym, underneath the detainees, to prevent them from sleeping.

December 3, 2004 The Age
Four Sri Lankan men have been hospitalised after refusing food for up to 10 days in a hunger strike at South Australia's Baxter detention centre. Two of the men had also been admitted overnight earlier this week, she said.

December 1, 2004 The Age
Eleven Sri Lankan men at the Baxter detention centre have stepped up their hunger strike and are now refusing medication, a refugee advocate said today. The detainees were determined to continue their hunger strike until death, in a last bid to be granted refugee status in Australia, according to Rural Australians for Refugees spokeswoman Mira Wroblewski. Ms Wroblewski said other hunger strikers were angry that the pair, after their release, had been forced to walk from the detention centre medical facility to their compounds in pouring rain. "It (forcing them to walk in the rain) has just strengthened their resolve.

September 20, 2004 The Age
A hunger strike, a High Court action and a direct appeal to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone are among last-ditch efforts to stop the forced return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka. The man on hunger strike, who is 34 and was detained after his visa expired, was put into Baxter's management unit on Thursday and forcibly fed. He resumed his hunger strike on Saturday, Ms Wroblewski said. Eleven other Sri Lankans held at Baxter yesterday entered the fifth day of a peaceful sit-in at the compound.

August 20, 2004 The Age
A food sample from South Australia's Baxter detention centre will be presented to health authorities for inspection after detainees complained they had been served a meal crawling with maggots. The Immigration Department last week said one maggot had been found in food and an investigation was under way. South Australian Greens MP Kris Hanna said he would today present a sample of meat and rice to the state Environmental Health Department for examination. Mr Hanna said the food sample was smuggled out of Baxter following frustration among detainees about the situation. "According to reports in the centre, the food was crawling with live maggots," Mr Hanna said. Detainees at the Baxter centre last week upturned rubbish bins in protest after complaining about maggots in their food.

November 1, 2004 BBC
An investigation is being carried out at a Warwickshire prison after two inmates finished a rooftop protest. The men came down from the roof of a shed at Rye Hill prison near Rugby at just after 9.30pm on Saturday evening.
  It is not clear what the demonstration at the jail, which is run by Global Solutions Ltd, was about.

Inmates of Baxter immigration detention centre took control of a compound yesterday morning and barricaded themselves in. About 50 guards in riot gear surrounded the compound and forced open the door. A spokesman for the Immigration Department confirmed that there had been a disturbance at Baxter. (The Age, March 18, 2004)

Bicester Detention Center, Oxford, UK
June 11, 2008 Mail on Sunday
The Home Office squandered £29million of taxpayers' money on a flagship giant asylum centre which was never built - including hiring in a 'financial advisor' who charged almost £16,000 a month. A scathing report from MPs exposes a catalogue of costly blunders and lambasts the failing department for a 'startling absence of common sense' in one of its most embarrassing fiascos of recent years. Seven years after officials started working on the ambitious plans to house thousands of asylum seekers on a former RAF station at Bicester, Oxfordshire, the site remains empty and derelict with 'no benefit' to the taxpayer. Vast sums were paid to consultants, private advisors and contractors and when ministers pulled the plug on the entire project in 2005 they were forced to hand over millions more in cancellation fees. Officials failed to understand how fierce local opposition and legal challenges would drag out the process, and made no attempt to plan for future uses of the site or the risk that other immigration policy changes would scupper the scheme. Last night the Home Office claimed the disaster had led to an 'overall positive impact for the public' because officials had learned important lessons. Former Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the scheme in 2001, as part of a strategy to speed up and streamline the creaking asylum system by housing applicants in a series of huge accommodation centres across the country. Thousands were to be placed in the first centre at an isolated site outside Bicester, but crucially it would not be secure and the immigrants would be free to come and go as they pleased. The plans brought a storm of protests, not only from local residents but also from refugee support groups who claimed leaving so many asylum seekers to languish at a remote site, far from any local community, was a disastrous plan. Planning inspectors rejected the plans, but John Prescott used his powers to overturn their decision, further infuriating locals. Finally ministers realised in 2005 that the centre was unnecessary and unworkable, but not before almost £30million of public money had been wasted. The PAC report reveals how the Home Office hired a Financial advisor at a cost of £15,743 per month, and a procurement advisor who was paid £15,559 per month, because no civil servants were judged to have the right expertise. The pair, who have not been named, were paid more than £1.1million for less than three years work, on top of £6.3million paid out to consultants. MPs complained that the Home Office was unable to show whether the highly paid consultants 'added value'. Private contractors Global Solutions Limited were paid £7.6 for design work, but claimed almost £8million in termination fees when the Bicester scheme was axed. PAC chairman Edward Leigh said the project 'embodied lack of foresight, poor business planning and a startling absence of common sense.' He said the scheme was 'always going to provoke opposition in the local community' but the Home Office took no account of that, or of objections from refugee groups, and made no effort to make contact with local interest groups or MPs to discuss objections. Nor did the department realise - until it was too late - that a decline in the number of asylum seekers and some success in speeding up the system meant the centre was increasingly pointless. Last month the Home Office announced plans to build a secure immigration detention centre on the Bicester site, although it will not be open until 2012 at the earliest and will require planning permission. Shadow Immigration Minister, Damian Green, attacked the Bicester debacle as 'a symptom of long-term incompetence by immigration ministers, who failed to notice that asylum numbers were dropping just when they were planning this new centre. 'Their latest plan is to turn the derelict site into a detention centre. I hope they have done their homework better this time.' A Home Office spokesperson said: 'At the time, we believed accommodation centres to be the right decision but as circumstances changed and the project was delayed, we reviewed that decision. 'Our experience with this project has taught us some important lessons, and this, along with the other improvements put in place, has led to an overall positive impact for the public.'

November 8, 2007 The Guardian
A Home Office decision to abandon plans for an asylum accommodation centre near Oxford because of local opposition cost it £28m, including "termination payments" of £7.9m to the private contractor, Whitehall's spending watchdog reveals today. The National Audit Office says that some of the problems faced in trying to open Bicester accommodation centre could have been foreseen - and money saved - if the Home Office had worked in a "more coordinated and joined-up way". The report also discloses that despite a four-year battle by local residents against the project, it is still being considered whether the site can be used as a detention centre for failed asylum seekers who face deportation. The plan to set up a 10-strong network of purpose-built accommodation centres holding 3,000 asylum seekers was announced by the then home secretary, David Blunkett, at a time when asylum applications were at a record high, as part of a plan to disperse them from London and the south-east of England. Bicester was earmarked as one of the first but it met fierce local opposition and planning permission was not secured until November 2004. By then, the number of asylum seekers coming to Britain had halved. The Home Office accounting officer advised that it was no longer economically viable and the project was cancelled in June 2005. The NAO inquiry found that £33m had been spent in total on the accommodation centres, including £28m on Bicester alone. The report reveals that the successful bid by GSL, formerly Group 4, for the contract to build the 750-bed centre for £59.9m was nearly £25m cheaper than the bid from rival private security company UKDS. After the project was cancelled GSL was handed "termination payments" of £7.9m. It had already been paid £7.6m for design work. Edward Leigh, the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, said that £28m had been spent on "the asylum centre that never was". Mr Leigh said: "The Home Office drove ahead with a project to build a network of asylum accommodation centres without an eye on what was happening to the numbers of those seeking asylum in the UK.

Birmingham Prison, Birmingham, UK
Dec 22, 2016 itv.com
'I died three times' Birmingham ex-prisoner speaks out after riots
A former Birmingham Prison inmate has revealed how he died three times after taking illegal drugs behind bars. Ricky Wood, who collapsed inside the Winson Green jail three weeks ago, says his family was not told when the incident happened. He accused private prison firm G4S of trying to cover up a drug epidemic inside the jail. Wood’s life was saved by paramedics who revived him and took him to Birmingham’s City Hospital. His family, from Tamworth, confirmed they were not told of the emergency. Instead, it was left to the 28-year-old inmate to break the news to them himself. He had taken Black Mamba, a so-called ‘legal high’ before it was banned. Wood, who was freed from the prison on the day of the riots, recalled: I just remember breathing it in. Next thing I knew, I had woken up in cuffs at hospital where I was told I had died three times. They said my airwaves had closed up, my heart stopped and I had to be revived three times. They have since told my mum that they would only have called her if my condition had worsened. I’m not sure how much worse it could have got. The only reason they would have called my mum is to identify my body. I think it’s part of an attempt to keep everything quiet about all the Mamba incidents. They don’t want people to know what’s happening. An official report by the prison watchdog in October said bosses at Birmingham needed to find an “urgent solution” to stop inmates smuggling drugs – particularly psychoactive substances such as Mamba and Spice – warning that staff were increasingly concerned about their personal safety. Birmingham Prison boss Jerry Petherick says that drugs such as Black Mamba are the 'scourge' of the prison service – and he admits that a ‘very small minority’ of prison staff have been involved in bringing the drugs into the jail. Mr Petherick, managing director for G4S Custody and Detention Services, said he ‘despised’ corrupt guards. A very small minority of staff are corrupted in this way, but this does not just happen in Birmingham, it’s across the board. We want to root these people out because we absolutely despise them. These drugs are relatively cheap on the outside, and you can magnify that value by at least ten times inside prisons. In some cases we have people breaching licences, knowing they will be sent to custody, so they can act as mules to bring these drugs in. We have seen incredibly bad reactions from prisoners who take the drugs. These psychoactive substances are the scourge of the entire prison service. When they take them, the prisoners go through bursts of extreme energy, and we have feared many will not pull through. There is now a police investigation going on into some very violent behaviour. We will work closely with the police and the CPS to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice for what happened. We have to learn from these events in a mature and positive way and then move forward. He revealed that HMP Birmingham has shipped out nearly a third of all its prisoners in the wake of last week’s rioting. Some 500 inmates have been moved to 30 prisons across the country and all four damaged wings remain closed. The cost of the damage is still being counted. Mr Petherick added that he had been “truly humbled” by the bravery his staff had shown during the riots. There had been ‘unbelievable acts of bravery’ – and some have been traumatised by what they experienced. He also praised West Midlands Police, the Prison Service and other emergency services.

Dec 20, 2016 theguardian.com
G4S must pay for cost of Birmingham prison riot, says Liz Truss
The private security company G4S will have to foot the bill for the public sector Tornado special squads sent in to end the 12-hour riot at its Birmingham prison, the justice secretary has said.  An inquiry has been launched into one of the worst prison disturbances since the 1990 riots at Manchester’s Strangeways prison. After Friday’s events, 380 prisoners have been moved out of the wrecked wings of HMP Birmingham to other jails across England. The dispersal of prisoners led to two incidents at Hull prison on Sunday and a further incident at Cardiff. The Prison Service’s “gold command” headquarters operation is remaining in place, monitoring all prisons in England and Wales for signs of potential unrest. Liz Truss told MPs that insufficient staffing levels, a rise in new psychoactive drugs, gangs and bullying lay at the root of the Birmingham riot, adding they were common problems across public and private prisons: “The next few months will be difficult,” the justice secretary told MPs. “It will take time and concerted action, but I am confident we can turn this situation around.” Labour MPs pressed Truss over whether warnings from the independent monitoring board at Birmingham had been acted on. They questioned her about the impact of a £700m budget cut and a reduction of 7,000 prison officers on the stability of the Prison Service. Labour’s justice spokesman, Richard Burgon, said the riot should prompt the government to review the running of prisons by private companies such as G4S and Serco. Truss said G4S would have to pay the cost of the public resources that were used, including 10 Tornado teams of highly trained officers deployed to retake control of the prison. She told MPs that the Birmingham riot started at 9.15am on Friday, when six prisoners in N wing climbed on to netting. Truss said: “When staff intervened, one them had their keys snatched. At that point, staff withdrew for their own safety. Prisoners then gained control of the wing and subsequently of P wing. “G4S immediately deployed two Tornado teams. At 11.29am, gold command was opened, and a further seven additional Tornado teams were dispatched to the prison. At 1.30pm, prisoners gained access to two more wings. Gold command made the decision that further reinforcements were needed and dispatched an additional four Tornado teams to the prison.” She said that paramedics and staff tried to help an injured prisoner shortly after 3pm but were prevented from doing so and the afternoon was spent preparing to take back control of the wings. “At 8.35pm, 10 Tornado teams of highly trained officers swept through the wings,” she said. “Shortly after 10pm, the teams had secured all four wings. The prisoner who had previously been reported injured was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital, along with two other prisoners.” The inquiry into the prison riot will be carried out by Sarah Payne, an adviser to the chief inspector of probation and a former director of the Welsh Prison Service. Although Truss repeatedly refused to confirm that she had read the Birmingham prison watchdog’s report in October, which warned of the need for urgent action to tackle understaffing and the spread of “black mamba” psychoactive drugs, she said the issues had been discussed with the prison governor. The justice secretary’s Commons statement followed a renewed warning from the president of the independent monitoring board, John Thornhill, that insufficient staff numbers lay behind the rising levels of violence in prisons in England and Wales. “It is the board’s view, echoed by prison staff, that there are insufficient staff numbers to deal with many of the day-to-day situations that occur in a local prison … The result, as we have seen in recent weeks, is an increase in riots that damage the system individuals,” he said. “The impact of this unrestrained violence is that a large number of prisoners have to be transferred to other prisons that are already stretched with their own problems and staffing issues.” Truss will publish a prison and courts bill in the new year to introduce wide-ranging reform and to build on the recruitment of 2.500 extra prison officers.

Dec 17, 2016 ibtimes.co.uk
Up to 240 inmates at HMP Birmingham to be moved after 12-hour riot
Up to 240 prisoners will be transferred out of HMP Birmingham after a 12-hour riot at the jail. Nearly 600 inmates were believed to be involved in the disturbance at the privately run prison on Friday (16 December), after a warden was allegedly threatened with a syringe and had his keys stolen. The Ministry of Justice confirmed control was regained at roughly 10.30pm after specialist riot squads from across the country were drafted in. Truss confirmed on Saturday (17 December) there will now be a full investigation into the riot. "I want to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the prison officers who resolved this disturbance," she said, reported the BBC. "This was a serious situation and a thorough investigation will now be carried out. "Violence in our prisons will not be tolerated and those responsible will face the full force of the law." Mike Rolfe, national chairman of the Prison Officers Association, said the flare-up was not unexpected as more than 30 staff had left the prison, which is run by the controversial contractor G4S, in recent weeks. "We've been warning for a long time about the crisis in prisons and what we are seeing at Birmingham is not unique to Birmingham, but it certainly would seem that this is the most recent worst incident since the 1990 Strangeways riot," he said. He added that was "another stark warning to the Ministry of Justice that the service is in crisis". During the disturbance, the BBC was contacted by several men claiming to be prisoners at the jail, who said poor conditions were behind the disturbance. The men, who said they were calling from inside HMP Birmingham, cited inadequate staff numbers, poor healthcare and nutrition. They said being on "lockdown" in their cells all day was a major factor that contributed to the trouble. It was the fourth riot at the prison in six weeks. Truss's comments that inmates would "face the full force of the law" drew immediate criticism on social media for failing to tackle the heart of the problem. On Twitter, Jane Turnball said: "Liz Truss says those responsible for prison riots will 'face the full force of the law'. Does that include G4S, MoJ and George Osborne?"


Dec 16, 2016 rt.com
Winson Green: Riot spreads in privately-run Birmingham prison
Riot police and ambulances were called to a privately-run jail in Birmingham amid reports of developing protests and rioting on Friday. It is understood that around 400 men were involved in the disturbances. “Our teams withdrew following a disturbance and sealed two wings, which include some administrative offices,” said G4S custodial and detention services managing director Jerry Petherick. “The disturbance has since spread to two further wings. All staff have been accounted for. “Additional officers have arrived on site and we have deployed canine units within the prison. West Midlands Police helicopter is also in attendance. We are working with colleagues across the service to bring this disturbance to a safe conclusion.” HMP Birmingham, also known as Winson Green, is run by security giant G4S. The incident is said to have started after 9am on Friday, and originally involved two of the prison’s wings, which can hold up to 250 inmates each. It spread to two more wings in the early afternoon. The prison, which stands close to the city center, can host up to 1,450 adult men. The unrest is believed to have started in wings N and P and spread to wings L and M, while the rest of the prison was put on lockdown. “It is not under control and potentially is getting worse but we cannot confirm this,” said the national chair of the Prison Officers Association (POA), Mike Rolfe. “We know a set of keys containing a cell key have been taken so prisoners are potentially opening up cells. We also know there are no staff injuries and all are accounted for.”

Mar 22, 2015 newstatesman.com
Frances Crook, chief executive of the independent penal reform charity Howard League, has had two visits to privately-run prisons cancelled. She published the letter from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) on Twitter: It acknowledges that she was invited by the security firm G4S to visit two of their prisons, but denies her access given her "comments about private prisons". Her charity is opposed to prisons being in private hands. Outrage directed at the Ministry of Justice among a diverse range of politicians, including Labour shadow cabinet member Sadiq Khan, Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert and Ukip's Mark Reckless, ensued after Crook posted the letter online. She also wrote a piece on the website politics.co.uk about her cancelled visits, with the headline: "I've been barred from visiting a G4S prison". In the piece, she writes that a G4S representative invited her to see Oakwood, a high-profile prison that has suffered much controversy since being taken over by the company, and Birmingham, the first Victorian prison to be handed over to the private sector. I met a senior staffer from G4S in the studio of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme a few weeks ago when we were putting forward different views on privatisation and he invited me to visit Oakwood and Birmingham to see for myself. I was due to visit next week and had bought my train tickets. It was therefore a bit of a shock to get the letter from NOMS saying they were banning me. You know what they say, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Crook received the letter on Friday this week, about an hour before putting it online. She tells me that her train tickets are booked to visit the two prisons on the same day: Monday 30 March. The plan was for her to be escorted for two to three hours around each prison by G4S staff at all times. She tells me she was invited three to four weeks ago, but only found that "NOMS was banning me from visiting" when she received the letter. She is "still considering" her response to the Ministry, but tells me, "I hope they will reconsider." She adds: "Members of parliament have got in touch with me and said they will take it up with the Minister for me. There are two on the Twitter feed: an interesting alliance, Julian Huppert from the Lib Dems, and Mark Reckless. And Sadiq Khan has also retweeted. There may well be others. It's right across the spectrum, people saying this is wrong." Crook, who has visited almost every prison in the country during her 25 years working "in the system", was interested to see how the private sector had affected each of the prisons. Having visited Birmingham prior to the G4S takeover, she wanted to see "how it had changed". Her organisation's view is that prisons should not be run by the private sector. "I know some of the private sector prisons actually do some quite good work, and I've always said that," she says. "That's not the point; they shouldn't be doing it. If you take away someone's freedom, it is the state's responsibility. "So it's not that it's a better prison or a worse prison, the point is they shouldn't be doing it. And that's the distance between us. But we can have a grown-up discussion about that." Regarding her cancelled visits, she says: "I go to prisons all the time. I entirely understand that prisons are places where people live and work, and you don't want to troop around out of prurient curiosity. We don't take groups around prisons to have a gawp. I think that's wrong. "But I work in the system, have done for 25 years. It's really important if we're going to commentate and do research that we know what's going on. The critique from someone who's impartial is really important. Our independence is incredibly important and it can be very uncomfortable for government sometimes. But I think that's our job: speaking truth to power is our job." Yet a spokesperson for the Prison Service warns that "those who irresponsibly misrepresent" the situation in prisons with "inaccurate comments" are unlikely to be first on the invitation list. They commented: Organisations and individuals independent of the Ministry of Justice and Prison Service are frequently given access to our prisons - Inspectors, Monitoring Boards, MPs, researchers and a wide range of interest and reform groups. It is absolutely right that prisons, like all public institutions, face significant media scrutiny and we welcome public debate on the issues they face. Groups and individuals are of course entitled to express their opinions. Those who irresponsibly misrepresent the situation by making inaccurate comments, and who fail to correct them when their inaccuracy is pointed out to them, are not a priority for access to prisons. But Crooks insists on her expertise: "The problem with NOMS, and perhaps it goes to ministers - who knows? - is that actually I think they're being very immature, they're being petulant, and that's not a good way to behave. Take criticism on the chin. It's informed criticism. I know what I'm talking about, I know prisons."


28 Jun 2013 birminghammail.co.uk

Broken bones, scalding and stab wounds, attacks inside HMP Birmingham prison have increased  by 46 per cent since 2010. Violence inside Birmingham prison has soared by almost 50 per cent in the last three years according to figures obtained by the Mail. Total assaults at the privately run prison reached 225 last year – up 46 per cent from 2010 when 154 attacks were recorded. The 1,450 capacity HMP Birmingham in Winson Green, which was the first in the country to be taken over by private security firm G4S in October 2011, also saw assaults on staff members rise by 27 per cent between 2010 and 2012. The figures, released to the Mail by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), under the Freedom of Information Act include a serious incident last year at the Winson Green prison where four officers were stabbed and slashed by a crazed inmate wielding broken glass. All four victims needed hospital treatment after the improvised rampage in which the prisoner armed himself with glass shards from a broken TV screen. While some of the other attacks involved biting, punching and kicking, in many cases an array of horrifying weapons were used. According to the MoJ these included blunt instruments, unspecified dangerous liquids, knives, spitting, furniture and even food. Injuries sustained in the hundreds of assaults included broken bones, scalding, stab wounds, extensive bruising, and cuts requiring stitching. Insiders at the prison told the Mail in December that there had been a catalogue of attacks in the last 12 months. The officer, who did not want to be named, claimed that paramedics had regularly been called to treat injured staff and convicts at the Category B prison. Mark Leech, one of Britain’s leading ex-offender expert on prisons, said the increase in incidents can be partly blamed on issues around privatisation. He said: “It always takes time for a new prison to bed down and that is effectively what has happened at Birmingham since the privatisation in 2011. “You will see an increase in control problems, arrests and violence in those early days and I think these figures show part of those problems. “Birmingham is a big inner city prison, which will have complex drug, gang and violence problems that are brought in from the streets. You need to have sophisticated staffing to deal with these problems and it may take two or three years to get to grips with the issues and for a relationship to be built between the new operators, inherited staff and the prisoners themselves. “There is no doubt that there will also have been a problem concerning staff members who were not happy to be passing over from the public to the private sector. “There will also have been a problem with newer staff who simply lack the experience to deal with the issues faced at a prison like Birmingham.” Mr Leech has been the editor of the prisons handbook for the last 15 years, but spent 20 years behind bars himself before his last release in 1995. He also warned that the reporting of incidents in the private sector was much more stringent than the reporting requirements in the public sector. He added: “It is important to say that there is very strict reporting requirements for a company like G4S. “The types of incidents that have to be reported is still slightly out of step with public sector prisons and that could have a bearing on some of these figures. “There is a high level of scrutiny about what happens on a daily basis. There is an argument to say that the public sector should be abiding by the same levels of reporting about violence and assaults inside prisons. “Having said all that, it’s important that these figures are revealed and that a violence reduction strategy is put in place to deal with the issues of assaults inside the prison. “The prison service in the public and private sectors has an obligation and a legal duty to keep people in their custody and their staff safe. “A proper strategy to deal with these issues will benefit both the prisoners and the staff at the prison. “On top of that there is the very real financial cost in all this. We are seeing an increase in huge payouts to prisoners. “There has been big payouts for injuries sustained by prisoners across the country and those costs are enormous for the state.” A spokesman for G4S said a government report released last year found that the prison was a “safer and more decent place to be” since the firm took over at the end of 2011. He also said the most serious violent incidents had not increased under the new regime. He added: “The level of serious assaults has not risen under G4S management, and a government report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons found HMP Birmingham to be a ‘safer and more decent place’ since we had taken over. “The care and safety of our staff and the people in our care will always be our overriding concern and we would never take any decisions which might put this jeopardy.” A report released earlier this year by the Independent Monitoring Board at Birmingham said staff morale had plunged in Birmingham since privatisation. The report, which covers the period between July 2011 and June 2012, said: “The changes (privatisation) have proved part of a difficult adjustment in culture, and it is undoubtedly the case that some staff have not yet fully accepted them. “The effect on staff morale across the prison has been severe.” Four police officers are now permanently based at Birmingham prison to combat crime behind bars. Two detectives and two intelligence officers from West Midlands Police work closely with G4S, to combat issues like violence, drug smuggling and the illegal use and possession of mobile phones.

Jan 9 2013 By Birmingham Post
A new report into Birmingham Prison says staff morale has plunged since privatisation – with guards also struggling to deal with rising numbers of sex offenders. The Independent Monitoring Board released its first full annual report since the 1,450 capacity HMP BIrmingham, in Winson Green, was taken over by security firm G4S in October 2011. Major recommendations include the need for extra capacity to deal with a ‘big increase’ in sex offenders, the need to replace hospital beds first promised in 2008 and the reduction of category D prisoners at the category B prison. The report, which covers the period between July 2011 and June 2012, says: “The changes (privatisation) have proved part of a difficult adjustment in culture, and it is undoubtedly the case that some staff have not yet fully accepted them. “The effect on staff morale across the prison has been severe.” The report goes on to say that staffing problems have been exacerbated by time owed and long and short-term sickness, which has averaged at 40 and 24 days respectively. The Board said the Secretary of State needed to “give urgent consideration to extra places in the system to accommodate the growing number of sex offenders that are coming into the establishment through the resolution of historical sex offence cases, growth of internet pornography and more cases of rape being prosecuted. “Suitable numbers of prison places need to be provided at establishments which can offer appropriate rehabilitatory programmes for these offenders.” The report also said the number of Category D prisoners is too high for the Category B prison, which is an ‘inappropriate’ place to hold them. In June 2012 the prison had 40 Category D prisoners. Other findings included poor use of the library because of a lack of available staff to escort prisoners. The report also highlighted problems with vermin, including rats, mice and cockroaches, most noticeably in the kitchen, offices and on the wings. Yet the Board did highlight some positive areas, including the conversion of J Wing to use as the older prisoner and social care unit, a move which could be seen as a ‘model’ for other prisons. Pete Small, G4S, Director of HMP Birmingham, said: “As the first prison to transfer from public to private management, HMP Birmingham has faced many challenges and we are pleased that the Board has recognised the efforts we have made to make the transition as smooth as possible. “The Board’s report covers a 12-month period up to last summer, and since that time action has taken to address many of the issues raised in the report. ‘‘We have introduced effective and robust pest control measures; ageing catering and kitchen equipment that we inherited has been replaced and repaired; and with the provision of new all-weather pitches we have improved the sporting facilities available to prisoners. “There are undoubtedly challenges to overcome at Birmingham. “We continue to work closely with our staff and their representatives to work through issues.”
January 23, 2012 BBC. A prison officer has been arrested by police investigating missing keys at the privatised HMP Birmingham. Inmates were locked in their cells for almost 24 hours after a master set of keys went missing in October. West Midlands Police confirmed that a man in his 30s was arrested in December and has been released on bail while investigations continue. G4S, which runs the privatised prison, said it was aware a member of staff was helping police with their enquiries. The company said it would not comment further while the matter was subject to an investigation. HMP Birmingham, in Winson Green, is the first jail in the country to be transferred to the private sector.

October 21, 2011 BBC
Birmingham Prison inmates were locked in their cells for almost a full day after a set of keys fitting every cell door went missing. Keys to the jail, which was taken over earlier this month by private security firm G4S, disappeared on Tuesday. The firm said all prisons had established contingency plans for incidents of this nature and there was no risk to public safety. The jail is the first in the UK to be transferred to the private sector. It is not known if the keys have since been found or what action is now being taken at the prison.

Brook House, Sussex, UK
July 12, 2010 The Guardian
Conditions at the privately run immigration deportation centre at Gatwick airport are fundamentally unsafe, according to a damning report by the chief inspector of prisons published today. Dame Anne Owers says that a year after the opening of G4S-run Brook House immigration removal centre she and her inspection team were disturbed to find one of the least safe immigration detention facilities that had been inspected. Her report says bullying and violence were serious problems at the time of their inspection in March and – unusually for immigration detention centres – drugs were also a serious problem. Those who were about to be deported or had been recalcitrant were placed in two oppressive holding rooms, which are windowless and seatless. Owers says they should be decommissioned immediately. Many of the 400 male detainees held at Brook House are ex-prisoners facing deportation. A number of them told the inspectors their experience at the removal centre was worse than their time in prison. "Our surveys, interviews and observations all evidenced a degree of despair amongst detainees about safety at Brook House which we have rarely encountered. At the time of the inspection, Brook House was an unsafe place," says Owers's report. Although the centre – which is built to the same standards as a category B prison – is designed to hold detainees for no more than 72 hours, the report says the average time spent in Brook House is three months, with one man having been there for 10 months. Its design as a short-term holding centre meant there was insufficient activity or education facilities. A significant number of staff left after an outbreak of serious disorder in June last year when detainees started fires and damaged one wing. "While many staff tried hard to maintain order and control, many felt embattled and some lacked the confidence to manage bad behaviour," says the report. "A number of staff reported feeling unsupported by managers, detainees claimed that some staff were bullied by more difficult detainees." The result was a confrontational approach in the treatment of detainees with a high use of force, separation often used as punishment, – which is against detention centre rules – and restrictions on freedom of movement in an attempt to combat violence. The report says force had been used to restrain detainees by staff 78 times in the previous six months. The chief inspector said force was generally used in line with approved techniques. However on one recent occasion a detainee was moved to temporary confinement after urinating through his door. The report says: "The officer's own record read: 'I entered first with the shield. A was standing up by the table and I hit him with the shield.' Another officer in the team had recorded that (officer N) used the shield to hold the detainee against the table in the room. Detainee folded his arms behind the shield." In a later incident in the same the same officer N is recorded having used his shield to pin a detainee to his bed. The chief inspector also details the use of the separation unit and cites the case of a detainee who was taken to a psychiatric institution after more than 80 days in separation for disturbed and disruptive behaviour. "The challenges of opening a new immigration removal centre should not be underestimated, particularly with inexperienced staff and challenging detainees, many of them ex-prisoners," said Owers. "But none of this can excuse the fundamentally unsafe state of Brook House, which must be urgently addressed by G4S and United Kingdom border agency."

June 13, 2009 BBC
A fire was started and "disorder" broke out at a wing of an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, Sussex police said. Officers said there were reports of minor damage and a blaze in the exercise yard at Brook House, which houses 312 people awaiting deportation. No-one is believed to be hurt and the fire is said to have burnt itself out. The force said "disorder" involving 30 detainees started at about 2250 BST and was confined to one wing. Officers were called in to support security firm G4S. 'No risk' -- G4S, with the help of HM Prison Service, currently manages the welfare of detainees inside the centre, the police said. Ch Insp Ed Henriet, of Gatwick Police, said: "Sussex Police is supporting the security arrangements. All detainees are accounted for and there is no risk to the wider community." A second fire, that was unrelated to the first, according to a spokesperson for G4S, was also started by "one of the detainees setting fire to his bedding" on Saturday afternoon. It was extinguished using sprinklers and fire extinguishers. The spokesperson added that a detainee who assisted in putting out the fire was "slightly injured" and the fire had delayed some detainees being fed. The then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith opened Brook House, which can house up to 426 people, in March. It is situated next to Tinsley House, a 136-bed detention centre.

Border Patrol (US)
October 24, 2009 San Diego Union-Tribune
A contract worker for U.S. Customs and Border Protection was sentenced to 18 months in prison yesterday for trying to release an illegal immigrant from custody in exchange for money. Christopher Saint-Lucero, who had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of transporting illegal immigrants for financial gain, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller. Saint-Lucero worked as a sergeant for Wackenhut Corp., which contracts with the agency to transport illegal immigrants to Mexico after they are captured. He worked at the Border Patrol station in Chula Vista. Prosecutors said that on June 1, 2008, Saint-Lucero tried to release an illegal immigrant who was in agency custody in exchange for $2,500 in cash.

June 4, 2008 San Diego Union-Tribune
Two Border Patrol contract workers were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to shuttle illegal immigrants from San Diego to Los Angeles for $2,500 apiece instead of returning them to Mexico. Christopher Saint Lucero and Manley Lamont Smith work for Wackenhut Corp., which holds a Border Patrol contract to escort illegal immigrants to Mexico after they are captured by agents in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. According to court documents, Saint Lucero told a colleague that he had been involved in about 10 smuggling attempts. The men were arrested Sunday after Saint Lucero allegedly escorted a group of illegal immigrants from the Border Patrol's Chula Vista station to the border in Tijuana. According to a statement of probable cause, Mexican authorities refused to admit two who identified themselves as Salvadorans. One was an undercover agent. Authorities say Saint Lucero then brokered the deal to get the two men to Los Angeles. Smith allegedly met them at the Border Patrol station in his Wackenhut jeep and offered to hide them. Saint Lucero and Smith were expected to make an initial court appearance today, said Debra Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego. The charge against them, conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants, is a felony.

June 3, 2008 AP
A Border Patrol contractor says 2 of its employees have been arrested for investigation of releasing illegal immigrants from federal custody. Wackenhut Corp. says the employees were arrested Sunday in the San Diego area and are in jail facing felony charges. For about two years, Wackenhut has held a contract to return illegal immigrants to Mexico after they are captured by Border Patrol agents. A senior vice president, Marc Shapiro, told The Associated Press Tuesday that this is the first time Wackenhut employees have been arrested for allegedly releasing immigrants. He said his company has returned more 1 million illegal immigrants to Mexico. Shapiro declined to name the suspects. A Border Patrol spokesman had no immediate comment.

Broward County, Florida
November 13, 2008 Miami Herald
The Wackenhut Corp. overbilled Broward County thousands of dollars for airport security guards, and collected hefty payments for unauthorized overtime work by library guards, according to a county auditor's report. But those irregularities could be just the tip of the county's problems with the Palm Beach Gardens-based security company. County Auditor Evan Lukic also found poor spending controls at nine county agencies that paid Wackenhut $5.8 million last year. The County Commission will discuss the report Thursday, as Lukic vowed a more in-depth look at the billings. 'If we'd found little chance of risk we'd say, `Case closed,' '' he said. ``This has opened the door to look some more.'' A spokesman for Wackenhut downplayed the auditor's findings, noting that the amount in question totals less than one percent of the money the company was paid last year. ''We are pleased and proud of not only our long-term relationship with Broward County, but also of the high degree of safety and security we provide to the residents,'' Bruce Rubin said. Rubin said Wackenhut has worked closely with the county ``to ensure compliance and improve processes.'' County Administrator Bertha Henry reviewed the report and told commissioners she agreed with its findings, and had begun implementing fixes. Broward launched its audit last spring following reports in The Miami Herald about problems in a Miami-Dade contract involving the company. There, the county reported that Wackenhut overbilled as much as $6 million over three years for phantom security guards at county transit stations. Miami-Dade auditor Cathy Jackson said the company relied on inaccurate and falsified records to try and cover up the billing. ACCUSATIONS DENIED -- Wackenhut denied the accusations and supplied the county with paperwork seeking to refute them. Miami-Dade has not yet responded, and the company continues to supply guards for Metrorail under a contract that runs through November 2009. Broward signed a three-year security contract, including two one-year renewal options, with Wackenhut in June 2005. In the first three years, the firm was paid $14.9 million. Lukic's audit found that most county agencies doing business with Wackenhut failed to review and validate daily entries on security logs that documented hours worked by guards. Also, they didn't compare the hours Wackenhut billed with the hours reported on the security logs. Likewise, little checking was done to ensure that some highly qualified guards Wackenhut billed the county for actually carried those special qualifications. AVIATION DEPARTMENT -- The one department that did check: Broward County Aviation, where officials said Wackenhut overbilled nearly $19,000. Those overcharges were recovered last year, the audit said. In contrast, the report said, the library division paid Wackenhut overtime for 14 branch guards even though OT wasn't properly pre-authorized or substantiated by payroll records. In one week alone in September 2007, the auditor found 233 hours of unauthorized overtime costing $1,655.

November 11, 2008 South Florida Business Journal
Broward County auditors are raising red flags over how county agencies kept tabs on nearly $6 million in billings by Wackenhut Corp. for security services last year. In a report to be presented to county commissioners on Wednesday, county auditors noted several problems with the way Wackenhut invoices have been processed. Specifically, the report noted that county personnel were not reviewing and validating daily entries on security logs that document hours worked by guards. The audit also found that there was no evidence that hours billed were hours actually worked. County Auditor Evan A. Lukic said the decision to review the county’s oversight of Wackenhut grew out of news reports earlier this year that alleged the Palm Beach Gardens-based security company was overbilling Miami-Dade County for services that were not performed. “We were concerned about the allegations we heard and whether we were possibly experiencing the same thing here,” he said. “We wanted to look at it from how are we controlling the contract and administering it.” At this point in the auditing process, Lukic said, there was no evidence Wackenhut engaged in any wrongdoing. However, based on the audit’s findings Lukic said his department will take a closer look at payments to “make sure that guards who we are paying for are present.” In June 2005, Broward County entered into a three-year agreement with Wackenhut to provide security services. Payments for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007 totaled more than $14.8 million. In fiscal 2007, Broward County’s Aviation Department topped the list with $2.1 million in security services billings by Wackenhut. The county’s facilities maintenance division paid out $1.66 million to Wackenhut, and the county’s library division was billed nearly $633,000. The report found that during a one-week period, the libraries division paid 233 hours of overtime for security guards and found no evidence that Wackenhut provided the required written notification and payroll documentation to substantiate the overtime payments. When queried by the South Florida Business Journal about the auditor's findings, Wackenhut issued the following statement: "We've worked closely with facilities management through the audit department to insure compliance and to improve our processes." Questions also have been raised about matching guard qualifications to pay rates. In some instances, the audit raised concerns about guards with lesser qualifications billing at a higher rate, resulting in overcharges. In an Aug. 22 letter, Broward’s director of the facilities maintenance division advised Wackenhut President Drew Levine that he would now require the company to provide documentation that links guards’ qualifications with their job classifications. In the meantime, Lukic is asking the Broward County Commission to direct the county administrator to come up with procedures to ensure that billings are validated, that the guards’ qualifications match their job descriptions and that overtime charges are substantiated. In May, a Miami-Dade County audit found that Wackenhut overbilled the county by as much as $6 million over three years for services it did not provide to Miami-Dade Transit, and then falsified records to cover up the over charges. In its response to that audit, which Wackenhut published on its Web site, the company said it has cooperated with the county’s investigation, but “continues to question the audit methodology.” Wackenhut said a lawsuit by a former guard, who accused the company of padding its bills, has caused the increased scrutiny. “It is Wackenhut’s belief that county entities … have been placed under undue pressure and influence by unsubstantiated allegations in this ongoing disputed litigation,” it stated. Miami-Dade continues to review Wackenhut’s response to determine what actions should be taken, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.

Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre, Oxford, England
May 26, 2010 BBC
12 June 2013 opendemocracy.net

Child detention goes on in the UK regardless of government claims to have ended it. A boy was locked up for months at a UK immigration facility earlier this year, according to freshly released official data. The revelation dramatically exposes the falsity of government claims that the harmful practice of detaining children for administrative convenience has ended. The Home Office does not reveal the boy's exact age or the precise length of his incarceration, only that he was aged 12 to 16, and held for between two and three months at Campsfield House, an adult immigration jail near Oxford. Classed as an immigration removal centre, Campsfield holds 216 male detainees, many in multiple occupancy rooms furnished with bunkbeds. It is run for the government by commercial contractors Reliance Security Task Management. In all 37 children were locked up for immigration purposes in the first three months of 2013. The Home Office concedes that the number would have been still higher, but Tinsley House removal centre, near Gatwick, was closed to new detainees for most of the period due to an outbreak of infectious illness. "Since the start of 2011, the overall trend for children entering detention has risen," said the Home Office. Yet the government maintains the fiction that it has ended child detention as it promised to do in the Coalition Agreement of May 2010. "We will end child detention for immigration purposes," they said then. In December 2010 deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the immediate closure of the family unit at the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire. He promised child detention would "end completely" by May 2011. The Liberal Democrat leader spoke movingly of children "locked up, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months, in one case for 190 days — something no innocent child should ever have to endure". Clegg's rhetoric of compassion gave his party a much needed 'win' in a pre-Christmas period rocked by student protest and accusations of betrayal. But child detention did not end. Instead it was rebranded as "family friendly pre-departure accommodation". Or PDA for short. The government opened a new detention facility in August 2011, in the Sussex village of Pease Pottage. They called it Cedars, a government acronym for Compassion, Empathy, Dignity, Approachability, Respect and Support. The first report on Cedars by the Prisons Inspectorate, in October last year, revealed that staff had used “substantial force” against a pregnant woman causing “significant risk of injury to her unborn child”. Children and their parents had been forcefully restrained. One mother had been grabbed by her hair. More than half of the families held been arrested in dawn raids repeatedly criticised over years as unnecessarily distressing. Both Cedars and Tinsley House, the facility near Gatwick airport where a 10 year old girl tried to strangle herself in 2009, are run by the security company G4S. That company is currently facing an inquest over the death of another detainee, Jimmy Mubenga. Charity outsourcer Barnardo's works in partnership with G4S at Cedars. Since December 2010 child detention has been recorded in every quarter. The numbers of children detained are far lower than under Labour when they peaked at perhaps 2000 annually, but higher than might have been inferred from Clegg’s forecast of “tiny numbers of cases” detained as “an absolutely last resort”. Remarkably, Clegg continues to take credit for ending child detention even though it demonstrably goes on. "It’s because of us that children are no longer detained for immigration purposes," he claimed this past March. This was one of his “proudest achievements in government”.

Yarl's Wood was used to hold families before deportation Children are no longer to be detained in detention centres like Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire or Oakington in Cambridgeshire. The new government announced the end of the practice in the Queen's speech on Tuesday. Yarl's Wood has been the main removal centre holding women and families facing deportation for many years. Chief prisons inspector Dame Anne Owers said in March some children were being held at Yarl's Wood unnecessarily. And her report said half the centre's children were later released because they were either no longer facing removal or were being allowed to live normally while legal appeals were considered by the courts. Each year, about 2,000 children were held at the centre for an average of 15 days. There have been a number of protests at Yarl's Wood, including a hunger strike by women reported to be campaigning against their length of stay at the detention centre.

July 22, 2006 The Independent
A Kurdish teenager killed himself after spending more than four months in an immigration detention centre, an inquest has heard. Ramazan Kumluca, 18, is the youngest asylum-seeker to have committed suicide while facing deportation from Britain. Campaign groups yesterday called for the closure of all detention centres, comparing them to Victorian workhouses. Mr Kumluca is one of more than 30 asylum-seekers who have killed themselves in the past five years after being told their applications had failed. He had travelled from his home in Turkey to Italy and then on to Britain where he claimed asylum last year, saying that his life was in danger over a £20,000 debt owed by his father. He also claimed that if he was sent back to Italy (under rules that asylum must be claimed in the first safe country reached) he was at risk of exploitation. Mr Kumluca was refused asylum and denied bail because there were fears he would not report back for deportation. He was sent to Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, an immigration removal centre that holds around 100 men at any time. The average stay for detainees at the centre is 14 days, but because the teenager was fighting his deportation order he was held for four and a half months. An inquest at Oxford Old Assizes heard he had been plunged into despair during his incarceration and had complained of insomnia, headaches and anxiety. A fellow inmate, Abdulwase Kamali, told the court Mr Kumluca had appeared "sad" the day before he killed himself. He said: "Ramazan said he had been told by immigration he would be sent back to Italy, and he said if he was sent back to Italy he would be used in sex films. He said he would slash himself or hang himself." On 27 June last year, Mr Kamali and other Muslim detainees alerted warders after calling Mr Kumluca for morning prayers and finding his door would not open. He was found hanging from the door closing mechanism. After investigating his death, a Prison and Probation ombudsman cleared staff of any wrongdoing. The jury returned a verdict of suicide. Outside the court, Bob Hughes, of the pressure group Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: "Here we have an institution full of people being driven deliberately to despair by government policy." "He added: "We believe these people should be allowed to get on with their own lives. Centres like Campsfield are a huge national scandal and shame. Campsfield House has been a removal centre since 1993 and is privately run by the company Global Solutions Limited. In 2002, the then Home Secretary David Blunkett pledged that the centre would be closed, but a year later it was decided to keep it open and expand the number of places. Since 2000, at least 25 asylum-seekers have killed themselves while living in the community after being told they would be deported. Mr Kumluca was the seventh to have committed suicide in a detention centre. More than 2,600 adults and children are being held in detention centres prior to deportation. In January this year another asylum-seeker Bereket Yohannes, from Eritrea, was found hanging at Harmondsworth Removal Centre. An inquest will be held into his death.

June 17, 2006 Indy Media
On Monday 12th of this week a Somalian man went onto a roof at Campsfield; he had been detained for four months (probably illegally, since the government cannot deport people to Somalia) and took a rope and a plastic bag with him. GEO, the new management at Campsfield, asked the police to leave and said they would deal with the matter themselves; we do not know whether they used violence against the Somalian detainee; he has been removed from Campsfield, no doubt to somewhere even worse as is usual in these cases. There have been 12 suicides in immigration detention, and several hundred attempted suicides and cases of self harm requiring medical treatment. GSL lost the contract to run Campsfield to GEO (Global Expertise on Outsourcing), presumably on cost grounds. GEO took over at the beginning of the month. They have changed their name from Wackenhut, and have a discreditable history of running penal institutions in the USA and Australia. GSL's manager, Andy Clark, who had been more willing than his predecessors to allow volunteers and education classes in Campsfield, decided he could not work with GEO; at least two of the people who ran education classes and workshops have been sacked or left, and GEO apparently intends to provide much reduced hours of education (as required under the contract), run by its own officers. But of course the most serious problem is not the conditions inside the centre, but the fact that people are detained there who have committed no crime, been charged or suspected of no crime, with no judicial process and no time limit, often with no access to lawyers, and always with great uncertainty about what is happening to them or about to happen to them.

May 23, 2001
The global private security firm Group 4, is an "Investor in People."  This may come as a surprise.  For since Campsfield opened, almost unnoticed, in the bleary period just before Christmas in 1993, this improvised brick compound has become to many the unacceptable face of the British government's asylum system.  Within weeks, the country's first specialized facility for confining them while their cases were decided was provoking hunger strikes.  Within months, detainees were climbing on to its roofs to protest at the conditions.  Still in its first year of operation, there was a mass escape over its 20ft perimeter fence, and a "disturbance" - involving fires and smashed furniture - which resulted in the deployment of riot police and injuries to detainees, who needed several ambulances and hospital treatment.  Official reports on Campsfield in 1995 and 1998 by two different chief inspectors of prisons found fear, boredom and stress among inmates.  Among the Group 4 staff, the inspections found inexperience, poor pay and exhausting shift work.  This cycle of protest and disorder and repressive countermeasures continued unabated during the late 1990s.  (Guardian Newspapers)

May 14, 2002
As many as 15 asylum seeker accomadation centres could be built across the UK despite an angry response from residents in the locations chosen for the three pilot "villages".  The government plans to build the centres at Throckmorton, near Pershore on Worcestershire, RAF Newton, in Nottinghamshire, and at Bicester, Oxfordshire.  More than 3,000 villagers have signed a petition objecting to a development in their area.  Some local people are anxious about plans to house large numbers of asylum seekers near them, particularly following the riot and fire which destroyed the $100m Yari's Wood centre.  Steve Mitchell, chairman of Pinvin Parish Council, promised to fight the plans "every step of the way".  (BBC News)

Chrysler Plant, Newark Delaware
September 14, 2009 Newark Post
Newark Police report they were notified by Wackenhut Security officers at the Chrysler Assembly Plant that a University of Delaware student spent the night at one of the buildings in the closed plant in an attempt to find the way back to her dorm. The student told the officers that she had been at a party last Thursday and had gotten lost trying to find her room. She spotted the train tracks and followed them, hoping to find a station and call for help. The tracks led her to the Chrysler Plant, where she entered one of the buildings and called the security desk. One of the security officers, thinking the call was a joke, stated that and hung up on the student.

Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, Michigan
April 15, 2009 WSJM AM
The Cook Nuclear Plant is shaking up its security force. The Plant is ending its contract with Florida-based Wackenhut Corporation and instead offering all security officers jobs with Indiana Michigan Power. 162 existing contracts employees will transition into members of the American Electric Power security team. Cook Senior Vice President Joe Jensen says joining the American Electric Power team will help the plant's security be more effective. The plan is expected to give more control over integrated operations and costs and give more benefits to security employees.

Coquelles Detention Centre, Coquelles, France
April 6, 2006 Gulf Daily News
Holding cells used by British immigration officials at a French freight terminal were so crowded and filthy that staff called them "the dog kennels," a prison watchdog said yesterday. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers also said staff were unsure whether they could stop a detainee from fighting, trying to escape, or committing suicide because they did not know whether English or French law applied. Her report concerned the centres at Calais seaport and the Channel tunnel freight and tourist terminals at Coquelles, which were set up on French soil under an international treaty to hold detainees seeking entry to Britain. Accommodation at Coquelles freight terminal was described by staff as the "dog kennels," Owers said. The six 13 feet by 10 feet cells at Coquelles freight terminal featured hole-in-the-ground toilets and on busy days one cell could be used to hold six people. Furnishing, ventilation and heating were all inadequate, her report added. Records suggested average detention time was seven and a half hours, with the maximum nearly 12 hours. The chief inspector made 49 recommendations for improvement, including one that an independent monitoring board should have regular access. Figures for May to July last year showed 661 detainees had been through Calais Seaport detention centre, 11 of whom were children. The average period of detention was four hours, although the longest was 17. In all, 17 per cent were given permission to enter Britain. At the third centre at Coquelles tourist terminal, average detention time was three hours but the maximum recorded was nearly 16 hours. None of the facilities, run by private firm Group 4 Securicor, could appropriately separate men, women and children. The chief inspector also published a report on detention facilities at Heathrow airport, including the Queen's Building, which handles the greatest number of forced removals from Britain. People could be detained there for up to 36 hours, the report said. Owers complimented the staff's approach to welfare of detainees but called the system inhumane. "Some of those we observed in detention had been dealt with as though they were parcels, not people, and parcels whose contents and destination were sometimes incorrect," Owers said.

Cree Incorporated, Durham, North Carolina
October 19, 2005 News Observer
An early-morning immigration sweep at Cree Inc. resulted in the arrest of 36 undocumented workers Tuesday. Most of the people arrested were employed by a contractor to Cree, which makes semiconductors. The bust was the first at a high-tech company since U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began focusing on facilities that the government considers strategic or sensitive. All but 10 of those arrested were employed by a maintenance and cafeteria services subcontractor, GCA Services Group of West Conshohocken, Pa. Also, in early February, ICE arrested a Kenyan man working at Cree as a security guard. He was employed by Wackenhut, another Cree contractor.

Cypress Creek Juvenile Detention Center, Lecanto, Florida
January 4, 2007 St Petersburg Times
A helicopter hovered above. Canine officers tracked through the woods. Checkpoints were in place. And dozens of sheriff's deputies swarmed the area near the Cypress Creek juvenile detention facility. Wednesday afternoon, the word was out: Two teenage inmates escaped from the maximum-security prison. Except they didn't. After an hour and a half of searching, the two missing inmates were found hiding - in the detention facility's compound. Kendall Wayne Wilbanks, 15, of Leesburg and Gavin Alexander Eskdale, 17, of Kathleen in Polk County, picked a lock to gain access to the roof area of the woodworking shop, a separate building from the main facility inside the security fence. The inmates were in the shop for an 11 a.m. class. But they were missing when the class ended and a head count took place at 12:06 p.m., the Citrus County Sheriff's Office said. A massive manhunt began, but deputies soon turned their attention back inside the facility after a check of the perimeter showed no breach of the fence.

August 21, 2006 Miami Herald
Just after 4 a.m. on Oct. 13, youth-camp guard Josephus Johnson heard a ''gurgling'' sound coming from a dorm room. He found 17-year-old Willie Durden cold, limp and without a pulse. Twenty minutes and two exams later, an officer at the Cypress Creek Juvenile Offender Correctional Center finally started CPR. Why the wait? ''Some of these kids will play pranks,'' Johnson told an investigator with the state Department of Juvenile Justice, according to records provided to The Miami Herald this week. The inspector ``asked Johnson how someone could get his or her heart to stop beating to accomplish such a prank.'' Durden, a Jacksonville teen described as a ''model inmate'' who dreamed of being a youth counselor himself, was pronounced dead on arrival at Citrus Memorial Hospital at 5:10 a.m. He was to receive a football scholarship to a Christian school in Jacksonville following his release. He became the sixth Florida child to die in DJJ custody since 2000. Two other children have died since then, including Martin Lee Anderson, who died Jan. 6 at a Bay County boot camp. Durden is among several youths who died after guards or nurses dismissed their condition as the false cries of a faker or malingerer -- and the cases raise serious questions about the quality of care children in state custody receive. "This is another tragic example of the state's inability to guarantee the health and safety of children in its care,'' said Roy Miller, who heads the Children's Campaign, a Tallahassee-based advocacy group. ``Parents and judges and law enforcement people need to ask the tough question: Are children in state custody safe? ''These are not isolated incidents. They are recurring, and it's shameful,'' Miller added. Asked Nancy Hamilton, who oversees a St. Petersburg drug treatment program and is president of the state Juvenile Justice Association: ``How do you hire for common sense? This is a key issue . . . Would you wait 20 minutes if this were your child? Or would you be on your phone?'' The head of Cypress Creek, Joseph Hasselbach, declined to discuss the case, citing a DJJ requirement that agencies that contract with the state government not speak to reporters.

March 17, 2006 Florida Times-Union
It took five months for the state to release the autopsy report Thursday for a Jacksonville teen who died in juvenile facility, drawing concern from some lawmakers especially after another boy's taped beating death in January. According to the autopsy, Willie Durden, who died Oct. 13 at the Cypress Creek Juvenile Offender Corrections Center in Citrus County, had an enlarged heart. But the report took several months to surface even after blood tests came back negative for drugs. Durden, 17, was the third young black male in three years to die in a state detention center. The Legislature's black caucus has been waiting for Durden's report since before Panama City teen Martin Lee Anderson died in January at a Panhandle boot camp where staff are accused of contributing to his death. The report on Durden shows the autopsy exam was performed the day of his death and toxicology results came back in November, but only in the last few days has the report quietly appeared on Northeast Florida lawmakers' desks.

Czech Republic
March 25, 2008 Ceskenoviny
Czech police arrested last week an accomplice of Frantisek Prochazka, who is suspected of having stolen half a billion crowns in cash from a security agency last December, Prague City State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Stepanka Zenklova told today. "The detained person has been put into custody and we will provide no more information so that not to endanger further investigation," Zenklova said. She said the alleged accomplice was in custody and faced charges of robbery in conspiracy. A special police team is looking for Prochazka on whom an international arrest warrant has been issued. The company afflicted is the G4S Cash Services, a subsidiary of the supranational security agency Group 4 Securitas that specialises in transport of money. Prochazka worked as a security guard there. The robbery took place on December 1, 2007, on Saturday morning. According to the police, Prochazka and his accomplice who was also employed with the G4S agency as a driver loaded the bags with the cash Prochazka stole from the company's safe in a van resembling an office vehicle that was used for transportation of money. While the accomplice drove the vehicle away Prochazka remained at his workplace. Police declined to say whether the driver was the person whom they detained last week. According to central Bohemian police spokeswoman Sona Budska, police today also detained three men from the Pribram area who are suspected of robbing security agencies' armoured vehicles. They face up to 12 years in prison for the combined theft of more than 12 million crowns. According to available information, two of the vehicles robbed by the suspected perpetrators belonged to G4S. Budska told that she had no information on a possible connection between the two cases of robbery.

December 10, 2007 Czech Happenings
The state attorney in charge of the case of Frantisek Prochazka, former employee of G4S security agency, whom the police suspect of stealing 560 million crowns from the agency, has proposed to issue an international arrest warrant for him, Stepanka Zenklova from the Prague State Attorney's Office told CTK today. "The state attorney has proposed to issue a warrant for the arrest of Prochazka in the Czech Republic, a European arrest warrant and a warrant for his arrest on the international level," Zenklova said. The Prague 3 District Court will now decide on issuing the warrants. So far, only a preliminary consent for Prochazka's detention has been issued. However, after the police officially accused him on Thursday the state attorney could propose issuing the arrest warrants, Zenklova said. Previous information by some media that a European arrest warrant for Prochazka has already been issued has not thus been confirmed. Prochazka has been accused of theft. He will face up to 12 years in prison if apprehended and found guilty. The "theft of the century," probably unprecedented in Czech history, occurred in the G4S agency's premises in Prague last Saturday. Prochazka's car, driven by an unknown accomplice, arrived at the complex, took the stolen sum from Prochazka and drove it away. Prochazka, who worked in the agency as a guard and is armed, disappeared later and he is still escaping from the police.

December 5, 2007 The Prague Post
Police are searching for a security agency employee who took a record 560 million Kč ($31.2 million) from his company’s Prague 3 office Dec. 1 in what officials are calling the “robbery of the century.” According to Prague city police spokeswoman Iva Knolová, “Police would welcome any information about the suspect, and have launched a statewide search.” The man, 33-year-old František Procházka, an employee of multinational security agency G4S Cash Services, has short brown hair, is of medium height and may be carrying a weapon, according to Knolová. While stealing the money, Procházka may have had an accomplice, the Czech News Agency (ČTK) reported, citing a source close to the investigation. “The suspect used an opportune moment to enter the company’s safe room,” the source says. “He took the cash, put it in bags and had it driven to an unknown place by his accomplice.” The perpetrators used a company vehicle typically used to transport clients’ money to drive away with the stolen cash, giving them more time before G4S staff was able to uncover the heist, the online news server Aktualne.cz reported. The company, a subsidiary of international security and cash transport agency Group 4 Securitas, is offering a 2 million euro reward to anyone who helps catch the perpetrators. The stolen sum is equivalent to G4S’s annual turnover, according to a statement of the company’s local branch. In an effort to map Procházka’s route, police have asked the public to provide them with any information about the getaway vehicle, a white Volkswagen utility vehicle with a 1L74973 license plate and a sticker with the company’s logo. “The suspect used this vehicle and was driving it at the time the robbery occurred,” Knolová says. The vehicle was found abandoned on Kandrtova street in Prague 8 late on the evening of Dec. 2. “It’s possible that an eyewitness noticed the suspect manipulating the vehicle in an abnormal manner,” Knolová says. Police are also looking for information regarding a gray metallic Volkswagen Passat with a 1L81115 license plate, which the suspect may have used after disposing of the getaway car. If caught, Procházka could face up to two years in prison, Knolová says.

Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC
July 8, 2009 Government Executive
The Federal Protective Service is failing to properly oversee its 13,000-strong contract guard force, causing grave security gaps at federal buildings nationwide, Government Accountability Office officials told senators on Wednesday. As part of a recent review, investigators from the watchdog agency successfully entered 10 high-security federal buildings carrying components for a bomb through doors being monitored by contract guards. Once inside, the investigators assembled an improvised explosive device and walked freely around the buildings and into various legislative and executive branch offices with the IED in a briefcase, GAO said in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lawmakers called GAO's findings disturbing, shocking and outrageous, and asked urgently and repeatedly what they could do to help FPS gain control of the situation. "In this post-9/11 world that we're now living in, I cannot fathom how security breaches of this magnitude were allowed to occur," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking member of the committee. Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said that in all his years of reading GAO reports, this one represented "about the broadest indictment of an agency in the federal government I've heard." Mark Goldstein, GAO's director of physical infrastructure issues and author of the report, told lawmakers the review revealed significant shortcomings in FPS' ability to monitor and verify contract guard training and firearms certifications. In reviewing 663 randomly selected guards, GAO found that 62 percent had at least one expired certification. Goldstein said a lack of funding has hindered the agency's ability to reach appropriate staffing levels and provide the technological tools necessary to protect federal buildings. But a number of the problems with the contract guard program are unrelated to budgetary constraints, he said. "Not having national standards and guidance for inspecting the guards, [and] better standards for knowing when certifications have expired -- things like that, are not resource-based," Goldstein said. "I think there has been a lack of attention to this part of the protective requirements for federal buildings." Lieberman said he and Collins are aware of management problems at FPS and that is one reason why they have not pressed to increase the agency's budget. "We didn't want to just throw more money at the problem until we fix the agency," he said. FPS Director Gary Schenkel did not dispute GAO's findings and said he takes full responsibility for the failures as head of the agency. He assured the committee that FPS officials have been making progress in addressing deficiencies and are working even faster now that they are aware of GAO's findings.

March 6, 2006 USA Today
The guards have taken their concerns to Congress, describing inadequate training, failed security tests and slow or confused reactions to bomb and biological threats. For instance, when an envelope with suspicious powder was opened last fall at Homeland Security Department headquarters, guards said they watched in amazement as superiors carried it by the office of Secretary Michael Chertoff, took it outside and then shook it outside Chertoff's window without evacuating people nearby. The scare, caused by white powder that proved to be harmless, "stands as one glaring example" of the agency's security problems, said Derrick Daniels, one of the first guards to respond to the incident. "I had never previously been given training ... describing how to respond to a possible chemical attack," Daniels told The Associated Press. "I wouldn't feel safe nowhere on this compound as an officer." Daniels was employed until last fall by Wackenhut Services Inc., the private security firm that guards Homeland's headquarters in a residential area of Washington. The company has been criticized previously for its work at nuclear facilities and transporting nuclear weapons. Homeland Security officials say they have little control over Wackenhut's training of guards but plan to improve that with a new contract. The company defends its performance, saying the suspicious powder incident was overblown because the mail had already been irradiated. Two senators who fielded complaints from several Wackenhut employees are asking Homeland's internal watchdog, the inspector general, to investigate. "If the allegations brought forward by the whistle-blowers are correct, they represent both a security threat and a waste of taxpayer dollars," Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote. "It would be ironic, to say the least, if DHS were unable to secure its own headquarters." Daniels left Wackenhut and now works security for another company at another federal building. He is among 14 current and former Wackenhut employees — mostly guards — who were interviewed by The Associated Press or submitted written statements to Congress that were obtained by AP. A litany of problems were listed by the guards, whose pay ranges from $15.60 to $23 an hour based on their position and level of security clearance. Among their examples of lax security: •They have no training in responding to attacks with weapons of mass destruction; •Chemical-sniffing dogs have been replaced with ineffective equipment that falsely indicates the presence of explosives. •Vehicle entrances to Homeland Security's complex are lightly guarded; •Guards with radios have trouble hearing each other, or have no radios, no batons and no pepper spray, leaving them with few options beyond lethal force with their handguns. Over the last two years, the Energy Department inspector general concluded that Wackenhut guards had thwarted simulated terrorist attacks at a nuclear lab only after they were tipped off to the test; and that guards also had improperly handled the transport of nuclear and conventional weapons. Homeland Security is based at a gated, former Navy campus in a college neighborhood — several miles from the heavily trafficked streets that house the FBI, Capitol, Treasury Department and White House. Homeland Security spokesman Brian Doyle said Wackenhut guards are still operating under a contract signed with the Navy, and the agency has little control over their training. A soon-to-be-implemented replacement contract will impose new requirements on security guards, he said. Daniels, the former guard who responded to the white powder incident, said the area where the powder was found wasn't evacuated for more than an hour. Available biohazard face shields went unused. Daniels said that after the envelope was taken outside, and the order finally given to evacuate the potentially infected area, employees had already gone to lunch and had to be rounded up and quarantined. Former guard Bryan Adams recognized his inadequate training one day last August, when an employee reported a suspicious bag in the parking lot. "I didn't have a clue about what to do," he said. Adams said he closed the vehicle checkpoint with a cone, walked over to the bag and called superiors. Nobody cordoned off the area. Eventually, someone called a federal bomb squad, which arrived more than an hour after the discovery. "If the bag had, in fact, contained the explosive device that was anticipated, the bomb could have detonated several times over in the hour that the bag sat there," Adams said. The bag, it turned out, contained gym clothes. Some guards who continue to work at Homeland, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because of fear of losing their jobs, said they knew of two instances in which individuals without identification got into the sensitive complex. Another described how guards flunked a test by the Secret Service, which sent vehicles into the compound with dummy government identification tags hanging from inside mirrors. Guards cleared such vehicles through on two occasions, this guard said, and one officer even copied down the false information without realizing it was supposed to match information on the employee's government badge. Marixa Farrar, a former guard, said two guards always should have been stationed inside the main building where Chertoff had his office, but she often was on duty alone. One day last fall a fire alarm rang. As employees walked by Farrar, they asked if this was a fire or a test. "There were no radios, so I couldn't figure out if it was a serious alarm," she said. There was no fire.

Dungavel Immigration Centre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
September 11, 2011 Scotland on Sunday
HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is being spent holding asylum-seekers at Dungavel detention centre for months at a time. Scotland on Sunday has learned that almost £500,000 has been spent housing 13 long-term detainees, several of whom have been at the former prison in South Lanarkshire for more than a year. Asylum-seekers are supposed to stay at so-called pre-departure centres for no more than a week. But in a number of cases, delays in the deportation system mean the UK Border Agency is holding people for an unspecified period. For the duration of detention, the Home Office pays security firm G4S £110 a day for each asylum-seeker. At Dungavel, two men have been held for two years and four months, while others have been held for more than a year, at a cost to taxpayers of about £480,000. Detaining Christian Likenge, 27, a former law student from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has been held for 28 months, has cost £100,000 to date. Likenge, a Christian preacher, is being held after the UK rejected his application for asylum but officials in his native country refused to give him the necessary identification to return home. "It's very difficult and frustrating being here this long," he said. "It's mental torture. I feel depressed. You miss your people, you miss your friends. You feel half-dead."

May 19, 2010 Morning Star
Concrete evidence of the Con-Dem government's contempt for the most vulnerable was already surfacing on Wednesday after one of their headline pledges was shown to be a farce. Anger erupted among human rights campaigners after it emerged that the coalition's announcement that it was committed to ending child detention for immigration purposes had already been severely undermined. Immigration Minister Damian Green boasted on Wednesday of the new government's quick progress that, "with immediate effect, children will no longer be detained overnight at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre. "This is something which many groups in Scotland have been calling for and we are now delivering this positive outcome." But it emerged that the detention of those children and their mothers would continue, as they are instead being transferred to the notorious Yarl's Wood Immigration Centre in Bedfordshire. And Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell wrote to new Home Secretary Theresa May on Wednesday detailing his "strong concerns" when he found out that, on Monday, Pakistani woman Sehar Shebaz and her eight-month-old daughter Wanya were taken into Dungavel. The two are due to be moved to Yarl's Wood. Glasgow MSP Anne McLaughlin said: "The House of Commons has been highly critical of child detention in Yarl's Wood and we must see this practice brought to an end across the UK as soon as possible." Yarl's Wood made the headlines earlier this year after women, many of whom are rape and torture survivors, went on hunger strike against the alleged inhumane treatment they were suffering at the hands of the centre's staff, who are employed by security giant Serco. Black Women's Rape Action Project co-ordinator Cristel Amiss said the pledge to end child detention should be extended to mothers, pointing out that the trauma of a mother and child being separated causes suicidal feelings in mothers and symptoms such as nightmares and bed-wetting in children. She said there was no evidence that detention of mothers and children was necessary as the UK Border Agency itself has admitted that there is no risk of absconding. "No mother wants to rip her child out of school and put them through lying low somewhere - it doesn't happen." Ms Amiss also highlighted that Britain was a signatory to the UN Convention for Refugees, but "successive governments have dismantled that to the point where Britain does not give protection and safety, particularly for those who are the most vulnerable. "Women have told us they had to seek asylum and had to come to Britain because Britain has been involved in promoting wars they have fled and providing arms for rebel forces." The Home Office insisted that detention would continue while a review was carried out into alternatives. End Child Detention Now spokeswoman Esme Madil said: "We see absolutely no reason to delay this while the review is taking place. "Immigration detention should have ended immediately."

DuPont Laboratories, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 30, 2008 Philadelphia Daily News
A former postal employee serving a year's probation for stealing bars of gold from an express-mail package was jailed yesterday for three months for violating his probation. Edward Henderson, 22, of Dover Street near W. York Street, ran afoul of the feds after he told his probation officer he had been fired from his job as a security guard for Wackenhut Security. Todd Schaffer, the probation officer, testified at a hearing yesterday that Henderson found a SIM card for a cell phone in a storage locker at DuPont Laboratories and used it for several months in his own cell phone. A SIM card is a tiny data card that stores account information. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan Burnes said Henderson used the SIM card between May and August 2007, ringing up charges of almost $1,750 to call his girlfriend and family members. Henderson was charged in Common Pleas Court last August with theft by unlawful taking and with receiving stolen property. Those charges are still pending. A condition of Henderson's probation was that he not commit any federal or state crimes. U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice was not pleased. Last May, Rice sentenced Henderson to a year's probation for stealing 15 bars of .9999 fine gold from an express-mail package, valued by authorities at about $11,850. Burnes said Rice had given Henderson an opportunity last year to set himself straight but he blew it. Burnes asked that the judge jail Henderson for three months. Henderson admitted he had "done a foolish thing" but said he hadn't deliberately violated his probation. Defense attorney Maranna Meehan said she thought three months in jail was a "bit excessive." "I'm asking for a second opportunity for [him]," she said, adding that Henderson was supporting his mother and his 3-year-old son. But this time, Rice was not so understanding. "I had confidence in you, I gave you a chance," he told Henderson. "You made a promise to me and you broke it." The judge was just getting warmed up. "You just don't get it. I think you just thought you could get away with it because you're wearing a uniform," Rice said, his voice rising a few decibels. Rice also ordered Henderson to make restitution of $1,750 to DuPont Labs. Rice ordered Henderson to be taken into custody immediately.

El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, California
April 3, 2007 Union-Tribune
A City Heights man accused of using his security guard badge to lure victims and then rape them was sentenced yesterday to 12 years in prison. Robert James Purdy, 42, pleaded guilty in San Diego Superior Court to rape under color of authority and kidnapping charges involving two teenage girls. He agreed to the 12-year prison term in February under the terms of a plea bargain. Purdy was accused of a dozen felonies corresponding to three attacks in September and November in Normal Heights, Southcrest and North Park. Prosecutors said Purdy, a Wackenhut security employee, got the girls into his car by showing his badge and then demanded sex. He was arrested at his home on Nov. 9.

February 1, 2007 10 NEWS
A security guard who used his badge to lure young girls into his car and then forced them to have sex pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of rape under the color of authority and one count of kidnapping. Under the plea deal, Robert James Purdy, 42, will receive a 12-year prison sentence. He must also register as a sex offender and has agreed to give up all property seized by police, including his Ford Escort, according to prosecutors. The defendant, who will be formally sentenced on April 2 by Judge Stephanie Sontag, would have faced more than 40 years behind bars if convicted of a dozen felony charges, including sodomy and false imprisonment by violence. Purdy, of City Heights, pleaded guilty to raping two 15-year-old girls last Nov. 7 and Nov. 8. One of the victims was moved from one location to another, according to the plea agreement. Deputy District Attorney Evan Kirvin said Purdy was an employee of Wackenhut Corp. when he used his badge to lure the victims into his car. The victims were in an area known for prostitution when they were victimized, but it was not established that either actually worked as prostitutes, Kirvin said. Purdy was tracked down and arrested after an officer recalled putting a citation on a vehicle that fit the description given by one of the victims.

November 21, 2006 North County Times
A City Heights man accused of using his position as a security guard to lure young girls into his car, where he allegedly forced them into sex, pleaded not guilty today to 12 felony counts, including rape and kidnapping. Deputy District Attorney Evan Kirvin said Robert James Purdy, 41, is charged with raping two girls under the age of 16 on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8. Kirvin said there may be additional alleged victims, which could lead to more charges. Anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by Purdy should call San Diego police, the prosecutor said. Judge David Szumowski set bail at $500,000 and scheduled a readiness conference for Jan. 11. Purdy, a Wackenhut Corp. employee, allegedly used his security guard's badge to persuade women and girls to get into his car, where he forced them into sex acts. The alleged victims "were in areas known for prostitution when they were victimized," San Diego police public information officer Monica Munoz said. Kirvin, who would not comment on whether the alleged victims were prostitutes, said at least one girl was moved from one location to another. The defendant was tracked down and arrested Nov. 9 after an officer recalled putting a citation on a vehicle that fit the description given by one of the alleged victims. As charged, Purdy faces more than 17 years in prison if convicted.

November 11, 2006 KFMB
A suspected serial rapist is behind bars Saturday morning, being held on $325,000 bail. Police have identified the suspect as Robert James Purdy. Authorities say the 41-year-old man is a security guard who works for Wackenhut Security Services. He’s a man who officers say used his badge and his fake cop talk to target women working the streets along El Cajon Boulevard. Investigators tell News 8 that so far they know of four rape victims. All are prostitutes and two are minors.

Florence Correctional Center, Florence, Arizona
February 6, 2009 Yuma Sun
An illegal immigrant injured in an automobile accident after his arrest by the Border Patrol has received a $200,000 settlement. Jose Sandoval reached the settlement with Corrections Corporation of America, which had subcontracted with the Wackenhut security firm to transport previously detained aliens for the Department of Homeland Security, according to Yuma attorney Candy Camarena, who along with attorney Virginia Zazueta represented Sandoval. Sandoval, who had been arrested in the Yuma area in March, was being transported in a van with five other people to Florence, Ariz., when a flat tire caused the driver to lose control, according to Camarena and Miguel Escobar, Mexican consul in Yuma. The van rolled over along Interstate 8 in Pinal County. Sandoval was hospitalized with injuries to the arm and spinal column. "He was deported to Mexico through Nogales, in precarious health condition," Escobar said. "He was walking with a cane, and he contacted the Mexican Consulate to get help. The consulate took care of him and took him to San Luis Rio Colorado for medical care and we contacted the attorney." Sandoval, a resident of Baja California, got the additional medical attention but "the arm was broken in seven places," he said. "I have metal pins here and there," Sandoval said Friday at a news conference in San Luis Rio Colorado. "The spinal column splintered in two parts, I suffer a lot of pain. All the time there is that pain in the back." A carpenter by training, he had gone to the United States to work in construction, he said Friday at a news conference, but will no longer be able to do that kind of work. "I've tried to lift heavy things, but it hurts. I can't do it." The legal case was nearly seven months in preparation, Camarena said. "The biggest problems that we had in this lawsuit was that federal court demands that the plaintiff in a suit be present. Mr. Sandoval can't enter the United States, but we reached an agreement to resolve the case." Sandoval received $80,000, with the rest of settlement going for his medical and legal bills.

Florida Department of Corrections, Tallahassee, Florida

Jul 12, 2013 myfoxtampabay.com

CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Tom Morrow is a husband, father, and 25-year City of Tampa electrician. "He's an honest, hardworking family man. His daughter and I, we are everything for him and he's everything for us," Morrow's wife, Sharon said Friday. Last Saturday night, 59-year old Tom Morrow's life took a horrific turn. He was detained by Pinellas County deputies for being drunk. But while he was riding in a jail transport van, operated by an county-contracted company called G4S, he was attacked by the only other inmate inside. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says both men were handcuffed and shackled at the ankles. "Mr. Morrow had been seated on a bench in the back of a van and he fell off the bench and onto the floor. When he fell on the bench and onto the floor is when [Leonard] Lanni began kicking him," Gualtieri said. Morrow suffered a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and severe brain injuries. "There's a chest tube, there's a neck brace. His whole entire face is bruised, he's on a breathing machine. You can't even see the man under all this apparatus. You can't even tell who it is," Sharon Morrow said.  The Sheriff says the G4S driver immediately pulled over after seeing what was happening on a streaming surveillance camera. Morrow's attorney wants to why it took so long to break up the brutal attack. "Somebody failed. If the G4S employee was responsible for getting Mr. Morrow safely to the Pinellas County Jail, then that G4S employee failed miserably," attorney Michael Babboni said Friday. As Tom fights for his life in the hospital, his family's now fighting for answers on how this could happen. "He's just a guy who loves life, loves his job, loves his family. He's an amazing person, this should never have happened," Sharon Morrow said. Leonard Lanni is currently being held at the Pinellas County Jail. Babboni is pushing for Lanni's charges to be increased from aggravated battery to attempted murder.

September 30, 2005 St. Petersburg Times
Over dinner in midtown Manhattan, Florida Corrections Secretary James Crosby met in July with two executives of a company seeking a multimillion-dollar contract with his agency. Crosby paid his own tab and said no state business was discussed. State bidding rules prohibit vendors and agency staffers from discussing pending contracts, except through official channels. The company, G4S Justice Services, later won a three-year contract to monitor sex offenders in half the state, including Pinellas and Hillsborough. It won because it submitted the lowest price. More bad news surfaced Thursday. --Under criticism from legislators, prison officials reversed course and decided not to hire four companies to expand privatization of health care at South Florida prisons. Instead, prison officials will redo the bids and hire one company to provide medical, dental, mental health and pharmacy services, a deal worth more than $100-million. Because of complex bid regulations, hiring four companies invited a legal challenge, opponents said. --A high-ranking prison health care official, John Burke, quit his $95,000-a-year job amid questions about his past ties to a company that has a prison contract to package medicine for inmates. In his resignation letter, Burke cited "continued turmoil" over his past work for TYA Pharmaceuticals of Tallahassee and another company, MHM Services of Vienna, Va. Both companies were expected to seek parts of the inmate health care program. "I have done nothing improper, unethical or illegal during my tenure now or before," Burke wrote Wednesday. Burke listed his past ties to TYA and MHM on a financial disclosure form filed with the state Commission on Ethics, but prison officials say he never disclosed it to them. G4S sales director Leo Carson, who was at the dinner with the company's top executive, Fiona Walters, said it was the kind of casual get-together that occurs frequently at all professional conferences. "It was very impromptu, very informal and very much in a conference atmosphere," Carson said. "The first thing out of our mouths was, "We want to avoid this topic, for the obvious reason. Agreed? Agreed."' Carson said it would have been rude to snub Crosby, and that the dinner was "115 percent above board." He said Crosby paid his own tab. Crosby previously acknowledged having gone to concerts and sporting events with Don Yaeger, a Tallahassee lobbyist for vendors seeking contracts in the prisons. But as with the New York dinner, Crosby said he always paid his own way.

September 8, 2005 St Petersburg Times
In a surprise twist to Florida's fast-growing sex offender tracking system, a Texas firm tentatively hired to help run the program has quit. The withdrawal by Satellite Tracking of People of Houston came after more than two weeks of field tests of its new one-piece ankle bracelet, known as BluTag. A contract with the state Department of Corrections was contingent on successful testing of the global positioning system devices. The state declined to say whether problems arose in the tests. STOP declined to comment. STOP's vice president for business development, Greg Utterback, sent the state a terse letter Tuesday stating only that the company "is requesting to withdraw from contract consideration." STOP's chief executive, Steve Logan, declined to comment. STOP was one of two companies that submitted low bids to expand electronic tracking of sex offenders under the Jessica Lunsford Act, which includes a three-year, $3.9-million project to track up to 1,200 offenders. The law, which took effect one week ago, was passed in memory of the 9-year-old Homosassa girl who was abducted and killed in February. Angry at the bid language, STOP filed a protest in July and briefly brought the program to a halt. After the state removed the words STOP did not like, the company dropped its protest and made the lowest bid of seven firms. The Corrections Department split the state into two regions, north and south. STOP was the low bidder for the northern half, including Pasco, Hernando and Citrus, the county that was home to Jessica Lunsford and to John Couey, a 46-year-old sex offender charged with her death. G4S Justice Services, a subsidiary of London's Group 4 Securicor, has been hired to provide tracking in the southern half, which includes Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Florida Legislature, Tallahassee, Florida
May 7, 2008 Palm Beach Post
The chief of staff in training for de facto Senate President Jeff Atwater is officially off the payroll, Atwater said Wednesday. Millionaire "Budd" Kneip of Palm Beach Gardens earned a $7,000-a-month salary from the state for one month and two days to learn the ins and outs of the legislature, which was dealing with a $5 billion budget deficit. Kneip was the founder and owner of the Oasis Group, a division of Wackenhut Corp. He has no legislative experience but has run campaigns, including the one for Palm Beach County's 2004 half-penny sales tax increase to build schools. Normally, the chief of staff assumes his position when the Senate president is appointed in the fall. Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, is being challenged in his reelection bid by Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, who formerly served in the Senate with him. Florida Democrats on Tuesday formally requested public records about Kneip's hiring and asked Atwater use his campaign account to reimburse the state for Kneip's salary. "Floridians are hurting, Sen. Atwater, but your campaign coffers are not," Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman said in a letter to Atwater on Tuesday. "We were going out spending money foolishly when we don't have the money to spend," Campbell said. "Let's be honest about it. There is no chief of staff until you become senate president." Before Thurman's letter became public, Atwater said he had arranged in the final days of the legislative session for Kneip to go off the payroll. The session ended Friday. "Budd's assistance during session was invaluable. ... He has returned home to continue developing a transition plan; I look forward to Budd coming back to the Senate this fall," Atwater said. Thurman's demands were a way to help Campbell, Atwater said Wednesday. "This is a chairman trying to insert herself into a local race with no information," he said.

April 12, 2008 Palm Beach Post
Sen. Jeff Atwater has hired an aide who will get on-the-job training before he becomes Senate president chief of staff, and Atwater's campaign opponent is criticizing the expenditure. Robert "Budd" Kneip is a Palm Beach Gardens businessman with no legislative experience. He founded The Oasis Group, an outsourcing division of Wackenhut Corp. Kneip, who is earning $7,000 a month, needed to come on board early to get the feel of how the legislature runs and how government budgets are developed and negotiated before his new boss officially takes over, Atwater said. Normally the chief of staff is appointed after the legislative leader assumes his role in the fall. Atwater is being challenged for reelection in November by Democrat Skip Campbell, a trial lawyer who formerly served in the Senate alongside Atwater. Campbell criticized Kneip's salary at a time when lawmakers are slashing about $5 billion from the state budget because of plummeting tax collections. "How can we be hiring somebody for on the job training at 7K a month when we're cutting education, food for the poor, Medicaid treatment for the mentally ill? This is one of the most hypocritical actions I've seen in government," Campbell said. Kneip has sat on the advisory boards for Florida Atlantic University and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and served as chairman of the Palm Beach County Task Force on Business Development. In the latter role, he successfully pushed a 2004 referendum for a half-penny sales tax hike to pay for building schools to comply with the constitutional amendment limiting class sizes. Kneip's know-how at implementing state policy at the local level and business acumen are why he's right for the job, said Atwater, a North Palm Beach Republican. "He doesn't have the experience in this process," Atwater said. "To have him be able to watch how this works is going to help me as we think about structure, the design, the flow and process of work."

Gambia, Africa
November 28, 2005 Daily Observer
The two staff members of Wackenhut security firm, who were implicated in the aborted groundnut theft at the Gambia Agricultural Marketing Company Ltd (Gamco) a few months ago, were on Thursday arraigned before Magistrate Mboto of the Banjul Magistrates' Court on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony and stealing.

Global Solutions Limited
June 13, 2009 Perth Now
ONE of two guards suspended over the death of an Aboriginal elder in a  van, says she has been ''gagged'' from talking about the tragedy. On Friday, State Coroner Alastair Hope recommended Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock consider criminal charges over the "unnecessary and wholly avoidable death'' of Mr Ward, 46, who died on January 27 last year. Officers Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell drove the Warbuton elder, whose first name cannot be released for cultural reasons, for the 352km Outback journey between the Goldfields towns of Laverton to Kalgoorlie. In his stinging finding, Mr Hope said Mr Ward died when temperatures rose to 50C in the pod of the commercially owned van which had no air-conditioning and little-to-no air flow. Contracted transport company, G4S, formally known as Global Solutions Ltd, stood down Ms Stokoe and Mr Powell on Friday. "The two employees have been suspended and the findings of the coroner, the coroner's report and recommendations will be considered carefully and it will then be decided what the next step should be,'' G4S spokesman Tim Hall told ABC radio yesterday. Ms Stokoe declined to comment on her suspension, saying: "I can't talk about anything, I would like to, but I can't''. Mr Ward's family is planning to sue G4S, which runs other custodial services including court security, over the tragedy. Prison Officer's Union secretary John Welch said the inquest had raised questions about the privatisation of custodial services in WA. Mr Welch said he feared G4S would be allowed to be apply for the contract to run the recently announced Eastern Goldfields prison which was scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. "You wonder why, in the light apparent failures of privatisation, you would want to even consider looking at having at private provider in the Goldfields,'' Mr Welch said. A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Christian Porter said no decision had been made on whether the prison would be public or private, and any discussion on the potential awarding of a private contract was speculative. Deaths in Custody Watch Committee chair Marc Newhouse said another public protest was planned for the city on Saturday to lobby the State Government for improvements.

June 12, 2009 WA Today
A man died a "terrible death" in the back of a prison van where temperatures reached 50 degrees celsius, the West Australian coroner has found. Coroner Alistair Hope, in his findings handed down on Friday, said the 46-year-old Aboriginal man's death had been "wholly unnecessary and avoidable". Mr Ward, whose first name cannot be released for cultural reasons, died while being transferred 350km from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in a transit van on January 27, after being picked up for drink-driving on Australia Day. The air-conditioning unit inside the prisoner's compartment of the commercially operated van was not working and the coroner was told Mr Ward would have suffered through temperatures of 50 degrees before his death. He received third-degree burns where his body came into contact with the metal floor in the back of the Global Solutions Ltd (GSL) vehicle. Mr Hope found Mr Ward, of the Goldfields town of Warburton, died of heat stroke. He said his death was the result of a "litany of errors" and accused the prison van drivers of collusion and giving false evidence. He said the fact the prison van did not have a spare tyre was an indication of GSL's "reckless approach". It was a disgrace that a prisoner yet to be convicted was transported such a distance in the oven-hot conditions, Mr Hope said. The prisoner's compartment had little light, no restraints to protect the person inside if the van was involved in an accident, had little air flow and the fan did not work when tested, Mr Hope added. There was no proper method for a prisoner to communicate with the drivers, he said. About 40 protesters demonstrated outside Perth's Central Law Courts, where the coroner delivered his findings. Amnesty International called it "a disgrace that a prisoner should be transported in this way in the 21st century".

May 16, 2009 The West
He literally cooked to death. Trapped in a prison van for four hours, suffocated by temperatures that climbed to more than 50C, the Aboriginal elder had no way to communicate with security officers sitting just a metre away, in the airconditioned cab. His only sustenance was a small bottle of water and a meat pie. When he finally collapsed on the van floor, the metal was so hot it seared his skin. Yesterday, Corrective Services Commissioner Ian Johnson travelled to Kalgoorlie to publicly apologise to Mr Ward’s family, accepting responsibility for the 46-year-old’s death in January last year. It was a dramatic end to a coronial inquest that has revealed a litany of failures in the justice and custodial systems in WA’s outback. Widow Nancy Ward and her children will return to Laverton next week after sitting quietly and with dignity throughout the case, which has attracted the attention of the United Nations and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Mr Ward, a conservation worker, a supporter and interpreter for local police and an advocate and educator for children of the Gibson Desert, was an international ambassador for the Ngaanyatjarra people. His family say he was treated like an animal. Mr Ward had been drinking on Australia Day last year in the remote Goldfields town of Laverton when he was arrested for driving with more than four times the legal alcohol limit. Conducting a quasi-court hearing for Mr Ward at his cell door at the local police station, justice of the peace Barrye Thompson remanded him in custody to face court in Kalgoorlie the following day. Mr Thompson told the inquest he had no formal training when appointed as a JP and could not even remember whether he had read the Bail Act. The Aboriginal Legal Service was not contacted. Guards and police officers testified the prison vans used by Global Solutions Limited and maintained by the State were notoriously unreliable, sub-standard and the air-conditioning was often faulty. GSL’s supervisor in Kalgoorlie, Leanne Jenkins, had warned her management an incident would occur unless the vehicles were replaced. At 11.20am, the GSL prison van pulled into a secure area at Laverton police station where the guards were told they would have a trouble-free passenger. Mr Ward made a comment about the warm day and a guard told him “the quicker he got into the van, the quicker the air-conditioning would kick in”. But the air-conditioning did not work: it had been reported faulty in the GSL maintenance log more than a month earlier. Before making the continuous 360km journey to Kalgoorlie, the guards did not tell Mr Ward there was a duress alarm in the back of the van in case he needed help. Towards the end of the trip, they heard a loud thump. Pulling over on to the side of the road and opening the outer door of the van, the guards felt the heat radiating from the rear pod and they saw Mr Ward face-down on the van floor — unconscious and unresponsive. Reaching into the back of the van felt like a “blast from a furnace”, according to Dr Lucien LaGrange, who assisted in removing Mr Ward’s lifeless body at Kalgoorlie Hospital. Doctors found full-thickness contact burns on his stomach and tried for 20 minutes to resuscitate Mr Ward, whose skin felt like a “hot cup of coffee”. They managed to get a brief return of a heartbeat, but after putting him in an ice bath, his body temperature was still 41.7C. Coroner Alastair Hope is due to deliver his findings on June 12. For now, the Ward family will have to return to a community missing a leader. It is little comfort to them that money was allocated in this week’s State Budget to replace the fleet of transport vans — four years after the Department for Corrective Services undertook to do so. “I am sorry,” Mr Johnson told Mrs Ward yesterday. “I have a deep regret but no matter what I say, it’s not going to change what happened.”

May 14, 2009 The West
More than 30 family members and supporters of Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder who had a fatal heatstroke in the back of a prison van, gathered outside the Kalgoorlie Courthouse yesterday to call for those responsible for his death to face tribal punishment. Mr Ward’s widow Nancy and his four sons were among those who wailed in grief as they demanded justice and answers to why the Warburton elder died in such horrific circumstances. The family’s interpreter and relative, Gail Jamieson, said that under traditional law, anyone found culpable of the death should be speared. “The family is just devastated,” she said. “He was treated with no respect and he was a well-respected, outstanding elder. If they were in an Aboriginal culture, they would be speared because us Aboriginal people are also going through two cultures.” The inquest was told no disciplinary action was taken against the two GSL officers responsible for transporting Mr Ward on the day he died. Mr Ward died after a four-hour journey in a GSL prison van from Laverton to Kalgoorlie on January 27 last year when temperatures reached 42C. Global Solutions Limited general manager John Hughes said security officers Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell were stood down on full pay and were reinstated when an internal investigation found they had not violated company policies or procedures. Questioned by the family’s barrister Michael Rynne, Mr Hughes said any reinvestigation would depend on Coroner Alastair Hope’s findings. GSL’s multi-million-dollar contract could require it to pay a penalty of 4.5 per cent of its value if found to have failed in its duty of care. Mr Hughes said he understood GSL’s obligations included ensuring officers minimised hardship to detainees, conducting regular checks to ensure their safety, security and health and preventing injury. The inquest concludes today.

March 21, 2009 The West
The security guard who drove the van in which an Aboriginal elder died of heat stroke has admitted he should take responsibility for the death. Testifying for a second day at the inquest into the death of 46-year-old Mr Ward, Global Solutions Limited driver Graham Powell said yesterday he regretted how Mr Ward died. “In hindsight, if I had to do that journey again, I would certainly be doing it a lot differently,” he said. He agreed with lawyer assisting the coroner, Felicity Zempilas, it was inhumane to transport prisoners in the rear pod of the van over long distances and that the vans were “certainly not designed for that”. Coroner Alastair Hope told Mr Powell he was “troubled” over his evidence about phone calls made after Mr Ward collapsed. Mr Hope said a delay of two minutes between calls was a long time in an emergency. To questions from his counsel Linda Black, Mr Powell said he should have checked the airconditioning, made comfort stops and told Mr Ward explicitly how to communicate with the officers if he was in distress. The inquest has heard Mr Powell and colleague Nina Stokoe did not stop during the four hours they had Mr Ward in the van in mid-40C heat while driving from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in January last year. Mr Ward suffered a full-thickness hand-size burn on his stomach from a hot metal surface inside the van. Senior chemist David Tranthim-Fryer said the prison van temperature would have been above 50C. Evidence from a police re-enactment he helped with revealed the van floor reached 56C and the air temperature at least 50C on a slightly cooler day. The temperature would have been hotter with a person inside because there would have been another heat source. “We opened the back doors and could feel the heat coming out of the pods. The hot air affects you more than anything else,” Mr Tranthim-Fryer said. Mr Ward’s body temperature was 41.7C after 20 minutes of resuscitation in an ice bath while being fanned. The van’s rear-pod airconditioning was not working, a fault noted in the GSL maintenance log more than a month before Mr Ward’s death. Mr Powell said he did not check the airconditioning in the pod despite knowing it had a history of faults. He had assumed Ms Stokoe checked it. Mr Hope has heard evidence from witnesses, including GSL’s Kalgoorlie supervisor Leanne Jenkins, who spoke of substandard “unreliable” prison vans which were not suitable for long distance travel. The inquest did not finish within the two-week timeframe and Mr Hope adjourned it until May 11. Outside, Mr Ward’s cousin Bernard Newberry said his family wanted those responsible charged. The family has asked that Mr Ward’s first name not be used.

January 30, 2008 Oldham-Chronicle
SECURITY guards were left red-faced after their prison van got stuck in a town centre car park. Global Solutions Limited (GSL) is employed by the Prison Service to transfer prisoners safely between court and jail. But the driver caused a bit of a stir when the van became jammed in the former Co-op car park at the back of Mecca Bingo on King Street. Police went to investigate but found the prisoners had already been dropped off at Oldham Magistrates’ Court. A police spokesman said: “The driver said he had read the height restriction notice but thought the van would be able to clear it.” The driver and his colleague then freed the van by letting air out of the tyres.

January 29, 2008 News.Com.AU
THE West Australian desert town of Warburton was in mourning yesterday over the death in custody of its former Aboriginal community chairman, who was arrested on Australia Day for allegedly drink-driving. Ian Ward, a 46-year-old father of five and one of the last nomads born in the Gibson Desert, died the following day after collapsing in the back of a security van during a 915km journey to jail in the goldfields city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Major Crime Squad detectives are investigating. Mr Ward was being driven by contractors for the Department of Corrective Services, who noticed he had collapsed as they neared their destination. Mr Ward's nephew Andrew Johns said his large family was gathering in Warburton to remember a man who lobbied for his people's native title rights. "We are very sad today," Mr Johns said. The family understands Mr Ward died of a heart attack in hot conditions in the back of the van. "It is a long way to go and very hot," he said. Police had stopped Mr Ward last Saturday at 9.30pm in his remote home town of Warburton, about 1500km northwest of Perth in the traditional Ngaanyatjarra lands between the Gibson and Victoria deserts. He was charged with one count of drink-driving and taken to the lockup in Warburton. Mr Ward was driven 570km to the courthouse in Laverton, where he appeared on Sunday morning and was remanded in custody. Police say he was being transported to the nearest jail - the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison 352km away - when he collapsed. Mr Ward was being transported by Global Solutions Ltd, having been picked up in Laverton at 11.40am, police say. He was being taken in the rear of the GSL security van. As the van neared Kalgoorlie, he was found to have collapsed. He was conveyed to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital, where he died a short time later.

November 29, 2007 The Telegraph
Group4Securicor is in talks to buy Global Solutions, a company it used to own, for around £350m. Earlier this year, private equity firm Cognetas appointed investment bank UBS to carry out a strategic review of Global Solutions, which runs a number of Britain's prisons and detention centres. However, the credit crunch forced Cognetas to put the review of Global Solutions on hold. Since then, the company has received a number of approaches, including one from Group4Securicor. Cognetas bought Global Solutions, which also manages hospitals, schools and tourist offices, from Danish security firm Group 4 Falk for about £200m three years ago. Group4Securicor is now understood to be carrying out due diligence on the business. However, it is not the only company bidding. Sources said US group GEO and several private equity firms have also made approaches for the company. Global Solutions has previously come under the spotlight for the way it runs its prisons and detention centres, following the Government's privatisation of the sector. Earlier this year, there was a Panorama investigation by an undercover BBC reporter, who worked as a custody officer, in one of Global Solutions' prisons at Rye Hill. None of the parties involved would comment.

MANCHESTER'S new £30m court is at the centre of a new storm after dozens of prisoners were hours late arriving from their cells.  Furious lawyers sat around for up to three hours yesterday waiting for their clients to arrive from police stations, including Bootle Street less than a mile away.  GSL, the private security firm that ferries prisoners to the court, blamed "logistical problems" and has apologised to court authorities.  It is the latest in a string of problems at the court since it opened in May.   Around 40 people were due to be moved from holding cells in Manchester to the court before 10am yesterday, in time for morning hearings.  Less than half were delivered on time and more were dropped off at 11am and 11.45am. Lawyers were still waiting for at least eight clients at 12.30pm. GSL, part of Group 4, said the final transfer was made at 12.45pm.  Court bosses have already threatened to fine GSL for previous failures to get prisoners into court on time.  (Manchester Online, August 31, 2004)

Group 4/Securicor (AKA Wackenhut, G4S, ArmorGroup),
G4S teaches UK Border Agency how to care for children: openDemocracy, July 9, 2012, Clare Sambrook. It’s no joke — the world’s biggest security company is training immigration staff in “Keeping Children Safe”.
Who should investigate murder — the police, or a private security company?: openDemocracy, April 13, 2012, Clare Sambrook. Private rent-a-cops to investigate murder?
Police, magistrates and prisons by G4S. Is this what the British people want?: openDemocracy, March 6, 2012, Mel Kelly. Scary story about G4S taking over everything. This is dangerous folks. A must read.
Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit: Expose on immigration by Nina Bernstein at the New York Times, September 28, 2011
Duty of Care: Expose by Clare Sambrook on G4S and the death of Aboriginal elder Mr. Ward. June 8, 2011

Jan 28, 2017 expressandstar.com
The number of deaths in prisons across the West Midlands and Staffordshire has more than doubled, new figures show.
A total of 23 inmates lost their lives inside in 2016, compared to just 10 the year before. HMP Birmingham and HMP Oakwood, the two G4S-run prisons, had the highest death count with seven and six respectively. Other deaths included five at HMP Stafford, three at HMP Featherstone, one apiece at HMP Dovegate in Uttoexeter and Drake Hall, the women's prison in Eccleshall. Both HMP Swinfen Hall, near Lichfield, and HMP Brinsford, the young offenders institute next to Featherstone, recorded no deaths last year. The figures, released by the Ministry of Justice, also show that four prisoners in the regions took their own life last year - the same amount as 2015. Oakwood, the UK's largest prison, saw the biggest rise in the number of deaths. It did not record any in 2015 but had six in 2016. It also had one inmate take their own life last year compared to none the year before. Jerry Petherick, the custodial and detention services managing director of G4S, which also runs HMP Birmingham, said the firm always worked hard to 'understand the causes and identify any lessons to be learned'. He said: “Every death in custody is a tragedy and is always thoroughly investigated by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. We will always work with the investigators and our colleagues in NHS healthcare teams to understand the causes and identify any lessons to be learned. “The rising level of violence and self-harm shown in today’s data underlines the extent of the challenge facing our prisons alongside our colleagues around the country. Our staff do tremendous work to bear down on violence and detect, intercept and seize drugs and other contraband which destabilises prison regimes. “We will continue to work closely with our partners in the prisons we manage as well as with the Ministry of Justice to further improve safety for prisoners and our staff.” The number of deaths at HMP Birmingham, which was the scene of a riot last month, increased from four to seven over the same period. These figures include one suicide in 2015 and one in 2016. HMP Featherstone also saw a rise after its zero deaths in 2015 increased to three last year. There was also one suicide last year compared to none the year before. HMP Stafford, which houses notorious paedophile Rolf Harris, did not have any suicides last year but did record five deaths, four more than 2015. Both Dovegate and Brinsford were the two prisons in the region to record a decrease in deaths, with the latter's one in 2015 decreasing to none in 2016 and the former's three in 2015 decreasing to one last year. Both prison's recorded a suicide each in 2015 but none in 2016. HMP Drake Hall had one death last year, which was recorded as a suicide. Liz Truss, the justice secretary in charge of the country's prisons, said: “Since becoming Justice Secretary, I have been clear that the violence, self-harm and deaths in our prisons are too high. I have taken immediate action to stabilise the estate by tackling the drugs, drones and phones that undermine security. We are also investing £100m annually to boost the frontline by 2,500 officers.

Dec 31, 2016 dailymail.co.uk
Australia: G4S inmate dies from drugs
Prisoner, 21, died after he swallowed a balloon filled with the deadly drug ice and it burst in his bowel - after his girlfriend smuggled it into jail for him.
A 21-year-old prisoner swallowed a balloon filled with the deadly drug ice
Cain Hutchinson was on remand at Port Philip Prison in Victoria
The father died after the balloon burst in his bowel as the drug leaked into his gut
The inquest heard he called his girlfriend to bring drugs into the prison for him
The following day, he was found vomiting and shaking on his bed in his cell
Hours later, he went into a cardiac arrest before he died in an ambulance
A 21-year-old prisoner died after a balloon filled with the deadly drug ice he had swallowed burst in his bowel, an inquest has heard.
Cain Hutchinson, who was on remand at Port Philip Prison in Victoria, was found shaking and vomiting just hours before he was found unconscious after the drugs leaked into his gut. The Coroners Court of Victoria launched an inquest into his death to determine how he died after his girlfriend managed to smuggle the drugs into the prison. The young father had called his girlfriend to arrange for her to bring drugs into the prison for him the next day. His girlfriend visited the prison with their baby daughter and the balloon filled with methylamphetamine on June 6, 2015. She purchased a bag of pretzels and a drink from the vending machine to share with Hutchinson before she took their baby to the bathroom to change her nappy. She then placed the balloon in her hand while she was in the bathroom before she returned to her seat in the visiting area. When she took some pretzels from the bag, she dropped the balloon. Hutchinson then reached into the bag and placed the balloon into his mouth before he swallowed it down with orange juice. His girlfriend was stunned to see the mouth of juice he drank as she believed he was going to keep the balloon at the back of his throat so it would be easy to take it out once he returned to his cell. After his family left, he grabbed dinner and returned to cell to eat his food. On the morning of June 7, 2015, his cellmate found Hutchinson shivering on his bed. His cellmate decided to get him breakfast to make him feel better. When he returned with porridge, Hutchinson had locked himself in the cell and said he was on the toilet. Concerned for his welfare, other inmates gathered around his cell as they urged Hutchinson to open up the door. Hutchinson was initially suspected of having food poisoning because he had not mentioned anything about drugs to his fellow inmates. Far from getting better, Hutchinson was rushed to the prison's health unit to wait for an ambulance while other inmates were placed in lockdown. The coroner's report found Hutchinson went into a cardiac arrest as he was being carried into the ambulance - but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Following day, the autopsy found an orange balloon containing a small clear plastic bag had spilled into the gut. Methylamphetamine was detected in his urine and amphetamines were found in his blood and also urine. A pathologist found the 'knot came partly undone causing the drugs that were contained in a small ziplock bag to leak out into the gut'. The coroner's report found that large doses of amphetamines could lead to agitation, hyperthermia, hallucination, convulsions, unconsciousness, respiratory or cardiac failure. Two days after his death, his girlfriend called the Wyndham Criminal Investigation Unit where she tearfully confessed she had supplied the balloon filled with drugs. During an interview with the coroner's investigator and a police officer the next day, she explained how she smuggled the drugs into the prison. In her taped interview with police, his girlfriend said Hutchinson had told her that he would be 'knocked' or would have to 'knock' others if she did not bring drugs into the prison. She pleaded guilty to charges of possessing methylamphetamine and introducing contraband to a prison. She was fined without conviction. After an internal management review, visitors who use the bathroom or change their baby's nappy will proceed as a non-contact visit.

Dec 10, 2016 therecorder.com
California: Court reverses bad Wackenhut (G4S) ruling
SAN FRANCISCO — A California state appellate court on Monday reversed a decision by a trial judge that smashed a long-running wage-and-hour class action against security contractor The Wackenhut Corp., ruling that the judge overstretched the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes. The decision is a loss for the employment law defense bar generally, but is especially a blow for Theodore Boutrous Jr., the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner who argued Wal-Mart and was brought in by Wackenhut in 2011 to wield the then-fresh high court decision in its own case ahead of trial. Second District Court of Appeal Justice Norman Epstein, writing for a panel also joined by Justices Thomas Willhite Jr. and Nora Manella, said the lower court was wrong to agree with Wackenhut's lawyers that Wal-Mart effectively prohibited the use of statistical sampling in establishing class-wide liability. "[T]he use of statistical sampling in this case is distinguishable from the method rejected by the Supreme Court in Wal-Mart because, in that case, the plaintiffs proposed to use representative evidence as a means of overcoming the absence of a common policy," Epstein wrote. The justice added that "here, the results of the statistical sampling … served as a manageability tool—an alternative to burdensome production." He also said that in a ruling subsequent to Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, the U.S. Supreme Court had made clear that sampling is permissible. The case centers on claims that Wackenhut, a global security contractor now owned by British company G4S, failed to give security guards in California off-duty meal and rest breaks, and also did not provide them with adequate wage statements, as required by state law. In order to establish class liability for the meal break claim in particular, the plaintiffs' attorneys proposed to sample 1,200 of the at least 13,500 security guards in the class period to determine which had signed agreements to take their meal break while still on duty. The sample found that depending on the year, the percentage of employees with valid agreements ranged between 0 and 88 percent. Wackenhut initially agreed to that plan because it did not want to have to dig through its records and produce documents for all of the employees covered by the class period, which stretches back to 2001, and trial court judge William Highberger certified the proposed class in 2010. But the company changed tack after the Wal-Mart decision and sought class decertification, which it won in 2012. "This is a fairly definitive statement as to the limitations of Wal-Mart with respect to class action jurisprudence in the state of California," Jason Marsili, a partner at Posner & Rosen who argued the case on appeal for the plaintiffs, said of the appellate court's ruling on Monday. Marsili said the decision should shift the law on the issue of sampling back in favor of plaintiffs after a decision by the California Supreme Court 2014 in Duran v. U.S. Bank, which held that a class must be decertified if individual issues are later shown to predominate. Boutrous, meanwhile, hinted that he would try to take the case up to the state's highest court. "The trial court was right to decertify this class," Boutrous said in a statement. "The Court of Appeal misinterpreted the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Wal-Mart case and its ruling raises several important issues under state and federal law about class actions and employment law that warrant review by the California Supreme Court."

Sep 10, 2016 wftv.com
State slaps $151,000 fine on security company that hired Pulse shooter
The Florida Department of Agriculture has slapped the security company that hired Pulse shooter Omar Mateen with a $151,000 fine. It’s the largest fine of its kind in Florida history. The doctor listed on Mateen's psychological evaluation didn't do the exam, documents said. The state says it’s not the doctor's fault, but rather a clerical error, adding that there's no evidence that doctor even knew her name was on more the hundreds evaluation forms The state released the more than 1,500 psychological evaluation forms from security company G4S Secure Solutions. The state requires the exams for anyone trying to get an armed security guard license. Mateen worked for the company for nine years. After the June 12 massacre, the state found out the doctor listed on Mateen's evaluation form didn't conduct the exam. The doctor, psychologist Carol Nudelman, told state officials she never even met Mateen. The state said a review of G4S Secure Solutions records going back a decade show Nudelman's name appears on 1,514 exam forms, even though she never did those exams. The state said when Nudelman retired and another psychologist took over, the company never updated its evaluation forms with the new doctor's name. The state says, in all of these cases, the armed security guard applicants did receive a psychological exam, it just wasn't from the doctor listed on the form.

Jul 9, 2016 birminghammail.co.uk
Riot squad officers sent into Winson Green prison
West Midlands Police deny incident linked to “unexplained” death of prisoner in a different wing at G4S controlled prison A squad of specialist prison service riot officers was sent into Birmingham prison after a stand-off between a prisoner and staff. G4S, which operates HM Prison Birmingham, confirmed the incident happened on Friday night but denied that it was linked to the “unexplained” death of a prisoner in a different wing earlier in the day. Police were called to the Winson Green prison at 1pm on Friday after a prisoner - who has not been named - was found dead in his cell on L wing. Police have confirmed they are treating the death as “unexplained” and a post mortem examination is due to take place next week. Sources inside the prison had claimed that a number of prisoners had been involved in a protest later in the day on B wing. But G4S said one person had climbed on to safety netting and added that it was not connected to the earlier death. They also confirmed that a team of prison riot officers - known as a tornado squad - had been deployed to deal with the protestor. It said that the stand-off ended when the prisoner came down just after midnight. G4S had tweeted a number of statements, which said: “Sadly a prisoner was found unresponsive at 12.30pm and pronounced dead shortly after. Their next of kin have been informed. “We are supporting staff and prisoners, particularly on the affected wing. The wider regime is uninterrupted. As with every death in custody, it will be investigated by the Ombudsman. Prisoner-staff forums have taken place. And on Friday night it said: “There is an incident at height involving one prisoner on B-wing. Evening meal was served and rest of the wing is running as normal.” A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “Police were called to HM Prison Birmingham at 1pm on Friday after a man was found dead in his cell. “His death is currently being treated as unexplained. “A forensic post mortem examination will take place in due course to determine the cause of death. This is standard protocol for all prison deaths.”

Jul 4, 2016 heraldsun.com.au
Prison officers at Port Phillip Prison sacked over gun licences
FOUR officers from the maximum-security Port Phillip Prison have been sacked for not having proper firearms licences. The move follows an internal investigation at the privately run Truganina facility. A spokeswoman for operator G4S told the Herald Sun: “G4S confirms that following an internal investigation completed in May 2016, four correctional officers were subject to internal disciplinary action.” “The four officers were subsequently dismissed from G4S in June 2016,’’ she said. The Herald Sun understands the sackings relate to officers not having the appropriate firearms licence and allegedly falsifying related records but G4S did not provide further detail. A Corrections Victoria spokesman said the issue was a matter for the operator. “All contractors and private prison operators are required to meet the strict security and licensing regulations as required by law,’’ he said. “Corrections Victoria works closely with contractors and private prison operators to ensure these regulations are adhered to.” The Herald Sun in May revealed firearms licensing issues had triggered the sacking of a Port Phillip Prison officer. It was understood the issue of whether officers have the appropriate licence to take firearms off-site, such as when escorting prisoners to hospital or court, had been raised. The prison’s general manager resigned on June 10 but G4S confirmed this was not related to its investigation. Port Phillip Prison is Victoria’s largest maximum security prison with capacity for up to 1087 inmates. G4S operates it under contract to the Justice Department.

Jul 9, 2016 theage.com.au
Port Phillip prisoner may have died after ingesting smuggled drugs
A young prisoner died in hospital this week after allegedly smuggling drugs into the Port Phillip Prison and then ingesting the substance. A Corrections Victoria spokesman confirmed on Saturday that a 21-year-old Port Phillip Prison inmate died on July 6. He said that as the Coroner was investigating, Corrections Victoria was not in a position to confirm the cause of death. But a prison source told Fairfax Media the prisoner, who was housed in the high-security unit at Port Phillip, had appeared "under the influence", and before being taken to medical he was strip-searched by guards. The source said drugs fell out of his bottom as he was being searched, and the prisoner then allegedly ingested the drugs. The prisoner stopped breathing and was transferred to ICU at St Vincent's Hospital. The prison source did not know what type of drug was allegedly ingested. Port Phillip is operated by security company G4S. A spokesman for the union representing prison guards criticised the number of staff rostered at the maximum-security prison on weekends. "The private company's refusal to roster enough staff, especially intel officers, on weekends, leaves this site particularly vulnerable to contraband and this weakness is known across the system," the spokesman for the Community and Public Sector Union said. "Unfortunately, Corrections seem happy to have its operation at arm's length, but the private operator is failing Victorians." A G4S spokeswoman said the death was subject to a coronial inquest and Victoria Police were investigating on behalf of the Victorian Coroner, who would formally determine the cause of death. "We are therefore unable to make any further comment," she said. In response to the union's criticism of staffing at Port Phillip, she said "G4S has a minimum staffing level agreement with the CPSU". In June 2015 a 21-year-old inmate died at the prison, from a suspected methamphetamine overdose. Port Phillip, located in Truganina, is Victoria's largest prison and houses more than 1000 inmates.

Jul 1, 2016 pjmedia.com
Senator to DHS: How Did Omar Mateen Pass Employment Check with Federal Contractor?Omar Mateen appeared in a documentary about the BP oil spill while working as a security guard in 2010 near Pensacola, Fla. A Senate Democrat is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security probe how Orlando nightclub terrorist Omar Mateen was able to clear a background check to hold a security officer position at a federal contractor. Mateen, who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State during his attack and also consumed propaganda from late al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, was investigated in 2013 and 2014 for potential ties to terrorism. He was employed by G4S Secure Solutions after being kicked out of a correctional officer training program in 2007 for threatening to bring a gun to class. After Mateen was flagged for an FBI terror probe, the company moved him from his courthouse security job to the entrance at a gated residential community in Palm Beach County. In a letter this week to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) pointed to "clear and troubling signs that Mateen's screening as an employee at G4S was inadequate" -- particularly given the company's work with DHS, including a recent $234 million contract from DHS. G4S has contracted in the past with the State Department, Justice Department, Energy Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Army and Air Force. The company also assists Customs and Border Protection operations along the southern border and aids U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with illegal immigrant transfers. Through Mateen's employment, he was granted a state security guard firearm license. “As the investigations into this tragedy continue, it is imperative that we also ensure that depraved individuals like Mateen are properly vetted and barred from these sensitive posts,” Tester wrote. “It is clear that the screening procedures in place failed in this case. It is critically important that we all take the necessary steps to ensure we are keeping our nation safe by ensuring that individuals charged with the protection of others are suitable, stable, and capable of fulfilling their duties.” Tester asked Johnson to provide specific information about Mateen's background checks both before being offered a job and throughout the course of his employment. The senator also wants to know how DHS screens its contractors. "Given the screening procedures provided by G4S, would Mateen have been eligible to work at a federal facility or operate federal equipment for DHS?" Tester asked. When Tester was chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce, he introduced the Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement (SCORE) Act in response to Edward Snowden's NSA leaks. That was approved by Congress. It removed a block on the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) using resources from the agency's $2 billion revolving fund to investigate the integrity of background checks.

Jun 25, 2016 miamiherald.com
"Orlando shooting sharpens scrutiny on screening of security guards
Psychologists say the use of mental-health tests for armed guards is skewed. Mass shooter Omar Mateen worked for G4S since Septembet 2007. Industry voices are mulling recommendations for stricter background checks. Before getting the state stamp of approval to carry a weapon as a security guard, Omar Mateen — and every other armed guard in Florida — had to be officially certified as “mentally and emotionally stable.” But no psychologist ever sat him down for a face-to face interview, reviewed his personal records or talked to a single person who knew or worked with him. He took a standard written personality test, which asks for true-false responses to questions such as “I would like to be a singer.” It was assessed by a psychologist contracted by the company looking to hire him. In Mateen’s case, that means his only evaluation in September 2007 did not take into account frequent misbehavior in school, his misdemeanor battery arrest as a teen or a troubling gun joke that led to his firing as a state prison guard trainee that same year. So the state soon granted him a license to carry a firearm as a guard for what was then known as the Wackenhut Corp., one of the country’s biggest suppliers of private security. A more thorough psychological evaluation may have done nothing to stop the bloody shooting spree at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub earlier this month. Mateen wasn’t acting in a role as guard and the weapons he used are readily available to the general public. But his case underscores the challenge of making sure armed security guards — generally a high turnover, low-paying profession — are screened properly before they are given guns for patrol. Florida’s security industry is now mulling possible recommendations to the state for increased screening of candidates. “Vouching for a prospective security guard based just on a favorable test score is like saying someone who passed a grammar test will make a great journalist,” said South Florida forensic psychologist Michael Brannon. “You need to know a whole lot more to determine if someone is emotionally stable for the job. The test is a great tool, but should not be used in isolation.” While some industry experts recommend full-blown psychological evaluations for each and every candidate, one possible suggestion is requiring mental-health tests every five years for armed guards, instead of just once at the time of hiring. “Whether it’s a written test or not, you don’t know when that person is going to change mentally a year later, or five years later,” said K.C. Poulin, the chairman of the Florida Association of Security Companies. “That test can’t predict the future.” The security industry is also hoping Florida lawmakers next year will pass measures allowing companies access to FBI background checks, to more effectively screen job candidates. That’s something being supported by G4S, the company that took over Wackenhut and employed Mateen and is a member of the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO). “The tragic events in Orlando highlight an important issue that NASCO has promoted for many years,” the company said. “We support, at a minimum, a clearing house or intermediary approach to sharing FBI information that protects the public but does not compromise ongoing investigations.” It has been more than two weeks since Mateen, 29, armed himself with a rifle and a pistol, killing 49 people and wounding 53 at the Pulse gay nightclub. The FBI says he appeared to be radicalized by Islamic extremism through the Internet. His record as a private security guard with Jupiter-based G4S has come under scrutiny since the tragedy. While stationed at a Port St. Lucie courthouse, Mateen made “inflammatory” remarks to co-workers suggesting he was linked to al-Qaida in 2013. After a 10-month investigation, the FBI found no evidence of ties to terrorism; Mateen admitted he made the comments but only because co-workers were teasing him about his Muslim faith. G4S said that the FBI never informed it about the probe, although Mateen disclosed he was questioned by agents as the company explored his workplace harassment claims. The FBI also never told G4S about an unfruitful 2014 probe into whether Mateen had ties to a Vero Beach suicide bomber in Syria. Mateen was not fired, but instead was moved to a check-in booth at a Palm Beach gated community. One former co-worker later told the Miami Herald that he had complained about Mateen’s violent rhetoric about gays and blacks, although the company said it had no record of any such complaints. Across the country, regulating security guards varies from state to state. Even though the industry has received its share of criticism, particularly in the wake of the Orlando shooting, Florida’s vetting process for armed guards is considered more thorough than in most states. The pool is deep — there are 135,671 active security guard licenses in Florida, and 19,538 also hold licenses that allow them to carry guns on the job. The industry says it supports improved screening. “We’re pushing to raise the standards. You raise the standards, you’re going to raise the pay,” said Steve Amitay, NASCO’s executive director. “We would like to see requirements that would make for a more professionalized force.” To become an armed Florida security guard, you need two state licenses. The “D” license is for a general unarmed position — the uniformed security guard who checks you into your condo or patrols the strip mall in a golf cart. That requires 40 hours of training, and the license can be denied for a felony conviction or if an applicant has “demonstrated a lack of respect of the laws of this state or nation.” The statewide firearms “G” license is supposed to be more intensive. In all, candidates must complete an additional 28 hours of firearms training, sponsored by the hiring company. Current background checks for G licenses sometimes miss factors that might raise questions. For instance, in 2012, Miami armed security guard Lukace Kendle shot two unarmed men outside a strip club, killing one, paralyzing the other. He is doing life in prison after being convicted of murder last year. Kendle held a “G” license to carry a firearm as part of his job with Force Protection Security. But the state background check did not catch his alcohol and drug abuse, several arrests in Florida and Pennsylvania, as well his ejection from the U.S. Navy for “alcohol rehabilitation failure.” After his arrest, he was twice found mentally incompetent to proceed to trial, and was diagnosed with personality disorder and symptoms of schizophrenia. As for Mateen, his paperwork also checked out. “All of the information related to his application to receive those licenses was in order,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told reporters soon after the massacre. But that paperwork also revealed Florida’s less than rigorous mental health evaluation standards. Under state law, an armed guard must be deemed “mentally and emotionally stable” by either a full psychological evaluation or a “validated written psychological test.” G4S acknowledged that in September 2007, Mateen was only asked to fill out the “Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory,” or MMPI-2, as part of the “character certification.” With more than 500 questions, the MMPI is a true-false test that is widely used in job screenings and accepted in court cases. Questions range from “My soul sometimes leaves my body” to “Once in a while I think of things too bad to talk about.” But many psychologists say that the test alone is simply not enough, especially because candidates can easily fib on paper. “You have to be concerned that a person is not giving straight forward answers — that a person is trying to look too good — if they are trying to get a certain position,” said Brannon, the South Florida psychologist. In contrast, clinical psychologists who examine police recruits consider test scores, but also interview acquaintances, review personal and mental-health records and, most importantly, speak to the candidate one on one. David Corey, an Oregon clinical psychologist who specializes in police evaluations, said that full evaluations are important not only for the state and security companies but “to ensure public safety is considered.” “The stakes are raised when a weapon is involved, and there are the potential catastrophic consequences that may result by someone who is unsuited to make a lethal-force decision,” said Corey, who is a member and former president of the American Board of Police & Public Safety Psychology. A probing psychologist might have certainly found some of those red flags. Records showed Mateen struggled with his grades throughout school and had numerous emotional and violent outbursts. Mateen was suspended a total of 48 days at two high schools he attended, including two stings for “fighting with injury.” When he was high school, Mateen was also arrested for misdemeanor battery after a fight with a student. What punishment, if any, he received is unknown because the juvenile record was ultimately sealed and expunged. G4S said it was unaware of the sealed arrest record. The Florida corrections department hired him as an officer trainee. He was stationed at the Martin Correctional Institution. But records showed he was fired in early 2007 after repeatedly falling asleep in class, skipping school, and laughingly wondering whether a classmate would tell if he brought a gun to class. The gun comment was made two days after a gunman killed 32 people during a rampage at Virginia Tech University. “In light of recent tragic events at Virginia Tech officer Mateen's inquiry about bringing a weapon to class is at best extremely disturbing,” the prison warden at the time wrote in a memo. To G4S, Mateen only disclosed that he was dismissed for skipping work because of a fever. Corrections only verified that he worked there. To add to questions about Mateen, the “character certification” document sent to the state by the company listed a psychologist who had closed her South Miami practice more than a year earlier. After the Orlando shooting, the company acknowledged that it was a “clerical error” and that the test was actually administered by the firm that bought her business. The company has said Mateen underwent an “extensive” and “rigorous” background check. G4S said it also analyzed everything from Mateen’s work references to his credit and driving record. In determining whether he would succeed on the job, the company deemed him “above average.” “We are continuing to conduct a full and thorough investigation,” the company said Friday. “However, at this stage, we have found nothing in Omar Mateen’s work behavior that suggested he was capable of committing — or planned to commit — such an atrocity.”

Jun 25, 2016 tcpalm.com
Investigation: Treasure Coast judges want G4S security guards removed from courthouses
FORT PIERCE — Treasure Coast judges fear for their safety in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage by G4S security guard Omar Mateen, who did stints guarding the county courthouses in St. Lucie and Indian River, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said Friday. The judges want sheriff's deputies to handle all security at the St. Lucie courthouses, as they do in Martin County, Mascara said after meeting with Chief Judge Elizabeth Metzger Monday. Deputies currently are stationed in St. Lucie and Indian River courtrooms while G4S security guards are stationed at the metal detectors at the entrances to the court buildings. Mascara and Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said they are satisfied with G4S' service and employees, but will consider replacing the private security guards with deputies. There are eight or nine G4S guards in the Fort Pierce and St. Lucie West courthouses, and two in Vero Beach, both of whom have worked there for a decade. Loar said Metzger hasn't raised any issues with the G4S security guards at the Indian River County Courthouse and it was unclear how she feels about security there. Replacing G4S with deputies would cost St. Lucie $200,000 more and Indian River $60,000 more than the respective $377,000 and $86,000 the sheriffs are paying G4S this year. Loar said his staff had considered replacing G4S with deputies three months before Mateen's shooting spree — but didn't specify why — and are more likely to do so now. St. Lucie's contract originated in the mid-1990s when Bobby Knowles was sheriff, Mascara said. Indian River's contract originated in 2003 when Roy Raymond was sheriff, Loar said. Metzger and the judiciary had concerns even before Mateen's June 12 rampage at the Pulse gay nightclub left him and 49 others dead and 53 wounded, Mascara said. "The Orlando shooting was a motivating factor to bring all those concerns to the front burner," Mascara said, adding the change could go into effect as soon as Oct. 1. "If we find that they're under-performing at any of the locations or they're not fulfilling the obligations of their contract, we would most likely terminate it. The concerns of the judiciary would be an influence because we are there to protect them, and if they have concerns about their security we want to address that." Metzger referred questions about her security concerns to Trial Court Administrator Tom Genung. "The tragic event and senseless loss of life in Orlando heightens our already existing concerns about security in our courthouses," Genung said in an emailed statement. Martin County Sheriff Will Snyder said he never considered hiring G4S or any other security firm because he wouldn't have the same confidence in private guards as he has in his deputies. I think that there can be too much volatility in those courtrooms. There is too much potential for violence," Snyder said. "We have divorce court, we have criminal court, we have a lot of civilians going in and out of there. It's too sensitive of a target in today's day and age. I want my people in there and I'm not open to any discussions about changing it." The Florida Division of Licensing is investigating an issue related to Mateen's firearms license, and "G4S is cooperating fully," the company said in an emailed statement. CBS News reported the psychologist listed on a notarized license application as having evaluated Mateen's mental competency told reporters she never saw him. Mateen completed the required psychological assessment, known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and it was evaluated by a doctor with the Headquarters for Psychological Evaluation, the G4S statement said. He had worked as a substitute security guard at the Vero Beach courthouse as recently as April 20. Before that, Mascara's courthouse supervisor removed Mateen from his Fort Pierce courthouse post on Oct. 2, 2013, based on concerns about his aggressive behavior. Mateen, who had worked at the courthouse for less than a year, complained he had been harassed by co-workers, the G4S statement said. G4S found no reason to discipline Mateen as a result of the removal, an emailed statement said. "Allegations of workplace harassment were investigated, and were determined not to disqualify him from employment or require any additional training or counseling as a result of the customer's request to remove him from the courthouse," the statement said. After Mateen's rampage, G4S learned the FBI had investigated Mateen after his courthouse removal, the statement said. "The FBI did not inform us of this inquiry or its nature, nor were we advised about a subsequent FBI investigation in 2014," the statement said. "FBI Director James Comey confirmed that agents investigated Omar Mateen in 2013 and 2014 and closed their investigations after deciding that no further action was necessary." Some of G4S's private clients on the Treasure Coast don't hold Mateen's rampage against the massive corporation. The Lake Charles Association in St. Lucie West has not considered hiring a new security company to staff the community's gate house as a result of Mateen's notoriety, said Paul Bettencourt, the association's secretary. None of the homeowners brought up G4S or Mateen during the association's June 16 meeting or with him personally, he said. "I myself, as a board member, have no complaints at all," Bettencourt said. "They do a good job. Their guys are conscientious. Their uniforms are always sharp. They look good. They represent the community very well. They're very polite to our residents and guests. They seem to follow their standard operating procedures pretty well." Bettencourt said he is familiar with most of the G4S security guards who work at Lake Charles and does not recall ever seeing Mateen working in the community. Residents are more concerned at PGA Village, where Mateen's last security guard shift at the St. Lucie County gated community was June 11, two days before the shooting. The homeowners association and the management company did not respond to questions about whether they were considering replacing G4S. Homeowners at a June 15 special meeting with G4S questioned how Mateen could have passed the company's employee screening process and wondered whether he ever posed a danger to them. G4S said Mateen passed the company's vetting process and subsequent investigations. "We were never given any information, either by law enforcement authorities or Mateen's co-workers, that caused us to question his continued employment with the company," the G4S statement said. "Mateen was subject to multiple criminal records checks, background investigations and a psychological assessment, all of which met the criteria for initial and continuing employment. We are continuing to conduct a full and thorough investigation. However, at this stage, we have found nothing in Omar Mateen's work behavior that suggested he was capable of committing — or planned to commit — such an atrocity."G4S, based in London and quoted on the London Stock Exchange, reportedly is the third largest employer in the world, with 610,000 employees. It reported $8.7 billion in revenue in 2015. Doing business in 100 countries, it has offices throughout the U.S., including Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. It has provided security services to several other public and private facilities on the Treasure Coast over the years, including the St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Fort Pierce, where Mateen once worked as an intake officer in 2008. The company gained notoriety on the Treasure Coast because of its operation of the Martin Girls Academy, which has been plagued by violence against the inmates and staffers. G4S runs the academy, on the Martin County Sheriff's Office compound, under a contract with the state Department of Juvenile Justice. The Martin County School Board is set to discuss its relationship with G4S and the school district's role in the Martin Girls Academy during a meeting July 21. The school district provides educational services to the girls at the academy. G4S also provided overnight security at the Martin County Airport, which is also known as Witham Field, from 2005 through 2012. Martin County paid G4S about $75,000 per year. G4S has provided security at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce since 2011, said Ronda Barnes Wilburn, the marketing director for the hospital's parent company, Treasure Coast Healthcare System. Mateen never worked there. "G4S is our current security provider and we are satisfied with the service they provide," Wilburn said in an emailed statement.

Jun 18, 2016 miamiherald.com
‘Clerical error’ on Orlando killer’s psychological eval named wrong doctor
Nine years ago, the state of Florida received documentation from a security firm vouching for the mental health of Omar Mateen, who launched a bloody attack this week on Orlando nightclub patrons. But the psychologist whose name appears on the document in state records said Friday that she never evaluated a man who now ranks as the worst mass killer in American history. In fact, she wasn’t even living in Florida when the evaluation was supposedly completed. The revelation Friday became another source of scrutiny for the G4S security firm, which was known as Wackenhut at the time. The psychological evaluation done for the company, which is required under state law, cleared Mateen to carry a firearm as a private security guard. “What I do know is that in September 2007, I was not living or working in Florida, I was not performing any work for Wackenhut, and I did not administer any type of examination to Omar Mateen,” Dr. Carol Nudelman, who now lives in Colorado, said in a statement released through her attorneys to the Miami Herald and other papers who had published her name. The company on Friday called the discrepancy a “clerical error” and said that Mateen was indeed evaluated, but by a different psychologist. The global security firm — which does work in more than 100 countries — is locally based in Jupiter. Its operations have come under scrutiny a number of times over the years. In the mid-2000s, G4S was accused of overbilling Miami-Dade County taxpayers of at least $3 million for security services that were not actually provided at Metrorail stations. But a criminal case against company employees fizzled in 2012, with charges being dropped against two high-level executives. In 2009, a G4S employee shot and killed two coworkers while on a security detail in Iraq. A British inquest later revealed the company didn’t do enough to vet the man. The company was also criticized for not providing enough security for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The company fell under the spotlight again Sunday after its employee, Mateen, stormed the Pulse gay nightclub on Sunday, killing 49 and wounding 53. Mateen had been a G4S employee since 2007. In phone calls to police during the attack, he pledged support to the Islamic State terror group and other extremist attackers. In 2013, he drew the attention of the FBI after making “inflammatory” statements to co-workers while based at the St. Lucie criminal courthouse, claiming he was affiliated with al-Qaida. The FBI conducted a 10-month investigation but could not prove any ties or wrongdoing; he was not charged. He admitted to making the statements, saying that he made them only because co-workers had teased him about his Muslim faith. The company kept Mateen as an employee, moving him to a kiosk at a gated community in Palm Beach County, where he was not armed. A former co-worker, Daniel Gilroy, told the Miami Herald that he had complained to superiors about Mateen’s frequent violent, racist and homophobic tirades. He alleged that the company had ignored him, while G4S said it had no record of those complaints. The FBI in 2014 also probed his ties to a Vero Beach man who became an ISIS sympathizer and killed himself in a suicide attack in Syria. That probe into Mateen also yielded nothing; G4S said it never knew of the probe. When Mateen was hired by G4S in 2007 — after being fired as a state corrections officer — the company trained him and sponsored his application to become a security guard and carry a firearm. In his application for the firearms license released by the state on Wednesday, G4S submitted a “character certification” that indicated that Nudelman, then of South Miami, had evaluated or administered a psychological test to Mateen on Sept. 6, 2007. Nudelman has been in the news before for evaluating a prospective G4S security guard who later turned to violence. In 1998, she passed Paul D. Ahern, who went on a shooting spree in Miami, killing two people and wounding a cop. On Wednesday, Nudelman’s lawyers released a lengthy statement to various media outlets saying that G4S’ form was a “false document.” The reason: Nudelman had closed her Florida practice on Jan. 1, 2006 – 21 months before Mateen was supposedly evaluated. “She had no involvement in the psychological screening of individuals for Wackenhut after 2005,” said her lawyers, Taylor Wilson and Lin Wood. In an email on Friday, the company said Mateen was indeed evaluated by the firm that bought Nudelman’s practice, Headquarters for Psychological Evaluation, owned by Dr. Joanne Bauling. She could not be reached for comment on Friday. The company also said Friday that Mateen was not interviewed by a psychologist, but rather, the psychologist evaluated the results of a standard test used in job screenings.

Apr 23, 2016 newera.com.na
G4S guard granted bail for alleged theft
A member of the G4S security company was granted bail of N$3 000 in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court for allegedly conniving to steal N$100 000. Jacobs Appolus, 25, made his first appearance in connection with the case in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where Magistrate Ilge Rheent granted Appolus bail. The matter was remanded to July 4 for further investigations and to enable him to get legal representation. Prosecutor Rowan van Wyk represented the State. A statement issued by the police on Friday indicates that on Thursday, April 14, at about 10h00 the Serious Crime Unit in Windhoek received a report from the management of G4S Securicor company that an amount of N$100 000 had gone missing while in transit from their offices at Eros Suburb to First National Bank (FNB) Cash Centre in Windhoek central business district. It is alleged six employees (the male and three female) were onboard the cash-in-transit vehicle when it departed from the office, but upon arrival at the bank, it was discovered that N$100 000 was missing from the total amount signed out at the office, according to the police statement. The police immediately launched an investigation, as a result of which N$60 000 was recovered from a bathroom at Maerua Mall at about 12h00, after it was allegedly handed to an accomplice employed at a furniture shop at Maerua Mall. A short while later N$39 800 was recovered from a handbag of a cleaner at Maerua Mall. Appolus was arrested with N$120 hidden in his socks and reportedly confessed that he had used the missing N$80 to pay for taxi fare and a recharge voucher.

Mar 19, 2016 newschannel5.com
Security Guard Charged With Sexual Battery9
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A security guard has been charged in connection with a sexual battery. According to reports, the security guard, identified as Aaron Mepham, was charged with attacking a woman. Officials said he was an employee of G4S Secure Solutions, which is a company the Davidson County Sheriff's Office contracted to run security at several businesses. Mepham had been assigned to work at Metro Courthouse. Authorities confirmed Mepham was not on duty at the time of this incident. Officials said the female victim was a civilian employee with the Metro Nashville Police Department. The victim said Mepham walked her to her vehicle at a downtown business parking lot after dark. That’s when Mepham allegedly grabbed her at the waist suddenly, pulled her toward him, and started kissing her. She said he then told her he wanted to follow her home. The woman told officers she pulled away, jumped in the car, and drove home where she called police. Authorities said the security guard admitted to detectives he grabbed and kissed the victim. Mepham was charged with sexual battery. No further details were known.

Mar 12, 2016 securitysales.com
G4S Sells Business in Israel Amid Accusations of Being Complicit to Human Rights Abuses in Prisons
The world’s largest security firm is selling its business in Israel, yet the reason why is up for debate. G4S announced on Thursday that the news was for purely “commercial reasons,” however a boycott campaign against the company is taking responsibility, according to Newsweek. The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign claims G4S was complicit in Israeli human rights abuses within the prisons it operated in against Palestinian prisoners. “Since 2013, we have been running a review of our business portfolio to determine which businesses we want to remain invested in and which we are looking to divest from, purely to streamline the business and to get a greater degree of strategic focus,” G4S Spokesman Nigel Fairbrass said in the report. The security company has 8,000 employees in Israel and while it says none work at prisons or are in control of prisons in the West Bank, it supplies the prisons with security equipment. BDS has criticized investors in G4S for their involvement with the company. In fact, The Bill Gates Foundation was pressured into selling its $170 million stake in the company in 2014 when protests occurred outside of its offices in Seattle, London and Johannesburg, according to the report. “As at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesman for the Palestinian BDS National Committee. “We are starting to notice a domino effect.”

Dec 27, 2015 naplesnews.com
Fort Myers Youth Academy mentor arrested for explicit photos
An employee of the Fort Myers Youth Academy has been arrested after explicit photos of her were discovered on a teen participant's phone. Jo Ellen Marie Gardner, 32, faces a felony charge of distributing obscene material to a minor. Gardner resigned Dec. 8 after her employer began investigating, according to G4S Youth Services, which runs the youth academy. The Fort Myers Youth Academy is a residential treatment facility for boys aged 14 to 18. G4S Youth Services contracts with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to provide services. A DJJ spokeswoman said the department's Inspector General's Office is investigating what happened with Gardner. A relative of the teen victim discovered nude photos of Gardner on the teen's phone in early December, according to an arrest report. The phone also contained explicit text messages between Gardner and the teen. The victim told detectives Gardner was his mentor while he was housed in the treatment program in Fort Myers. When confronted by deputies, Gardner at first denied that anything inappropriate had happened but later admitted to kissing him and sending him the text messages and photos. Gardner then started to cry and asked if she was in trouble, according to an arrest report. Gardner was arrested Dec. 17 and was released two days later after posting a $15,000 bond. Monica Lewman-Garcia, a spokeswoman for G4S, said Gardner was hired as a youth specialist in July of 2014 based on her qualifications and ability to pass a background check and drug test. Lewman-Garcia said the organization is cooperating with investigators but noted the incident happened after the teen was discharged from the program. Following the investigation, she said G4S will "work to ensure that any necessary changes, based on lessons learned, are fully implemented."

Dec 6, 2015 english.pnn.ps
A UN body that has been facing pressure to end its links with security company G4S over its role in Israeli human rights abuses has announced that it no longer has contracts with the company. G4S has been providing services to UNHCR in Jordan but a spokesperson told a reporter last Monday that the body does not have any contracts with the firm. The announcement was made following a wave of protests online and at UN offices across 5 major cities over the weekend calling on the UN to end all of its contracts $22m worth of contracts with G4S. G4S is the target of an international campaign over its role in Israeli prisons and check points and the fact it helps to run an Israeli police academy. Investigations in September 2014 found G4S guards to be working at UNHCR buildings in Amman and at Syrian refugee camps in Zaatari and Azraq, leading to the start of BDS campaigning on the issue. UN documents show that UNHCR in Jordan had contracts with G4S worth $1.7m in 2014. Sources familiar with the matter have told campaigners that UNHCR started moving security contracts from G4S to a local company earlier this year. Other UN bodies including UNICEF, the UNDP and UNOPS still have contracts with the company. More than 200 organisations have called on the UN to bar the organisation from having contracts doing so violates the UN’s procurement code of conduct. The #UNdropG4S campaign has set up a web page that makes it easy for people to write to the UN to voice their concerns and are urging people to join a Thunderclap social media action. Yazeed Halaseh, member of the Jordan BDS group who campaign against G4S in Jordan, said: “We welcome the announcement of UNHCR in Jordan that it is no longer hiring G4S. G4S is at the heart of Israel’s use of mass incarceration to repress Palestinian opposition to its military occupation and settler colonialism. We hope that the UN will listen to the thousands of people who are taking action and will end all of its contracts with G4S.” Reverend Don Wagner, Friends of Sabeel North America, who began investigating the relationship between G4S and the UN in 2014, said: “We were shocked to discover G4S agents ushering refugees into the UNHCR Amman office in September of 2014. News that this office no longer holds contracts with G4S is refreshing. It builds momentum for the UN as a whole to follow suit and to uphold human rights and human dignity everywhere.” Rafat Sub Laban from Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer, who started lobbying the UN on its contracts with G4S in April, said: “Recent weeks have seen a wave of mass arrests by Israeli occupation forces aimed at repressing protests and imposing control and collective punishment on Palestinians in the occupied territory. Since the beginning of October, Israeli occupation forces arrested over 2,050 Palestinians including at least 350 children and over 210 Palestinians including 4 minors who were placed under administrative detention without charge or trial. Many of those who were arrested remain detained by Israel.” “These political prisoners are held in prisons and interrogation centres that G4S helps Israel to run, making G4S complicit in Israel’s torture, ill-treatment and administrative detention without charge or trial of Palestinians. “Addameer welcomes this news from UNHCR in Jordan and hopes the UN will now terminate all its contracts with G4S and to distance itself from complicity in human rights violations.” In June 2014, the Gates Foundation divested the whole of its $170m holding in the company as a result of an international campaign. The US Methodist Church, the largest protestant church in the US, divested from G4S after coalition campaigning brought the issue to a vote. Universities in Oslo and Bergen refused to give G4S contracts over its role in Israel’s prison system following student campaigns. In the UK, at least 5 student unions have voted to cancel contracts with G4S, and students successfully pressured 2 other universities not to renew contracts with the company. Major charities in South Africa, the Netherlands and elsewhere terminated contracts with G4S. Facing mounting international pressure, G4S announced in 2014 that G4S “did not expect to renew” its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it expires in 2017, and it has also said it will end some aspects of its involvement in illegal Israeli settlements. BDS activists have said they will continue their campaign until G4S ends all aspects of its support for Israeli violations of international law.

Nov 24, 2015 opendemocracy
People tied up ‘like animals’ on UK deportation flights

Commercial contractors routinely belt immigration detainees into restraints so extreme that they are rarely used in prisons. A woman being deported from the UK to Pakistan was compliant and cooperative throughout the process. Still, the commercial contractor Tascor, working for the UK Home Office, strapped the woman into a waist restraint belt until after the plane had taken off. One man on suicide watch was strapped into a waist restraint belt even though there was no evidence that he posed a risk to others. Another man, who refused to board a deportation flight, was belted continuously for eight long hours. His wrists swelled. He was examined by a paramedic. These cases have come to light in two new reports by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. The inspectors also found that waist restraint belts were used six times on three flights to Pakistan, and that approaches to security were “unduly indiscriminate in some respects”. Government advisers have described the waist belt as “a custom-designed piece of restraint equipment, manufactured from manmade fibres and using plastic snap-locks and Velcro fasteners, designed to be worn around the subject’s waist. Soft cuffs, with plastic snap-lock and Velcro fasteners, are attached to the belt by retractable cords.” They said: “In the ‘free’ position, although still connected to the belt, the cords are long enough to allow the subject relatively free movement of his arms and hands (for example, for eating). In the ‘retracted’ position, the subject’s hands are pulled in to the front of the belt, where they can be further secured by a snap-lock fastened mesh.” Inspectors described the waist belt as “almost equivalent … to the most extreme and very rarely used” restraint equipment in prisons. The belts were introduced by the Home Office as part of a new training program for deportation staff, that was prompted by the unlawful killing of Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga by G4S guards in 2010. The independent panel that advised on the use of the new equipment warned last year that “indiscriminate use of the restraint belt was not justifiable ethically or legally”. It said ministers would have to approve its introduction and it should only be used as “an exceptional measure”. The coroner who presided over the inquest into Mubenga’s death wrote in a Prevention of Future Deaths Report in July 2013: “It goes without saying that the use of a body-cuff would constitute a significant interference in the bodily integrity of any person to whom it is applied. Dignity and bodily integrity are matters in which close regard must be had in determining what new techniques are to be introduced.” Yet HM Inspectorate of Prisons has found that the waist restraint belts “were now embedded in practice” and that they risked “being overused”. On three flights to Nigeria and Ghana, the belts were used ten times. Inspectors said that “the justification for several of these uses was not explicit in the records” which they examined. On another flight, the belt was used on eight passengers, even though five of them did not resist being put on the flight. Inspectors said: “while risk factors were used to justify each case, the evidence was sometimes minimal.” Some authorisation forms for using restraints “did not indicate what specific risk factors might have existed”, and lacked sufficient detail, the inspectors noted. This appears to falls short of the Home Office’s own guidance on the use of these belts, which requires a senior manager to record “whether the restraint was reasonable, proportionate and necessary”. Two detainees arrived at the airport “in a small van that had been contaminated with their urine”. The men were then kept in the van for several hours, which, according to the inspectors, was “unacceptable treatment”. The inspectors noted that one man, who was on suicide watch, had lived in Britain for 15 years and was being taken away from his mother who was very ill in hospital here. Another man who was placed in one of the waist restraint belts had been on suicide watch for the previous six months in a series of detention centres. The investigative organisation Corporate Watch tracked down one detainee who was on the same deportation flight as the man on suicide watch mentioned in the inspectors’ report. Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the witness described the scene on board: “A lot of people were tied up, in like a vest on your tummy and arms,” he said. “They tightened up the back so you cannot move and you have pain in your back. You cannot move your hands. They put people on that plane like animals.” Corporate Watch spoke to one former detainee who claims he was recently restrained by guards in a device which sounds similar to the new belts. He says it blocked his airflow and caused him to pass out. He spoke anonymously, fearing reprisals from the Home Office: “The guards tried to pin me down with their legs and their knees. After some time they put a belt from under my my armpit down to my abdomen. They started tightening it and I was screaming and screaming ‘This is too tight for me!’” He went on: “After some time I passed out – there was no air. Someone shouted that they should put me in the recovery position. I was in panic and hyperventilating. They held my head and tried to force a tablet into my mouth. I was choking and gagging for 30 minutes.” Despite his passing out, the guards continued trying to deport him, the man claimed. “They put me in a wheelchair and moved me into the deportation van. On the way to the airport my condition deteriorated and they called an ambulance on the motorway and I went to hospital for some hours.” He says he was taken to hospital in handcuffs, despite the new Home Office policy. “I was still handcuffed on the way to hospital. The handcuffs cut the bone of my wrist and I’m having pain in the scrotum and lower back from the assault,” he said. In the days before one of the deportation flights featured in the inspection reports, volunteers at the Unity Centre in Glasgow spoke to many of the men facing deportation. Among them were fathers leaving behind their partners and young children. The sense of fear and desperation was strong. One young man, Fred (not his real name), scaled the fence at Harmondsworth detention centre. The inspectors said this caused “considerable delay” in taking people to the airport. Whenever Home Office officials tried to come near him, Fred threatened to jump. A mattress was placed underneath him. The flight left without him, and at  the end of the night he came down from the fence. One week later Corporate Watch visited Fred in detention. He said he was born in Sierra Leone, where his father, an aid worker with the British Red Cross, was killed during the civil war. He had lived in the UK since he was 11 years old with his surviving family. He said all the detainees were talking about not wanting to go on the flight, “but no one was doing anything. So I got up the fence and they couldn't touch me”. At 24, he had spent the past two years of his life in detention, apart from one brief spell when he was released on tag, and required to walk miles each day to report to the Home Office. His face was vacant and expressionless. Detention was sucking the life out of him. He was being deported on the basis of police ‘intelligence’, not evidence or convictions, of association with a London gang. Operation Nexus allows the Met Police to bar people from the UK if officers believe someone is not conducive to the public good. Despite Fred’s desperate resistance, he was later deported to Sierra Leone. Another deportation flight for dozens of Nigerians from London to Lagos, is scheduled for Tuesday 24th November. Campaigners from Movement for Justice rallied outside the Nigerian High Commissioner on Wednesday 18th, and women in Yarl’s Wood detention centre published a statement opposing the flight, saying “we refused to be slaves to the British government”.

Jun 27, 2015 eveningtelegraph.co.uk
PRISON VAN DRIVER CHARGED AFTER MULTI-VEHICLE CRASH ON EDGE OF DUNDEE

The driver of a van which crashed while carrying three prisoners has been charged with careless driving. The 44-year-old man was given an on-the-spot fine following the smash near Longforgan yesterday which also involved two other lorries. There were three male prisoners and two staff members inside the G4S van at the time of the crash about 11am. While the prisoners were all accounted for following the impact — a gaping hole was left in the side of the van. The ambulance service also attended and three people were taken to Ninewells Hospital with minor injuries. The collision caused significant traffic delays on the westbound carriageway, with police asking motorists not to slow down as they looked at the crash. One eyewitness told the Tele they believed the G4S van had collided with the back of one of the lorries. He added: “I was just driving towards Perth along the A90 and about two miles past the Bullionfield garage, just before the Longforgan turn-off, it looked like there was a nasty crash between a lorry and a prison van. “The traffic was down to one lane and there was a long build-up of cars and lorries. “I got a good look at it and it looks like one of those white prison vans that goes back and forward to court was involved. “The left-hand door of the prison van was completely ripped off. “I didn’t see any prisoners, but I passed two ambulances going back to Ninewells, so they must have been carrying people. “To me, it looked like the prison van has collided with the back of the lorry — it’s caved in at the back.” A spokeswoman for Police Scotland confirmed officers were investigating. She added: “Three people have been injured after two lorries and a van collided near to the Bullionfield filling station. “The extent of the injuries is not known, but an ambulance was in attendance.” One lane was closed for about two hours while emergency services dealt with the incident, but it reopened just before 1pm.

Apr 18, 2015 mirror.co.uk
Union leaders criticised the security company after guards were given the notices on Wednesday in swoops on hospitals in Scotland. Union bosses have slammed 'disgraceful' G4S bosses after security guards were given redundancy notices – while handcuffed to dangerous prisoners. The stunned workers were escorting cons on visits to hospitals when bosses broke the news that their contracts were being ripped up. Union leaders said they were given the choice of redundancy or cuts to pay and hours that would cost more than £4000 a year. They said 56 guards got the letters, and at least 10 of them were cuffed to prisoners at the time. Steve Farrell of the guards’ union, Community, said: “In 20 years, I’ve never heard of such an inhumane way of treating staff. “It was humiliating, degrading and a total disgrace. G4S should be ashamed. “In 2015, there are many ways of communicating with people. It’s a terrible indignity to serve such a letter in front of someone else, never mind a handcuffed prisoner.” The guards were given the letters on Wednesday in swoops on hospitals in Perth, Glasgow and Wishaw, Lanarkshire, reports the Daily Record. Other workers affected had letters hand-delivered to their homes the next day – by colleagues who normally monitor offenders on tags or early release programmes. Mr Farrell said police were called to one house after a guard’s wife refused to accept the letter and the person delivering it was “persistent to the point of causing offence”. He claimed G4S were scrambling to save money after signing a “loss leader” Scottish Government contract that they couldn’t make pay. He urged bosses to negotiate. G4S said overall staff numbers in their prisoner escort business had increased, but 50 roles were being made redundant as part of a “restructuring”. A spokesman said: “We have taken steps to help these colleagues through this change. All those affected  have been offered alternative roles, financial support and protection of their hours. “We took the decision to inform all those affected at the same time, and regrettably this meant some colleagues were on duty. We are sorry for any distress this caused.”


Mar 1, 2015 shropshirestar.com

Riot jail inmates were overseen by just two prison officers from security firm. Just two prison officers were in charge of 59 prisoners, including one from Telford, when a riot broke out at HMP Oakwood that saw staff lose control for nine hours, the Shropshire Star can reveal. Inmates caused damage estimated at £171,000  as they ran rampage at the £160 million super-jail, which takes prisoners from Shropshire. Security firm G4S, which runs the prison in Featherstone, and the Ministry of Justice say the staffing level on the day was “comparable” to those at public sector jails. The prisoners took over two levels of Cedar wing at 5pm on January 4 last year, barricading themselves inside and putting glue in locks to prevent them from working. Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said officers had to be highly trained. She said: “It is not just a case of number crunching, it depends of the environment. If you have got violence, bullying, attempted suicides and drug problems, which we know there have been at Oakwood, then you need staff with that expertise and knowledge. For there to be a riot with two officers covering 59 prisoners it makes you question what they were doing.” Prisoners threw TVs and even tried to tunnel out as they ran amok. Windows were smashed and booby-traps set, while a pool table was tipped over and large flat-screen TVs thrown down the stairs. A 62-strong riot team with dogs was needed to restore order. Six prisoners were given sentences for their roles in the riot last week, including Daniel Jeffrey Rust, 23, from Telford. A Prison Service spokesman said: “Staffing levels across the estate are strictly risk-assessed and we will always ensure that there are enough staff to deliver safe and effective prison regimes. Oakwood prison staffing levels are comparable to those in similar prisons in the public sector.” The prison, close to the M54 in Staffordshire, serves Shropshire and the West Midlands. South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson said: “The issue here is that you have to make sure you have enough staff to respond quickly to disperse and prevent incidents such as this quickly. Obviously this did not happen in this case but we have to remember it was the atrocious and unforgivable behaviour of a number of prisoners as to why this violent disorder broke out.”


Feb 18, 2015 staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk
BULLYING, self-harm, and drug addictions – a penal reform charity has responded to continued problems at Oakwood Prison in Featherstone. The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report, published today, on the G4S-run prison. When inspectors visited Oakwood in June 2013, they found high levels of violence and self-harm. Prisoners even claimed that “you can get drugs here but not soap”. The report, based on an announced follow-up inspection conducted last December, noted some improvements but rated Oakwood as “not sufficiently good” at keeping prisoners safe and providing purposeful activity. Self-harm remained a serious problem – there were 358 recorded incidents in the six months prior to the inspection – and the number of men on suicide watch was very high. Inspectors noted that the prison was calmer than before and staff had become more experienced, but bullying and victimisation were rife, mainly linked to drugs, medicine and debt. The worst violence was found on the vulnerable prisoner wing, where many prisoners felt unsafe. Use of force incidents were double the number in comparable prisons. Use of segregation was high and had increased since the last inspection. The regime on the segregation unit was poor and only one in four prisoners said they had been treated well by staff.  Healthcare had improved since the last inspection, but still suffered from chronic staffing shortages. Drugs were still easily available, with use of the legal high ‘black mamba’ being a particular problem. More prisoners than elsewhere said that they had developed a problem with drugs at the prison. Many reported that alcohol was available. One in five prisoners was locked up during the working day. This was an improvement since the last inspection, but still not good enough. Much of the work was unskilled, mundane and without accreditation. Teaching quality varied significantly and was rated as “requires improvement” by Ofsted. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The powers-that-be seem to be living in a Wonderland where there is no recognition that there are still safety problems in Oakwood. "Thousands of people have gone through the prison. Many have come out more dangerous and even acquired a drug addiction. “Oakwood only opened in 2012, but the years of failure will have created thousands of extra victims and the powers-that-be are ignoring the plight of those victims. “We are told that lessons are learned but every single private prison ever opened has started with huge problems – and some both continue to have, and to cause, huge problems.”


Aug 23, 2014 theguardian.com

Campaigners have criticised private firms for using immigration detainees as cheap labour inside detention centres after research suggested this saves them millions of pounds. Some detainees said they were being paid as little as £1 an hour to cook and clean. Home Office figures showed that in May this year, detainees in centres run bySerco, G4S and other contractors did nearly 45,000 hours of work for a total of nearly £45,500 in pay. Had they been paid at the national minimum wage, the cost would have been more than £280,000. Over 12 months, the figures suggest that the firms – which also include Mitieand GEO – could have saved more than £2.8m, according to research group Corporate Watch, which obtained the data, and said firms were "exploiting their captive migrant workforce". The Home Office insisted, however, that detainees had a choice whether or not to work and that inspectors had praised the practice of allowing them to work while they await removal from the UK. One female detainee, who spent months in the Yarl's Wood centre in Bedfordshire, where she was employed as a cleaner, said she believed the detainees were being used to do essential work in place of staff paid the minimum wage. Another detainee, Ralph Ojotu, who works as a cleaner in Harmondsworth detention centre, said that it was hypocritical of the British government to ban him from working to support his two children in the outside world, but to allow him to be employed on around £1 an hour in a detention centre run by its contractor GEO. "We are not allowed to work out there, but in here, they are handing out jobs like pieces of cake," he said. The figures relate to seven centres: Yarl's Wood and Colnbrook, which are operated by Serco; Brook House and Tinsley House, which are run by G4s; and Harmondsworth and Dungavel, which are managed by American firm GEO. The seventh centre, Campsfield, is run by Mitie. Two government-run centres, Dover and Morton Hall, also employ detainees on £1 per hour, potentially saving more than £1.4m per year. Phil Miller, a researcher at Corporate Watch, said: "These companies are potentially saving millions of pounds by exploiting their captive migrant workforce on a grand scale. Our research has shown that the detention centres would grind to a halt without the amount of essential work done by detainees on a daily basis – cooking and cleaning." The status of immigration detainees held in centres while their cases are decided is distinct from that of convicted prisoners. Yet, like prison inmates, they do not qualify for the national minimum wage. They are also barred from any other form of work, yet must pay for essential goods such as toiletries. The latest financial figures from G4S in the UK and Ireland show that the company made £122m in pre-tax profit in 2013, while Serco made £106m in the same period. Mitie's accounts show it made £127.5m in the 12 months to June 2014, while GEO's US-based parent, GEO Group Inc, reported £184m in pre-tax profit. On behalf of the firms, a Home Office spokesman said: "The long-standing practice of offering paid work to detainees has been praised by Her Majesty's inspectorate of prisons as it helps to keep them occupied whilst their removal is being arranged. Whether or not they wish to participate is entirely up to the detainees themselves. This practice is not intended to substitute the work of trained staff." Wyn Jones, of Serco, said the paid work was voluntary and in accordance with Home Office rules. He added: "It is offered to residents alongside other constructive activities to help reduce boredom and improve mental health and, if not conducted, would have no effect on the running of the [centres]. Serco refutes any implication that we use residents to conduct work in place of officers or staff at any of the IRCs that we manage and thereby increase profits."

Aug 10, 2014 bbc.com

Police concern at G4S home plan for Wellingborough Police were called to 200 incidents at G4S children's homes in Northamptonshire last year, officers say in a report raising concerns about a new home planned for Wellingborough. G4S has applied to the borough council to allow a home in Hatton Avenue to be used to house up to five girls and boys aged from 10 to 17 with two carers.

Northamptonshire Police said that a new home would add to its workload. G4S said: "We cannot comment on planning applications." The police report said: "Police officers have spent at least 90 hours dealing with initial reports of absent/missing persons with the Northamptonshire G4S homes. "Should the local authority be minded to grant permission for this proposal Northamptonshire Police will need a robust management plan from the applicant, setting out policies and procedures for minimising crime and disorder, dealing with disruptive children/young people within their care and the policy related to missing persons." The plans have also received more than 100 objections with residents expressing concern that the home would attract an "excessive number of police visits" and bring increased traffic to the street. G4S said in a report to the council that it is a "recognised quality provider within children's services". The plans will be considered by Wellingborough Borough Council's planning committee later on in the year.


Jul 19, 2014 ft.com

G4S, the private security company, has lost a contract to run detention cells in Wales, in a blow to a sector that had been expecting a wave of police outsourcing work. South Wales Police Force said it was scrapping plans to issue a fresh contract for the management of so-called custody suites, including risk assessments, identity checks and guarding detainees. G4S had been paid £3m over the past five years for the contract, which it had held for a decade. The move follows a decision by Avon and Somerset Police not to outsource custody suites, despite running a year-long competition among private sector providers to provide detention centres, detainee transport and identification services. Both forces said it was cheaper to run the services in-house. Alun Michael, police and crime commissioner for South Wales, and a former Labour home secretary, said keeping the staff in-house was the “most effective and cost-efficient system for dealing with custody across South Wales”. Peter Vaughan, chief constable for the South Wales Police Force, agreed it would “provide a better organisational fit”. Analysts suggest that police outsourcing has stalled partly as a result of the election of police and crime commissioners, which has politicised the process in some areas. About a third of the UK’s 41 PCCs, elected on a dismal voter turnout in November 2012, had campaigned on a no-privatisation manifesto, according to a study by the University of Leeds. Stuart Lister, senior lecturer in criminal justice at Leeds, said that although many chief constables are supportive of greater moves towards outsourcing given the need for forces to make 20 per cent cost savings by 2015, PCCs are more concerned with public perceptions because they need to be re-elected. “You’ve got professional police officers suggesting one thing and elected police commissioners doing another,” he said. “The short-term political imperatives appear to be a buttress against the trend towards outsourcing but the wider political and financial pressures suggest it will remain a realistic prospect. The government also remains supportive of the push towards outsourcing.” Around 16 Conservative police and crime commissioners were elected; 13 Labour and 12 Independent. “Where they are red and where they are blue you may find different political approaches to how costs are reduced,” said Mr Lister. The prospects for police service outsourcing were badly damaged by criticism of a £1.5bn deal proposed by West Midlands and Surrey forces in March 2012. Facing far-reaching budget cuts, the force wanted to save cash and bridge a £126m funding gap, but the plan was cancelled by Bob Jones, a recently deceased Labour police commissioner, within days of his election after concerns were raised about the inclusion of operational police duties such as carrying out patrols. Companies argue that much of the political controversy is unwarranted and that the biggest savings come from administrative improvements rather than operational and frontline services. Staff account for about 80 per cent of police expenditure. They say that by taking over more mundane roles, trained police officers will be freed to do their traditional jobs and that cuts to police budgets mean authorities will have little alternative to outsourcing if they are to preserve frontline services. “We would have expected to have seen much more movement in the market by now,” said one private sector operator. “There’s a lot of failed bids right now; organisations are holding the competitions and then failing to award the contracts having spent the time and money on the procurement process.” The private sector’s hopes had been raised by Lincolnshire police’s trailblazing deal with G4S, which encompassed the widest spectrum of services offered in a single contract by a British police authority. The £200m, 10-year contract involved the transfer of half the force’s civilian staff to the private security company. A report on the second year of operation is expected soon after the first year showed it had delivered 18 per cent savings and trimmed £5m from the force’s budget, while improving services and increasing frontline staff numbers. But unions warn that companies are achieving cost reductions by employing civilian rather than police staff. Research by Suffolk Police shows that such savings are significant: a uniformed drugs liaison officer, for example, would earn £45,229 a year – 39 per cent more than a civilian doing the same job at £27,443; a uniformed sergeant would earn £54,651 if employed directly by the state, compared with £34,030 by the private sector.


Jun 30, 2014 opendemocracy.net

• For almost an hour after Steve Ham was found unresponsive, G4S guards failed to call an ambulance

• Panic, inexperience, understaffing and lack of transparency exposed at UK's flagship private prison

In the early hours of Thursday 6 February 2013, in his cell at Oakwood Prison, Edward Ham, known to friends and family as Steve, rang the emergency bell. He told officers he had chest pains. The time was 3.29 am. Guards at the Birmingham jail, which is run for profit by security company G4S, monitored Ham, but failed to call a doctor. On checking Ham at 4.52 am, G4S officer Anita Duggal “knew something was wrong because there was no response from him.” She told the inquest into Ham’s death at Stafford Coroner's Court last week: “I went in his cell after getting approval from my manager to see if there was a pulse but there wasn’t.” Even though all staff were trained in first-aid it took 12 minutes before anybody attempted CPR. It was 53 minutes before an ambulance was called. “They all thought one of them had called an ambulance when in fact none of them had,” paramedic Neil Weaver said in a statement read out at the inquest. Prison officer Sarah Hollyhead told the court: “It was my belief that there was a defibrillator available but it was locked away.” She said: “We were given demonstrations on defibrillators but were not allowed to test them out.” The inquest heard that the two private prison officers had less than two years’ experience between them. Both officers accepted that they had panicked. One was too fearful to enter Ham’s cell. When paramedics arrived at 6.20am, almost three hours after Ham had complained of chest pains, it was immediately apparent to them that he was dead. Steve Ham was 54 years old. Last week South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh concluded that Ham had died of ischemic heart disease. The cause of death was “natural causes in a man who received sub-optimal care”. The coroner said he would make a report regarding staffing levels at the jail. HMP Oakwood is run by G4S, the self-styled “world’s leading security company” that is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for inflating fees on public contracts. Under what’s known as a “manage and maintain” contract, over 15 years G4S is due to get £349 million of public money for running Oakwood. (That’s according to Ministry of Justice FOI response reference 82754 June 2013). When the prison opened two years ago, minister of justice Chris Grayling, a former PR man, told Parliament: “We have a very good model for prison development in Oakwood… To my mind, it is an excellent model for the future of the Prison Service.” [Hansard, 5 February 2013] G4S declared Oakwood's ambition to be, within five years, “the leading prison in the world”. The prison would be “‘restorative’ in the widest sense of the word,” said G4S. And here’s how: “Prisoners and staff will be encouraged to repair individual or group harm as soon as possible and at the lowest level.  Staff will contribute to reducing re-offending by acting pro-socially and modelling socially acceptable and desirable traits.”

Eh? Ever since the first prisoners moved in (before the builders had moved out) in April 2012, G4S has failed to deliver the basics. In July last year even the Ministry of Justice expressed “serious concern” over Oakwood, granting the prison its lowest possible rating. The Howard League for Penal Reform called that a “damning indictment” of for-profit companies’ involvement in justice. In August, Oakwood’s Independent Monitoring Board reported that:

• A very high level of staff had little or no prison experience, and high rates of sickness left too few staff for front-line duties.

• Cell furniture was made of cheap fibre-board that was easy to break up into weapons

• The stairwells, out of sight of CCTV cameras, were perfect for assaults

• Hooch, drugs and mobile phones were plentiful; it was easy to throw contraband into the grounds, there being only one perimeter fence instead of the usual two

• Self-harm was a worry — several prisoners had gone over the landing railings; there were no nets

(You can access the PDF here).

In October HM Inspectorate of Prisons (reporting on their unannounced visit in June) found those faults and more. Well over a third of inmates were locked up during the working day. Prisoners found it was easier to get drugs than soap. Levels of self-harm were high. “Many staff were passive and compliant, almost to the point of collusion,” said Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick, “and there was clear evidence of staff failing to tackle delinquency or abusive behaviour.” He went on:

The inexperience of staff was everywhere evident and systems to support routine services were creaky, if they existed at all . . . Against all four healthy prison tests: safety, respect, activity and resettlement, the outcomes inspectors observed were either insufficient or poor. In January this year, G4S and their Ministry of Justice handlers tried to pass off serious disturbances at the prison as “an incident of concerted indiscipline”. G4S insisted that only 15 to 20 prisoners had been involved. But a member of the emergency “tornado team” brought in to quash the disturbance told BBC’s Radio 4’s investigative programme The Report that many more prisoners had been involved and they had taken over an entire wing of the jail. “Wires had been strung as tripwires at leg level and at chest and neck level as well, to try and prevent us from moving in an orderly fashion down the wing and sort of break us as we went through,” said the tornado team officer. “I would sum it up as a full-scale prison riot and we were very lucky that it only took place on one unit and didn’t spread.” Chris Grayling's exemplar of private sector efficiency has leaned heavily upon publicly funded police and ambulance emergency services. In the year before the riot, 128 emergency calls had been made from the prison to Staffordshire police, according to information obtained by the Wolverhampton Express & Star under the  Freedom of Information Act. In the year after Ham’s death, Oakwood staff called an ambulance 358 times — more than twice as much as any comparable jail, the BBC revealed. The week after Steve Ham died, the Prisons Ombudsman’s investigator visited Oakwood to try to establish what had happened. In accordance with normal procedure the investigator issued notices to staff and prisoners inviting anyone with information to contact the investigator. Nobody came forward. That’s HMP Oakwood, the blueprint for a privatised future. By G4S, “Securing your World”. Note: Quotations from witnesses’ evidence are taken from Wolverhampton Express & Star court reports, and an account supplied by No5 Chambers; barrister Ian Brownhill represented two members of Ham’s family at the inquest. A Report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen CBE: Investigation into the death of a man in February 2013 at HMP Oakwood, completed August 2013, to due to be published soon.


Jun 7, 2014 (Updates with confirmation from Gates Foundation)

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates has sold his entire stake in G4S Plc , the British security firm trying to bounce back from a series of scandals that have hurt its reputation and profits. Cascade Investment, a firm owned by Bill Gates that manages assets exclusively for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, had last June disclosed a stake in G4S, when its holding crossed the 3 percent threshold for the first time. A filing on May 28 showed the holding was reduced below 3 percent, and a spokesman for the Gates Foundation told Reuters on Saturday it no longer held any interest in G4S. G4S declined comment. G4S, which runs services such as cash transportation and prison management in more than 125 countries, is in the middle of overhauling its sprawling business, shaking up management, cutting costs, improving customer service and restructuring weak divisions to help revive its fortunes. Having failed to provide enough security guards for the London 2012 Olympics, G4S suffered another scandal last July when, alongside rival Serco Group Plc, it was banned from new UK government work after being found to have charged for monitoring criminals who were dead, in prison or not tagged at all. On Thursday G4S's own security guards ejected protesters from its annual shareholders' meeting, after they criticised the company's work in Israel, where it provides security at prisons and occupied Palestinian territories. Gates's investments range from stakes in the Canadian National Railway Co to drinks group Diageo Plc. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works to eradicate the world's most deadly diseases and poverty. (Reporting by Neil Maidment in London and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by David Holmes and Sonya Hepinstal.


May 10, 2014 greenleft.org.au

Iranian asylum seeker and aspiring architect Reza Berati was beaten to death inside the Manus Island detention camp more than two months ago, during what former employees of the detention centre described as “inevitable bloodshed”. Now, the five witnesses who say they can identify those who allegedly kicked, punched and beat the 23-year-old until he succumbed to massive head injuries, have been receiving death threats from local security guards. Their lawyers have filed urgent requests to the High Court to have the witnesses placed in protective custody in Australia, saying they are “gravely concerned” about the men's safety. But the refugees remain in the Manus camp and are afraid to speak to PNG police. All five were seriously injured during the violence as well. One was shot in the buttock while running away and beaten again. Another was held down and slashed across the throat. Yet this has not been the first challenge PNG police have encountered while investigating the alleged murder. Lawyer Ruth Hudson said previous attempts by police to get access to the witnesses have been “routinely thwarted” by staff. G4S guards, both Australians and locals, have refused to cooperate with local investigations. Two Australians also emerged as suspects in the death, but have since returned to Australia. Requests to have them extradited to PNG have been ignored. The Australian Federal Police have been speaking to the guards, but have also neglected to cooperate with the local investigations. Of the five official inquiries into conditions in the Manus Island camp and the human rights of the asylum seekers, two that were being headed up by Justice David Cannings were stonewalled in PNG's domestic courts — with Australian backing. Jay Williams, the barrister who obtained the original affidavits detailing the brutal assault on Berati, was forcibly deported from Manus Island in March. But more allegations keep coming. The Australian Senate inquiry into the violence has received a submission from whistleblower Liz Thompson, who was working as a migration agent for the immigration department when the violence occurred. The submission included more witness accounts that said Berati and others were beaten with a baseball bat, and named a Salvation Army worker, “Joshua”, as its carrier. A postmortem assessment of Berati's body in February suggested he had suffered injuries caused by “a heavy [piece of] timber or wood or some such object”. Thompson wrote in the submission that the violence was ultimately the design of the Australian government: “It is my belief that DIBP [Department of Immigration and Border Protection] manufactured an atmosphere of extreme hostility, suspicion and tension through its actions in the weeks leading up to February 16th and displayed utter disregard for the welfare of injured and traumatised asylum seekers and frontline staff such as interpreters in the immediate aftermath.” Asylum seekers said in a petition to Prime Minister Tony Abbott that they have been “under military attack that caused us to lose one of our friends forever after more than seven months of suffering from continuous pressure and humiliation in this prison”. The petition requests that they be sent to Indonesia. The lawyers of the five murder witnesses have also submitted a separate habeas corpus writ on behalf of more than 350 detainees on Manus Island that alleges human rights violations and international crimes against humanity by the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments, and immigration minister Scott Morrison. Former employees of the Manus detention camp told ABC's Four Corners they knew a violent outbreak was inevitable. Steve Kilburn said: “I'd say that within a week of arriving on Manus Island I formed the opinion … that there is only one possible outcome here, and that is bloodshed … “We couldn't guarantee the safety of those people, and we still can't.” Another witness told the program: “The reality is that if somebody from outside wants to come in and do harm to those people, there's not a lot we can do to stop it, especially if they're armed, or en masse.” Four Corners reporter Geoff Thompson said there were three “pressure points” in the centre: the different ethnicities of asylum seekers forced to live in cramped, stressful conditions; the presence of PNG locals living near the fences of the centre; and the uncertainty faced by the asylum seekers. Indeed, the peaceful protests within the centre's compound began after a meeting revealed to asylum seekers that PNG had no plan to resettle them as refugees. They faced repatriation to their home countries, or a life sentence in detention. If charges are ever laid against anyone for the terrifying bloodshed that took place in the Australian-run detention centre, it will be in spite of Australia's apparent wish to sweep it under the rug. Morrison's admission to Four Corners that, despite his “aspiration”, the Australian government cannot actually ensure the safety of asylum seekers sent to the offshore detention centres shows that even the violent murder of someone who only asked for a safer and better life is no impetus to reverse this appalling regime. In fact, the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres are being expanded as six onshore detention centres are being closed. The expected closures of the Northern immigration detention centre, the Darwin Airport Lodge, Inverbrackie in South Australia, Curtin detention centre in Western Australia and two sites on Christmas Island would apparently save $280 million. Small change compared with the more than $1 billion contract Transfield holds to run the offshore nightmare camps.


Mar 22, 2014 presstv.ir

UK private security firm under fire for death of Angolan Father of five, Jimmy Mubenga died on October 12th, 2010 and his family have spent nearly four years campaigning for the G4S officers they hold responsible for his death to be brought to trial. Now Colin Kaler, Terrence Hughes and Stuart Tribelnig are facing manslaughter charges. Kuka Nyoh fought his own deportation and says the officers are poorly trained and the companies only interested in the bottom line. When the three men, scheduled to stand trial at this court on April 7 make their first appearance, there'll be a sense of disappointment from some quarters who believe standing beside them in the docks should have been senior officials from G4S who should have been brought up on corporate manslaughter charges. The CPS ruled that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the world’s largest private security contractor. Campaigners want an oversight body to monitor deportations and for the use of private contractors to be scaled back. The three accused all maintain their innocence.

 

Mar 22, 2014 opendemocracy.net

On Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service announced that three former G4S guards, Stuart Tribelnig, Terry Hughes and Colin Kaler, would stand trial for the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga on a BA plane in October 2010. Long before Mubenga's death, Lord Ramsbotham was among those who warned repeatedly that Home Office contractors used dangerous methods of restraint. Jimmy Mubenga died aged 46 under restraint by three G4S guards in October 2010. When, in 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had decided not to bring any charges against the three G4S detainee custody officers, under whose restraint Jimmy Mubenga, who was being returned to Angola, died in an airliner at Heathrow, I described the decision as ‘perverse’. I did so because, at the time, I was chairing a National Independent Inquiry into Enforced Removals, during which we had been told that the restraint techniques used on Jimmy Mubenga, had also been used by G4S staff in Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, resulting in the death of 15 year old Gareth Myatt in 2004. Gareth Myatt died aged 15 under restraint by G4S guards in 2004The Coroner at Gareth Myatt’s inquest had both condemned the techniques, and instructed the Home Office to issue a warning about their use. In the report of our inquiry, which I gave to the Home Secretary in December 2012, I explained that we, and the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, had also been told that the Home Office continued to require plainly inappropriate, pain-compliant, Prison Service restraint techniques to be used by detainee custody officers, not having bothered to find out that these had been rejected both by NHS special mental hospitals and such as the Liverpool police on Mersey ferries. Warnings dismissed: Outsourcing Abuse (Medical Justice, 2008) Foreword by RamsbothamFurthermore, in 2008, on behalf of Medical Justice and other organisations, I had given the then Home Secretary a dossier of 78 cases of injuries inflicted during enforced removals, long before Jimmy Mubenga was unlawfully killed. Therefore I hope that, now that the CPS has changed its mind, and the three G4S employees are to be charged with manslaughter, the Home Secretary will do the same, and, at last, take firm action to ensure that Home Office enforced removal processes and procedures are made not just fit for purpose, but no longer something of which a so-called civilised nation should feel ashamed. The CPS change of direction came the day after Channel 4 news had disclosed another appalling case involving the death of someone during Home Office immigration procedures. Alois Dvorzak, an 84 year old Canadian citizen, in transit from Canada to Slovenia, having landed at Gatwick, was removed from his flight to Slovenia by officials and taken to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre. Alois Dvorzak died aged 84, handcuffed by GEO Group guards, Harmondsworth 2013As he was both elderly and frail, and neither claiming nor seeking UK nationality, the doctor at Harmondsworth tried to alert both the Home Office and the Canadian High Commission to his plight, saying that he ought to be released, so that he could continue his journey to his family. However, for reasons that Ministers have yet to explain, Mr Dvorzak was in handcuffs when he died, in the Harmondsworth Health Care Centre, three weeks later. Lord Reid, when Home Secretary, famously said that the then Immigration and Nationality Directorate was not fit for purpose. What these two cases prove is that neither was its successor, the UK Border Agency, and nor, yet, is there any proof that the new arrangements, announced by the Home Secretary last year, are any better.  The overall situation is not helped by 500,000 uncompleted cases, which are swamping the under-staffed immigration bureaucracy. This backlog has not just arisen, but has built up over a number of years, and represents a millstone around the Home Secretary’s neck, which will impede any progress for years to come.  But what all this makes abundantly clear, as many people and organisations involved with the immigration and asylum process have been trying to get across to successive Home Secretaries for years, is that, if there is not to be more avoidable damage, such as the tragic deaths of Messrs Mubenga and Dvorzak while in the care of Home Office contracted staff, urgent remedial action must start now.


Mar 9, 2014 wsws.org

Further testimony emerged this week from witnesses of the brutal violence inflicted on refugees detained in an Australian-run camp on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island on the night of February 17–18. One refugee, 23-year-old Iranian Kurd Reza Berati, was killed, and several others were seriously wounded in the attack. An employee of G4S, the British-based security company contracted by the Australian government to run the Manus camp, spoke anonymously with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and said he was “badly traumatised after witnessing a frenzy of out of control violence.” He explained that during the refugee protests, senior G4S personnel decided to call in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mobile squad, an Australian-funded paramilitary unit that is notorious for its violence and criminal activities. The G4S whistleblower told the ABC that he heard a discussion between G4S managers, with one asking about handing over responsibility to the PNG police, “Are you sure? Do you know the consequences of that?” The reply was: “Yes, hand it over.” This account underscores the responsibility of Australian authorities for the violent rampage that followed. The obvious question is: who in Canberra was involved in this decision? As Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has openly acknowledged, his department knew that tensions were escalating in the camp, fuelled by the terrible conditions endured by the 1,300 detainees and continued uncertainty about resettlement. Australian authorities and the G4S were also aware that hostility toward refugees had been whipped up among sections of the local population. On Tuesday, the SBS network’s “Dateline” program broadcast an interview with a Salvation Army worker in the camp who said that late last year local residents attempted to storm the camp with machetes. In his ABC interview, the G4S employee detailed what happened last month. The PNG paramilitary forces fired a burst of warning shots, before standing back as armed local residents, G4S security guards and other camp contractors went in and attacked the refugees. “We saw them going in with machetes,” he explained. “They had anything they could pick up: rocks, sticks, the poles from the exercise weights. Once they knocked people to the ground, they were stomping on their heads with their boots. A day later you could still see guards and staff and cleaners walking around with blood on their boots.” The G4S staffer confirmed previous reports from asylum seekers that their assailants went through the centre, smashing down doors and attacking everyone they could find. He explained that PNG police joined in the violence: “The police went from room to room as well and held guns to people’s heads and said, ‘If you don’t give me your cigarettes, we’re going to shoot you’.” Numerous reports from those in contact with asylum seekers have described the detainees’ fear of being attacked again. A Fairfax Media article this week cited a “well-placed source employed at the Manus Island detention centre” who said Reza Berati had been killed by a local employed by the Salvation Army, which has a $75 million contract with the Australian government to work at the camps on Manus and Nauru. “Everyone knows who attacked him and is surprised no one has been taken into custody,” the source said. Several refugees in the camp reported that Berati was in the computer room when the violence began, then sought refuge in his room before being attacked. He died, Fairfax Media reported, “after repeated blows to the head, most likely by a piece of timber, a PNG autopsy found last week.” Media reports indicate that the cleaning staff quickly scrubbed the camp clean, mopping up blood, including in the area where Berati was killed, compromising any investigation. Berati’s family held his funeral in Tehran late last month, with 1,500 people from the Kurdish community attending. The young man’s cousin angrily told reporters that Iraq’s former president, Saddam Hussein, did not treat Iranian prisoners of war as badly as the Australian government treated refugees from the country. Immigration Minister Morrison initially lied about the incident, declaring that no violence took place within the camp and blaming refugees for escaping. Amid overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Morrison was forced to retract. Manus camp staff, speaking anonymously, described seeing bullet casings and bullet holes in centre walls. Photos taken inside the Manus camp and published on a Facebook page appear to confirm these accounts, showing lockers, walls, and doors with bullet holes. Other photographs showed refugees, who held up their identity cards for the camera, with what appeared to be knife or machete wounds to their heads and necks, and also bad bruises and cuts to their eyes and noses. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Morrison are proceeding with an abject whitewash. The terms of the official inquiry are almost entirely focused on strengthening “security” and “intelligence” measures in the camp to suppress any more protests. Robert Cornall, who is conducting the inquiry, was tasked by the previous Labor government to conduct an “independent” review into revelations last year by former Manus Island camp manager, turned whistleblower, Rod St George. St George said immigration department officials knew that refugees were being raped in the detention centre, treated, and then returned to the single male compound where they were raped again. Cornall’s review flatly denied this happened, and endorsed the management of the Manus camp. The Abbott government is also supporting the investigations being carried out by PNG authorities. These will no doubt produce blatant cover-ups. Prime Minister Peter O’Neil, a long-time lackey of the Australian government, has publicly denied that Manus Island residents were involved in any violence, and also made the ludicrous accusation that the detained refugees had firearms. The Labor Party and the Greens have initiated a Senate inquiry into the Manus Island violence. The two parties bear direct responsibility for what happened, with the Manus camp reopened as part of the revival of the “Pacific Solution” by the previous Greens-backed Labor government. No one should have any confidence in the Senate investigation, which will begin next month. In the aftermath of the SIEV X disaster in which 353 refugees drowned at sea in 2001, the Labor Party initiated a parliamentary investigation. Once evidence emerged that Australian officials knowingly allowed the drownings, Labor lined up with the Howard government and shut down the investigation, preventing senior military and other officials from testifying under oath. The Manus Island killing, like the SIEV X disaster, is a product of the reactionary “border protection” regime that the entire Australian political establishment defends. In denying refugees their basic democratic and legal right to seek asylum in the country, the ruling elite has deliberately ratcheted up the violence and misery inflicted on detained asylum seekers, as a “deterrent” to others thinking about fleeing to Australia.


Mar 2, 2014 Tampa Tribune

AVON PARK — A report detailing how and why 11 dozen juveniles rioted at Avon Park Youth Academy will be released soon. “We’re still working on the IG’s investigation,” said Meghan Speakes Collins, communications director for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The Inspector General’s report “is in the final stages. It is to be released shortly, and it will outline the high points.” On the night of Aug. 17, two rival gangs bet on a basketball game. At the Avon Park Bombing Range, 10 miles northeast of the city, DJJ contracted with G4S Youth Services of Tampa to teach job skills and treat mental health and substance abuse to 16-19 year-old males at the 144-bed moderate-risk prison. One group — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd labeled them the St. Pete gang — challenged the Orlando group to a basketball game. St. Pete lost but reneged on a bet of three packages of soup, and a fight broke out.

When a G4S staffer tried to stop a juvenile from walking into a restricted area, inmate Zayroux Graham hit him in the mouth with a fist and knocked down the adult, Judd said. Other inmates enticed the players to fight, which Avon Park Youth Academy G4S staffers were unable to break up. More juveniles became rebellious, and the melee was on. G4S staffers retreated into a structure near the gate. A few minutes later, the Polk County 911 center received a “frantic call” that a “full-blown riot” was in progress. Lt. Curtis Ludden said a dozen Highlands County deputies responded to Avon Park Youth Academy, along with 140 Polk County deputies, SWAT and K-9 teams, corrections officers, Fish & Wildlife, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, state troopers, Sebring police officers and EMS. G4S staffers were ushered out. “They were terrified, and with good reason,” Judd said. One staffer fell during the riot and injured a knee; she was taken to the hospital, treated and released. No other staffers or law enforcement were injured. Seven juveniles were transported to Florida Hospital Heartland in Sebring: one had a broken leg, others had bruises, lower back pain, lacerations and one concussion. “They weren’t trying to escape. They were inside the compound. Some of them were riding around on golf carts and bicycles,” Ludden said. “We took about 120 of them into custody,” Ludden said. Most were handcuffed and wound up in Polk County Jail. The 64 (DJJ counts 62) youths charged weren’t misguided children, Judd said, they were hard-core thugs. G4S (formerly Wackenhut Corp.), a worldwide corporation with 50,000 employees, “acted appropriately,” DJJ Deputy Communications Director Heather DiGiacomo said. G4S also had the appropriate number of staff on site. At a press conference in September, Judd didn’t blame the G4S staff for letting the 138 juveniles get out of control, but blamed DJJ for not equipping the staff with the proper tools, which could have been as simple as pepper spray and flexible handcuffs. “We will not be equipping them with pepper spray. That will not change,” DiGiacomo said. “They do have plastic handcuffs. “There was no contingency for this event,” said Judd. “The Department of Juvenile Justice needs to understand that there is a difference between a ... child and a hard-core thug.” Some of the rioters were just kids who had made serious mistakes, Judd conceded, and he can’t be certain how many of the 138 inmates participated in the riot. But the 64 had been charged with more than 900 previous crimes, an average of 15 each. Many were gang members, he added. “The sad truth of this riot is that it was 100 percent preventable. By DJJ rule, the G4S employees are not allowed to have any specialty equipment.” “The sheriff stands by his original statements,” Carrie Eleazer, the public information officer for Polk County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday. Since there was no video at the prison, Polk County deputies prepared charges by relying on DJJ and G4S staffers, who recognized voices over stolen staff radios, noted which juveniles were throwing punches, and which were riding on staff golf carts. G4S Maintenance director Mark Frederick Magrini estimated $350,000 in damage to the facility. All 64 were charged with rioting and felony criminal mischief. Others were charged with burglary, petit theft, breaking into a vending machine, contraband and theft of a fire extinguisher. Three were to be charged with arson. None were from Highlands County. They were from Alachua, Broward, Charlotte, Columbia, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Leon, Marion, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Oklaloosa, Orange, Polk, Palm Beach, Pinnelas, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia counties. “Everyone accepted a plea deal to either misdemeanor affray or misdemeanor criminal mischief,” Eleazer emailed Thursday. DiGiacomo disagreed. “Per the state attorney, seven were ‘no bills; 44 pled guilty, and 11 cases are pending. The majority were charged with misdemeanors. About half returned to Avon Park; the rest were transferred to another facility or remained in adult jail.” If this riot happened again, what would be different? Video cameras have been installed, DiGiacomo said. The 144 beds were reduced to 80 beds. “We have learned from this experience,” DiGiacomo said. DJJ will wait for the IG’s report before considering other changes, but the size of its 47 residential facilities have already gotten smaller. “This was an anomaly. It is not something that happens in DJJ programs, And we don’t want anything like this to ever happen again.”


Feb 8, 2014 expressandstar.com

Claims of cover-up over trouble at HMP Oakwood are denied Government chiefs have flatly denied there had been a cover-up to hide the scale of the trouble at HMP Oakwood, amid suggestions of a ‘full-scale riot’. Conflicting reports emerged after trouble broke out on a wing at the G4S-run prison last month. An Oakwood prison officer made the riot claims, alleging that doors were booby-trapped and an entire wing of the £150 million superjail was trashed. The official word from G4S and the Ministry of Justice was that the incident was ‘concerted indiscipline’ which took nine hours to resolve and involved up to 20 prisoners, who threatened officers and caused damage to cells. However, during a heated debate in the House of Commons, Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright flatly denied the riot allegations. He told the House: “There’s been no cover-up here. I went to Oakwood 10 days ago. I spoke to an officer engaged in the incident, I also spoke to a prisoner who was there at the time – though not involved – and I saw some of the CCTV coverage too. “So I’m very clear about how serious that incident was. But to describe it as a full-scale prison riot is, in my view, inaccurate. “There were 20 prisoners involved in this incident out of a total of 1,600 in Oakwood. The wing is now back in use and the issue was professionally resolved.”The minister was responding to a question from Labour MP Paul Flynn, who told the Government to abandon its ‘PR spin’ and ‘tell the truth’ about what had happened. During the session shadow justice minister Jenny Chapman said more progress should have been made in the two years the prison had been open. She told Mr Wright: “You are being way too complacent about the failure of G4S at Oakwood and given the delay in the implementation of the probation changes due to fears of public safety, how do we know you are not going to be equally as tolerant with failure when you privatise probation?” The minister replied saying there was no complacency and said it was not unheard of that prisons which are running-up in the first two years of operation have difficulties.


23 January 2014 JONATHAN BROWN 

A nine-hour disturbance at a private prison run by controversial operator G4S has been described as a “full scale riot”.  An unnamed member of the so-called Tornado squads sent in to quell the violence at HMP Oakwood near Wolverhampton earlier this month has claimed that inmates set tripwires and threatened officers as they were leaving a wing strewn with debris, including iron bars. G4S said the incident was "emphatically not a riot". A spokeswoman said: "It was a disturbance involving 20 prisoners out of a prison of 1,600 which was confined to one wing. Oakwood – which has been dubbed “Jokewood” by critics – is England’s largest prison and has been hailed by the Government as a blueprint for the prison service of the future.  At the height of the violence inmates barricaded themselves in and overturned pool tables. It took 10 days to return Cedar wing to full operation. The officer told BBC Radio 4’s The Report that specially trained teams sent in to quell the trouble were warned that the prisoners were “armed and dangerous”. “They'd interfered with locks to try and prevent staff getting into the wing and they were destroying everything they could get their hands on. I did hear prisoners shouting threats, saying, 'We're ready for you, come on - we're gonna get you' and words to that effect,” he said. “Wires had been strung as tripwires at leg level and at chest and neck level as well, to try and prevent us from moving in an orderly fashion down the wing and sort of break us as we went through. “I would sum it up as a full-scale prison riot and we were very lucky that it only took place on one unit and didn't spread.” G4S said in a statement that the indiscipline involved 15-20 inmates and that the trouble was rapidly contained. It was initially reported that the disturbance had lasted for five hours although it later emerged that it had taken nearly twice as long to bring the situation back under control with G4S and the Ministry of Justice denying claims that prison officers had been taken hostage. Jerry Petherick, director of custodial and detention services at G4S was challenged over claims that alcohol caused the violence and that illegal home brewing it was a particular problem at Oakwood. He said illicit drink was a constant feature of all prisons and that staff conducted routine searches, confiscating and destroying alcohol found whilst those caught producing it were punished. He said of the disturbance: “I've made it clear this was a significant event. And of its type, in the spectrum of such events, it was at the lower end of that spectrum.” An investigation is underway into the cause of the incident. The £180m jail which is home to 1,600 category C offenders was the scene of rooftop protests last year. HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) reported inexperienced staff and high levels of violence and self-harm. Prisoners claimed that it was easier to come by drugs including heroin than it was to get soap. Labour has described the jail as “failing”. G4S was heavily criticised for its botched handling of its Olympics security contract in 2012 and has been under review by the Government following revelations it overcharged for criminal-tagging contracts. G4S also denied that drugs were readily available in the jail. The company said it had invested heavily in anti-drug measures since the HMIP report.


Jan 11, 2014 ft.com Financial Times

When private security contractor G4S opened Oakwood jail nearly two years ago, it said the facility would soon be seen as “the leading prison in the world”. Its star-shaped housing blocks form a constellation in the Wolverhampton countryside but despite the modern design and bold ambitions, a nine-hour protest by Oakwood inmates this week has cast further doubt on the competence of G4S and raised questions about prison outsourcing in the UK. The most recent disturbance – euphemistically described by a company executive as “an incident of concerted ill-discipline” – is embarrassing for justice secretary Chris Grayling, who two months ago said Oakwood was a “first class” prison, It also fuels union claims that putting prisons under the control of private contractors means compromising security. Even before the Sunday night disturbance, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons had criticised the inexperienced staff, high levels of violence and easy access to drugs that have earned this jail the nickname “Jokewood”. Seizing on this week’s unrest, Labour has suggested G4S should be given six months to improve performance or lose the contract. The party’s attempt to curtail justice outsourcing is in direct opposition to Mr Grayling’s plans for an austerity-driven “rehabilitation revolution” that will open not only prisons but also probation services to private sector competition – bringing new contracts worth £500m a year into the criminal justice market by early 2015. While this new drive has attracted controversy, it fits Britain’s past form. The UK is far more relaxed than the rest of Europe about private involvement in state security provision – only the US and Australia have comparable levels of prison outsourcing. Currently 14 of 119 jails in England and Wales are under private management, with contracts divided between G4S and its rivals Serco and Sodexo. Bernhard Frevel, a criminal justice expert at the University of Applied Science of Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia, explains this would not happen in Germany, where they have “different feelings” about private security. “We say that security and management of prisoners is a sovereign duty of the court, and that should not be handed over to private organisations, they should not become entangled in this,” he said. Criminal justice charities in Britain have raised similar concerns. Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, is keen to avoid repeating the common stereotype of “public good, private bad”, but she is wary of vested interests. “Any company wants to grow a market, but in criminal justice the last thing you want to do is to grow a prison market – you should be trying to shrink it,” she says. The US experience shows that such fears are not unfounded. Under the 2008 “cash for kids” scandal, two judges in northeastern Pennsylvania were found guilty of handing out unusually long jail sentences to juveniles, in return for payment from prison building and management companies who were keen to swell the jail population. In the UK, prison officers’ unions have more everyday anxieties. They argue that privatisation has led to lower staff wages, less training for new officers and fewer staff per prisoner, leading to a higher likelihood of protests and that they will get out of hand. The Ministry of Justice will not disclose exact prisoner to staff ratios, but officials suggested that in Oakwood the figure is not dissimilar to the one officer to 30 inmate ratio common in the public sector. However, the reality may be more nuanced. Following a series of scandals, including ongoing fraud investigations, media interest in G4S means that while the Oakwood incident was widely reported, three protests at publicly-run Nottingham prison in early January were not. G4S said this week that any new prison was “complex and challenging” operation and that disturbances happened throughout the prison estate. “We know there is much to do to bring Oakwood up to the standard we have achieved at our other prisons,” the company said. One prison expert said that disturbances at new year were predictable, given that prisoners were more likely to be consuming home brewed alcohol made from fruit they had been given for Christmas. Tom Gash, director of research at the Institute for Government, believes that prison contracting has been handled well. “I would say this is one area where government has gone about using private sector services more effectively than other areas, because they have quite robust ways of assessing which prisons are doing a good job and they can keep track of that,” Mr Gash said. He even argues that outsourcing has been a “net gain” for the UK prison system. “Competition between the different sectors has actually pushed up performance overall,” he says. “That public versus private rivalry spurs the best in both.”


Jan 6, 2014 theguardian.com

The private security company G4S has confirmed a disturbance erupted at HMP Oakwood, Britain's largest prison, over Sunday night. Staff at the privately managed prison, which was the scene of rooftop protests in 2012, were supported by local police in tackling the incident at HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, near Wolverhampton, which provides places for more than 1,500 Category C male prisoners. Sky News reported that serious disorder had broken out in one of the wings, possibly involving weapons, and that specialist riot police had been called to help restore order. G4S would not give any details of the nature of the incident. A spokesperson for G4S said the incident started early on Sunday evening on one wing but was contained under "standard procedures" at the £180m prison and was over at 2am on Monday. "Police and internal investigations will now take place. It would be inappropriate to comment further until these have been completed." Staffordshire police said the force was offering support and assistance to G4S. The prison was the focus of a highly critical report last year that cited prisoners who claimed it was easier to get hold of illicit drugs than a bar of soap. The chief inspector of prisons confirmed that drug use at the "supersized" jail, which opened in April 2012, was more than twice the rate of similar jails and that inmates found it difficult to get hold of clean prison clothing, basic toiletries and cleaning materials. The jail has also taken on a political significance, with the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, praising it as a "first class facility" and the Labour party threatening to renationalise it and other prisons if managers failed to make improvements. A spokesman for Staffordshire police said the force was aware of the incident at the prison and was offering support and assistance to G4S. However, a popular Facebook page established to campaign for safer conditions for prison officers claimed that reports indicated "an entire wing has been lost to prisoners control". In Oakwood's first official inspection report, published last October by Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, it was found that the level of drug use was matched by high levels of assaults, victimisation and bullying. The use of force to restrain inmates was twice as high as at similar jails, with 241 incidents in the first six months of this year. Prisoners subsequently staged a number of rooftop protests, including one last November in which six inmates were involved. The shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, said last week that Labour would take control of privately run prisons if their managers failed to meet a six-month "buck up" deadline and accused Grayling of a "catastrophic misjudgment" after he praised Oakwood as his favourite prison.


Jan 2, 2014 theguardian.com

Labour would take control of privately run prisons if their managers failed to meet a six-month "buck up" deadline, the shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, has said in the wake of a damning report on a flagship jail run by G4S. Tougher contracts would be negotiated, including stiffer financial penalties, after the chief inspector of prisons reported that inmates find it easier at HMP Oakwood to get hold of illicit drugs than soap, Khan said. He accused Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, of a "catastrophic misjudgment" after he praised the "supersized" 1,605-place Oakwood in Staffordshire as his favourite prison. Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said in October that the first official inspection report into Oakwood had shown that a retrieval plan for the prison was urgently needed. Hardwick said prison staff were inexperienced and were so unwilling to challenge inmates that they came close to colluding. In an unannounced two-week visit to the prison in June inspectors reported that "on more than one occasion we were told by prisoners that you can get drugs here but not soap". Khan said: "It's clearly not working at Oakwood. I can't remember a week going by without a disturbance, or a damning inspection. I've actually been and seen at first hand the problems in the prison and I came away really worried about conditions for prisoners and staff. As things stand, it's not delivering what the public should expect of the millions being paid to G4S to run it." The shadow justice secretary described Grayling as a "repeat offender" after he responded to the report by describing Oakwood as a first-class facility. Grayling told the Express & Star during a visit to Wolverhampton in November: "It's a newly opened prison. Every new prison has teething problems, whether public or private. I am very optimistic for Oakwood. It is a first-class facility. It is the most impressive set of facilities I have seen on a prison estate. Clearly the management of the prison need to address the problems but it's a prison that will be very good." Khan said: "I'd have done things very differently than Chris Grayling. I'd have summoned in the management of G4S and told them they've got six months to buck up their ideas or they're out. Simple as that. If there's no improvement in six months, then I'd be prepared to take control of Oakwood prison away from G4S back into the hands of the public sector. "I'd do just the same for a failing public prison – give them six months to sort themselves out, and if they fail, impose new management that will sort it out. I see no difference whether the underperformance is in the public, private or voluntary sector – I'd apply the same laser zero tolerance. We shouldn't tolerate mediocrity in the running of our prisons." Construction started on the £180m Category C prison in 2009. The contract to run it was awarded to G4S by the then justice secretary, Ken Clarke, in March 2011. Khan said: "We can't go on with scandal after scandal, where the public's money is being squandered and the quality of what's delivered isn't up to scratch. The government is too reliant on a cosy group of big companies. The public are rightly getting fed up to the back teeth of big companies making huge profits out of the taxpayer, which smacks to them of rewards for failure. " If we are going to get the full bang for the public's buck then we need a totally new approach."


Dec 8, 2013 Tampa Bay Business Journal

The organization was notified by their contracting agency that its contract will be competitively bid at a new smaller location in Fort Myers, decreasing the bed capacity from 165 to 28, according to a letter filed with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. G4S filed its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, notice for 130 positions on Dec. 2. The layoffs are expected to be permanent, but the organization says it will work closely with team members who wish to relocate to open positions at other locations. G4S Youth Services provides treatment for at-risk youth. Jo-Lynn Brown is Editorial Assistant for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

 

ourkingdom, Nov 20, 2013

Two outsourcing giants who tagged and monitored ex-offenders charged British taxpayers tens of millions of pounds for doing nothing. A new report reveals flagrant and systematic abuses, ahead of executives' interrogation by Members of Parliament today. Earlier this month, in the briefest of press releases, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that it had initiated a criminal investigation into security companies G4S and Serco, following allegations that they had overcharged on electronic monitoring contracts. A few months earlier both companies had pulled out of bidding for the next generation of such contracts. Yesterday the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report on the matter. According to the NAO report, the Ministry of Justice first identified anomalies in data provided by G4S earlier this year, as part of preparations to retender the electronic monitoring contracts. Not satisfied with the G4S explanation the Ministry called in accountants PwC to conduct a forensic audit of the G4S contract. PwC began its work in May 2013, subsequently expanding it to cover the Serco contract in addition to the G4S one. The audit identified three charging practices that are at the heart of the dispute between the Ministry on the one hand and G4S and Serco on the other.

1. Charging based on orders vs charging based on subjects: One individual (the subject) can have more than one order imposed upon them. Even though each subject is monitored only once, Serco and G4S appear to have charged for each order, something the Ministry argues they should not have done. For example, Serco monitored one subject with four separate orders, charging for each order being monitored, rather than just for the subject.

2. Charging a fee after electronic monitoring has ceased: Serco and G4S were continuing to charge a monitoring fee when individuals were no longer being monitored. Examples cited in the report include: An individual sentenced to two years' imprisonment for breach of curfew conditions in September 2011. G4S removed the monitoring equipment in the same month. However, by May 2013 it was still charging a monitoring fee, at the cumulative cost of around £3,000. In another case Serco charged monitoring fees for over two and a half years after equipment had been removed following a breach of bail conditions.

3. Charging monitoring fees whether or not monitoring equipment had been installed: Serco and G4S have been charging from the formal start of the monitoring period even if monitoring equipment has not been installed. In most cases this might have resulted in an extra day of charging. However, the NAO observes that 'in some cases equipment was never successfully installed but charging nonetheless occurred for months or even years'. In an example cited by the report Serco tried unsuccessfully to install monitoring equipment at an address on multiple occasions between July 2008 and April 2012, charging some £15,500 over the five year period, despite the fact that the monitoring equipment was never installed. Monitoring into the next millennium: One of the most striking paragraphs in the report covers the different, and rather arcane, matter of determining end dates in relation to bail orders: 'Although Serco and G4S used different management information systems, our understanding is that both systems required an end date for an order to be entered so that those systems could function properly. As bail orders typically did not have specified end dates that could be entered both providers chose arbitrary end dates as standard, on the basis that otherwise there was a risk that orders might have been closed down before an appropriate authority requested that this occur. In the case of G4S this was set as being the year 2020, and in the case of Serco the year 3000. This meant that charges on individual cases could have continued until an end date was formally notified by an appropriate authority.' Taken together these practices were rather lucrative. The NAO reports that potential overcharges could be in the region of 'tens of millions of pounds'. G4S have offered to repay £23.3 million — in the form of credit notes, an offer the government has, apparently, declined. Serco has said that it will 'refund any agreed overcharges'. A further audit of the contracts is currently being undertaken. Both companies also continue to face investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. This should all provide extra spice to what was already shaping up to be compulsory viewing for policy anoraks everywhere: the appearance this afternoon of G4S, Serco, Capita and Atos executives before the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

 

The Guardian, 12 November 2013

G4S has been barred from government contracts while claims of overcharging are investigated. G4S has launched an internal investigation after a judge referred a number of its employees for prosecution for forgery and contempt of court in a "truly shocking" case of what he called disgraceful behaviour. In the high court, Mr Justice Mostyn said three employees from G4Srunning Brook House immigration removal centre in Gatwick, East Sussex, had been involved in forging a document and contempt of court after giving witness statements during an immigration appeal involving allegations of torture at the hands of a foreign government. In an excoriating judgment which has been referred the attorney general and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mostyn said G4S employees Tamara Burns, Marilyn Bennett and Matthew Newman were involved in "corruptly redacting" an official certificate, an action which helped bolster the case against an immigrant who was being deported from the UK. Last week the Guardian revealed the Home Office is in discussions with G4S to expand Brook House by 30% despite a freeze on new government contracts for the multinational security company while it is investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for allegations of criminally overcharging taxpayers. The asylum seeker, who is not allowed to be named for legal reasons, claimed he had been tortured and beaten with a heated metal rod on arrival at his country of origin after UK officials refused to remove paperwork from his luggage which identified him with anti-government organisations there. Mostyn found that after his room at Brook House was cleared of belongings, a certificate was drawn up by officials making reference to "various paperwork". But during court proceedings, centre staff submitted a second "doctored" certificate, which scrubbed all mention of the paperwork. "The conduct of the secretary of state's agents in falsifying the room clearance certificate is corrupt and truly shocking," Justice Mostyn said in his judgment Thursday. "The original clean certificate was only produced by the secretary of state following a request made by the claimant's solicitors after the doctored certificate has been produced in evidence as exhibits to the witness statements of Tamara Burns, Marilyn Bennett and Matthew Newman," said Mostyn. The three officials behaved disgracefully, the judge said, adding: "When agents of the state falsify documents it undermines, if not fatally then certainly very seriously, the trust of the people in the operation of the rule of law. "It makes no difference if, as here, the agents are private contractors to whom the secretary of state has outsourced her powers. Corruption by state officials is insidious and corrosive and it is the duty of the authorities where it is found to root it out ruthlessly." Mostyn referred his findings of forgery and providing false witness testimony to the DPP and the attorney general. However, he added that his "finding as to the turpitude of the agents of the secretary of state" did not detract from the "lack of credibility of the claimant", and he dismissed the appeal. G4S said one employee was no longer with the company and the remaining two had been suspended with immediate effect. "The allegations made in respect of the conduct of our employees are extremely serious, and we have launched an immediate internal investigation," a G4S official said. "Due to the nature of these allegations, we have suspended the two personnel concerned with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the investigation. "We will, of course, co-operate fully with any inquiries the appropriate authorities may pursue in connection with this case."


9 November 2013 heraldscotland.com

A PRISONER has escaped from custody while on an escorted visit to a relative. Police have warned Sean McGregor, 31, may be a danger to the public and should not be approached. He escaped from G4S custody at about 1.45pm on Thursday while on escorted leave to visit a relative in Patna, East Ayrshire. McGregor was imprisoned for four years for assault and robbery in September 2011. At the time he was serving 16 months for possession of a weapon, imposed in February 2011. The Ayrshire area is being searched and officers are appealing for information about his whereabouts. Detective Chief Inspector John Hogg, of Ayrshire CID, said: "I would advise that Mr McGregor may present a danger to the public and people are advised not to approach him if seen but to contact police. Officers are continuing with a search of the area, making contact with known associates and checking CCTV in an effort to trace Mr McGregor. "I would appeal to Mr McGregor to give himself up and make contact with Police Scotland with a view to handing himself in. I would also like to reassure people that Police Scotland will have an increased high-profile police presence in the Ayrshire area until Mr McGregor is traced and arrested." McGregor admitted assaulting a shop assistant and snatching hundreds of pounds from her till after brandishing a knife at her on January 18, 2011. When he was sentenced, the High Court in Edinburgh heard he had panicked when challenged by a customer, dropping cash and his knife as he tried to flee. Lord Bannatyne said at the time that his record was "wholly dreadful". A G4S spokesman said yesterday: "The prisoner was granted this special leave on licence which means he was authorised to be out of prison custody but subject to certain conditions. "On-licence leave is a privilege that is earned. Therefore, it is disappointing the prisoner made the decision to undermine the trust placed in him. "As is the normal procedure, a full report into the circumstances of the incident will be submitted to the Scottish Prison Service."


30 October 2013 Our Kingdom

That's G4S, experts in "robust employee screening". A murder conviction raises fresh doubts about a government outsourcer's competence and integrity. Last November a 42 year-old pharmaceutical worker from Thailand took part in a conference about HIV treatment at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium. Her name was Khanokporn Satjawat. A G4S guard checked Satjawat's ID. He didn't like her manner. Later he followed her into the toilets and bludgeoned her to death with a fire extinguisher. Yesterday, at the High Court in Glasgow, Clive Carter was found guilty of Khanokporn Satjawat's murder. The court heard that the 35 year-old G4S man tended to become enraged when women contradicted him. In a police interview his wife described him as "violent and manipulative". His GP had referred him for anger management counselling. A few days before the killing, Carter had knocked on a woman’s door at the Holiday Inn Express hotel, carrying a fire extinguisher and claiming there had been a report of a fire. G4S works on police investigations, runs prisons, children's homes and detention centres, among other privatised public services. They're having a very bad month. Their UK flagship Oakwood Prison is in crisis. In South Africa, the state has taken back control of G4S Mangaung Prison; guards are accused of torturing inmates. Yesterday's murder conviction raises fresh doubts about G4S's fitness for public service. "A robust employee screening programme helps organisations minimise the risk of making inappropriate recruitment decisions," G4S tells potential customers. "We have a wealth of experience in developing and implementing background checks and security clearance for companies in the private and public sector." But are they any good at it? What evidence is there of G4S's commitment to the safety of people who fall into the company's hands? Earlier this year OurKingdom revealed that the health and safety manager for G4S Children's Services was involved in the death of child prisoner Gareth Myatt nine years ago. We noted that the Coroner criticised G4S for ignoring repeated warnings about the use of force and other problems at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre near Rugby. (PDF here) Another G4S employee approved by the company's screening process was Danny Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper passed fit for work in Iraq. Ahead of Fitzsimons's deployment in 2009, a fellow worker sent a series of emails warning G4S about the man's instability. "I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public," wrote the whistleblower, who signed one email "a concerned member of the public and father". Another email warned: "Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust. I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing." Within 36 hours of arriving in Baghdad’s Green Zone in August 2009, Fitzsimons had shot and killed fellow security contractors Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare. In 2011 the Karkh Criminal Court of Iraq sentenced him to life in prison for the murders. His parents said he was suffering from PTSD and should never have been employed in a war zone. Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve, said: “If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country. Instead they conducted minimal checks and sent him off to Iraq. Now Danny could spend the rest of his life in a hostile prison hundreds of miles from home, when he should be receiving psychiatric treatment.” Last year a BBC Scotland investigation unearthed the whistleblower's repeated attempts to alert G4S to Fitzsimons's instability. Why did the company fail to act? G4S issued a statement, admitting that its screening of Danny Fitzsimons "was not completed in line with the company's procedures". The statement included a curiously worded assertion about the whistleblower's warnings: "We are aware of this allegation but following an internal IT investigation it is clear that no such emails were received by any member of our HR department." Note that G4S is not denying that the company received the warnings, only denying that the human resources department received them. Such assertions are known among reporters as "non-denial denials". BBC Scotland put a further question to G4S: "When did the company first become aware of the emails and did anyone else - outside of the company's HR department - become aware of them?" A G4S spokesman replied: "I'm sorry I can't track down the relevant individual so I am afraid we can not comment further on when we received the emails." G4S's competence and culture were found wanting yet again earlier this year during the Inquest into the death of Angolan asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga. The Inquest jury found that Mubenga had been unlawfully killed by G4S guards during an attempted deportation in October 2010. After the killing, police checks on guards' mobile phones revealed numerous racist texts that were extremely offensive. Assistant deputy coroner Karon Monaghan QC said that the quality and number of racist texts, and the fact that they were circulated widely among G4S guards, suggested not a couple of "rotten apples" but evidence of "a more pervasive racism within G4S". [PDF here] The Coroner wrote: "For example, one message read as follows: 'fuck off and go home you free-loading, benefit grabbing, kid producing, violent, non-English speaking cock suckers and take those hairy faced, sandal wearing, bomb making, goat fucking, smelly rag  head bastards with you.'” G4S, among other Home Office contractors, had for years been warned about the dangers of excessive force and guards' racist abuse, most resoundingly in the Medical Justice dossier Outsourcing Abuse, published in July 2008, more than two years before the killing of Jimmy Mubenga. Today, in response to questions relating to the guard convicted of murdering Khanokporn Satjawat, G4S told OurKingdom: "Clive Carter passed screening in May 2010, following receipt of two employment references and two character references. He had a Security Industry Authority licence and therefore went through Home Office screening including a criminal record check." They went on: "His instability only became apparent after the murder . . . The incident at the Holiday Inn was not reported to G4S and only came to our attention during the trial. Had we received any complaint concerning him at that time, we would have immediately launched an investigation and if necessary suspended him from duty whilst that investigation was underway."


11 Oct 2013 birminghammail.co.uk

Three prisoners in protest at heavily-criticised Wolverhampton jail. Three prisoners climbed on to a roof for a protest at Oakwood Prison on Friday. The inmates began their protest at Wolverhampton's privately-run prison at about 11am. A spokeswoman for G4S, which runs the prison, said: “We can confirm that three prisoners have been involved in a rooftop protest at HMP Oakwood since this morning. “The Ministry of Justice was informed immediately and established contingency plans were put into place. "A team of specialist negotiators, trained to work at height, are being deployed and our hope is that this situation can be resolved quickly and peacefully. “The normal prison regime has been unaffected and there is no danger to staff, prisoners or the public. “An internal investigation has been launched.” It is not known what the protest is about but the Category C prison was slammed in a recent report from inspectors, which said it needed to urgently address its approach to its near 300 sex offenders, many of whom were due for release without their offending having been addressed. The scathing report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons came after a surprise visit, which said it had inexperienced staff and high levels of violence and self-harm.

 

August 25, 2013 express.co.uk

There is speculation that the company may mount a cash call. Ashley Almanza, chief executive since June, is set to announce underlying earnings for the period of £207 million down from £236 million last year. He is not expected to reveal the outcome of his strategic review. G4S fell from grace when it failed to recruit enough staff to guard London Olympic venues. It has since suffered the departure of long-standing boss Nick Buckles and been hit by accusations that it overcharged taxpayers for tagging and monitoring offenders. The accusations prompted the threat of a Serious Fraud Office investigation. An analyst said: “We expect to see a messy set of results following a number of restatements and looking at the underlying performance of the firm at the Olympics last year. “The question is how the company plans to deleverage, with disposals likely to be the preferred route, although we do not think an equity rights issue can be fully discounted.” Swedish-based investment company Cevian Capital has taken a 5.11 per cent stake. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is also a major shareholder in the group.

 

22 August 2013 morningstaronline.co.uk

A penal reform charity threatened the government with legal action today for failing to protect vulnerable children in privately run detention centres. The Howard League for Penal Reform threw a spotlight on the government over its failure to implement an effective procedure for children who are abused while detained in privately run secure training centres. The centres house many vulnerable children and the charity warned that many of them are regularly subjected to mistreatment, including the use of physical force by staff. Figures published by the Ministry of Justice in January revealed that there were on average 111 incidents of physical restraint per month during 2011-12 in the centres. In the same year, 68 restraint incidents resulted in injury. The charity pointed out that the law requires children with credible allegations of mistreatment should have access to an effective and independent investigation. But while children and adults detained in prisons have access to an independent complaints system, no such system exists for children in the secure training centres. And prisons are also subject to Freedom of Information, but the secure training centres - run by G4S and Serco - are exempt. The charity's legal team wrote an open letter to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, calling on him to confirm that he will begin plans to change the system, within a fixed-time frame, or face a judicial review. It said that the current complaints procedure was "wholly inadequate" and "unfair, discriminatory and contrary to the protections afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights." It called on Mr Grayling to implement a complaints system for children in the centres "that is fit for purpose and includes an accessible right of appeal to an independent body." Howard League chief executive Frances Crook said: "These child jails for profit have existed for 20 years yet there has been no proper public scrutiny of what has happened to the billions of taxpayers' money. "We have to make sure children know they will be listened to by someone fair and impartial when things are going wrong if we are to change the culture of impunity, change poor practice and avoid children being seriously mistreated." A Ministry of Justice spokesperson added: "It is not true that children in custody cannot raise complaints. "There are a number of routes for young people to take, if they have a complaint regarding their treatment in custody. We are looking into the points raised by the Howard League and will respond in due course." Two children have died in secure training centres. Adam Rickwood, 14, took his own life at the Serco-run Hassockfield secure training centre in Co Durham in 2004 after being subjected to an unlawful use of force. In the same year, Gareth Myatt, 15, died while being restrained by staff at the G4S-run Rainsbrook secure training centre in Northamptonshire.

 

August 18, 2013 The Tampa Tribune

Three Cup O' Noodle soup servings were at the heart of a riot that destroyed 18 buildings, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage at a Highlands County juvenile detention facility Saturday night. The melee needed 150 law enforcement officers from several state and local agencies to quell. Seven juveniles were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Polk County sheriff's deputies said 18 of the 20 buildings at the Avon Park Youth Academy were destroyed and nearly half the juveniles had to be taken to a jail. Rioters confiscated a guard's radio and all of the staff golf carts and set fire to a building containing the teens' records and a trash bin, deputies said. The riot started about 8:30 p.m. after a fight on a basketball court. A team of five juveniles from St. Petersburg was playing a team of five from Orlando and had wagered three Cup O' Noodles soups on the outcome. The losing team, from St. Petersburg, refused to pay and the two teams started fighting. Juveniles who weren't playing joined in, deputies said. Staff are forbidden from using specialty equipment, including pepper spray, which would have allowed them to deal with the fight before it escalated, authorities said. The security company called 911 and sheriff's deputies arrived to form a perimeter around the facility, assisted by officers from three state agencies and other emergency responders, including SWAT team, K-9 units and air support. Every juvenile in the riot area was secured and handcuffed before being removed, deputies said. No staff members or law enforcement officers were injured. Seven youths were taken to Florida Hospital in Sebring with minor injuries, the most serious of which was a broken leg. Other injuries included bruises, lacerations and one concussion. The youth were injured while fighting, breaking glass, being hit by flying objects or rammed by golf carts, said Carrie Eleazer. spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff's Office. No one was injured while being taken into custody, Eleazer said. During the riot, none of the juveniles escaped from the secured compound. Sixty-four juveniles were removed from the academy and taken to the sheriff's South County Jail in Frostproof, where they were being kept in a location away from the adult inmates. The rest remained at the academy, deputies said. Damage to the academy was extensive, with all but two of the buildings destroyed, deputies said. Deputies plan to file charges against those juveniles who participated in the riot. Some could face multiple felony counts. There are no security cameras at the facility, so authorities don't have surveillance video of the riots. Avon Park Youth Academy is a 144-bed, moderate-risk program for males in the juvenile justice system between the ages of 16 and 19 years old. It's a non-secure facility, meaning youth are not confined to their rooms during the day. They are allowed to move about without handcuffs or shackles for activities, while accompanied by staff at all times. Teens are taught job skills and receive mental health and substance abuse treatment, according to a spokeswoman from the Department of Juvenile Justice. The Department of Juvenile Justice contracts with the private company G4S to provide security guards and staff. “Once law enforcement officials have completed their investigation, DJJ will conduct a thorough internal review to enhance safeguards that provide for the safety of youth and staff in Florida's juvenile justice facilities,” DJJ spokeswoman Meghan Speakes Collins said in a statement. She said this was the first incident of this magnitude at the facility. The facility has three shifts, with the night shift having the lowest staff-to-juvenile ratio. DJJ officials said 21 employees were at the facility when the riot started.


July 26, 2013 northjersey.com

LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Federal regulators are worried that a security manager's firing from a job at a nuclear plant could deter employees and contractors from questioning safety at one of the nation's largest nuclear power stations. A federal jury in Camden last month concluded that the 2009 firing of Robert Scull was in retaliation for the manager's plan to tell the NRC about his safety concerns at the adjoining Hope Creek and Salem nuclear plants in Lower Alloways Creek Township, south of Wilmington, Del. Scull said he did not have enough assistants to maintain security of the plants, the second-largest nuclear generating facility in the U.S. He was awarded $400,000 and has since made court filings asking for his old job back. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a letter to plant operator PSEG Nuclear on Friday asking it to detail what actions the company was taking to ensure the firing doesn't have a chilling effect on other would-be whistleblowers. PSEG said in a statement that it is taking the matter seriously. "We are confident that the right nuclear safety-conscious work environment still exists within PSEG Nuclear and that employees and contractors are comfortable raising concerns," spokesman Joe Delmar said in a statement. "However, we are taking this opportunity to once again reinforce the nuclear safety culture expectations with our employees and leadership." PSEG was not part of the court case because the security manager worked for a private contractor, the Wackenhut Corp., which is now known as G4S Secure Solutions. But the NRC said in the letter that PSEG is responsible for the actions of contractors. "The finding that Wackenhut retaliated against the individual for engaging in a protected activity raises questions with the NRC as to whether the work environment at Salem and Hope Creek is such that employees are encouraged and willing to raise safety and regulatory concerns," said the letter from William Dean, an NRC regional administrator.


12 July 2013 opendemocracy.net

G4S & Serco fraud inquiry: Five things the British public need to know about privatising criminal justice. It was a shocking announcement. Chris Grayling, looking more rattled than at any other time since he became Justice Secretary, told the House of Commons yesterday that Serco and G4S had overcharged his department by tens of millions of pounds for electronic monitoring services. Flabbergasted MPs heard that the government had been invoiced for the monitoring of people who had been sent back to prison. For people who had left the country. For people who had never been monitored at all. Even for people who had died. As a result, Serco will undergo a forensic audit to uncover the extent of the wrongdoing. G4S, perhaps calling the Justice Secretary’s bluff, refused to cooperate and now find themselves the subject of an investigation from the Serious Fraud Office. The scandal has already shone a light on the extent to which our public services are provided by these two companies. Combined, Serco and G4S receive around £1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money each year through contracts with ten different government departments – with almost £500 million worth of contracts from the Ministry of Justice alone. There needs to be much more public debate about the privatisation of justice as well as access to detailed information about how these companies operate, the profits they make and whether privatisation is providing the taxpayer with value for money. Here are five points that I think ought to be central to any such debate. 1.Handing the justice system to private security firms is Plan A – and there is no Plan B. While the huge number and value of government contracts G4S and Serco already hold will have surprised many, it is highly likely even more public money will be paid to these companies in the coming years. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are currently planning to massively expand the number of people subject to electronic monitoring, privatise approximately 80 per cent of the probation service and outsource much of the court service to private companies. Without the involvement of large private security companies like Serco and G4S, these reforms will be impossible. 2.The Ministry of Justice is not very good at outsourcing services. This is the second time this year that huge failings have been uncovered in contracts between private companies and the MoJ. Just a few months ago, the department’s handling of the court translation services contract was the subject of damning criticism, with a Justice Select Committee report concluding that the ‘Ministry of Justice's handling of the outsourcing of court interpreting services has been nothing short of shambolic.  It did not have an adequate understanding of the needs of courts, it failed to heed warnings from the professionals concerned, and it did not put sufficient safeguards in place to prevent interruptions in the provision of quality interpreting services to courts.’ 3.There is no real market in criminal justice. The tagging scandal makes it plain that when the MoJ talks about competition in criminal justice services it only really means competition between Serco, G4S and, at a stretch, one or two other large private companies. If they are to continue to pursue their ambitious privatisation plans the MoJ should at the very least take steps to ensure that this discredited oligopoly is broken down. 4.Privatisation leads to less transparency and accountability. The removal and restriction of liberty are some of the most powerful tools at the state’s disposal – and should therefore be a crucial area of public inquiry and democratic oversight. But private companies are exempt from freedom of information legislation even when providing public services. Further, contracts between government departments and corporations can often not even be scrutinised by parliament, let alone the public, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. 5.Privatisation can lead to growth in the wrong areas. The MoJ is planning to greatly expand electronic monitoring, with some predicting that the number of people tagged will rise from 30,000 to 100,000 under current proposals. However, it should be remembered that despite many studies and evaluations there is yet no evidence that tagging reduces reoffending or improves public protection. Electronic monitoring might be highly profitable, but is most definitely not highly effective. As in many other sectors, marketisation provides producers with an incentive to try and push up demand, clearly conflicting with the public good or taxpayer value.


Jun. 28, 2013 tennessean.com

One day after nine teenage girls escaped from a Department of Children’s Services facility in Donelson, all of them were back in state custody, police said. The girls slipped from the G4S Academy for Young Women on Stewarts Ferry Pike early Wednesday after overpowering an employee. Six of the girls were found soon afterward. Police said they arrested the seventh girl early Thursday. Police saw the girl, 16, with Gregory Vincent, 51, in the parking lot of the Exxon on Broadway. She was taken into custody and charged with violating curfew. Vincent was arrested on charges of public intoxication and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Two more were nabbed Thursday afternoon near the Hermitage Inn on Lebanon Pike after a brief foot chase with officers, according to a statement.


March 08, 2013 getsurrey.co.uk

A DOUBLE amputee from Woking died from head injuries when his unsecured wheelchair tipped over in a G4S ambulance that the driver had not been properly trained to use, an inquest jury has found. Palaniappan Thevarayan, 47, of Hawthorn Road, Barnsbury, was being transferred to St Helier Hospital in Sutton on May 4 last year when his wheelchair came free from the built-in clamps and he fatally hit his head. The jury at Westminster Coroner’s Court ruled on Thursday (March 7) that Mr Thevarayan had not been securely clamped into the back of the ambulance. Driver John Garner and fellow G4S staff were insufficiently trained to transport hundreds of patients from their homes to clinics and hospitals across London and the south east, the inquest heard. The court was told drivers were aware of problems with the clamps prior to the incident, and were then told to stop using them immediately after Mr Thevarayan’s death. New vehicles were introduced in November 2011. The former newsagent was being moved from a dialysis treatment centre in Epsom to St Helier’s when he had to be diverted because his catheter had become blocked, the inquest heard. After hearing that Mr Garner’s manual handling training had not been refreshed since 2009, jurors decided: “Patient transport service staff were not sufficiently trained in the safe transportation of patients by ambulance.” Mr Thevarayan, who was born in India, had been undergoing dialysis three times a week for nearly three years when he died and was only using the Epsom centre because his usual facility in West Byfleet had been temporarily shut down in April 2011 due to storm damage. Mr Thevarayan’s wife and full-time carer Nirmala told the inquest she wanted answers about his treatment by G4S and why it took so long to get him into surgery. She said her husband was given a 50:50 chance of survival if operated on immediately after the injury but nearly six hours passed before he went for surgery. “I want to know why they didn’t look after him properly,” she told the court on Monday. “And in hospital, why did they take so long to treat him?” Mrs Thevarayan said her husband had called to say he would receive antibiotics and be back home that night. But he was given a bleak outlook when assessed by doctors on arrival at St Helier’s, the inquest heard. Despite his condition, it was not until 10pm that he was transferred to St George’s in Tooting for surgery and a further four hours until he went into the operating theatre. The inquest heard Mr Thevarayan, a devoted family man, was diagnosed as diabetic when he was 23 and developed kidney problems later on in life. He was forced to retire when both his legs were amputated after he developed circulation difficulties, and had a heart bypass in 2009. But Mrs Thevarayan said her husband remained fiercely independent, despite his health problems. “He was a very capable man, and what he could do, he would do,” she told the inquest. “He never asked anyone for any help.” She added he was nearing the top of the kidney transplant list when he died and was also due to be fitted with a prosthetic leg. “The next day he had an appointment with the transplant surgeon and he was so looking forward to that,” his wife said. Mr Thevarayan died of an acute chronic subdural haematoma and head injury contributed to by chronic renal failure and diabetes. Assistant deputy coroner Kevin McLoughlin said to Mrs Thevarayan and her son and daughter, who sat through the four-day inquest: “I pay tribute to the calm dignity which you and your family have conducted yourself through what must have been heartbreaking evidence.”


22 Feb 2013 itv.com

Two employees who stole thousands from a cash collection depot in Maidstone have been jailed for four years each. Barry Jackman from Ashford and Mark Knight from Maidstone, were charged after an internal investigation by G4S, who contacted police when they noticed money going missing. The pair were employed as depot manager and deputy of the Maidstone depot, which conveys money to banks and financial institutions. Jackman and Knight came under suspicion after they were allegedly seen in a car park exchanging what appeared to be a bag of money. Police officers searched Knight’s home and found eight cash bags, each containing £500 in £2 coins. At Jackman’s house, £100 in £2 was found in a box in the garage. Mark Knight was also sentenced to four years in prison Credit: Kent Police  -- The two had come up with techniques to remove money from the depot, bypassing the searches that they were subjected to when leaving the premises. It's estimated that between January 2010 and September 2011 that £90,000 went missing from the depot. **Knight blamed temptation as the main factor. One of the methods involved moving a loose ceiling tile, allowing access to the roof space, and leaving the bags in the space. Once through the security checks, Jackman or Knight accessed the roof space via the ladies toilets to collect the cash. The pair also took real money, but balanced the books by sending counterfeit cash that the depot had sorted back out to financial institutions to ensure that there were no anomalies.


February 13, 2013 express.co.uk

The group said the final settlement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), would cover its failure to provide all the 10,400 security guards needed to protect the event last summer. Military personnel had to be drafted in to cover the shortfall with G4S boss Nick Buckles hauled before Parliament to explain why it had not met its targets. G4S had previously forecast a £50million loss from the £284million contract but said its decision to waive a larger chunk of its management fee had sent the bill higher. It is also taking a further £18million hit including the cost of Games marketing and a £2.5million goodwill donation to a military charity. However the overall loss was less than the £150million speculated by some in the City leaving G4S shares flat at 280½p. Buckles said: "Whilst we are extremely disappointed to find ourselves in this position we are pleased to have concluded these negotiations. "The Government is an important customer and it was in our interests to bring this matter to a close in a professional manner without the need for lengthy legal proceedings." A G4S spokesman said the settlement had drawn a line under the affair and it was now keen to "restore its reputation" with the Government, which accounts for about half of its UK revenues.

Dec. 19, 2012, Daily Advertiser
The contractor running Australia’s mainland immigration detention centres has lost a bid for an injunction stopping an ex-employee working for a rival on Manus Island. Christopher Manning left Serco Australia in May 2012 as their managing director of immigration detention centres. He was hired by G4S in September, shortly before the company secured the contract to run the Manus Island centre in Papua New Guinea. Mr Manning was tasked with managing the project, and helped G4S in its bid for the job. But Serco took legal action against him in the ACT Supreme Court, arguing he breached a contract banning him from working for a rival in Australia for a year. Mr Manning’s legal team argued their client honoured the terms of the agreement. In October the contractor sought an interim injunction banning Mr Manning from working for G4S until the court case was resolved. Lawyers for Serco told Master David Harper their former employee had detailed knowledge of confidential information and a tight relationship with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. They argued his work with Serco's rivals had the capacity to damage its commercial operations and relationship with the department. But Master Harper on Wednesday said the Supreme Court had since offered an expedited hearing date, and granting the injunction would case “immediate negative effect” to G4S. The master said while the rival contractor wasn’t a party to the case there was an “irresistible inference” they were legally backing him. “Nevertheless, there is no basis for a conclusion that G4S has enticed the defendant away from the plaintiff, or that G4S has any intention of utilising the defendant’s services to enhance its relationship with the [government or DIAC],” he said. “There is no basis for a finding which goes any further than that G4S sees the plaintiff [Mr Manning] as the best available candidate to manage the Manus Island operation.” He refused the injunction, and ordered Serco to pay Mr Manning’s legal costs for the application. The decision comes after the first groups of asylum seekers arrived at the Papua New Guinean facility integral to Australia’s off-shore processing policy.

12 October 2012 By Scotsman.com
Police had to cover “thousands” of extra shifts at the London 2012 Games after private security firm G4S failed to recruit and train enough guards. Officers working overtime covered around 500 shifts, earmarked for G4S staff, in London alone. Regional events such as the football competitions meant this figure jumped “significantly” outside London during the Games, the national Olympic security co-ordinator, Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said. He told London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee: “It was significantly more than that [500 shifts in London]. I think it was in the thousands that we had to do nationally.” G4S confirmed the shortage just weeks before the Games began. All the forces, such as Strathclyde Police who took over ­responsibility for security at the Olympic venue in Glasgow, are being reimbursed by G4S, Mr ­Allison said.

October 1, 2012 AP
The security contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee was fired Monday after authorities said three protesters cut through fences and vandalized a building in an unprecedented break-in. Security contractor WSI Oak Ridge said it has started winding down operations and will transfer its protective force functions to B&W Y-12, the managing contractor at the plant, over the next several weeks. The Department of Energy had earlier recommended that WSI's contract be terminated. The security contractor was criticized for its poor response when the protesters, including an 82-year-old Roman Catholic nun, cut through fences on July 28 and defaced a building that stores the plant's weapons grade uranium. Peter Stockton, a Department of Energy adviser on nuclear security during the Clinton administration, called the firing long overdue. "This the most egregious thing we've ever run into," said Stockton, a senior investigator with the Project On Government Oversight. "It's the worst of the worst."

September 28, 2012 The Upcoming
Two senior executives from G4S (Group 4 Securicor) have resigned after a report blamed management failings for the Olympics’ security fiasco. G4S, the world’s largest security firm, failed to provide the contracted and adequate number of security personnel to cover the Olympics in a public blunder that nearly overshadowed the successful Games. Nick Buckles survives the G4S management cull in the wake of the Olympics scandal. G4S chief operating officer, David Taylor-Smith, and the managing director for G4S Global Events, Ian Horseman-Sewell, are stepping down in wake of the scandal.

September 22, 2012 Reuters
G4S's bill for its embarrassing London Olympic staffing failure could rise after a government committee demanded the embattled security firm waive its management fee and compensate Games staff neglected in its chaotic recruitment drive. The world's biggest security firm has been under fire since admitting just two weeks before the Games began that it could not provide a promised 10,400 venue guards, embarrassing the government - a key customer - and forcing British troops to cancel holidays and fill the shortfall. G4S has already estimated a 50 million pound loss on the Olympic contract relating to the cost of deploying additional police and military personnel and the likely penalties the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will impose, but that may prove conservative. In a report published on Friday, the Home Affairs Committee, which twice hauled in G4S chief Nick Buckles to explain the Olympic debacle, said responsibility for the failure was with G4S and that its most senior personnel should be held accountable for making misleading staffing assurances to security officials so close to the start of the Games. "Far from being able to stage two Games on two continents at the same time, as they recklessly boasted, G4S could not even stage one," said Keith Vaz, Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee, referring to an interview managing director of G4S Global Events, Ian Horseman Sewell, gave to Reuters in July. "G4S should waive its 57 million pound management fee and also compensate its staff and prospective staff who it treated in a cavalier fashion." LOCOG has so far parted with only 90 million pounds of the 237 million pound contract and earlier this month insisted the remainder would have to be negotiated.

September 12, 2012 Star and Stripes
A British-based security company has paid back half of the approximately $750,000 it owes the U.S. government for failing to fully staff entry gates at a number of U.S. Forces Korea installations, according to the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Pacific Region. The company, G4S, took over gate security at most Army bases on the peninsula on Dec. 1, 2011, but at first could not hire enough civilian guards to do the job. Most guards who worked for the previous security provider, Joeun Systems Corp., initially refused to work for G4S, claiming the company was offering lower wages and longer hours. Because of the shortage of South Korean guards, U.S. troops were forced to help man the gates for nearly four months until G4S reached full staffing on March 23, 2012. Despite the lingering problems with G4S, the U.S. military said in March it had no plans to terminate its contract with the company. “We consider this matter closed,” 8th Army spokesman Col. Andrew Mutter said in a March 29 email to Stars and Stripes. Reilly said in an email this week that the IMCOM-Pacific command decided to add new requirements to its security guard contract as G4S’ one-year deal approached its Oct. 31 expiration date. “This offered us the opportunity to review the needs of our access control point security procedures, update new requirements to ensure we provide the most efficient and effective protection at our bases and rebid the contract,” he said. The U.S. military had not previously disclosed the amount G4S agreed to reimburse the government for violating its contract. IMCOM-Pacific spokesman Larry Reilly said G4S is scheduled to pay the rest of the money in January.

September 9, 2012 The Guardian
Home Office ministers have ordered weekly reports on the progress of two new contracts with the private security companies G4S and Serco to house and provide support services for thousands of asylum seekers and their families. The chief executive of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Rob Whiteman, has confirmed that serious concerns about the ability of the two companies to find housing for thousands of asylum seekers across the north of England by November has led to closer monitoring at the most senior levels of the Home Office. The £883m a year Compass contract to provide support services for dispersed asylum seekers is the largest project run by the Home Office. The two private security companies took over the five-year asylum housing contracts in four of the six UKBA regions across Britain from social landlords, including councils, in March. The companies were expected to start moving people in June. But after a contractual dispute G4S dropped its housing subcontractor for the Yorkshire and Humberside region, United Property Management, in June and its new subcontractors have yet to find enough homes. Two councils, Sheffield and Kirklees, have raised concerns about their ability to deliver the housing contract within the expected timetable. Kirklees council said that a fortnight ago, only one family out of 240 asylum seekers had been moved as part of the transition from the council to the new providers. "There are 240 asylum seekers being assisted. We understand the subcontractors are finding it difficult to procure accommodation and the council has been asked to continue to provide assistance until the end of October. There is no suggestion however that the council's contract will be renewed after this time," Whiteman has told the Commons public accounts committee there were also concerns about the two Serco contracts, one covering north-west England and the other Scotland and Northern Ireland, including the "speed at which properties are being acquired". He said the issue had been "escalated" to directly involve himself and Jeremy Oppenheim, the UKBA director of immigration and settlement. Weekly reports are also being sent to ministers. "It is not at this stage anywhere near penalties because they are acting within the contract in terms of how the work is handed over to them," Whiteman told MPs. "We do have concerns about mobilisation. We are escalating this and I have been involved in meetings on that but it is at a relatively early stage." He added there were other remedies available under the contracts but he hoped the difficulties would be resolved.

September 7, 2012 Reuters
Embattled security firm G4S will be forced to relive its embarrassing London Olympics staffing failure on Tuesday when its boss returns for a second showdown with British lawmakers demanding to know how the debacle was allowed to happen. Group Chief Executive Nick Buckles and David Taylor-Smith, who is the group's UK and Africa CEO, w ill be pressed for further explanation of the recruitment failure which has hit shares and raised questions about its prospects on future deals. "Everyone now accepts that G4S let the country down before the Olympics began. We need to ascertain the reasons why this happened and who else was responsible for the pre-Olympics shambles," Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and a member of Parliament for the opposition Labour party, told Reuters. Vaz said the committee had quizzed Home Secretary Theresa May, who is in charge of domestic security, on Thursday, and had received a detailed letter outlining the department's oversight of the contract and the minister's meetings with Buckle and the Olympics organizers during the run-up to the Games. G4S, the world's largest security firm, which in Britain runs services for airports, prisons, immigration and the police, admitted just 16 days before the Games began that it could not supply a promised 10,400 venue guards. It eventually raised 7,800 at peak times, leaving the military to make up the shortfall. The failure embarrassed the government, one of G4S's core clients which accounts for more than half of its 1.8 billion pounds British revenue. More than 20 percent of its pipeline of potential UK work also stems from that market. Those numbers mean the UK public sector is one of the biggest global clients for the group, whose revenue for 2012 is forecast at just over 8 billion pounds according to a Reuters poll of 21 analysts. G4S has said it expects to take a 50 million pound ($79.7 million) loss over the contract failure, but the potential for a longer-lasting reputational blow goes beyond the UK market. A week before it conceded recruitment problems, the company told Reuters it expected its work at the 2012 Games would help it win a bigger share of a four-year cycle of global events whose safety and security budget has been estimated at more than $10 billion.

August 20, 2012 Reuters
G4S is set to pull out of Pakistan amid an increasingly hostile environment for foreign security companies, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The company, which trades under the name Wackenhut Pakistan Ltd, has agreed to sell the business to its chairman in the region for about $10 million. Ikram Sehgal, chairman of G4S's Pakistani operation, who already owns a 50 percent stake in the company, is expected to buy the company's Pakistan interest. "The Pakistani government has decided it doesn't want foreign security companies in the region, which makes it tough for outsiders to operate," Sehgal is quoted as saying. G4S, the world's largest security firm, employs 10,000 staff in Pakistan, where it provides security for the UN and multinational corporations. G4S is under fire over its failure to provide enough guards at the London Olympics.

August 19, 2012 The Independent
G4S boss Nick Buckles once said that he "never had any ambition of working for anyone else". Early retirement it is, then, for the 51-year-old with the odd mullet haircut, because there is no way he should be allowed to continue at the world's second biggest private-sector employer. This is not because of the security fiasco at the Olympics, when G4S failed to stump up enough security guards so that the army had to step in to protect the event. Don't get me wrong, the epic failure at a global event that means the company has ruled itself out of bidding for contracts at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil was certainly deserving of his head. Nor is this about the disastrous failure to buy ISS for £5.2bn last year, when shareholders effectively vetoed his plans and were proven right last week when the Danish cleaner was valued some 20 per cent below that level in a stake sale. And, obviously it's a bit odd how corporate advisers, brokers and a chairman lost their jobs with G4S when Buckles goes around boasting that his role nowadays is "reputation and pricing bids". Of course he should have gone over the Olympics. Of course he should have gone over the ISS fiasco. But, to go for those reasons alone means that all the other shambles and controversies during his eight-year leadership then would be forgotten. Buckles should go for the many, many awful mistakes the company has made during his reign. It's difficult to know where to start, so I'll trot out the rebuttal that many shareholders will make against my argument: G4S has gown hugely under Buckles, the share price hovered below 120p in mid-2004 and since 2009 has traded at well over double that. Yes, the financial performance is impressive, with consistently strong turnover, profit and dividend pay-out figures. But, the operational performance has been shameful and when the industry is something as crucial as security, it is not enough to use accounts as a defence. Buckles is not personally responsible for any of the following, but the list is long enough to suggest that he has failed to impose the right culture on G4S's employees: In 2007, staff at US subsidiary Wackenhut were found asleep while "securing" a nuclear power plant, resulting in the loss of its contract with the US's biggest energy provider; In 2008, Aboriginal elder "Mr Ward" died of severe heat stroke in the back of a G4S prison van in Australia. G4S was fined after pleading guilty to charges of failing to protect the 46-year-old's health and safety; In 2010, father-of-five Jimmy Mubenga, who was being deported from the UK to Angola, was restrained by three G4S security guards and died of cardiac arrest. Last month, the Crown Prosecution Service did not bring charges to the guards over insufficient evidence, a decision that a former chief inspector of prisons branded "perverse"; In 2011, G4S lost a major government contract after a record 773 complaints by immigration centre detainees, including nearly 50 of assault. Current chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick found that G4S guards used "highly offensive and sometime racist language". Individually, these are hardly the fault of the boss of one of the world's most sprawling empires. It is also hard to say when enough emerged that Buckles should have taken a hard look at himself and admit that he hadn't corrected what appears to be cultural deficiencies. But the list has gone well beyond whatever that point is and he should go.

August 18, 2012 The Sun
A ROBBER dressed as a G4S guard walked out of a store with £14,000 takings — while the real security man was sat outside reading a paper. Duped staff at Poundland became suspicious after handing over the cash. They went outside to the waiting G4S van and told the driver: “We’ve just given the money to your mate.” But the stunned security guard put down his newspaper and replied: “What mate?” Cops reckon the robber had watched the G4S staff’s regular routine before “mocking up” a uniform — complete with crash helmet and body armour. A source said: “The real G4S guys often take a quick break when arriving in their security wagon. On this occasion the guy was reading a paper in the cab. “The robber has been caught on CCTV appearing from the back of the van, as if he’d got out of the passenger seat. “Staff had no reason to think he wasn’t a G4S man. He handed them two cash containers which they filled up. “He then calmly walked out and disappeared. He must have been laughing his head off under his helmet.” Police are appealing for witnesses to Thursday’s heist in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks. It is the latest embarrassment for gaffe-prone G4S after its failure to provide 10,400 Olympic security staff. A spokeswoman said: “We’ll be working closely with Poundland and Warwickshire Police.”

July 31, 2012 Manchester Evening News
Embattled security firm G4S was booted out of Old Trafford before the first Olympics football match there, the M.E.N. can reveal. Hundreds of G4S staff workers were supposed to patrol United’s home ground while it hosted matches at the 2012 Games. The arrangement was part of a £284m contract between Games organisers Locog and the crisis-hit company. But a string of problems led to the decision to drop G4S at Old Trafford and bring in security firm Controlled Event Solutions, (CES) which looks after the stadium for Reds’ matches. A United source said the final straw for Olympic bosses had come when G4S sub-contractors walked out, claiming they had not been paid. The source added: “Someone has looked at it and said enough is enough and they have sent them packing and brought in CES.”

July 25, 2012 Aiken Standard
A civil lawsuit against Wackenhut Services Inc. at the Savannah River Site claiming discrimination should proceed to trial, a U.S. magistrate judge recommended in federal court documents last week. Judge Paige Gossett recommended granting in part and denying in part motions for summary judgement in the case of Marvin Timothy Oerman, who filed a lawsuit in 2010 claiming he was demoted by former employer Wackenhut because he is white. The judge's July 17 recommendation said the lawsuit should proceed on a race discrimination claim, but not on a sex discrimination claim. "It is our understanding that the magistrate issued recommendations partly in our favor and partly against us," said WSI spokesperson Rob Davis. "If the recommendations are upheld, the case will proceed to trial on one of Mr. Oerman's claims." Davis said that Wackenhut continues to deny any discriminatory actions against Oerman. Oerman, who is no longer employed with Wackenhut, worked for the contractor for more than 25 years, and claims that he was demoted while a less experienced black male was selected for the position of manager of Wackenhut's training operations department. The complaint states Oerman later learned that another manager planned to leave the department, and that Randy Garver, general manager of WSI-SRS, did not post the position before choosing another black male with less experience. Oerman filed a second lawsuit in 2011 against Wackenhut claiming retaliation once it became known that he had filed the initial lawsuit. He claimed Wackenhut Services Inc. selected individuals on the basis of race and gender and has "instituted an ad hoc racial and gender quota system," according to the complaint. Court documents state that, according to Garver, "there were continuing performance failures at the barricades for which [Oerman] was responsible," and as a result, he selected a new manager to oversee perimeter protection and transferred Oerman elsewhere. "Unfortunately, there were a significant number of employees who lost jobs through downsizing at SRS over the last several years, and this is our only lawsuit related to that downsizing," Davis said.

July 23, 2012 Ekklesia
The Howard League for Penal Reform has revealed new findings from polling firm Populus showing that half the public oppose privately run prisons. While just 37 per cent describe themselves as comfortable with private prisons, 49 per cent are uncomfortable, including 23 per cent very uncomfortable. The gap is even wider amongst women (32 per cent comfortable, 50 per cent uncomfortable) and the electorally crucial over-65 age group (32 per cent comfortable, 59 per cent uncomfortable). When the specific example of G4S running a local prison is presented, just one in four (26 per cent) describe themselves as comfortable with the idea and even fewer (23 per cent) view the service as suitable for a payment by results approach. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, which campaigns for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison, said: “It’s clear that the public understands the dangers of putting such a key service as the prison system into the hands of unaccountable companies, who are driven by cutting costs rather than cutting crime. "The scandal of the Army having to step in to provide security at the Olympics after private firm G4S failed to do its job proves yet again that when private firms underperform, the public pays through the nose and safety is compromised. We shouldn’t be allowing the same thing in our prison system.”

July 16, 2012 The Guardian
The slide in the G4S share price on Monday reflected the Olympic-sized blow to the private security company's reputation, not only in Britain but throughout its global operations. The company has been here before. In its former incarnation as Group 4 in the early 1990s it became a national joke in Britain, as its first contracts to escort prisoners from courts to jail were hit by one high-profile escape after another. Since those dark days – helped by the fact that it was not then a publicly quoted company with a share price to protect – Group 4 not only recovered but has gone on to become a global success story, with 657,000 employees in 125 countries. G4S is now the largest player in global security, with 8% of the market and contracts that include protecting ships from pirates in the Indian Ocean and supplying security systems to the Pentagon. But its proud boast to be "securing your world, in more ways than you might realise" has been dealt a massive blow by overstretching itself on such a high-profile contract. While Olympic tier-one sponsors such as British Airways and Adidas have paid more than £700m to ensure they harvest a positive boost to their profiles, G4S is experiencing a turbocharged PR meltdown. Will this prove fatal to the company's UK reputation as the go-to contractor for everything in the criminal justice system from running police stations to managing prisons? Replacing its chief executive, Nick Buckles, 51, may not prove sufficient to repair the damage, especially if he pockets, as he will be entitled to, £20m in pay and benefits if he goes. The company will already have written off its hopes of winning the security contracts at the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both in Brazil.

May 30, 2012 Our Kingdom
On Tuesday 8 May a Bradford asylum seeker and her twelve week old baby were given barely a week’s notice by private landlord UPM to quit their home. On Thursday 17th they were transported forty miles to a tiny flat in Doncaster with no cooker, table or chair, and only a tiny sink to wash dishes and clothes. Campaigners in Bradford and Doncaster supported the mother and engaged with local medical services and the Red Cross, and protested to the UK Border Agency and local authorities. The protests prompted a Border Agency inspector to visit the Doncaster flat. On Monday the Border Agency declared the flat “contractually non-compliant” and “not suitable in its present state for mothers and babies”. The Border Agency claimed it had instructed UPM to relocate the mother and baby as a matter of urgency. But they remain in the Doncaster flat, marooned 40 miles from anybody they know. This is the new world of asylum seeker housing controlled by G4S, the world’s biggest security company. In March G4S won a massive £30 million UK Border Agency contract to house asylum-seekers in the Midlands, the East of England, the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside. Using the “prime contractor model”, which G4S tells investors is “attractive”, the company granted subcontracts to UPM and the charity Migrant Help. UPM, or United Property Management (slogan “Serve like a charity. Perform like a business”), describes itself as “a market leading provider of accommodation and support services to people from all walks of life.” They’re based just up the road from Manchester’s Victoria Station. Beatrice Botomani, a worker at Bradford Refugee Action Forum who has coordinated protests and emergency help for the Bradford women and children, said: “We met UPM at the end of April and they gave a long list of pledges about not taking children out of Bradford and away from social and medical services and schools, and giving adequate notice on removals. Only a few days later they started evictions and removals with less than a week’s notice. Some of these women and children have been in Bradford for two years or more awaiting decisions on asylum claims. UPM has not told us where people are going and we cannot alert local support services to contact them – many of these people are already traumatised and have fled from terrible conditions in their home lands, UPM is adding to their stresses.”

March 30, 2012 Journal-Sentinel
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.'s plan to privatize courtroom bailiffs won't fly - at least not for now. Judge Dominic D'Amato ruled that Clarke could not place private security guards in courtrooms, a move the sheriff had already started by issuing a $1.4 million contract with G4S Secure Solutions. The firm, formerly known as Wackenhut, is an international company that provides personnel and technology services. D'Amato issued a temporary injunction halting the deployment of 25 part-time G4S guards, siding with the county Deputy Sheriffs' Association. Clarke argued that he had the power to hire the G4S guards as an emergency stopgap and wanted that to avoid paying full-time bailiffs overtime. Clarke issued the G4S contract on an emergency basis after his 2012 budget was cut and eliminated 48 deputy jobs. The budget also called for creating a new category of part-time hourly bailiffs, who would be county employees but not deputies. Until now, the county has used only full-time deputies for courtroom security. The deputies' union has resisted opening the door to part-time bailiffs or private security for the courtroom. Under current staffing, felony courts have two bailiffs each, while misdemeanor and civil courts have one. Roy Felber, president of the Deputy Sheriffs' Association, said Friday the ruling was "a big win for us. I'm very disgusted that we are trying to privatize law enforcement." Private security guards would be loyal to their company, not to the county, Felber said.

January 13, 2012 The Guardian
The chairman of the company tasked with protecting athletes and visitors at the London Olympics has paid the price for a failed deal to take over a cleaning company and fallen on his sword. Alf Duch-Pedersen, who has headed the world's largest security firm G4S for the past five years, said he was "sad" to be stepping down this year but accepted the time was right to find a successor. Chief executive, Nick Buckles, is still in a job but Duch-Pedersen is to go after shareholders rebelled against a rights issue for a planned £5.3bn takeover of Danish cleaning firm ISS. Investors would not support a £2bn money-raising exercise unveiled last October – which would have allowed a merger to create a group with more than 1.2 million staff worldwide – at a time of deep economic uncertainty. Many analysts argued at the time that G4S – the result of an earlier merger between Group 4 and Securicor – should concentrate on its core protection work where it had won a groundbreaking contract to deliver back office functions for Lincolnshire police – the first of its kind by a British Police Authority.

November 22, 2011 The Guardian
Serious injuries or other life-threatening warning signs have been detected on 285 occasions when children have been physically restrained in privately run jails over the past five years, according to Ministry of Justice figures. The figure reflects the number of "exception reports" submitted by the four privately run secure training centres to the youth justice board since 2006. The warning signs triggering an exception report include struggling to breathe, nausea, vomiting, limpness and abnormal redness to the face. Serious injuries are classified as those requiring hospitalisation and include serious cuts, fractures, concussion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs. The MoJ figures, which have been disclosed for the first time, show that there were 61 such exception reports made last year. There have been 29 so far in the first 10 months of this year. Their disclosure comes as a two-day High Court challenge is due to get underway over the MoJ's refusal to identify and trace hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. Children's rights campaigners believe they should be entitled to compensation. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has brought the case challenging the justice secretary, Ken Clarke's, refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998, when the first secure training centre opened. The legal challenge follows a second inquest earlier this year into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, who was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where he was on remand in 2006. It concluded there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the child jail. The use of several "distraction" restraint techniques, that involved inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint techniques to control teenagers simply for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled unlawful by the court of appeal. Carolyne Willow, Crae's national co-ordinator, said their lawyers will argue there had been a chronic failure by the authorities to protect vulnerable children over many years. "It was not children's responsibility to know about, challenge and stop unlawful and abusive treatment," said Willow, adding there were potentially thousands of former detainees who should now be contacted. "Children in custody are among the most disadvantaged in society and they were held in closed institutions where unlawful restraint was routine and ordinary. It was the state, and the private contractors, who were duty-bound to protect the welfare and rights of vulnerable children." She said that government officials now had a duty to notify potential victims that their rights had been infringed. The abuses should no longer remain hidden and unchallenged. The security company, G4S, which operates three of the four child jails is also joining the case as an 'interested party'.

October 17, 2011 BBC
Shares in G4S, the world's largest security group, fell almost 20% after it announced a £5.2bn ($8.2bn) takeover of Denmark's ISS. G4S will pay ISS's private equity owners cash and shares, and will raise £2bn from existing shareholders to help fund the deal. ISS operations range from catering to cleaning, while G4S services include running prisons and army training. The takeover will double the size of G4S, giving it revenues of about £16bn. G4S said the deal would create an estimated £100m of annual savings for the combined business by 2014.

October 11, 2011 Canberra Times
The Commonwealth Government is suing its former immigration detention operators for failing to protect it against lawsuits lodged by people kept in detention facilities. The case will be heard in the South Australian Supreme Court on November 21. It is part of a long-running case launched by former asylum-seeker Abdul Amir Hamidi, who won a confidential settlement against the Federal Government after almost five years in detention. As The Canberra Times revealed on Saturday, Mr Hamidi's lawyers predict that the confidential settlement will spark dozens more claims for damages. In a case to be heard on November 21, the Commonwealth will claim its former detention centre operators - GSL and Australasian Correctional Services - breached their contracts by exposing the Government to the legal action. The Commonwealth will argue both companies agreed to indemnify it against damages based on their running of Australian detention centres. Australasian Correctional Services operated Australia's mainland immigration detention facilities until early 2004. Group 4 Falck Global Solutions Pty Ltd (which later changed its name to Global Solutions Limited, or GSL) commenced management of the centres in late 2003. Both companies will fight the claim, with ACS arguing it had insufficient time to respond to the allegations and the terms of its agreement included dispute resolution measures. GSL says it is not responsible for indemnifying the Commonwealth for any ''negligent, wilful, reckless or unlawful acts or omissions of the Commonwealth, its employees, officers or agents''. Between 2000 and March 2010, detainees in Australian immigration detention centres were paid more than $12.3million in compensation for personal injury or unlawful detention.

September 20, 2010 Florida Times-Union
A rookie Jacksonville security guard said today he is thankful for being rescued from a suicidal inmate who held him hostage with his own gun and was then subdued at gunpoint by another guard and a corrections officer at Shands Jacksonville hospital Saturday. A Sheriff's Office official said this afternoon she is trying to determine why the private guard with less than six months experience was assigned to the high-risk inmate, whose previous charges include twice attacking corrections officers at the Duval County jail. Also being explored are how the inmate broke partially free from his restraints, beat the guard and took his gun and what else may have led to the attack. "I think it's pretty dramatic an inmate was able to do the things he was able to do," said Chief Tara Wildes of the Sheriff's Office Corrections Division. "I consider us all very fortunate that it turned out as well as it turned out." The Times-Union is waiting for comment from officials of The Wackenhut Corporation, which has a security contract with the Sheriff's Office to guard hospitalized inmates. Wildes said Sheriff's Office protocol for such inmate transports will be reviewed along with inquiries to be made of Wackenhut and Shands about the attack. She said one immediate change now requires the person manning the lone corrections officer post at the hospital do additional checks of restraints on inmates kept overnight. Security guard John Scarborough, 62, told The Florida Times-Union this morning he was able to wrestle the gun away from the man after a momentary standoff with another security guard and a corrections officer who pointed their weapons at the gunman in a hospital hallway. No shots were fired. The rescue occurred as the gunman threatened panicked nurses that “you all better run because I’m going to start shooting.” A handful of nurses ran for cover. Police charged Larry Garner, 19, of Jacksonville with aggravated battery and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Court records show Garner was awaiting trial after being charged with attacking corrections officers at the jail early this month and July. He was being held for sentencing after being convicted of carrying a concealed firearm and resisting arrest in June. Scarborough, a guard for Wackenhut Security, said he had previously watched Garner and was aware of his pending charges. Scarborough said he felt capable of guarding Garner, who'd given him no trouble in the past. He said he saw no reason to have more than one guard on Garner, despite his criminal history. "I knew the guy," Scarborough said. Scarborough said he's worked as a security guard for about five months and experienced nothing like Saturday's attack. Previously self-employed selling gun cleaner at gun shows, Scarborough said he's aware his new job has its dangers, but he never figured on being taken hostage. "You’re never prepared for it," Scarborough said. "It was quite a to do there for awhile." Wildes said Wackenhut employees at the hospital should have known Garner could be trouble because they were aware of his criminal record and propensity to act out. She couldn't say whether her staff had a conversation with Wackenhut about Garner after he was brought to the hospital. She said she prefers that the company's better trained guards watch such high-risk inmates. Wildes said she doesn't believe the Sheriff's Office contract with Wackenhut addresses specific levels of security. “In retrospect, of course, I would have expected someone with more experience,” Wildes said. “But I can’t say somebody with just five months experience would in every case be a bad choice.” Police Union President Nelson Cuba said the incident reinforces his ongoing argument with the Sheriff’s Office against having security guards watch hospitalized inmates versus trained corrections officers. Wildes said the job was privatized to save the Sheriff’s Office money. Cuba said the no other Florida sheriffs have private guards watching prisoners. Cuba said the state’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission last month discussed seeking an injunction against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to stop the practice. He said he's not sure if the action has been taken by the commission, whose duties include setting training standards for police and corrections officers. “This guy had nowhere near the training that a corrections officer has in dealing with these types of situations,” Cuba said. “Our officers know how sneaky these guys can be.”

September 11, 2011 Scotland on Sunday
HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is being spent holding asylum-seekers at Dungavel detention centre for months at a time. Scotland on Sunday has learned that almost £500,000 has been spent housing 13 long-term detainees, several of whom have been at the former prison in South Lanarkshire for more than a year. Asylum-seekers are supposed to stay at so-called pre-departure centres for no more than a week. But in a number of cases, delays in the deportation system mean the UK Border Agency is holding people for an unspecified period. For the duration of detention, the Home Office pays security firm G4S £110 a day for each asylum-seeker. At Dungavel, two men have been held for two years and four months, while others have been held for more than a year, at a cost to taxpayers of about £480,000. Detaining Christian Likenge, 27, a former law student from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has been held for 28 months, has cost £100,000 to date. Likenge, a Christian preacher, is being held after the UK rejected his application for asylum but officials in his native country refused to give him the necessary identification to return home. "It's very difficult and frustrating being here this long," he said. "It's mental torture. I feel depressed. You miss your people, you miss your friends. You feel half-dead."

September 7, 2011 The Age
Specialist security guards at a mental health hospital that houses some of Victoria's most disturbed patients have been locked out over a pay push for an extra $2 an hour. The union representing the guards now fears there could be security breaches at the Thomas Embling Hospital, in Fairfield in Melbourne's north-east, which houses psychiatric patients from the prison system, some of them killers found not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment. The Health and Community Services Union said about 10 guards found themselves denied access to the hospital this morning and replaced by guards sent there by security contractor G4S. The hospital's guards have been campaigning for nine months to be paid the same as security officers who worked at public hospitals. They were about to put in place bans on working overtime and filling out paperwork, the union said. Union state secretary Lloyd Williams said the guards were paid about $18 an hour, despite requiring specialist qualifications in dealing with patients in a mental health hospital. The rate is about 10 per cent lower than they received by guards who patrol public hospitals. He said his members wanted pay parity with colleagues at public hospitals. Mr Williams doubted whether the replacement guards had the appropriate skills to work at the hospital, and lacked the detailed knowledge of patients and daily running of the centre. He warned of a risk to the safety of patients, hospital staff and even the public if security was breached. "That's our concern, that when - and not if - there is a security problem, these people who are there now will not be able to respond appropriately," he said. The hospital experienced one security breach yesterday, when a man considered by police to be dangerous failed to return after being sent out on day release. Dwayne Lee Spintal, 37, was apprehended peacefully by detectives in South Yarra this morning. Mr Williams said the standing down of the hospital's guards had been felt already, as one patient who was scheduled to be taken to another hospital for medical treatment had to have his treatment cancelled. "They clearly don't know how to run the facility because senior management are shadowing them as we speak, making sure that something doesn't go wrong," he said. "We know already because of the situation that a patient who needed to go out of the hospital for [medical] treatment had to have that treatment cancelled. "Clearly [G4S] are putting their profits ahead of patient treatment." G4S said in a statement it replaced the guards under provisions of the Fair Work Act.

August 29, 2011 UKPA
Two members of staff at a private security firm have been sacked after an electronic tag was put on an offender's false leg, the company said. Christopher Lowcock, 29, wrapped his prosthetic limb in a bandage and fooled G4S staff who failed to carry out the proper tests when they set up the tag and monitoring equipment at his Rochdale home. Lowcock could then simply remove his leg - and the tag - whenever he wanted to breach his court-imposed curfew for driving and drug offences, as well as possession of an offensive weapon. A second G4S officer who went to check the monitoring equipment also failed to carry out the proper test. Managers became suspicious last month, but when they returned to the address a third time Lowcock had already been arrested and was back in custody accused of driving while banned and without insurance. A G4S spokeswoman said: "G4S tags 70,000 subjects a year on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. Given the critical nature of this service we have very strict procedures in place which all of our staff must follow. "In this individual's case two employees failed to adhere to the correct procedures when installing the tag. Had they done so, they would have identified his prosthetic leg. Failure to follow procedure is a serious disciplinary offence, and the two employees responsible for the installation of the tag have now been dismissed." A Ministry of Justice spokesman added: "We expect the highest level of professionalism from all our contractors, and there are strict guidelines which must be followed when tagging offenders. "Procedures were clearly not followed in this case and G4S have taken action against the staff involved. Two thousand offenders are tagged every week and incidents like this are very rare."

July 20, 2011 BBC
The trial of an alleged gang accused of using guns and grenades to intimidate rivals collapsed after two defendants escaped from a prison van. Kirk Bradley and Tony Downes, both 25, were being taken to Liverpool Crown Court when the security van they were in was ambushed by armed men. The van was attacked in Trinity Way, Manchester on Monday morning. Judge Henry Globe, the Recorder of Liverpool, discharged the jury following a 10-week trial. He sent the jurors home after asking if they could ignore Monday's events and consider the case only on the evidence they had heard. Judge Globe said: "In other words, an insufficient number of you have been able to confirm that you will be able to ignore the events of Bradley and Downes' escape from the prison van last Monday. "The events of last Monday are extremely rare and were very unexpected and their impact cannot be underestimated. "The fact of this decision is that the trial simply cannot continue." The judge said it was not clear if the armed men who sprung them from the van were friends or enemies Before being discharged the jury was told that Mr Bradley and Mr Downes remained "at large" and that it was not known whether the armed men who sprung them from the prison van were "friends or enemies" or if they went "willingly or unwillingly".

July 19, 2011 BBC
Police have mounted an international search for two men who escaped from a prison van after it was attacked by an armed gang in Manchester. Kirk Bradley and Tony Downes fled after the gang stopped the van in Trinity Way on Monday morning, attacked the driver and forced him to open the vehicle. The men, both 25 and from Liverpool, were being transported to Liverpool Crown Court, where they were on trial. Police said efforts were being made to see if they have left the country. Bradley and Downes stand accused of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit criminal damage with intent to endanger life.

July 18, 2011 BBC
Two prisoners have escaped from a jail van after it was ambushed by armed men on the outskirts of Manchester city centre. A number of men attacked the van in Trinity Way at about 0830 BST, Greater Manchester Police said. They fled in a Saab, which was found abandoned about a mile away in Barrow Street, Salford. A security guard has been taken to hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life threatening. Det Sgt Paul Copplestone urged anyone with information to contact Greater Manchester Police.

July 8, 2011 POGO
Private security contractor ArmorGroup North America Inc. (AGNA) agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it violated procurement rules that put the security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan at risk. AGNA's parent company said the settlement was made solely "to avoid costly and disruptive litigation—and that there has been no finding or admission of liability." This is the same company whose employees are depicted in lewd pictures POGO made available in fall 2009—which demonstrated a serious breakdown in discipline among the security personnel defending the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian called it a 'Lord of the Flies' environment. Former AGNA director of operations James Gordon was the whistleblower who filed the lawsuit—he will receive $1.35 million from the $7.5 million AGNA has agreed to pay. According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, these are the whistleblower allegations that were resolved by the settlement: •"AGNA submitted false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan"; •"[I]n 2007 and 2008, AGNA guards violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by visiting brothels in Kabul, and that AGNA’s management knew about the guards’ activities"; •"AGNA misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 third country national guards it had hired to guard the Embassy"; and •"AGNA failed to comply with certain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the embassy contract, and on a separate contract to provide guard services at a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain." Gordon’s lawsuit was filed in September 2009. Nearly a year and a half later, DOJ joined Gordon’s whistleblower lawsuit on April 29, 2011. Slightly more than two months later, AGNA settled. According to DOJ statistics, whistleblower lawsuits (or qui tam lawsuits) that allow insiders to sue on behalf of the federal government have a much higher success rate when the government intervenes and joins the whistleblower, known as a relator, in their lawsuit (or parts of their lawsuit). In 2009, Gordon stated that he filed his lawsuit “to hold ArmorGroup accountable for the blatant disregard of its obligations to ensure the safety and security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In an industry where good people are required to face extreme risk on a daily basis it is essential that those companies who disregard the rules be removed as they not only endanger their own staff but also endanger the mission, all in order to increase profit.” On September 14, 2009, POGO’s Executive Director Danielle Brian provided testimony on the breakdown of discipline among many of AGNA’s employees in Kabul before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shortly after the Commission hearing, Brian was contacted by Samuel Brinkley, Wackenhut Services, Inc. (WSI)’s Vice President of Homeland and International Security Services, who offered to work with POGO on behalf of WSI and AGNA to identify and remedy mistreatment of victims of this hazing, retaliation against some of the whistleblowers who had come to POGO, and other matters raised in POGO’s disclosures. WSI is AGNA’s parent company. During the intervening months, Brinkley and Brian had many discussions regarding the fair and appropriate treatment for POGO’s whistleblowers and others not involved in the wrongdoing. As a result, POGO was pleased that WSI/AGNA resolved the employment concerns of those five personnel at issue. WSI issued a statement yesterday as well in response to the DOJ press release announcing the settlement. WSI disputed the DOJ’s assertion that there was a violation of the False Claims Act, that it did not have an anti-trafficking policy in place, and that it violated rules regarding third country nationals, and foreign mitigation requirements. It also said “the sole individual confirmed to have frequented prostitutes was fired by AGNA in normal course when his conduct became known.” WSI noted that the period of AGNA’s alleged behavior predated WSI’s acquisition of AGNA. Regarding the violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Gordon’s allegations are more serious than they sound in the DOJ press release. Last year, the Washington Post/Center for Public Integrity wrote about Gordon’s case in the context of a perceived lack of U.S. enforcement regarding alleged sex trafficking by U.S. contractors and subcontractors: In Afghanistan, evidence of trafficking came to light when 90 Chinese women were freed after brothel raids in 2006 and 2007. The women told the International Organization on Migration that they had been taken to Afghanistan for sexual exploitation, according to a 2008 report. Nigina Mamadjonova, head of IOM's counter-human trafficking unit in Afghanistan, said the women alleged in interviews that their clients were mostly Western men. In late 2007, officials at ArmorGroup, which provides U.S. Embassy security in Kabul, learned that some employees frequented brothels that were disguised as Chinese restaurants and that the employees might be engaged in sex trafficking. A company whistleblower has alleged in an ongoing lawsuit that the firm withheld the information from the U.S. government. James Gordon, then an ArmorGroup supervisor, alleged that a manager "boasted openly about owning prostitutes in Kabul" and that a company trainee boasted that he hoped to make some "real money" in brothels and planned to buy a woman for $20,000. The settlement is a victory for accountability, but ultimately may be unsatisfying for critics of the government's less-than-robust oversight of contractors. Can we really expect other contractors to see this settlement as a wake-up call? The State Department fell asleep at the switch with AGNA and still has yet to prove that it's serious about contract oversight and enforcement of trafficking in persons regulations.

July 6, 2011 WA Today
The family of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died in custody, is calling for any court fines due to be issued today against those responsible for the death to be invested in a community Environmental Science Centre. Warburton man Mr Ward, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died from heat stroke in the back of a prison van, with no working cooling system, after being driven 360 kilometres from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in 42-degree heat in 2008. State Coroner Alastair Hope conducted an inquest into the death in 2009, concluding the department, private prison security firm G4S and the two drivers had contributed to Mr Ward's death. The state government and G4S have since pleaded guilty to failing to prevent the death of Mr Ward, after charges were sought by WorkSafe WA earlier this year. Both parties are due to be sentenced in the Kalgoorlie Magistrate's Court today and are expected to face heavy fines of up to $400,000 each. In anticipation of the decision, Ward family spokesperson Daisy Ward has written to Attorney-General Christian Porter asking for the fines to be reinvested in the development of a beneficial science centre in the remote community of Patjarr in the Gibson Desert rather than being put back into government revenue. Ms Ward wrote: "I believe that when the magistrate brings down his sentence, the penalty put on your government will come from consolidated revenue and then be paid back into consolidated revenue. "This is both hurtful and painful to us. This pain does not go away from us. Where is the penalty? ... Any penalty that the company, G4S, has to pay will also go back to your government. "... If the government is getting the money, could you think about giving us the penalty monies because then it really is a penalty." An environmental science centre would reflect the work carried out by Mr Ward to educate environmental science students about indigenous land management, according to his family. "We believe that this will give our families and communities some justice for what happened, and will act as a living legacy of his work," Ms Ward said. "If the fines imposed are paid to the government, this will not bring any justice for what happened to my cousin."

July 5, 2011 The Advertiser
A PRIVATE security firm responsible for prisoner transport has been fined $50,000. This comes after a review into the March escape from custody of Drew Claude Griffiths. The review found private security firm G4S had failed to secure a controlled entry point and van door on March 22 in the prisoner hold area of the Parole Board's Adelaide premises, allowing Griffiths to escape. He was recaptured on March 25 by STAR Group officers. Correctional Services Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the fine sent a strong message to G4S. "This is a message for G4S that any escape is unacceptable," Mr Koutsantonis said. "I am getting sick and tired of prisoners escaping secure custody."

May 20, 2011 Palm Beach Daily News
A limited liability company associated with Richard R. Wackenhut of the security-services fortune has paid a recorded $11.5 million for a landmarked oceanfront home at 930 S. Ocean Blvd. The Palm Beach County Clerk’s office on Friday recorded the warranty deed of sale for the house, which was built in 1929 by noted society architect Maurice Fatio for his own use. Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates acted on behalf of the buyer, listed on the deed as 1111 Partners LLC, whose sole managing member is Richard Wackenhut, according to state records. He is the son of the late George Wackenhut, the Miami founder of the Wackenhut security-services company. Richard Wackenhut served as CEO and president of the company that went through ownership changes beginning in 2002. Today it is part of G4S Secure Solutions, which last year changed its name to drop a reference to Wackenhut. G4S Secure Solutions-North America is based in Jupiter. The house was not on the market at the time of the sale, said Moens, who arranged the deal privately. Moens said he had no comment about the buyer or details of the sale. The house was sold by Steve and Linda Horn Inc., an entity affiliated with Steve and Linda Horn of New York. The company had bought the house for $9.45 million in 2005. Linda Horn, who owns an antiques and decorative accessories shop in New York, said Friday she had no comment on the sale. Fatio and his wife, Eleanor Chase Fatio, lived in the house at the intersection of South Ocean Boulevard and Via Bellaria. Fatio designed the home in the Florentine Renaissance style with an exterior featuring coral key stone, one of his favorite building materials. The two-story, L-shaped home has a poolside covered loggia featuring an arched colonnade and a pecky-cypress ceiling. The house also has a 500-square-foot basement. Architectural features include French doors — with sidelights and fanlights — that open onto the pool area and side gardens. The Fatios lived in the house until 1930, when Fatio sold it to Franklin Simon, a New York City department store owner. County property records show that the limited liability company that purchased the house this week bought other property owned by Richard Wackenhut. He and a land trust paid $3.95 million for a home at 338 Eagle Drive in Jupiter’s Admirals Cove in 2001. Wackenhut took full ownership of the property a year later. Last November, Wackenhut, acting with his wife, Marie, transferred ownership of the Jupiter home to the same LLC that bought the South Ocean Boulevard house.

April 15, 2011 All Africa
The Mozambican judicial authorities on Thursday ordered the release of the 24 workers from the firm Group Four Securicor (G4S) who were jailed in Maputo awaiting trial on charges relating to demonstrations outside the G4S offices on 6 April. The decision was made by Judge Ana Felisberto Cunha of the Maputo Judicial Court, on presentation of declarations of identity and residence by the strikers. The release of the workers comes after the company withdrew the criminal complaints it had made against the group. According to G4S managing director, Pedro Baltazar, the decision to withdraw the charges was taken during a meeting of the Board of Directors held in Maputo on Monday as part of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the labour dispute at the company. The workers' lawyer, Salvador Nkamati, said that the 24 will have to wait for new developments, and must comply with certain obligations imposed by the law. "They will have to appear before the Court whenever requested, as well as other relevant authorities such as the police and prosecutors" he explained. Riot police used excessive force to disperse workers who were protesting outside the human resources department of the Maputo branch of G4S. A riot police unit was ordered to the scene after protestors broke windows and tore up fencing. According to the newspaper "O Pais", despite having been beaten and arrested, the security guards are still loyal to the company and are all set on returning to work. However, the General Secretary of the National Union of Private Security Workers (SINTESP), Julio Sitoe, argued that they should be entitled to compensation from the company for injuries sustained when members of the riot police violently attacked the demonstration.

February 16, 2011 The Street
After fiery closing arguments in the Smith v. Walmart trial, a jury found Wackenhut, but not Wal-Mart(WMT), liable for inadequate security in a store parking lot where a customer was murdered. The jury awarded over $1M in damages. Michael Born was murdered in a Wal-Mart parking lot while replacing his car's headlight. The plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart knew the store was located in a high-crime area, and that police were repeatedly called to the site. However, neither Wal-Mart nor its hired security service, Wackenhut, took adequate measures to protect Wal-Mart customers. Plaintiff attorney Mont Tanner reminded the jury that there had been more than a hundred similar incidents of serious crimes at the store, such as battery and robbery, most within the two years prior to the murder. However, said Tanner, there was no annual security assessment at this "crime magnet" by either Wal-Mart or Wackenhut, and the Wackenhut patrol officer was not trained to identify or deal with suspicious persons. Wal-Mart also allegedly failed to comply with its own security guidelines.

February 8, 2011 The Guardian
The Guardian has obtained a training video used by Securicor - now G4S - to instruct guards deporting asylum seekers on flights. The footage forms part of a dossier of evidence produced by G4S whistleblowers. The inaugural flight to Afghanistan should have been a showcase for a multinational company vying for the lucrative contract to deport foreign nationals on behalf of the British government. The plane heading to Kabul on 26 January 2004 had been chartered by a company that would go on to become part of the world's largest private security firm – G4S. Its cargo included refused asylum seekers in handcuffs. A number had their legs bound with tape and had been placed in the first-class cabin. But according to new evidence some of the guards on that flight, recruited to supervise the deportation, had not completed a full training course, and they included a number of inexperienced prison staff. Some had not even received Home Office accreditation. Shocking details about that flight and dozens more are contained in previously unseen evidence to parliament obtained by the Guardian. The documents reveal how G4S employees spent several years raising concerns about the potentially lethal methods being used on refused asylum seekers. The most disturbing technique involved bending deportees over in their seats and placing their head between their legs. The procedure became known within the company as "carpet karaoke" because it would force detainees, struggling for breath, to shout downwards toward the floor. Although an apparently successful method of keeping disruptive detainees quiet, it can lead to a form of suffocation known as positional asphyxia. Its alleged use is documented in written testimony by four G4S whistleblowers, submitted to the home affairs select committee in the aftermath of the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan who died on a British Airways flight from Heathrow in October last year. The cause of Mubenga's death remains unknown. Passengers on BA flight 77 reported seeing three guards heavily restraining the 46-year-old, who they said had been bent over and complained of breathing difficulties before his collapse. Police later arrested the guards in connection with the death and recently extended their bail until next month. Grievances -- All four whistleblowers have registered personal grievances against G4S, including some that have been settled out of court. Some are understood to have been themselves accused of inappropriate behaviour or later barred from conveying their concerns to the press. However, they now accuse G4S managers of presiding over a "macho" corporate culture that ostracised staff who showed compassion towards detainees or questioned the safety of their treatment. One of the whistleblowers, the company's serving charter operations manager, concedes that his detailed dossier to parliament is likely to result in his dismissal. The dossier records how he repeatedly wrote to his seniors expressing concerns, including one letter in which he stated that some G4S employees were playing "Russian roulette with detainees' lives".

January 18, 2011 The Age
THE wife of an Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van says she is ''happy and relieved'' that Western Australia's work safety watchdog will lay charges over his death. WorkSafe WA has laid four charges under the Occupational Safety and Health Act against the state government, the transport company and the two staff involved. Mr Ward, 46, who cannot be fully named for cultural reasons, died of heatstroke in the prison van in January 2008. He was being transported from Laverton to Kalgoorlie on a drink-driving charge. WorkSafe charged the Department of Corrective Services with failing to ensure non-employees were not exposed to hazards. Transport contractor G4S was charged with failing to ensure the safety and health of a non-employee for the transportation of people in custody. Drivers Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell were charged with failing to take reasonable care to avoid affecting the safety or health of the person in custody. Mr Ward's wife said the charges had been ''a long time coming''.

December 26, 2010 The Guardian
A security company has recruited two former senior civil servants, sparking an outcry about the "revolving door" between Whitehall and the company. G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, hired Dr Peter Collecott, the one time director of corporate affairs at the Foreign Office, and David Gould, the Ministry of Defence's former chief operating officer in charge of defence equipment, according to a government report. The company, whose guards are under investigation over the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga, supplies armed guards for embassy staff around the world. It has recruited former ministers including Lord Reid as well as senior figures in offender management. The disclosure comes two weeks after Sir George Young, the leader of the Commons, said he would examine the "revolving door" between Whitehall and defence companies. Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, called for a closer examination of civil servants before they are allowed to take private sector roles that may overlap with their former public duties. "There is great excitement over politicians and outside interests but the real issue is the gilded path from Whitehall where billions of pounds worth of public spending decisions are made into employment with companies that gained from such contracts and contacts," he said. "We need new rules so that anyone in public service cannot go straight into employment with companies to which they previously awarded contracts." Harry Fletcher, the assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, who has been critical of the way G4S has recruited senior civil servants from the Home Office, said: "Appointments such as these give G4S a commercial advantage over their rivals and will encourage others to go down the same route." The appointments are listed in the latest report from the Advisory Committee of Business Appointments, released earlier this month. Collecott, 60, was the ambassador in Brazil from 2004 to 2008. He was a member of the Foreign Office's senior leadership forum that brought together the most senior heads of mission overseas. G4S said he has worked for their company on two separate domestic projects – once in 2009 and again this year, a contract which ended in September. The company has declined to explain the nature of the project. Gould, the MoD's former chief operating officer of defence equipment and support – which put him in charge of billions of pounds worth of procurement contracts – took up a consultant post with G4S last year. He left the MoD in 2008, and has also had roles at Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems Ltd. A spokesman for G4S said he worked on a specific project with G4S in 2009. Last month, G4S prompted an outcry by hiring Philip Wheatley, the former director general of the National Offender Management Service. Wheatley's G4S role, which he takes up just as Ken Clarke launches a plan to privatise much of the probation service he managed until June, has been criticised by probation unions. Wheatley's appointment is part of a pattern of G4S lobbying over probation privatisation. The company paid for a meeting at the last Conservative conference, where G4S "offender management" executive Jerry Petherick, spoke alongside the prisons minister, Crispin Blunt.

November 17, 2010 CBS 4
After watching the movie "The Hangover" with her brother and his friends, the 17-year-old girl headed off to her room. "She was undressing to get ready for bed, she had just taken her top off, she had taken off her shorts, and when she reached down to get her T-shirt, she saw a phone in her window and she screamed, grabbed something to cover herself and charged at the window, banged on it and yelled," the teen's mother said. "I heard that, it was loud and it was fear." For the first time since that August 15 incident the mother of the teenage girl is speaking out. In order to protect the identity of her daughter, CBS4 News has agreed not to use the family's name. "She was angry, she was hysterical because someone had completely violated her life, they were in her window that's so frightening," the mother said. "She just kept repeating the same things that she was naked, she was naked. She was totally mortified." The teen and her mother raced to the living room where her brother and his friends were still hanging out. When they discovered what happened the young men rushed outside to see if they could catch the Peeping Tom. All anyone spotted were the tail lights of a small SUV off in the distance. "One of the boys said, `Should I get the security guard?'" the mother said. "And I said, `Yes, absolutely.' Because they were just down the street." The family lives inside a gated community, agreeing to pay more than $3,500 a year in additional taxes for the added security provided by Wackenhut, now known as G4S. "If somebody wants to do harm they are not going to come into a neighborhood that has security sitting outside and security driving around 24 hours," She said. "You just feel safe in your home." When the family friend ran down to the guard house a block away, he saw the Wackenhut guard sweating and out of breath. The family friend told the guard that someone had been spying into the one of the bedrooms. "He goes, `I know, I know, I know,'" the mother recounted. "He was totally out of breath and he said, `I was just chasing the guy, I have a complete description of him, I'm just writing it down, I'll be there in a minute, I'm calling the police.'" A few minutes later the Wackenhut guard showed up to the house and introduced himself. His name: Eric Michael Owens. He reassured the mother and the teenage girl that everything would be fine, that they were safe now. He even added the reassuring biographical detail that he was a former Marine. "I patted him on the back and put my arm around him and said, `I'm so glad to have you here, especially to know you are an ex marine,'" The mother said. "`That makes me feel really good.'" The mother asked Owens if he had called the police. Owens assured her he did, but warned they might not come out on something like this. He even tried to make it seem that the Peeping Tom may not have been peeping at all. He may have been trying to break into the cars parked in the driveway. The teenage girl, however, made it clear there was a voyeur. She described the phone she saw pressed against her window – the new iPhone 4. At one point Owens, 28, raised the possibility that perhaps one of the boys in the house may have been responsible, telling the mom, "You can't trust anybody today." "It kind of just went over my head that he said that," she offered, "but my son caught it, and when we came inside he said, `That's weird that he said that mom. Did you ask to see his phone?' and I said, `No, why would I ask a security guard to see his phone?' It didn't even cross my mind." Other issues made the mother suspicious. In describing the man he chased, Owens gave a nearly perfect description of himself. Besides describing his own height, weight and hair color, he also said the Peeping Tom was wearing a track suit with a pair of stripes running up the side of the leg. Wackenhut guards have two stripes down the side of their pants. After about 30 minutes, the mother began to wonder why Coral Gables hadn't responded. When she called to check she was told by dispatchers that there was no record of anyone having called to report a prowler or a voyeur. When the police finally did arrive it didn't take long for them to focus on Owens. They asked Owens what type of phone he carries. He said he has an iPhone, but he told detectives he had left it with his girlfriend and didn't have it with him that night. But at the same time he was telling this to detectives, another security guard was telling police that she had indeed seen Owens with his iPhone earlier that evening. Police spread out to look for places where Owens might have hidden the phone and eventually they found it stashed at a construction site a few houses away. Police not only found images of the teenager naked on Owens' cell phone, but they also discovered he had secretly recorded video of her while she slept ten days earlier. Confronted with this evidence Owens confessed, according to police. "This was someone waiting outside our house, waiting for her, stalking her," the mother said. Owens was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and video voyeurism. His attorney, Christopher Pole, declined to comment on the criminal case which is scheduled for trial next year. Amazingly, it was soon uncovered that Owens had been arrested twice and convicted once in California for being a Peeping Tom. "They did a lousy job of screening this employee in particular," said Melissa Visconti, an attorney with The Ferraro Law Group, which is representing the family. Wackenhut issued a statement to the CBS4 I Team blaming "the peculiarities of California law" which list voyeurism under disorderly conduct. "Given all the information available to the local hiring manager at the time, the decision to employ Mr. Owens was reasonable," the statement argued. For the mother of the young victim, Wackenhut's response is far from good enough. She notes with amazement that no one from Wackenhut ever came by the house to check to see if the family was okay or to apologize for what happened. Two weeks after the incident, Wackenhut's president, Drew Levine, sent a rather sterile letter noting that, "Unfortunately, sometimes people do unexpected things that hurt others. We regret that Mr. Owens caused you harm." The letter, however, was addressed to the wrong person and the name of the street they live on was misspelled. "I want this company to take responsibility for their negligence in this, for hiring someone who had a history of doing this and putting them in a neighborhood where we were meant to feel safe in," the mother said. "This is a classic case of putting the fox in the hen house," added Jeffrey Sloman, the former U.S. Attorney in South Florida who, along with Visconti, is representing the family. Sloman noted that Wackenhut advertises itself as the leader in background security investigations and yet here, in this case, they fail to adequately investigate the people they hire. "In this case a public company which holds itself out to be the world's leader in background investigative services," Sloman said. "And then you find out they hire a previously convicted voyeur and place him in the very environment in which he thrives. It's appalling."

October 29, 2010 Financial Times
G4S, the security group, is to be replaced on a £30m-a-year ($48m) contract to deport detainees from the UK, the Home Office said. The loss comes after three security guards employed by G4S were arrested over the death of an Angolan man last week. However, the UK Border Agency said its decision to award a new four-year “escort services” contract to Reliance Security rather than G4S, which had done the job for the past five years, had no connection with the incident. Jimmy Mubenga, a 46-year-old deportee, died after he collapsed onboard a British Airways flight that was preparing to depart to his homeland from London’s Heathrow airport. The Home Office declined to disclose the sums involved in the G4S or Reliance contracts, citing commercial confidentiality. However, G4S said that it would take a hit of £30m in revenues and £2m in profits next year – a fraction of the company’s £7.4bn forecast sales and £393.7m pre-tax profits in the year to the end of December. Shares in G4S fell 4.8p at 261.7p. G4S said it was disappointed at the decision to hand the contract to its privately owned rival.

October 28, 2010 The Sentinel
A SECURITY guard who stole £20,000 worth of takings he collected from supermarkets has avoided an immediate jail sentence. Group 4 van driver Stuart Grey would park up after collecting cash from Morrisons, Asda or Somerfield and remove a bundle containing £1,000, Stafford Crown Court heard yesterday. He was caught when Morrisons launched an internal investigation over missing money and laid a trap with marked notes from its store in Stone. Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, said a collection from Stone in April was £1,000 short when it reached the company's headquarters. Police carried out a search of the defendant's Stoke-on-Trent home and found £460 of the company's money hidden in a washing machine and a mug, plus a bank deposit slip for £260. Grey explained how he had been stealing cash. He said he drove away from the store, pulled over a short distance away, opened up sealed plastic bags and took one bundle of notes containing £1,000. Grey had done it a total of 20 times over a period of 14 months from January last year. How he got away with it for so long was yet to be explained.

October 15, 2010 Bloomberg
Computer Sciences Corp., an information-technology company that relies on government business for almost 40 percent of its revenue, won $4 billion in U.S. contracts in fiscal 2009 after failing to pay more than 250 employees the wages and benefits they were owed. Computer Sciences, based in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia, topped a list of 15 companies that received more than $6 billion in federal contracts despite records of wage, health or safety violations, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. chicken processor; Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s biggest private operator of prisons; and Wackenhut Services Inc., owned by U.K.- based security contractor G4S Plc, are also among the contractors identified. The names of the companies, not revealed in the public report released Oct. 1, were provided by Representative Robert Andrews, a New Jersey Democrat who criticized the awarding of contracts to companies that didn’t meet required standards. “If a company has a pattern of violations, at the very least, it should raise greater scrutiny before they get government contracts,” Andrews, chairman of the panel that requested the investigation, said in a telephone interview. “There doesn’t seem to be much incentive to follow the laws because you can still get a contract anyway.” The report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, covered a sample of contracts in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2009. ‘Work to Do’ -- Computer Sciences, which was awarded the $4 billion from the Defense Department and NASA, was assessed $1.6 million in back pay by the Labor Department covering a five-year period. Tyson, with more than $500 million in Defense, Agriculture and Justice department contracts, was cited for more than 100 health and safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the GAO said. Wackenhut, which received $200 million in security contracts with the Defense, Agriculture and Homeland Security departments and NASA, violated fair-labor laws, according to Labor Department data cited by the GAO. “Some companies that continue to receive lucrative government contracts not only pay rock-bottom wages, but have long histories of labor and workplace safety violations,” Representative Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat who joined in requesting the GAO report, said in an e-mailed statement. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure that the federal contracting process encourages safe and good-paying jobs.” Workers Misclassified -- In addition to the pay violations, Computer Sciences didn’t provide protections against cave-ins for employees working in a trench more than 10 feet (3 meters) deep, according to a 2006 inspection by the occupational safety agency cited by the GAO. Chris Grandis, a company spokesman, said Computer Sciences paid the back wages to employees assigned to a U.S. immigration office in Vermont in 2009, after the Labor Department found they had been misclassified as contract workers entitled to less compensation. The company also received a minor citation from the occupational safety agency and agreed to pay a small fine, he said. Computer Sciences, a government contractor since 1961, received 37 percent of its $16.1 billion in revenue from federal contracts in the fiscal year ended April 2, according to a regulatory filing. Army, Immigration -- It ranked 12th in U.S. government contracts in fiscal 2009, the year studied by the GAO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its biggest federal contract that year was with the U.S. Army to provide engineering and logistics support for the Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command. Computer Sciences also has a contract with the Homeland Security Department for a processing system used in applications for immigration benefits and services. The company said on Oct. 4 that it was one of four firms that will share in a $2.8 billion contract by the Social Security Administration for consulting and information technology services. Tyson has received more than 100 U.S. health and safety citations, including for an incident in which a worker died after being asphyxiated in a pit of wastewater debris, according to the GAO report. Last year, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson won $500 million in federal contracts, the GAO’s report showed. Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman, said the company seeks to comply with federal regulations and the report doesn’t give “the full context of the issues involved, nor does it report the measures our company takes to operate responsibly.” Corrections Corp. -- Corrections Corp., based in Nashville, Tennessee, was cited for five safety violations since 2005 and for failing to follow labor laws when firing an employee for union participation, according to the GAO. Last year, it was awarded $800 million in contracts, the agency said. Steve Owen, a Corrections Corp. spokesman, said the U.S. contracts are subject to oversight and accountability. He declined to comment on safety and labor violations cited in the GAO report. Wackenhut, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, received $200 million in contracts, the GAO said. From 2005 through 2009, the Labor Department said the company owed $4.4 million in back wages to more than 2,100 employees, and OSHA cited the company for seven cases of health and safety violations, resulting in $9,000 in fines. The company agreed this year to pay $290,000 in back pay and interest to 446 rejected black job applicants. Susan Pitcher, a Wackenhut spokeswoman, said the company had no response to the report. Violations by other federal contractors included hiring undocumented workers, failing to meet environmental standards and fraudulently billing Medicare or Medicaid, according to the report.

October 8, 2010 CBS News
U.S. reliance on private security in Afghanistan that is poorly monitored and often results in the hiring of Afghan warlords is profiting the Taliban and could endanger coalition troops, according to a Senate report. Military officials warn, however, that ending the practice of hiring local guards could worsen the security situation. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee which issued the report, said Thursday that he is worried the U.S. is unknowingly fostering the growth of Taliban-linked militias and posing a threat to U.S. and coalition troops at a time when Kabul is struggling to recruit its own soldiers and police officers. The investigation follows a separate congressional inquiry in June that concluded trucking contractors pay tens of millions of dollars a year to local warlords for convoy protection. "Almost all are Afghans. Almost all are armed," Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said of the army of young men working under U.S. contracts. State Dept. Awarding Contractors Up to $10B -- "These contractors threaten the security of our troops and risk the success of our mission," he told reporters. "There is significant evidence that some security contractors even work against our coalition forces, creating the very threat that they are hired to combat." "We need to shut off the spigot of U.S. dollars flowing into the pockets of warlords and power brokers who act contrary to our interests and contribute to the corruption that weakens the support of the Afghan people for their government," he added. A well placed source in the Afghan government told CBS News' Fazul Rahim that the senate report "is what we have been saying for the past couple of years. This report confirms our suspicions." The Defense Department doesn't necessarily disagree but warns that firing the estimated 26,000 private security personnel operating in Afghanistan in the near future isn't practical. This summer, U.S. forces in Afghanistan pledged to increase their oversight of security contractors and set up two task forces to look into allegations of misconduct and to track the money spent, particularly among lower-level subcontractors. The Defense Contract Management Agency has increased the number of auditors and support staff in the region by some 300 percent since 2007. And in September, Gen. David Petraeus, the top war commander in Afghanistan, directed his staff to consider the impact that contract spending has on military operations. The military says providing young Afghan men with employment can prevent them from joining the ranks of Taliban fighters. And bringing in foreign workers to do jobs Afghans can do is likely to foster resentment, they say. Also, contract security forces fill an immediate need at a time when U.S. forces are focused on operations, commanders say. "As the security environment in Afghanistan improves, our need for (private security contractors) will diminish," Petraeus told the Senate panel in July. "But in the meantime, we will use legal, licensed and controlled (companies) to accomplish appropriate missions." Levin says he isn't suggesting that the U.S. stop using private security contractors altogether. But, he adds, the U.S. must reduce the number of local security guards and improve the vetting process of new hires if there's any hope of reversing a trend that he says damages the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. His report represents the broadest look at Defense Department security contracts so far, with a review of 125 of these agreements between 2007 and 2009. The panel's report highlights two cases in which security contractors ArmorGroup and EOD Technology relied on personnel linked to the Taliban. Last week, EOD Technology was one of eight security companies hired by the State Department under a $10 billion contract to provide protection for diplomats. A statement released by EOD Technology said the Lenoir City, Tenn.-based company had been encouraged to hire local Afghans and that it provided the names of its employees to the military for screening. The company said the military has never made it aware of any problems with its handling of the contract. In the case of ArmorGroup, the Senate panel says the company repeatedly relied on warlords to find local guards, including the uncle of a known Taliban commander. The uncle, nicknamed "Mr. White" by ArmorGroup after a character in the violent movie "Reservoir Dogs," was eventually killed after a U.S. raid that uncovered a cache of weapons, including anti-tank land mines. ArmorGroup, based in McLean, Va., lost a separate contract this year protecting the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after allegations surfaced that guards engaged in lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, said the company only engaged workers from local villages upon the "recommendation and encouragement" of U.S. special operations troops. Pitcher said that ArmorGroup stayed in "close contact" with the military personnel "to ensure that the company was constantly acting in harmony with, and in support of, U.S. military interests and desires." In August, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that private security contractors would have to cease operations by the end of the year. The workers, he said, would have to either join the government security forces or stop work because they were undermining Afghanistan's police and army and contributing to corruption.

September 29, 2010 NBC Miami
When eight current and former employees, supervisors and executives for Wackenhut Security, now called G4S, were arrested recently and charged with racketeering, one man felt justice. "I felt vindicated, vindicated," said Marty Bair. Bair was a senior supervisor for Wackenhut when he told top executives there that the company was dramatically overbilling Miami-Dade County for empty guard posts on transit systems. They fired him. "They did everything they could to try to destroy me, and prevent me from telling the truth," said Bair. Wackenhut says they fired him for other reasons and have attacked his credibility as well as his findings, but Bair is suing Wackenhut over the firing. And his lawyer says Wackenhut owes him. "They fired him because he took part in uncovering their cover up," said attorney Gary Costales. Costales is referring to allegations from Miami-Dade County and from a separate whistleblower lawsuit accusing Wackenhut management of "systematically" overbilling the county for empty guard posts and fraudulent timesheets. The lawsuit claims the overbilling amounts to $17 million over the life of the contract while the county, which sampled a much smaller timeframe, found the overbilling amounted to several million dollars. Wackenhut says both allegations are wrong and points to supportive statements from judges. In an NBC Miami investigation in 2007, more than a dozen current and former guards and supervisors who worked for Wackenhut and its contractor gave detailed accounts of how they were routinely instructed to work a few extra hours yet sign timesheets declaring they worked a full 8-hour shift. They were also offered overtime for extra hours so timesheets could place them in two guard posts. Even though it was like free money to them, they told NBC Miami they knew it was wrong and spoke up. When they did, many were fired. Wackenhut has insisted previously those employees were let go for other reasons. Drew Levine ran Wackenhut's Florida operations at the time of some of the questionable billings, and now Levine is Wackenhut's (G4S) top executive in North America. But did Levine know about the widespread overbilling of taxpayers back then? Wackenhut says Levine was not involved in day to day operations. But Bair says he informed Levine face-to-face. "I briefed him personally, in 1999," Bair said. Wackenhut has consistently said it did nothing wrong and disputes the Miami-Dade County audit that lead Mayor Carlos Alvarez to demand Wackenhut repay taxpayers millions of dollars. And on Monday, a Wackenhut spokesman said Levine's attorney says he's been told by prosecutors he will not be arrested, as the other current and former employees have. One of them, Eddy Esquivel, who runs G4S' operations in Miami-Dade, sent an internal executive memo five days before his arrest Friday. His memo discusses the arrest of several current and former employees September 10, calling the case full of "grave injustices," and that Wackenhut "stands squarely behind me" amid a "malicious corporate campaign" against Wackenhut and warns his colleagues, "Do not be tempted to buy into the negative and sensationalistic media spin." A new internal memo from Levine offers talking points to managers in the wake of the arrests. He says Wackenhut made mistakes due to timesheets filled out by hand, but without any intent to defraud taxpayers. And the lawyer for Rene Pedrayes, who ran Wackenhut in Miami-Dade before being promoted to run the Florida region, says they'd been assured he, too, would not be arrested, and blamed the arrest on a lying, disgruntled former employee. As for Bair, is he sorry he told his employer the unflattering information? "Nope, not at all," he said. "Anyone who knows me, knows I will tell the truth."

September 25, 2010 NBC Miami
The man at the head of Wackenhut security services in Florida at the time of a 2007 NBC Miami investigation was arrested and charged with racketeering Friday, NBCMiami has learned. Rene Pedrayes, 49, was general manager of Wackenhut's state operations when he left the company amid allegations that the company systematically overcharged Miami-Dade taxpayers million of dollars for empty guard posts on county transit. [Read the arrest affidavit (PDF).] State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also announced the arrest of two other high-ranking Wackenhut officials who oversaw the transit contract. Eduardo "Eddy" Esquivel was the top Wackenhut official in Miami-Dade County, managing the firm's lucrative security contract for MetroRail and Peoplemover train systems as well as the county's juvenile detention center, and Erika M. Ryan worked as a secretary and assistant to then-project manager of the Wackenhut Miami-Dade Transit contract, Elijah G. Pendleton. Pendleton was himself arrested and charged with racketeering two weeks ago. Two others were also arrested with Pendleton during the first wave of arrests related to the Wackenhut case. All are charged with racketeering, a felony. A county audit found Wackenhut overcharged taxpayers by several million dollars over three years, while an independent audit linked to a whistleblower lawsuit against Wackenhut found the amount as high as roughly $17 million over the life of the contract. Wackenhut has said it did nothing wrong, while investigators on the lawsuit case claim to have gone through every single invoice and timesheet. Will there be more arrests? Fernandez Rundle's office isn’t saying. But documents have made reference to the possibility of Wackenhut being charged as a corporation, a possibility that would make government contracts more difficult for Wackenhut nationwide. Government contracts are an important part of the security giant, which was founded in South Florida but has since been taken over by a British firm. Its American operations are still based in Palm Beach Gardens, where it is run by president Drew Levine -- the same executive who presided over the firm during the unfolding scandal in Miami-Dade County.

September 10, 2010 Miami Herald
Miami-Dade authorities have charged five former employees of security firm Wackenhut -- which has been accused of overbilling taxpayers for millions of dollars -- with racketeering, court records show. The arrest warrants issued for Nathan Holmes, Robert Alvarado, William Acosta, Roberto Pereira and Elijah Pendleton, have been sealed as part of the ongoing probe, according to documents filed in Miami-Dade court. A Miami-Dade audit previously found that Wackenhut -- which guarded Metrorail stations for more than a decade -- overbilled the county from $3.3 million to $5.8 million for work it never performed. Other estimates put the number much higher. In February, county commissioners voted to approve a settlement in which Wackenhut would pay the county $3 million in compensation. Documents filed in court this week do not detail the allegations against the four men. At least one man, Pendleton, was removed from working on the Metrorail contract after a Miami Herald story in 2006 detailed a whistle blower lawsuit against Wackenhut. A spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office declined to comment. According to court records, the warrants were sealed by a judge so that Miami-Dade police public corruption detectives can ``seek cooperation of one of more of the said Defendants in furtherance of the investigation.''

August 27, 2010 Yahoo
Judge James Cacheris of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied Defendants ArmorGroup North America ("AGNA"), ArmorGroup International, Wackenhut Services, Inc., and Cornelius Medley's motions to dismiss whistleblower James Gordon's lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act. On September 9, 2009, Mr. Gordon, former Director of Operations of AGNA, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit under the False Claims Act in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charging that ArmorGroup management retaliated against him for whistleblowing, internally and to the United States Department of State ("DoS"), about illegalities committed by ArmorGroup in the performance of AGNA's contracts with the United States to provide security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and at the U.S. Naval base in Bahrain. The Complaint charges that during Mr. Gordon's seven-month tenure as Director of Operations, he investigated, attempted to stop, and reported to DoS a myriad of serious violations committed by ArmorGroup, including: •Severely understaffing the guard force necessary to protect the U.S. Embassy; •Allowing AGNA managers and employees to frequent brothels notorious for housing trafficked women in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act; •Endangering the safety of the guard force during transport to and from the Embassy by attempting to substitute company-owned subpar, refurbished vehicles from Iraq rather than purchasing armored escort vehicles as promised to DoS; •Knowingly using funds to procure cheap counterfeit goods from a company in Lebanon owned by the wife of AGNA's Logistics Manager; and •Engaging in practices to maximize profit from the contract with reckless disregard for the safety and security of the guard force, the U.S. Embassy, and its personnel. In his Memorandum Opinion (August 27, 2010), Judge Cacheris noted that "Plaintiff alleges and Defendants offer no facts to dispute that Defendants ... began to try to constructively discharge [Mr. Gordon] by 'making [his] working conditions intolerable.'" Judge Cacheris further noted that "Plaintiff alleges, and Defendants have not offered any evidence refuting the fact, that [Defendant] Medley excluded Plaintiff from management meetings, shunned him, and relegated him to a position of persona non grata in the office" and that "Medley made clear to Plaintiff by his behavior, and to other staff members by his direct boasts, that his priority was to force Gordon to quit." In denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Cacheris concluded that "there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the continued nature and duration of the allegedly illegal acts Plaintiff was requested and required to participate in." The parties will now proceed into the discovery phase of the litigation. According to Debra S. Katz, counsel for Mr. Gordon, "this is an important victory for conscientious employees, like Mr. Gordon, who blow the whistle on fraudulent practices by defense contractors and wind up then paying the ultimate price. The court's decision today makes clear that such employees can bring federal claims under the False Claims Act to obtain redress."

August 19, 2010 Miami Herald
It's hard to be a security guard and a peeping tom at the same time. That's what police say Eric Michael Owens of Miami found out last Sunday when he was called to a home in the Old Cutler Bay neighborhood to help a family who reported spotting an intruder in the middle of the night. The security guard got into hot water after Coral Gables police arrived and questioned Owens, whose story did not add up, they said. The intruder was Owens, police said. Coral Gables police arrested him later Sunday morning. He is accused of entering the home and taking photos with his cellphone of an unidentified 17-year-old girl as she was undressing. The incident wasn't the first time Owens, a security guard for G4S Secure Solutions USA, formerly known as Wackenhut, had taken photos of the teenager, he later confessed. And it wasn't the first time Owens was charged with the same offense. He was convicted in 2004 in California for peeping into someone's home. That same year, Owens was also convicted of ``disorderly conduct'' -- a misdemeanor -- and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, which he joined in 2001. Coral Gables police charged Owens, 28, with two felonies -- two counts of burglary -- and three misdemeanors -- two counts of video voyeurism and one count of providing false information to police. According to Sgt. Janette Frevola, a spokeswoman for the Coral Gables Police Department, this is what happened: Owens was on his Sunday shift when he entered a Coral Gables home and took photos of the unidentified 17-year-old girl as she was undressing. Frevola said she did not know how the security guard entered the property. At one point, the girl noticed someone with a cellphone. She screamed. About 2:48 a.m., another person in the house called the security guard at the front gate of Old Cutler Bay, and the guard asked Owens, who was on a roving patrol, to check it out. Frevola would not identify the address of the house or the victim. Owens came to the house and spoke with the girl's parents, telling them police were on their way. By 3:32 a.m., when police had not shown up, the family called the Coral Gables Police Department. Officers arrived and questioned Owens, whose story did not match the accounts of other people. Meanwhile, Owens' phone was missing. Police later found it after searching the neighborhood. It contained images of the teenage girl. Officers took Owens to the station for questioning. He confessed to the crime -- and to taking photos of the same teenager two weeks earlier, police said. "The officers did an excellent job of putting all the pieces together while it was happening,'' Frevola said. Owens was released Monday. Meanwhile, he is out of a job. "G4S takes these matters very seriously and is committed to upholding the highest standards of honesty and professionalism and to preserving the trust of the public and our clients. . . . Upon learning of Mr. Owens' recent conduct, G4S immediately terminated Owens' employment,'' a company statement said. Monica Lewman-Garcia, a G4S spokeswoman, said the company had conducted a preemployment background check before hiring Owens in 2008. Yet, until Owens' bond hearing Monday, G4S did not know he had been convicted of peeping into an inhabited dwelling in California in 2004, she said.

August 16, 2010 CBS 4
A suspected peeping tom was arrested over the weekend after he allegedly used a cell phone to spy on a woman in her Coral Gables home. Michael Owens, 28, was employed by Wackenhut and worked as a guard in the Old Cutler Bay Community. According to Coral Gables police spokeswoman Sgt. Janette Frevola on Saturday he snuck into a woman's yard and used a cell phone to video tape a young girl undressing in her bedroom. The girl reportedly spotted Owens who took off. Instead of contacting police, Frevola said the girl's mother called the gated community's gatehouse to report a prowler. According to the arrest affidavit, Owens went to the house and told the woman that he was there to investigate the incident. When asked if the police had been called, Owens reportedly lied and said yes they had. After talking with the woman, he went back to the gatehouse where allegedly told a co-worker that the woman said she was fine and that the police didn't need to be called in. Frevola said when the police never came, the woman called them directly. When they questioned Owens, he reportedly filed a false written statement concerning a prowler in the neighborhood. Owens was arrested and during questioning police say he admitted to taping the girl undressing in her room two weeks ago. He's been charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of video voyeurism and lying to a law enforcement officer.

August 8, 2010 Miami Herald
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek is proud of his résumé: state trooper, state legislator, member of Congress. But there's one job always left out of stump speeches and campaign ads: his nine-year stint selling security contracts for Wackenhut Corp., which also employed his wife and his mother as lobbyists. The reason Meek would not choose to highlight his ties to Wackenhut are obvious. The Palm Beach Gardens-based corporation was accused of overbilling Miami-Dade County for security at transit stations and agreed to a $7.5 million settlement earlier this year. Meek's chief rival in the Democratic primary, Jeff Greene, has pointed to Meek's work for Wackenhut as a prime example of the ``pay-to-play'' culture in politics. Wackenhut's political arm gave Meek the maximum campaign donation allowed under the law -- $5,000 for the primary and another $5,000 for the general election. "It is time to send Meek and his lobbyist cronies a wake-up call that the hardworking people of Florida have had enough of their politics as usual,'' said Greene, a billionaire bankrolling his campaign without special-interest money. In a brief interview Monday after voting early in Miami, Meek denied that he had ever given Wackenhut preferential treatment. As a state senator in 2000, he voted against a bill largely favored by the prison industry that established guidelines for bringing out-of-state inmates into Florida. "I've been against privatization of prisons,'' Meek said. ``Wackenhut had no undue influence over me whatsoever.'' Meek's mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, quietly withdrew as a lobbyist for Wackenhut in November, just four months after Miami-Dade County commissioners cleared her of any conflicts of interest in her dual representation of the county and the security company. At the time, the county and Wackenhut were at loggerheads. Miami-Dade claimed the company bilked taxpayers out of between $3.3 and $5.8 million by doctoring time sheets and leaving county transit stations unguarded. Wackenhut countered with a lawsuit seeking $20 million in damages. The two sides reached a settlement in February, around the same time Carrie Meek stopped lobbying for the county and her son's Senate campaign was getting underway. Under the deal, Wackenhut agreed to pay $3 million to the county and $4.5 million to a former Wackenhut whistle-blower and her lawyers. In return, Wackenhut got permission to compete again for Miami-Dade government contracts. The dispute with the county emerged after Meek joined Wackenhut in 1994. He won a Florida House seat that year and remained with the company until he was elected to Congress in 2002. He earned as much as $68,500 annually with the security firm. Meek's wife, Leslie, picked up the Wackenhut lobbying contract from 2004 to 2006. His mother, Carrie, registered to lobby for Wackenhut in 2007.

August 2, 2010 News-Leader
Nassau County Sheriff's office detectives arrested a 19-year-old Yulee man Tuesday for allegedly forcing a 14-year-old girl to have sex with him. They arrested a 45-year-old Bryceville man July 19 for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Police arrested William Harry Steedley III, 19, of 85216 Joann Road in Yulee on a charge of sexual battery in an alleged February incident, and additional charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property from an unrelated incident in April. Authorities said Steedley allegedly approached a 14-year-old girl from behind, covered her mouth and forced her to have sex with him. According to Steedley's arrest warrant, which was issued July 21, the incident occurred between Feb. 15 and Feb. 20. The additional charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property stem from an April incident in which he allegedly stole a handgun from a friend's home in Yulee and sold it for $150. Steedley is being held in lieu of $135,006 bond at Nassau County Jail. Darren Robert Winslow, 45, of 14304 US 301 in Bryceville, an armed security guard employed by Wackenhut in Jacksonville, is charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious behavior toward a minor. The victim allegedly told authorities she and Winslow had engaged in various types of sexual activity an estimated 29 times over the past month. Winslow reportedly admitted to one incident, in which he didn't immediately stop the victim from touching him, but denied any other sexual activity with her. Detectives collected DNA and other physical evidence from places where the sexual activity between Winslow and the victim was said to have happened. Winslow is being held in lieu of $450,006 bond at Nassau County Jail.

July 29, 2010 WA Today
The family of an Aboriginal elder who roasted to death in searing heat in the back of a prison van will receive a $3.2 million compensation payment from the WA government, one of the largest such payouts in Australian history. It is an ex-gratia settlement by the government to the family of Mr Ward, whose full name cannot be used for cultural reasons, and includes a $200,000 interim payment already awarded. Attorney-General Christian Porter today revealed $1.4 million of the money would go to Mr Ward's widow, Nancy Donegan, with amounts of $400,000 to be placed in trust accounts for each of her four children. Mr Ward, 46, of Warburton, died in January 2008 while being transported 360 kilometres from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face a drink-driving charge. Temperatures in the van, operated by private security company G4S, reached more than 50 degrees after it was revealed the air-conditioning in the van was broken. The compensation - which Mr Porter said was one of the largest ex-gratia payments by a government in Australian history, as well as that of common law countries - came after negotiations with the family's lawyers, the Aboriginal Legal Service, and on receipt of legal advice detailing what action could be brought against the state, and what that case might look like. It represented an "unequivocal apology" by the government. "It's meant to show contrition... deep, deep, remorse for what has occurred," Mr Porter said. It also took into account the fact that no criminal charges would be laid. While it did not come with an admission of liability, Ms Donegan could still take legal action if she chose. An "initial view" was that legal action would be likely, Mr Porter said. "I don't know if that position will change by virtue of this payment," he said. "If this does not bring finality to the family, (if civil action was to be launched), we don't want to stand in the way of Ms Donegan embarking on that action." ALS chief executive Dennis Eggington said that his organisation would consult with Mr Ward's family about possible civil proceedings against both the government and G4S. The ALS also requested further information to determine whether it would apply to have a coronial inquest into the death reopened. He described the culpability of G4S as "astronomical" and called on the company to apologise. "That's the least G4S can do," he said. "They have been very quiet in all of this. We've been very disappointed." ALS director of legal services Peter Collins said the role of G4S in Mr Ward's death was "absolutely diabolical". "It was their van, their employees driving the van, at a bare minimum (G4S) should be offering compensation to the family," he said.

July 28, 2010 Scoop
A private prison company that is bidding to run Mt Eden remand prison is under scrutiny in Australia for failing to make recommended changes after a high profile death in custody, said the Green Party today. An Australian parliamentary inquiry this week has heard that G4S has not implemented all the recommendations of an inquiry into the death of an Aboriginal elder in 2008. In particular, G4S has not been providing training to its workers in remote areas, according to Ian Johnston, the Australian Department of Corrective Services Commissioner. Green Party Corrections spokesperson David Clendon said “All of the prison corporations bidding to run Mt Eden remand prison have skeletons in their closets. It’s time for John Key’s Government to review whether any of these companies are suitable to operate in New Zealand,” said. “It is not good enough for the Minister to hide behind the tender process. She needs to let the public know what the minimum standards are for prison corporations who want to operate in New Zealand.” There had been two damning reports of G4S UK operations in the last month and now their Australian operations were coming under scrutiny, added Mr Clendon. “New Zealand’s public prisons are a long way from perfect but the evidence shows that privatisation is no magic bullet. It will not make our prisons safer, better or cheaper. “The community and public sector have lots of good innovative ideas about how the prison system can be improved. The Government should listen to them rather than flogging off prison management to corporations. “Private prisons have to make a profit, which means either cut backs on staff levels and rehabilitation, or charging more per prisoner. The perverse incentive to make a profit out of prisoners is at the heart of the problem,” said Mr Clendon.

July 2, 2010 APP
Protesters over an Aboriginal elder's death from heat stroke in a prison van have accused the West Australian Director of Public Prosecutions of racism for not laying charges. More than 100 people rallied outside DPP Joe McGrath's office in downtown Perth office on Friday chanting "Racist Police" and "Racist DPP". Mr McGrath announced on Monday that no charges would be laid against two security guards over the 46-year-old elder's death because there was insufficient evidence of criminal negligence.

June 27, 2010 The Western Australian
The State's top prosecutor has told the family of an Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van that criminal charges will not be laid over his shocking treatment. The West Australian understands that DPP Joe McGrath flew to the remote community of Warburton over the weekend where he broke the news to relatives of Mr Ward. The decision is expected to get an angry reaction from family members who have long called for charges to be laid over the matter. The West Australian was unable to contact Mr Ward's relatives today. A spokeswoman for the DPP declined to comment. The latest development comes a year after State Coroner Alastair Hope handed down a damning report on the disgraceful treatment of Mr Ward, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons. Mr Hope found two transport guards, Nina Stokes and Graham Powell, the Department of Corrective Services and private prison transport company G4S had contributed to Mr Ward's death. Mr Ward died after being driven 360km in a prison van from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in 42C without air-conditioning in January 2008. Mr Ward's cousin told The West Australian earlier this month that that the matter had dragged on too long and the family wanted both drivers charged as soon as possible over the death. Daisy Ward said at the time that family members were getting frustrated about the lack of action and wanted justice. "I still want them to lay a charge," she said last month. "If it was an Aboriginal person that did that, they would get thrown behind bars. My cousin was like in a furnace…like he was cooked alive in the back of the van." Deaths in Custody Watch Committee Marc Newhouse said this afternoon that he was shocked and dismayed to learn that the DPP would not press charges against the two guards who transported Mr Ward. He said the information on how the DPP reached the decision needed to be released publicly. "There has basically been a lack of transparency in this whole process," he said. "It just highlights that there are some serious flaws in our justice system that when something of this nature happens and no-one is brought to account for negligence." Mr Newhouse said Mr Ward's family and community of Warburton would be devastated by the decision. "It is a complete kick in the guts," he said. "It is going to do nothing for Aboriginal people's confidence in the criminal justice system and particularly where Aboriginal people are the victims." "The community has been very, very patient, including the family, and that patience has just ended." Mr Newhouse said the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee would seek legal advice to determine whether charges could be brought against the Department of Corrective Services or private prisoner transport company, G4S. Mr Hope referred his report to the DPP under a section of the legislation which allows his findings to be sent to prosecutors on the basis that he believed indictable offences may have been committed. But in his written findings, Mr Hope recognised that legal issues relating to the involvement of various individuals and organisations were "complicated". "I do not wish to create unrealistic expectations on the part of the family or in the hope that they will see 'justice' as a result of such a report (to the DPP) being made," Mr Hope said.

April 7, 2010 Info 4 Security
G4S Wackenhut is changing its name to G4S, in turn reflecting the company’s vision of providing comprehensive security solutions. Brian Sims reports. By building on Wackenhut’s proven success in the States as "the premier supplier of manned security services" G4S has aggressively positioned itself to deliver a new category of integrated security solution that combines manpower and technology. Through a series of acquisitions that includes the Nuclear Security Services Corp, Touchcom Inc, Adesta and AMAG Technology, G4S will continue to evolve its core competencies from its Wackenhut roots to deliver integrated security solutions for greater performance and efficiency. “Our transformation from G4S Wackenhut to G4S is not something that happened overnight,” explained Drew Levine, president of G4S Secure Solutions. “Since before Wackenhut became part of the G4S family of companies, we’ve been developing new and more efficient means of supplementing our security officers with powerful technologies such as our Secure Trax Management Software platform." Levine added: "Now, with the global resources of G4S behind us, we can deliver a wider range of services – including security consulting, design and engineering; compliance and risk management; facilities management and remote video monitoring. That being the case, we can offer truly integrated security solutions, unlike any other company in the industry.”

February 19, 2010 Miami-Herald
Democratic Senate candidate Maurice Ferre is calling on his primary rival, Kendrick Meek, to return $10,000 in campaign contributions from Wackenhut's political action committee -- a week after the company agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle claims it systematically overbilled Miami-Dade County. "Kendrick Meek was part of the team that enabled Wackenhut to bilk Miami-Dade taxpayers out of millions of dollars," said Ferre. "Floridians need a Senator who will put their interests before special interests and Meek has proven he is not the man for the job." Meek sold security contracts for the company from 1994 to 2002, and his Senate campaign received the maximum $10,000 donation its political action committee. Meek's wife, Leslie, and his mother, Carrie, have also lobbied for the company, Ferre noted, adding that Carrie Meek lobbied for both Wackenhut and Miami-Dade County while the two were fighting over billing. "The Democratic establishment is making a big mistake in anointing Kendrick Meek," said Ferre. "Meek has never faced a real election and has never answered for his wheeling-and-dealing as an elected official. Congressman Meek's record would not hold up to the intense scrutiny applied by the Republican machine in a general election."

February 19, 2010 Miami Herald
Miami-Dade Commissioners voted 8-3 Thursday to approve a settlement with Wackenhut Corp., formally ending the testy dispute between the county and security firm that guarded Metrorail stops for two decades. Under the deal, Wackenhut will pay $3 million to the county and $4.5 million to a former Wackenhut employee and her lawyers who filed a whistle-blower suit alleging bogus billing practices. In return, Wackenhut gets a clean bill of health with the county and can compete for Miami-Dade government contracts in the future. A Miami-Dade audit previously found Wackenhut overbilled the county anywhere from $3.3 million to $5.8 million for work it never performed. Other estimates put the number much higher. Last year Miami-Dade leaders said they would bar the firm from doing business with the county. Wackenhut, which stopped guarding railway stops in November, denied overbilling the county and filed a $20 million lawsuit last year against Miami-Dade. While commissioners approved the deal, some were uneasy. ``We're not getting back what we're owed,'' said Commissioner Joe Martinez, who voted against the settlement.

February 16, 2010 Grand Rapids News
Less than a month after a federal judge rejected James and Glenna Chandler's bid to punish the security company that employed five men convicted of killing their daughter in Holland in 1979, the couple has filed an appeal, pushing their case forward. Janet Chandler's father filed the appeal Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Cincinnati, records show. The Chandlers have claimed Wackenhut Corp. -- which employed five of the six people convicted of Janet Chandler's slaying -- did not conduct sufficient employee background checks, or properly supervise their workers. They also contended Wackenhut helped hide the employees' involvement in the murder, which took nearly three decades to solve. The family was seeking cash damages for the mental pain and suffering inflicted by the death of Janet, a 22-year-old Hope College student. On Jan. 19, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff dismissed the Chandlers' claims against the Florida security firm, which hired guards during a strike at a Holland area plant. Neff said the allegations were filed after a three-year statute of limitations.

February 16, 2010 Miami-Herald
Heading to an end: the long-running dispute between Miami-Dade County, Wackenhut Corp. and a whistleblower named Michelle Trimble over millions in alleged overbillings for phantom workers at Metrorail. On Thursday county commissioners are scheduled to vote on a proposed settlement in which all parties would drop their competing lawsuits, Wackenhut would pay $7.5 million, and Miami-Dade would end its bid to keep the private security firm from doing business with the county. It would promise not to use the facts of this case against Wackenhut on current or future contracts. Out of the $7.5 million Wackenhut has agreed pay, $3 million would go to the county, $1.25 million to Trimble and $3.25 million to her attorneys, led by plaintiffs lawyer Mark Vieth and the Miami firm Josephs Jack. The proposed settlement comes nearly a year after a final audit by Miami-Dade County concluded that taxpayers were overbilled by Wackenhut -- which provided security at the county's Metrorail stops for two decades -- by $3.3 million to $5.8 million. In the proposed settlement, the county also agreed to clarify its final audit by Miami-Dade's chief auditor Cathy Jackson, saying her comments ``should not be construed to mean that the principals or management of Wackenhut engaged in fraud.'' In a memo to commissioners, County Manager George Burgess defended the proposed settlement, writing that the deal avoids the risks associated with trial and required ``all parties to make some compromises.'' Drew Levine, Wackenhut's president, declined to comment. Trimble could not be reached for comment. Vieth, who has been leading the civil case against Wackenhut since August 2005, did not return calls. Michael Josephs of the Josephs Jack firm declined to comment. If approved, the settlement will end a dispute that's been part of a broader history of waste and mismanagement underscoring the county's stewardship of the transit system. In this case, the county has been criticized for responding slowly to allegations that taxpayers were paying for guards who did not show up at Metrorail stops. In August 2005 the whistleblower lawsuit against Wackenhut was filed alleging phony billing practices; the suit is called a Qui Tam action, in which a private citizen sues on behalf of the government. Trimble worked as a guard at the county's Juvenile Services Department, where Wackenhut also previously provided security services. The county balked at participating in the case, instead ordering its own audit that was not finished until 2008. The inquiry found that Wackenhut billed the county for service not rendered. It wasn't until a year later, in April 2009, that a final audit was issued -- again concluding taxpayers were bilked. County manager Burgess had said he would replace Wackenhut once its contract expired in November and pledged to bar the firm from doing business with the county in the future. Burgess also said the county would cooperate with the Qui Tam lawsuit. At the time, plaintiff attorney Vieth said the ``evidence of overbilling has been overwhelming and existing for four years.'' For its part, Wackenhut denied wrongdoing and subsequently filed a $20 million suit against the county, saying the future damages it will suffer ``as result of this unfair and malicious taint'' on the firm's reputation ``are incalculable.'' Last month -- on the eve of trial in the whistleblower case -- the proposed settlement was reached, according to Burgess' memo.

February 11, 2010 KATU News
In a Seattle bus tunnel a 15-year-old girl was viciously attacked while security guards did nothing but call 9-1-1. The incident, in addition to sparking outrage, has many asking whether security guards in Portland are allowed to step in. Disbelief and disgust was the reaction by people who were shown surveillance footage of a girl being repeatedly kicked in the head by another girl while private security guards stood by at arm’s length and did nothing but call 9-1-1. “I know the transit isn’t exactly the same over there (Seattle), but I know it’s still good and that’s, that’s horrible,” said one man after watching the video at a MAX station. “Somebody’s getting hurt, I mean you don’t want them to get hurt, I don’t know, like, do something,” said another man at a MAX station. TriMet and its private security contractor Wackenhut, said if one of their guard’s is near a fight, they won’t just stand back and dial 9-1-1. Wackenhut project manager, Maj. Ellis Bremer, said there’s no question employees can and will get directly involved to stop fights. “We will not stand by,” he said. “We are here to protect the employees and assist the employees of TriMet and in so far as the ridership goes, of course, protect the ridership and inform the ridership.” The state only requires eight hours of classroom work to get a license to be a private security guard, but Wackenhut said it requires its people to go through an initial minimum of 80 hours and then a 16-hour refresher course every year. Most riders said they believe security should mean more than just dialing 9-1-1. Transit officers in Seattle say they are reconsidering the limits put on their private security guards.

December 24, 2009 Miami-Herald
The former chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine and another Fort Lauderdale physician have agreed to pay substantial sums to settle federal civil charges of insider stock trading. Dr. Mammen P. Zachariah, appointed to the board of medicine by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2004, and Dr. Sheldon Nassberg allegedly reaped illegal windfalls by acting on stock tips supplied by Mammen Zachariah's brother, prominent Broward heart specialist and major Republican fundraiser Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah. Zach Zachariah, who has raised millions of dollars for Republican causes and candidates, including both presidents Bush, faces similar charges, but has declined to settle his case. A federal magistrate has set trial for Aug. 23, 2010. That trial promises to offer a unique look at Republican fundraising and how political access is bought and sold. Among the expected highlights is witness testimony from two of South Florida's better-known corporate chieftains -- The Geo Group's George Zoley and Phil Frost, formerly of IVAX. The Zachariah brothers and Nassberg, all of whom practice at Fort Lauderdale's Holy Cross Hospital, were named in a May 2008 civil complaint brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The complaint accuses them of collecting more than a half-million dollars in illegal profits during a fraudulent stock-trading scheme in 2005. Without admitting or denying the government's allegations, Mammen Zachariah, 61, agreed to pay nearly $136,000 in what a judge labeled ``ill-gotten gains,'' plus an equal amount as a civil penalty. Nassberg, an endocrinologist, agreed to similar payments totaling $52,668. He admitted no wrongdoing. Both men are required to pay up by the end of the month. The final judgments signed by U.S. Magistrate Linnea Johnson on Wednesday also include permanent injunctions that restrain both doctors from future securities law violations. Zach Zachariah, another past chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine, is alleged to have used nonpublic information to buy and sell shares of two unrelated Florida companies, Miami-based generic drug maker IVAX and Sarasota's Correctional Services Corp. (CSC). Zachariah was on IVAX's board of directors in July 2005 when company chairman Phil Frost informed him that IVAX had agreed to be acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals for $26 a share. Within minutes, Zachariah bought 35,000 IVAX shares for about $21 a share, the SEC said. At the time of the alleged purchase, company insiders were forbidden from trading in IVAX stock. Zachariah also allegedly tipped off his brother, who bought 2,000 IVAX shares for about $23 a share on the last trading day before the deal was announced in July 25. Zachariah allegedly used inside information to make even more money trading shares of CSC, which was acquired by The GEO Group of Boca Raton in 2005. According to the SEC, the Zachariah brothers and Nassberg turned $380,000 in quick profits. The government says Zachariah acquired that inside knowledge in a couple of ways. One was through his son Zachariah ``Reggie'' Zachariah, who worked in GEO's mergers and acquisitions department. Reggie Zachariah has denied under oath tipping off his father to the deal. Another was through Zachariah's own moonlighting work for GEO. The SEC says Zachariah made ``millions of dollars'' as a corporate consultant, service provider and lobbyist for GEO, a giant prison contractor once known as Wackenhut Corrections. Zachariah, who owns a $2.3 million home on the Intracoastal Waterway in secluded Sea Ranch Lakes, said under oath last winter that he was paid to provide access for GEO chief executive George Zoley to top federal and state Republican politicians. Those politicians include former President George W. Bush, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, former Florida Senate President Tom Lee and House Speaker Alan Bense and former attorney general Charlie Crist, now Florida's governor.

December 22, 2009 Aiken Standard
A long-serving member of the Savannah River Site's military-style security force is suing his employer, claiming he was discriminated against because of his race. His former employer, however, states they fired him due to numerous arrests and his unwillingness to cooperate with Department of Energy physicians who were assessing his "fitness for duty." Lagone Melton of Hephzibah, Ga., filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Wackenhut Service Inc. recently, claiming he was treated differently and more severely than white colleagues in similar disciplinary actions. He further claims he was demoted, decertified and terminated when he raised the issue of racial discrimination to union officials. His former employer denies all of Melton's claims. Melton has been employed by the security firm since 1990 and has received positive performance evaluations since that time, he claims in his complaint. He was fired from his position on July 9, 2007, under what he believes are false pretenses. In December 2006, Melton was charged with reckless driving, he wrote in his complaint. After reporting this to his employer, they required Melton to attend alcohol and anger management treatment, he claims. "Other white employees of the same rank, SPO III, received driving under the influence charges but were not treated in the same manner as the plaintiff," Melton's complaint reads. "They were not required to enter into a treatment program." Court records show, as the defendants claim in their response, that Melton was arrested Dec. 24, 2006, and charged with DUI and weaving over the roadway, but it was reduced to reckless driving when Melton pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to two days in jail, probation and had his car fitted with an ignition interlock device which acts as a breathalyzer that will not allow someone over the legal alcohol limit to drive. Wackenhut officials state that this was not the first time Melton was arrested for DUI and that they ordered alcohol dependence and anger management classes at the behest of a clinical psychologist. "(The) plaintiff was arrested for driving under the influence in December 2006; he had been arrested on at least three previous occasions for (DUI) and on other occasions arrested for other misconduct, and, as a result, ... he was referred to an off-site clinical psychologist for evaluation for fitness for duty," the response states. An outspoken proponent of employees unionizing, Melton was made an administrator when the Local 125 organization was ratified in January 2007. He states in his complaint that he was targeted for termination after he expressed that African-American applicants were being "denied hire" and that Wackenhut "demonstrated unwillingness to work with African-American union executives." Wackenhut officials deny all of this charge.

December 13, 2009 KESQ
Jimmy Hughes, wanted for a 1981 triple murder in Rancho Mirage, was booked in a Riverside jail late Saturday night. Riverside County Sheriffs detectives took him into custody at a Miami jail and flew him to Ontario airport. Hughes is now booked at the Robert Pressley Detention Center. His first scheduled court date is Thursday, December 17th at 8:00AM. On July 1st, 1981, Fred Alvarez, his girlfriend Patty Castro, and friend Ralph Boger were shot to death at 35040 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. There was a house there that has since been bulldozed. As previously reported on KESQ.com, This cold case is known as the "Octopus Murders," a term coined by investigative journalist Danny Casolaro in 1991, because the murder plot has tentacles that reach into our police agencies, Indian tribes and political leaders. Detectives now believe it was a contract killing and that, 52 year old Jimmy Hughes is the hitman. Hughes was arrested as his plane was waiting on the tarmac at Miami airport September. He was on his way to Honduras, where he now runs a Christian ministry. Extradition for Hughes from the Miami-Dade Pre-Trial Detention Center had been postponed for three months until Hughes' attorney declared they would no longer fight extradition earlier this month. Nearly 30 years ago, Hughes was security chief for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. Tribal Vice Chairman Fred Alvarez was going to blow the whistle on weapons manufacturing deals between the tribe and defense contractors, including Wackenhut Corporation. Those weapons deals later turned into database software development that became a major spy scandal known as "PROMIS" with national security impacts to this day. Rachel Begley, daughter of murder victim Ralph Boger, confronted Hughes last year with a hidden camera and demanded answers. Begley said to Hughes, "You were the 'bagman' in our father's murder. I'd like to talk to you about that." Hughes, confronted during a break at an evangelical conference in California replied, "I have nothing to say about that. Can't can't. Can't say anything about that" Hughes added, "I want to forget about a past that is ever so awful and scary in my past. I don't live there anymore. I don't got nothing to do with that. Screw the FBI. Screw the police. Screw everybody in my past. The world I live in is screwed up." "I wake up in the morning with a clear conscience. Let me tell you something about my past. My past is dead. I don't care about my past. My past is my past. It's none of your business. It's nobody's business. I don't care who died. I don't care who got killed. I was trained in the military. I killed people all over the world, right or wrong because the government ordered me to," said Hughes. Hughes even admitted to shooting at least 6 people in the head as a professional hitman on the website of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship. Hughes explained to Begley, "Your parents got killed. In a mafia hit. That's life. That's what happened. Your parents were involved in some very dangerous things. Your dads. That's the only thing I can tell you. Your dad and I were friends. I knew your dad. He touched... He touched somebody. They gave an order and that is what happened to him." "It's a lot bigger than the murder of this guy or the murder of that guy. It is a big... You're talking political people," said Hughes. From Richard Armitage to William Weld, those political people include a "who's who" of past Republican Administrations. Documents obtained by News Channel 3 show many of the weapons made on tribal land were meant for the Iran-Contra arms deals. Hughes claimed, "I was investigated by the FBI. I was indoctrinated by... I was messed around by them. So I don't care. I can't tell you anything that the police don't already know."

December 8, 2009 Reuters
The State Department will not renew the contract of a security company embroiled in a scandal involving the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, where guards were accused of drunken conduct and sexual hazing. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday Virginia-based ArmorGroup would not have its contract renewed when it expires in June, although it will receive a six-month extension to allow the contract to be put up for new bids. Toner said officials had reviewed the contract and "concurred that the next option year should not be exercised and that work begin immediately to compete a new contract." He said the review included both recent misconduct allegations against ArmorGroup personnel and the company's "history of contract compliance deficiencies." This week a report by the non-partisan Government Accounting Office identified a number of shortcomings in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security including staffing shortage and increased reliance on contractors in high-risk posts. The Kabul embassy scandal broke in September, when a watchdog group accused ArmorGroup of jeopardizing security at the embassy by understaffing the facility and ignoring lewd, drunken conduct and sexual hazing by some guards -- and provided graphic photos as evidence. ArmorGroup North America, now owned by Florida-based Wackenhut Services, was also hit by a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that said it had ignored brothel visits by guards and other misconduct because of what a lawyer said was a "myopic preoccupation with profit" in its five-year, $187 million contract with the State Department. State Department officials said the safety of embassy staff was never in jeopardy. But they subsequently said 12 embassy guards had been removed or resigned, ArmorGroup's entire senior Kabul management replaced and alcohol banned at the group's camp. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a thorough review of how contractors are used. The GAO report noted that worldwide, the U.S. diplomatic security budget had grown to $1.8 billion in 2008 from just $200 million in 1998, when truck bomb attacks on U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed more than 300 people including 12 Americans. The bureau's workforce has also doubled over the same period but is failing to keep pace with rising security threats including those faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, it said. "Staffing shortages in domestic offices and other operational challenges -- such as inadequate facilities, language deficiencies, experience gaps, and balancing security needs with State's diplomatic mission -- further tax its ability to implement all of its missions," the report said. The report urged the State Department to develop a strategic plan to directly address the rising demands of diplomatic security including increased staffing.

November 24, 2009 The Guardian
The brutal truth of child detention 2,000 asylum seekers' kids a year are locked up, and the only beneficiaries seem to be firms running centres like Yarl's Wood A report by the novelist Clare Sambrook of End Child Detention Now, which campaigns against the detention of 2,000 asylum seekers' children every year, asks the very reasonable question: who does this expensive incarceration benefit? Clearly not the children who, according to every study ever written on this issue, suffer acutely from being taken from their homes on the orders of the UK Border Agency and placed in a confined space for an indeterminate period. Many argue that society benefits because it is protected from the asylum seekers and their families. Sambrook wonders how that can be when there is no evidence that asylum seekers are likely to abscond. So who benefits? Clearly the private companies that run so much of this operation have a lot to gain. G4S, the company that operates Tinlsey House, one of three detention centres where last month 10-year-old Adeoti Ogunsola tried to strangle herself after being forcibly redetained, recently reported rising profits and growth in government business which had offset weakness in commercial sectors. As Sambrook reports: "Last year G4S handed chief executive Nick Buckles a £1.4m pay package. That's £3,835 every day. He owns £4m in G4S shares, tipped by the Daily Telegraph recently as, 'a solid buy for these uncertain times'." Someone else who may reasonably be said to benefit from this policy is Christopher Hyman, the chief executive of Serco, who also earns in the region of £3,000 a day. His company runs the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre where children have been detained far beyond the 28-day with charge maximum allowed for terror suspects. "Traumatised child inmates, who must carry ID cards at all times, refer to Yarl's Wood as 'prison' and 'the camp'," says Sambrook. Among the indirect beneficiaries she also identifies John Reid, the former home secretary, who is paid £50,000 a year as a consultant to G4S for, among other things, hosting government and security industry breakfasts. Meanwhile children are suffering. The Lorek report in the peer review journal Child Abuse and Neglect says detained children experience "increased fear due to being suddenly placed in a facility resembling a prison … the abrupt loss of home, school friends and all that was familiar to them". Some exhibit "sexualised behaviour". Older children are so stressed they wet their bed and soil their pants. Who benefits from this expensive and harsh policy? Sambrook answers her own questions with this – " some extremely wealthy grownups".

November 23, 2009 Wall Street Journal
G4S PLC (GFS.LN), an international security solutions group, said Monday it Monday it has bought Champions of the West, Inc--trading as All Star International from the Junge Revocable Trust and John P. Junge individually, by its U.S. Government Services business, Wackenhut Services, Inc. for $59.9 million in cash, on an enterprise value basis.

November 6, 2009 West Australia Today
The ongoing contract with a private prison transport company responsible for the death of an Aboriginal elder in January last year has sparked legal retaliation. The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee has told radio 6PR that it was seeking independent legal advice to appeal the decision to keep the $25million a year contract between the State Government and contractor G4S. The State Coroner found that the company was responsible for the death of 46-year-old Mr Ward, who had been arrested for drink driving and was being transported 350kms to a Kalgoorlie Court when he suffered heat stroke from the 50C heat inside the unairconditioned truck. "It is outrageous and unimaginable that they [G4S] could continue their contract. They have been responsible for six deaths in Australia in less than nine years," committee spokesman Mark Newhouse said. He said the company, under its current terms, could still be responsible for two more deaths in custody and not have its contract terminated before it expired in 2011. "What is even more concerning is that in one incident, if there are four to five deaths, that is not considered a breach of contract, which is outrageous," he said. The group is also planning on mounting a public campaign to improve proper approvals for public contracts and improving the monitoring of those being transported while in custody. Mr Newhouse said there had been no evidence from the company that any improvements had been made. G4S have refused to comment on the grounds that it was a confidential contract. The Attorney General Christian Porter was also unavailable for comment.

October 11, 2009 Weekly Standard
There seems no end to contractor abuse scandals in countries fighting terrorism or undergoing "nation-building." The latest to be reported in the media involves ArmorGroup North America, a private security firm guarding the American embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It began in Baghdad on August 9, when an ArmorGroup employee shot two of his colleagues dead. The victims were Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, and Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton and ArmorGroup executive. The alleged killer, Daniel Fitzsimons, 33, is also British. ArmorGroup North America is owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., a Florida-based company, which is a division, in turn, of a Danish enterprise, G4S, that advertises itself as the world's largest security company. The shootings reportedly occurred late at night, inside the ArmorGroup compound in Baghdad's international area known as the Green Zone. Fitzsimons, according to a Baghdad source who declined to be named, is said to have shot his coworkers because they claimed he was homosexual. After killing them, he shot an Iraqi, Arkhan Mahdi, in the leg, then was arrested by Iraqi police (who now patrol the Green Zone). Fitzsimons faces a possible death sentence. He will be the first foreigner employed in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 intervention to be held to account under Iraqi law. Fitzsimons says he cannot remember the incident. According to the London Sunday Times, Fitzsimons was seen on an earlier occasion injecting Valium and morphine into his leg while already drunk. Another trail of misconduct has led to an uproar in Kabul, where 16 U.S. embassy guards provided by ArmorGroup were fired in early September for alleged drunkenness and for forcing those under their control to engage in deviant and humiliating behavior. U.S. press coverage of the Fitzsimons case has been minimal, and even the contractors' misbehavior in Kabul, although documented by video, has mostly been handled with discretion by the print media. The New York Times mentioned "lurid details" and "lewd conduct" at weekly parties hosted by embassy guards. The Kabul carousing was disclosed when the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a report on September 1. More information emerged in a suit filed September 9 by James Gordon, a New Zealander and former operations director of ArmorGroup North America. Gordon says he is a "whistle-blower," forced out of his job after warning company executives and the U.S. Department of State about the situation at the embassy. According to the New York Times, the POGO report stated that victims of "deviant hazing" included Afghans, whose conservative Muslim culture left them especially repelled by such behavior; those who refused to submit were dismissed from their jobs. The report described a "
'Lord of the Flies' environment." Fitzsimons, the accused Baghdad shooter, has been treated in the British media as a case of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his prior military service in Iraq and the Balkans. But it would be a mistake to blame such dissolution on the stress of war alone. The Green Zone syndrome of alienation from the local population, as chronicled by critics of the Iraq war, is a ubiquitous feature of life among foreign administrators in conflict and post-conflict areas across the globe. Sex trafficking and corruption of locals have become prominent wherever operations are conducted by transnational bureaucracies like the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along with the attendant ranks of nongovernmental organizations and private contractors. I have observed similar patterns in the Balkans for a decade.

September 30, 2009 ABC
The West Australian Government has officially responded to the coroner's findings in the case of Mr Ward, who died of heatstroke in a prisoner transport vehicle. The coroner said the Aboriginal elder's death in searing desert heat was a disgrace, as the van was "not fit for humans". But the Government has decided not terminate the contract of the private company which transported Mr Ward. The Government says it supports all of the coroner's recommendations - some of which have already been acted on. But the full response has come three months after the coroner handed down his findings, and 20 months since the tragedy occurred. The Government agrees there should be more training and monitoring of staff, and there should not be transportation of prisoners over long distances. But the Attorney-General Christian Porter says the contract with private operators G4S is likely to continue. Mr Porter has suggested the company may have to pay a penalty. "The penalties that you've spoken of, for a death for instance, I understand are $100,000 which seems to me to be ridiculous in the scope of what occurred here," he said. "But again, the question about termination is very unfortunately a question about the legality of being able to terminate under the terms of the present contract." The coroner called for the prisoner transport fleet to be completely replaced. This will not happen until the end of next year. Mr Porter says responsibility for transporting prisoners could be brought back to the public sector. "The final decision as to whether or not this service will be public or private has not yet been made but I can say that if a determination is made to keep this service in the private sector, the contract that governs the process will be a completely different type of contract to the one that presently exists," he said. The Deaths In Custody Watch Committee says Group 4 and GSL staff have contributed to the deaths of six people in Australia. The committee's Marc Newhouse says the contract should have been terminated. "We're completely outraged that the contract with G4S - he hasn't announced the termination of it, it has to be terminated," he said. "They've been subject to critical reports by the Australian Human Rights Commission. This company is not fit to operate in this country and they should be terminated." Noongar elder Ben Taylor says he believes racism in the system is causing Aboriginal people to suffer. "There's a lotta racism there and the only ones who're gonna suffer are my people, Aboriginal people," he said. "This is got to go wider, and I'm on the Watch Committee with Marc and we're going to keep hanging on here because there's more lives that are going to be taken, and that's going to be blackfellas, Aboriginal people, my people, and that's the full stop." Mr Newhouse says the committee had also called for a speedier response in the wake of a death in custody. "That the Coroner's Act is amended in line with the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommendations, that a system of mandatory reporting be put in place so that government and other relevant bodies have to report within a certain time frame," he said. "The point of it is to save lives and to prevent lives being lost." But Mr Porter says the Labor state government should have ended the contract with the company. But the Opposition Leader Eric Ripper says there were other considerations. "You can't just terminate a contract without there being financial consequences for taxpayers and the government does have a responsibility to both protect prisoners and the interests of taxpayers," he said. "That's why this matter needs careful examination rather than a kneejerk reaction."

September 18, 2009 AP
A top executive of the private security contractor hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was informed in July 2008 of alleged illegal and immoral conduct by guards, attorneys for a whistleblower suing the company said Friday. The claim contradicts the sworn testimony of Samuel Brinkley, a vice president for Wackenhut Services, the owner of ArmorGroup North America. Brinkley told the Commission on Wartime Contracting under oath on Monday that he and other corporate officials outside of Afghanistan didn't know until a few weeks ago of problems that reportedly included lurid parties and ArmorGroup employees frequenting brothels in Kabul. But in a 10-page letter to the commission, the attorneys say their client, James Gordon, told Brinkley during a meeting on July 15, 2008, of alleged guard misconduct. The meeting took place in Brinkley's office in Arlington, Va., Gordon said in a separate e-mail through the lawyers. Gordon was ArmorGroup's director of operations until February 2008. He says he was forced out of the job after trying to get the company to fix a long list of shortcomings with the $189 million embassy security contract that the State Department awarded ArmorGroup in March 2007. He filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court claiming the company retaliated against him for telling the department about the deficiencies. Brinkley and Wackenhut did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a previous statement on the lawsuit, a Wackenhut spokeswoman called Gordon's claims baseless and said he voluntarily resigned from the company. Clark Irwin, a spokesman for the wartime contracting commission, said the congressionally mandated panel is reviewing the letter. At the commission's Sept. 14 hearing on ArmorGroup's performance, Brinkley portrayed himself and other company executives as being blindsided by the misconduct of a small number of employees. "I am not here to defend the indefensible," Brinkley said. "Certain of our personnel behaved very badly." During a series of heated exchanges, commissioners pressed Brinkley to explain why he didn't tell the State Department of reports that guards were behaving inappropriately, potentially putting security of a key U.S. diplomatic outpost at risk. Brinkley said ArmorGroup managers in Afghanistan only told him about an Aug. 11 incident involving nine employees who got drunk at a bar near their living quarters. Those workers were counseled by the on-site manager and a temporary ban on alcohol was imposed. He said the State Department was informed of this incident on Aug. 26. Brinkley said he wasn't aware of the scope and duration of the misconduct until Sept. 1 when a watchdog group released a report with photos showing guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. The watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, also said guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors who created a hostile work environment. The letter from Gordon's attorneys says they are concerned Brinkley's testimony did not provide the commission with a "full and accurate understanding of many of the events in question."

September 16, 2009 The West Australian
The prison watchdog’s powers will be expanded to allow him to audit individual cases as part of the Government’s response to a coronial inquiry into the death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a transport van. A legislative package to be announced by Attorney-General Christian Porter this morning will strengthen the powers of the Inspector of Custodial Services in line with recommendations of State Coroner Alastair Hope. The laws will include giving him the power to issue "show cause" notices which require a response from the department of Corrective Services. Mr Hope delivered a damning report in June which found the Department of Corrective Services, prisoner transport company G4S, formerly known as Global Solutions Limited, and the two guards who drove the van had all contributed to Mr Ward’s death. Mr Porter said the Government would not support the Opposition’s proposed legislation on the recommendations, which is scheduled to be debated in State Parliament this afternoon. He said the Labor Bill was flawed and the Government’s legislative package would go further than the Coroner’s recommendations, giving Inspector Neil Morgan the power to carry out individual audits the treatment of up to about 40 prisoners each year. Mr Porter said he would be seeking Cabinet approval for more money to provide extra staff to conduct the audits. Today’s debate on the powers of the inspector coincides with a "day of action" organised by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, which is calling on the Government to respond to the Coroner’s report on Mr Ward’s death.

September 14, 2009 Government Executive
The State Department should terminate ArmorGroup North America's contract for security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, witnesses and panelists said during a Commission on Wartime Contracting hearing on Monday. The recent photographs and report from the Project on Government Oversight detailing alleged lewd, drunken behavior by guards at the embassy just describe the latest and most egregious violation by ArmorGroup, witnesses told the panel. State Department Undersecretary of Management Patrick Kennedy testified that the contract has required "extensive oversight and management." Since awarding the contract to ArmorGroup on March 12, 2007, State has issued seven deficiency notices addressing 25 deficiencies, one cure notice and one show-cause notice. Each notice demanded separate correction action plans to resolve contractual issues and several involved serious allegations, including that the contractor had deceived the government in its contract proposal. Despite these problems, State has not terminated the contract with ArmorGroup and has, in fact, exercised an extension of the contract period. State officials said they are awaiting the results of an ongoing investigation into the contractor's conduct at the embassy. Commissioner Clark Kent Ervin pressed Kennedy to pledge State would terminate the contract if the probe validates the allegations made against the contract employees. While Kennedy was hesitant to speculate on a hypothetical situation, he said he could imagine an outcome of the investigation that would lead the agency to terminate the contract. "We're seeing a serious case being made for termination," he said. William Moser, deputy assistant secretary of State for logistics management, told the commission a public hearing was not the proper forum to talk about future contract actions. Regardless, he said the department is discussing potential alternatives and approaching the reevaluation of the contract "with a great deal of seriousness." Danielle Brian, executive director of POGO, said the organization's investigation shows State officials were notified of serious issues relating to the ArmorGroup contract repeatedly, and took limited action. "For the two years of this contract, State's response to whistleblowers' sustained complaints and to its own finding of severe noncompliance consisted mainly of written reprimands and the renewal of ArmorGroup's contract," Brian said. "Simply documenting a problem or even levying a fine is not effective oversight when those same problems continue to occur." Brian said State has been "stubbornly defensive" in not recognizing its own failures, and how those failures have caused misconduct and potential lapses in security. While POGO strongly believes the contract should be canceled and ArmorGroup -- or its parent company, Wackenhut -- should be debarred from doing business with the government, that will not prevent future problems, Brian said. To ensure proper conduct by contractors overseas, State must shorten the rotations of its regional security officers, perform more frequent audits and independent verification of contractor reports of compliance, and prioritize accountability, she said. "This cultural shift will be aided by canceling contracts when the contractor consistently underperforms -- which will have the added benefit of acting as a deterrent to future contractors -- and by disciplining the State Department officials who are responsible for the failed oversight of the ArmorGroup contract," Brian said. Commissioner Linda Gustitus said State already lost authority with industry by not terminating its contract with Blackwater Worldwide in the wake of the Nissor Square shooting incident in Iraq. "That helped to send a message to other contractors that you can do a lot and not have you contract terminated," Gustitus said. Several commissioners joined Brian in urging Kennedy to hold accountable the State employees responsible for managing Armor Group by firing them, withholding bonuses or taking some other disciplinary action.

September 14, 2009 Wayne Madsen Report
At a September 10 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, two former managers for ArmorGroup North America (AGNA), headquartered in McLean, Virginia and a subsidiary of ArmorGroup International (AGI), revealed a litany of contract fraud and abuse charges against AGNA and AGI and provided further details of sexual deviancy among AGNA security guards in Kabul tasked with protecting the U.S. embassy. ArmorGroup is now owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The two former employees are suing AGNA, AGI, Wackenhut, and Corporation Service Company for wrongful termination, false claims, and conspiracy. John Gorman, a retired Marine Corps veteran who was the camp manager at the security guard force’s Camp Sullivan, blew the whistle on contract non-performance, security pitfalls, and sexual deviancy, and was placed under virtual house arrest in June 2007 by AGNA’s top manager in Kabul, Michael O’Connell, and flown out of the country. Gorman was terminated and confined for some 24 hours, along with two other AGNA managers, James Sauer, a retired Marine sergeant major and Pete Martino, a retired Marine colonel, who filed complaints to both AGNA and the Regional Security Office (RSO) for the U.S. embassy in Kabul, also Marine Corps veterans. Because they told the RSO they feared for their personal safety after bringing the charges against AGNA, he offered them the security of his apartment on the embassy compound, which they turned down only to later have their cell phones and weapons confiscated by AGNA and being confined before their flight out of the country. Gorman said no one at AGNA “ever mentioned or indicated a concern for the actual security at the embassy -- the greatest and only concerns were the profit margin and the bottom line.” Gorman said the project manager for the security contract, Sauer, a man with 35 years of experience as a 30-year career Marine with private security contractor experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, was “ignored, second guessed, and rejected.” Sauer had vehemently objected to allowing security personnel to be deployed to Kabul who had engaged in “lewd and deviant behavior” during their subcontractor training in Texas. After Gorman, Sauer, and Martino made their complaints known to McConnell, the corporate executive replied that ArmorGroup was a publicly traded company and could, therefore, not hire more people “because he had a responsibility to the shareholders.” The effect was the hiring of clearly unqualified personnel for the security guard force. Gorman said that there were people hired as guards who had “no DD214s, driver’s licenses, passports,” including one person who had been fired from a previous security project for pulling a pistol on another employee while drunk. AGNA, according to Gorman, covered up the security contract failures because the firm was “to assume the $187 million a year security contract for the American embassy in Kabul in less than two weeks and they were bidding on the more lucrative $500 million contract for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. James Gordon, a New Zealand citizen and New Zealand Army veteran who is married to an American, worked for ArmorGroup Iraq as the operations manager, a subsidiary of AGI, also spoke about corporate malfeasance involving AGNA. He later became the business development director for AGNA headquarters in McLean. In 2007, Gordon took over as operations director for the Kabul embassy security contract and attempted to bring the contract into compliance with State Department requirements. Eventually, Gordon was forced out of the company because instead of correcting contract violations the firm’s only goal was to “maximize profits.” Gordon said among AGNA security personnel were unqualified personnel, some of whom had serious criminal records. Some guard recruits had engaged in “disgusting behavior” during their initial training at AGI’s subsidiary’s training facility, International Training Inc. (ITI) of Pearsall, Texas. Sauer, Martino, and Gorman had received reports that some of the AGNA recruits, while undergoing pre-deployment in Texas, had engaged in “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior, including sexual hazing, urination on one another and equipment, bullying, ‘mooning,’” exposing themselves, excessive drinking, and other conduct making themselves unfit for service on the contract. The AGNA employees who were later forced out of the company attempted to ensure that the trainees in Texas never arrived in Kabul. Several email exchanges (“e-pong”) show they tried to block the sexual deviants from duty in Kabul. AGNA also misrepresented ethnic Nepalese Gurkha farmers hired as security guards for the Kabul embassy job as Gurkha military veterans of the British and Indian armies. In fact. the Gurkha farmers hired from Nepal and northern India were not proficient in English as required under the State Department contract. In fact, some could speak no English. The language test had never been administered to the Gurkha recruits. When some Gurkha guards walked off their jobs in May 2007 because of poor wages and treatment, Carol Ruart, AGI’s human resources director in London, ordered AGNA management in Kabul to “lock [the Gurkhas] in their rooms until they agree to work for less.” Gordon also stated that AGNA never invested in secure vehicles to transport embassy guards between the embassy and other locations. AGNA used broken down vehicles called “white coffins.” After the State Department released funds to AGNA to buy secure vehicles, the firm never bought the vehicles but transferred the money to AGI in London. AGNA also hired a “rogue” South African program manager for the embassy contract in Kabul, according to Gordon. DuPlessis replaced Sauer. Jimmy Lemmon replaced Martino as deputy program manager. During the tenure of the South African, Nick duPlessis, ammunition went missing from Camp Sullivan where the guards were bivouacked and illegal weapons were stored at the facility. Moreover, duPlessis did not possess a security clearance to receive classified briefings, a requirement for the program manager position. In addition, Gordon stated that the AGNA logistics manager, Sean Garcia, used contract funds to purchase counterfeit North Face and Altama jackets and boots for the security guards from his wife’s company in Lebanon, Trends General Trading and Marketing LLC of Beirut. Gordon said, “the cheap knock-offs could never keep the men warm during the cold winters in Afghanistan.” After Gordon notified the State Department about the contract breach, the order to remove him was ignored and the State Department continues to own sub-par counterfeit material. Gordon sent an email dated September 3, 2007 to duPlessis and his staff in Kabul. Gordon also said that the AGNA armorer in Kabul, responsible for maintaining all the weapons, had to be “forcibly removed” from a brothel in Kabul. Many of the prostitutes working in Kabul, according to Gordon, are young Chinese girls who were taken against their will to Kabul for sexual exploitation. When Gordon ordered the armorer’s immediate termination, he discovered that the AGNA medic, Neville Montefiore, and duPlessis, the program manager, had also frequented the brothels with the armorer. Gordon also discovered that there had been an outbreak of sexually-transmitted diseases among the AGNA guards in 2007 and this was never reported to the State Department as required by the contract. Prostitutes also frequently visited Camp Sullivan. Gordon also discovered that the guard force routinely visited brothels in Kabul and Montefiore’s replacement discovered the improper storage of regulated narcotics at Camp Sullivan’s medical facility, including morphine. “You can rest assured that there is no hiding of information from the DoS [Department of State]. Anyone who thinks that they can get away with this will probably end up in a Federal Penitentiary. It is our duty to report on all aspects of the contract performance and we are required to be transparent and honest in our dealings. Personally I wouldn’t accept anything else.” Gordon’s plans to visit Kabul to conduct an investigation were immediately shut down by ArmorGroup’s parent office in London. Gordon said it is contrary to U.S. law for a foreign company to direct or influence any activities on a classified contract. Moreover, the British parent conducted their own investigation, which resulted in a three-page whitewash. Gordon was denied access to all information about AGI London’s investigation. After the whitewash, Gordon received a report that an AGNA trainee wanted to be hired on as a security guard at the embassy in Kabul because he knew someone “who owned prostitutes there.” The trainee boasted that he could purchase a girl for $20,000 and earn a handsome profit each month. The trainee, according to Gordon, had previously worked in Kabul under duPlessis. Neither AGNA nor the State Department conducted a follow-up investigation of the violations of the U.S. Trafficking in Victims Protection Act by AGNA employees. AGNA responded to Gordon’s warnings by blaming him for all the contract’s failures and he was forced to leave the firm on February 29, 2008. After Wackenhut Services Inc. bought ArmorGroup, after Gordon left the company, he met with Sam Brinkley, the vice president of Wackenhut, to discuss the contract problems. Brinkley promised to remove duPlessis and investigate all the charges of misconduct. On June 10, 2009, Gordon was present during hearings held by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Gordon said that Brinkley and the State Department testified to McCaskill’s subcommittee on contracting oversight that AGNA was “fully compliant” on the security contract for the embassy in Kabul. Brinkley told the subcommittee that he “was proud” of the way the company had been managing the embassy security contract. Gordon said the situation at Camp Sullivan had worsened and the U.S. Embassy was facing a grave security threat. McCaskill and ranking Republican member Susan Collins (R-ME) never heard testimony from any of the whistleblowers on AGNA’s poor security record in Kabul. The only witnesses heard were Brinkley and William Moser, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Logistics Management. Brinkley, in addition to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, has responsibility for the security contract for the U.S. Naval Support Activity in Bahrain, which, according to ex-AGNA sources, may be using untrained Gurkha farmers from the Indian subcontinent as crack veterans of the British and Indian armies. The Gorman/Gordon lawsuit states that on October 10, 2007, the AGNA security force in Kabul was involved in a number of serious incidents, including: detaining a group of Afghan civilians and involuntarily transporting them to the U.S. embassy; verbally and physically engaging in an altercation with Afghan Ministry of Interior policemen and handcuffing the policemen; confronting an Afghan general and several Ministry of Interior policemen; refusing an order from the embassy RSO to withdraw from a checkpoint to defuse a potentially explosive situation. The statements of the two ex-AGNA employees reveal a culture of depravity and unprofessional behavior that Gordon stated still exists to this very day in Kabul.

September 14, 2009 AP
A member of a federal commission investigating wartime spending said Monday that photos showing private security guards in various stages of nudity at drunken parties may be as damaging to U.S. interests in Afghanistan as images of detainee mistreatment at Abu Ghraib were in Iraq. Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller, made the comment at a hearing Monday held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting on allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct by employees of ArmorGroup North America, the company hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Zakheim said the photos are circulating heavily on the Internet and give Muslims in Afghanistan a negative image of the United States. Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's management chief, acknowledged the department should have been paying closer attention to the activities of the ArmorGroup guards at their living quarters near the embassy. The private security contractor hired to protect the embassy said Monday it erred by not immediately telling the State Department about an alcohol-related incident involving its guards that proved far more serious than company officials first believed. "I am not here to defend the indefensible," said Samuel Brinkley, vice president of Wackenhut Services, the company that owns the contractor, ArmorGroup North America. A manager for ArmorGroup counseled nine guards after they got drunk at a bar near their living quarters in Kabul on August 10. But after photos surfaced showing the guards had been at a party where ArmorGroup employees engaged in lewd and inappropriate behavior, they realized they made a mistake by not alerting U.S. officials. Photos showed guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. Brinkley said the manager's response, which included a temporary ban on alcohol, seemed adequate at the time. "In retrospect, we were wrong in not notifying the State Department," Brinkley said in testimony before the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting. Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, told the commission the State Department is very concerned about ArmorGroup's delays in reporting its knowledge of any misconduct by its employees. The State Department has been sharply criticized for its management and oversight of the security contract at one of the country's most important diplomatic outposts. In addition to the allegations of misconduct, other problems have included a shortage of guards and inferior equipment. As the department's top management officer, Kennedy said he takes full responsibility for having failed to prevent the problems that reportedly ranged from out-of-control parties to Armor Group supervisors frequenting brothels in Kabul. The State Department has launched an investigation into ArmorGroup's handling of the $189 million contract embassy security contract. Kennedy told the commission that the misconduct "dishonored" the State Department in Afghanistan, where "the success of U.S. objectives depends on the cultural sensitivity of all mission personnel, including employees under contract." But he and other State Department officials said no decision will be made on whether to terminate the contract with ArmorGroup until the investigation is complete. Members of the commission pressed Kennedy to be more aggressive, saying the evidence already available is enough to warrant firing ArmorGroup, which was awarded the contract to protect the embassy in March 2007. "To me, it's just totally out of control and it's been going on for a long time," said Michael Thibault, co-chairman of the commission. Commissioner Clark Ervin asked Kennedy to pledge to terminate the contract if the investigation proves all the allegations prove to be true. Kennedy refused to commit, saying the inquiry needs to run its course. However, Kennedy added, "We are seeing a very, very serious case being made for termination."

September 13, 2009 Washington Post
In 2005, the State Department hired a Northern Virginia company to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Diplomats quickly became concerned about whether the new guards, who barely spoke English, could protect such a sensitive site. "They had serious problems," recalled Ronald E. Neumann, who was ambassador at the time. The department then brought in another security contractor, ArmorGroup North America. But the difficulties didn't cease. In recent days, evidence of ArmorGroup's failings has burst into public view -- photos depicting its guards in semi-naked hazing rituals and official documents showing persistent staff shortages. Harold W. Geisel, the acting inspector general of the State Department, told Congress last week that his investigators are checking for possible criminal conduct by ArmorGroup, and a congressional hearing is scheduled for Monday. Lawmakers and watchdog groups are questioning how the department could have continued to employ a company that, in addition to tolerating bullying and understaffing, failed to ensure that its guards had proper security clearances and sufficient equipment -- or that they spoke English. The criticism is particularly intense because the State Department had promised to improve oversight after a 2007 shooting incident in Iraq involving bodyguards from security contractor Blackwater that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. "State's management of these contracts has been self-evidentially abysmal," said Peter W. Singer, an expert on government contracting at the Brookings Institution. ArmorGroup's efforts to guard the Kabul embassy were troubled from the start, according to congressional hearings, internal State Department documents and interviews. The McLean-based company submitted "an unreasonably low price" in 2007 for the contract, said Samuel Brinkley, an official with Wackenhut Services, the firm's parent company, at a congressional hearing in June. Former ArmorGroup supervisors have said in interviews that the company slashed guard staffing so it could squeak out a profit. State Department officials have expressed outrage about the lewd behavior shown in the photos. Still, they defend their selection of ArmorGroup, saying they are legally required to award such contracts to the lowest qualified bidder and noting that ArmorGroup was well-regarded. They also insist that the embassy was never endangered by the guard problems -- even though internal department documents say it was. "The fact you find something is wrong means something is wrong. But you find it," the department's undersecretary for management, Patrick F. Kennedy, said in an interview. He emphasized that many of the guards' failings emerged in documents written by department officials. "There was oversight present," he said. The troubles at the Kabul embassy raise questions about how authorities will manage what is expected to be a surge in the number of contract guards at U.S. facilities in Iraq as the American military presence declines. The scandal has also given new impetus to a debate over whether too many government wartime jobs are being outsourced. "The State Department should consider whether the security for an embassy in a combat zone is an inherently governmental function, and therefore not subject to contracting out," Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this month. Brian's group released the photos of what it called near-weekly sessions of hazing and sexual humiliation of ArmorGroup guards at their camp. The State Department has for years used local contract guards to secure the perimeters of its embassies, while generally keeping a modest Marine contingent for interior access. But in Iraq and Afghanistan, the department decided not to use local guards because of vetting concerns, officials say. Instead, as the military withdrew forces from around those embassies in recent years, the department turned to contractors such as ArmorGroup. But the department, which suffers from a shortage of contracting staff, has had a rocky history of managing such guard contracts. Each of its three contracts in Kabul has come under fire. The first was awarded to McLean-based Global Strategies, to replace a Marine combat force withdrawing from the U.S. Embassy in March 2005. The department justified the $6-million-a-month sole-source contract by saying it had received late notification of the Marines' departure. But the inspector general found that the Defense Department had given six months' official notice, and scolded the State Department for poor planning. By July 2005, the State Department had signed a contract with MVM of Ashburn, cutting its guard costs to less than $2 million a month, according to the inspector general's report. But MVM could not provide enough guards, partly because it was paying much less than its predecessor, according to Neumann. And, he said, the guards spoke so little English that they could not understand instructions. "We went back to the State Department and said, 'These people are unacceptable,' " Neumann said. State canceled MVM's contract and kept on the Global guards temporarily. MVM's chief executive, Dario O. Marquez, did not return a call seeking comment but told the Wall Street Journal last year that the State Department did not give him enough time to fix the problems. Neumann said the department was handicapped in selecting guard companies because of regulations stipulating that the contract go to a qualified U.S. firm that offers the lowest bid. "People low-bid, and then they're not competent," he said. Finally, in March 2007, the department turned to ArmorGroup. The firm, which also guarded the British Embassy in Kabul, was one of only two bidders deemed technically qualified by the department's acquisition and security specialists. Its price was about $3 million a month, officials say. "ArmorGroup was not a small, undercapitalized, underfunded, fly-by-night organization," Kennedy said. "They put forth a proposal that met every requirement." But within weeks of the company starting work, the State Department sent ArmorGroup a warning that its deficiencies -- including shortages of guards and armored vehicles -- were so serious that "the security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy," according to the House Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. State Department officials issued eight more warnings to the company over the next two years, including one last September threatening to terminate the contract. Despite the problems, the department stuck with ArmorGroup, agreeing this summer to extend its contract for a year. State Department officials have said that the company appeared to be making progress and that changing firms would be disruptive. A spokeswoman for Wackenhut, which took over ArmorGroup North America last year, declined to comment. In a lawsuit filed last week, former ArmorGroup supervisor James Gordon accuses the company not only of failing to properly staff the embassy but also of lying to the State Department about its capabilities. The operation "was a complete shambles," he said.

September 12, 2009 New York Times
When a security guard at the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was leaving for breakfast Monday morning, he froze at the sight of a crude poster of a rat hanging on his door. “Warning!” the poster said in stark, black letters. “Rats can cost you your job and your family.” The guard was a whistle-blower who had told of security lapses and lewd, drunken bacchanals by fellow workers, sparking an outcry and enraging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now he wonders whether he should have kept his mouth shut. “Threats are still running rampant here,” he said in a telephone conversation from Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “So even though it looks like State may finally turn things around, no one’s ready to celebrate yet.” Such skepticism may be warranted. A review of two years of e-mail messages, letters and memos reveals that the State Department had long known of the serious problems with ArmorGroup, the contractor chosen to protect its embassy. The complaints went beyond the lurid pranks that made headlines, the documents show, and included serious understaffing, bullying by management, petty corruption and abusive work conditions. In fact, the deficiencies became so severe that they threatened the security of the compound, the documents show, and State Department officials withheld payments to ArmorGroup as a way to compel it to comply with the terms of its agreement. On a few occasions, government officials warned the company that if it did not correct the most egregious problems it would lose the five-year, $189 million deal. Yet both times the contract came up for renewal, in 2008 and 2009, the State Department opted to extend it, officials confirmed. The troubles with the ArmorGroup contract, and the State Department’s frustrated dealings with the company over two years and through two administrations, illustrate how the government has become dependent on the private security companies that work in war zones, and has struggled to manage companies that themselves are sometimes loosely run and do not always play by the government’s rules. With a stretched military, the government relies on the security companies themselves to vet, train, and discipline the guards, all at the lowest cost. “It’s expensive for the State Department to withdraw a contract from one company, rebid the project and award it to a new one,” said Janet Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who represents one of the ArmorGroup whistleblowers. “So businesses know that once they get a contract, State may ding them around a little bit, but it’s not going to fire them.” The perils of this reliance were most graphically illustrated in Iraq in 2007, when security guards from another contractor, Blackwater, were involved in shootings that left 17 civilians dead on a Baghdad street. But interviews and documents show that the ArmorGroup affair, in its mundane, unsavory details, offers perhaps a more representative look inside the troubled relationship between contractors and the government in war zones. State Department officials acknowledge they had a litany of complaints about the company, none of which, they insist, compromised the security of the embassy. But they profess to being deeply embarrassed by reports of parties where security guards were photographed naked, fondling and urinating on each other. “I’ve been doing this for 37 years; I’m proud of what I do,” said Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management who oversees outside contractors. But, he added, “This is humiliating.” Mr. Kennedy, however, defended the State Department’s overall handling of the contract. The frequent letters of complaint the government sent to ArmorGroup, he said, were evidence that the department was keeping close tabs on the company. The “greatest majority” of the failures cited in the letters were addressed, he said. Part of the problem, officials said, was that the guards are housed in a complex six miles from the embassy, Camp Sullivan, with little oversight by State Department officials. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, the American subsidiary of the Danish company that owns ArmorGroup, referred questions to the State Department, saying only that it was cooperating with the government’s investigation. On Monday, the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan will hold a hearing to examine the State Department’s oversight of the contract. Christopher Shays, a former congressman and co-chairman of the commission, said there was “a serious failure on the part of the State Department in being unable to compel the contractor to fulfill its commitment.” The disclosures, which were originally made by a nonprofit organization, Project on Government Oversight, deeply rattled the State Department. At a staff meeting following the release of the group’s report, senior officials said, Mrs. Clinton vented her anger about the lurid pictures. Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army general who became President Obama’s ambassador to Afghanistan last May, was livid, an official said, because he had never been briefed about the problems. Despite their unease with contractors, officials acknowledged the department had no choice but to keep using them. “In situations where there is a surge of intense security requirements, it is a real challenge,” said Jacob J. Lew, the deputy secretary of state for management and resources. “We cannot reduce the security presence.” The State Department was not in a buyer’s market when it looked for a company to protect its embassy in Kabul. It picked ArmorGroup in March 2007, after its previous choice, MVM, proved unable to marshal the necessary personnel or equipment, officials said. Of the eight companies that bid for the contract the second time around, only two were deemed technically capable. ArmorGroup was the cheapest. The company’s most recent contract extension was granted in June this year, after a Senate hearing in which one of its executives, Samuel Brinkley, a Wackenhut vice president, said in sworn testimony that his company was in full compliance with the terms of its contract, and a State Department official, William H. Moser, a deputy assistant secretary of state, also under oath, said he was satisfied with the company’s performance. In interviews, ArmorGroup whistleblowers said they felt betrayed by the testimony. By many measures, they said, things were worse, not better. After largely uneventful company barbecues morphed into what have been described as scenes from “The Lord of the Flies,” at least a dozen of the men started a document trail of their own, sending e-mail messages and photographs to the Project on Government Oversight. According to interviews and those documents, from July 2007 to April 2009, the State Department issued ArmorGroup at least nine warnings, nearly one every other month, about contract violations that ranged from mundane concerns about the company’s ability to keep accurate personnel logs, to more critical concerns about corruption among company managers and the hardships faced by sleep-deprived, underpaid guards — the majority of them Gurkhas from Nepal — who could not understand simple commands in English. While the Gurkhas were largely the source of the language problems, the lewd hazing rituals were largely the activity of the native English speakers, a mix of Americans, South Africans, New Zealanders and Australians. In 2008, after ArmorGroup was acquired by the Danish company, G4S, Wackenhut informed the State Department it was taking control of the Kabul contract, and promised to fix any problems. Government officials agreed to give the new owners a chance. According to their own correspondence, their optimism seemed to dim fairly quickly. On Aug. 22, 2008, the State Department wrote to ArmorGroup to express concerns that staffing shortages were so severe the company might not be able to provide security after a situation with mass casualties. On Sept. 21, 2008, the State Department deducted $2.4 million in payments from ArmorGroup, warning that its failure to provide a sufficient number of guards “gravely endangers the performance of guard services.” In March 2009, the department again advised ArmorGroup that it had “grave concerns” about staffing shortages, noting that inspectors on a recent tour found 18 guardposts left uncovered. In April, it denied ArmorGroup’s request for a third waiver to the requirement that it teach its foreign guards English. A month later, without much explanation, ArmorGroup told the State Department that deficiencies relating to language and staffing had been resolved. And a month after that, a senior State Department official told the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight that “despite contractual deficiencies, the performance by ArmorGroup North America has been and is sound.” “I sat in the audience that day, and shook my head in disbelief,” said James Gordon, a former ArmorGroup executive who has filed a whistleblower’s lawsuit against the company. He says he was forced out for complaining about the problems. “I knew that conditions at Camp Sullivan were deteriorating, that the contract continued to be understaffed, that the conditions in Kabul were getting more dangerous, and that the U.S. Embassy was facing grave threats.”

September 10, 2009 New York Times
Two former employees of a private contractor hired to provide security at the United States Embassy in Afghanistan charged that State Department officials were aware as early as 2007 that guards and supervisors were involved in lewd conduct. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, one of the former employees, James Gordon, a native of New Zealand who served as director of operations at the contractor, ArmorGroup North America, charged that he had spoken numerous times with State Department officials about significant problems that threatened security at the embassy. Among other things, he said that ArmorGroup hired guards who could not speak English and had no security experience; that the company employed fewer guards than needed and worked them for longer hours than at other embassies to cut costs; and that it allowed managers and employers to hire prostitutes. “Their goal was to perform the contract as cheaply as possible,” said Mr. Gordon, speaking by telephone from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, where he is now employed by another private security contractor which he declined to name. “Their goal was to do everything they could to prevent the State Department from discovering their multiple contract violations and operational shortcomings. Their goal was to provide a fig leaf of security at the embassy, and to pray to God that nobody got killed.” Mr. Gordon and another former supervisor, John Gorman, said they warned State Department officials in Kabul several times that ArmorGroup was plagued with problems and that it was determined to cover them up. They said that as a result of their efforts to correct the problems and to make the government aware of the issues, ArmorGroup forced them to leave their jobs. As evidence to support his assertions, Mr. Gorman provided a packet of memos and e-mail messages that he said he and two other former employees gave State Department officials in June 2007, including a three-page memo in which he outlined an array of contract violations. Among them, he wrote: “The training program run for new hires has been plagued with hazing and intimidation of students by students. This included physical threats and perversions.” Senior State Department officials said they were unaware that guards had engaged in that kind of activity at their living quarters at a base in Kabul. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about a continuing investigation. The charges echoed those in a report released last week by an independent group, the Project on Government Oversight, which accused the guards and supervisors of deviant behavior. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ordered an investigation, and about 16 guards and supervisors were fired or have resigned. ArmorGroup North America, based in McLean, Va., was acquired in 2008 by a Danish security company, G4S, and its American subsidiary, Wackenhut Services Inc. In a written statement, Wackenhut described Mr. Gordon’s allegations as “overstated, ill-founded, not based on any personal knowledge or otherwise lacking in legal merit.”

September 10, 2009 AP
A former manager for the security contractor protecting the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan says the company lowballed its bid for the work and then failed to hire enough guards or fix faulty equipment. The allegations come after an independent watchdog group said last week that ArmorGroup guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors who created a climate of fear and intimidation. On Thursday, James Gordon, former director of operations at ArmorGroup North America, alleged the company bid too low in order to win the contract and then cut corners to keep profits up. Gordon says he was fired for reporting the problems. He also claims ArmorGroup withheld from Congress information about employees who went to brothels. Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, had no immediate comment.

September 2, 2009 The Guardian
Pictures have emerged showing private contractors at the embassy holding 'deviant and lewd' parties.The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has ordered an investigation into allegations that private contractors employed to protect the American embassy in Afghanistan were engaged in "deviant and lewd" parties that have been compared to Lord of the Flies. The decision to launch the inquiry came after an independent group sent her a 10-page dossier yesterday claiming that the security guards at the embassy had been engaged in drunken parties involving prostitutes and the kind of ritual humiliation associated with gang initiation. Pictures and video footage were attached to the dossier. The dossier, compiled by the independent investigative group Project on Government Insight, includes an email allegedly from a guard currently serving in Kabul describing scenes in which guards and supervisors are "peeing on people, eating potato chips out of [buttock] cracks, vodka shots out of [buttock] cracks (there is video of that one), broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity". The allegations are an embarrassment at a time when the Obama administration is struggling to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and the Muslim world in general. It comes against the backdrop of the continuing controversy over the widespread use by the US of private contractors in war zones, of which the most notorious was Blackwater, now named Xe. The group at the centre of the new allegations are the ArmorGroup, part of the Florida-based Wackenhut group, one of the biggest private security organisations in the US. The organisation did not respond immediately today to the allegations. The Project on Government Insight, which was established in 1981 to track military procurement and bring to light evidence of any corruption, described the environment at Camp Sullivan, where the guards were housed outside Kabul, as comparable to the anarchy in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. It said about 300 of the 450 ArmorGroup guards are Gurkhas and the rest are a mix of Australians, South Africans and Americans. In the dossier, it said that guards were "engaging in near-weekly deviant hazing and humiliation of subordinates" . It claimed that some guards had barricaded themselves in their rooms out of fear that the alleged hazing might harm them physically. It further claims that guard force supervisors "made no secret that, to celebrate a birthday, they brought prostitutes into Camp Sullivan, which maintains a sign-in log." According to the report, Afghan nationals, as Muslims, were humiliated by the behaviour and the apparently free-flowing use of alcohol. The pictures could be picked up by the Taliban and used as propaganda against the US and its allies. But the Project on Government Insight stressed that comparisons should not be made with the pictures of abuse at the Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, because no allegations of torture are being made. The report says that the general breakdown in discipline poses a threat to the security of the embassy. Ian Kelly, the state department spokesman, said of the reports of wild, anarchic partying: "These are very serious allegations, and we are treating them that way." Clinton has "zero tolerance" for the behaviour described and has directed a "review of the whole system" for farming out security to private contractors that may have threatened the safety of embassy personnel, Kelly said. The embassy said today: "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of all embassy personnel - Americans and Afghan - and respect for the cultural and religious values of all Afghans." It added: "We have taken immediate steps to review all local guard force policies and procedures and have taken all possible measures to ensure our security is sound." Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who heads a subcommittee on contractor oversight, wrote to the state department calling for the inquiry in the light of the report. McCaskill's committee earlier this year conducted its own hearings on the involvement of ArmorGroup in Afghanistan.

September 1, 2009 Washington Post
Private security contractors who guard the U.S. embassy in Kabul have engaged in lewd behavior and hazed subordinates, demoralizing the undermanned force and posing a "significant threat" to security at time when the Taliban is intensifying attacks in the Afghan capital, according to an investigation released Tuesday by a government watchdog group. The Project on Government Oversight launched the probe after more than a dozen security guards contacted the group to report misconduct and morale problems within the force of 450 guards that lives at Camp Sullivan, a few miles from the U.S. embassy compound. In one incident in May, more than a dozen guards took weapons, night vision goggles and other key equipment and engaged in an unauthorized "cowboy" mission in Kabul, leaving the embassy "largely night blind," POGO wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlining the security violations. The guards dressed in Afghan tunics and scarves in violation of contract rules and hid in abandoned buildings in a reconnaissance mission that was not part of their training or mission. Later two heads of the guard force, Werner Ilic and Jimmy Lemon, issued a "letter of recognition" praising the men for "conspicuous intrepidity (sic)" with the U.S. State Department logo on the letter head. "They were living out some sort of delusion," one of the whistle-blower guards said Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post from Kabul. "It presented a huge opportunity for an international incident," said the guard who spokes on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution. The report recommends that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates immediately assign U.S. military personnel to supervise the guards and remove the management of the current force. It also calls on the State Department to hold accountable diplomatic officials who failed to provide adequate oversight of the contract. The report also found that supervisors held near-weekly parties in which they urinated on themselves and others, drank vodka poured off each other's exposed buttocks, fondled and kissed one another and gallivanted around virtually nude. Photos and video of the escapades were released with the POGO investigation. "The lewd and deviant behavior of approximately 30 supervisors and guards has resulted in complete distrust of leadership and a breakdown of the chain of command, compromising security," POGO said in the letter to Clinton. The guards work for ArmorGroup, North America, which has an $180 million annual contract with the State Department to secure the embassy and the 1,000 diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals who work there. The State Department renewed the contract in July despite finding numerous performance deficiencies by ArmorGroup in recent years which were the subject of a Senate subcommittee hearing in June. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, Inc., the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. company that owns ArmorGroup, declined to comment on Tuesday's POGO report. Conduct of contractors providing security in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the subject of controversy and other investigations in recent years. The government relies heavily on such contractors for security and other needs. A new Congressional Research Service report has found that as of March, the Defense Department had more contract personnel than troops in Afghanistan. The 52,300 uniformed U.S. military and 68,200 contractors in Afghanistan at that time "apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DOD [Defense Department] in any conflict in the history of the United States," the report said. Some 16 percent of the contractors are involved in providing security, a much higher percentage than the 10 percent that were used in Iraq. Although contractors provide many essential services, "they also pose management challenges in monitoring performance and preventing fraud," according to Steven Aftergood, who first disclosed the congressional report on his Secrecy News Web site.

September 1, 2009 AP
Guards hired by the State Department to protect diplomats and staff at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan live and work in a "Lord of the Flies" environment in which they're subjected to hazing and other inappropriate behavior by supervisors, a government oversight group charged Tuesday. In a 10-page letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Project on Government Oversight contended the situation has led to a breakdown in morale and leadership, compromising security at the embassy in Kabul where nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals work. The group is urging Clinton to launch an investigation of the contract with ArmorGroup North America. It also recommends that she ask the Pentagon to provide "immediate military supervision" of the private security force at the embassy. The oversight group's findings are based on interviews with ArmorGroup guards, documents, photographs and e-mails. One e-mail from a guard describes lurid conditions at Camp Sullivan, the guards' quarters a few miles from the embassy. The message depicted scenes of abuse including guards and supervisors urinating on people and "threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity." Multiple guards say these conditions have created a "climate of fear and coercion." Those who refuse to participate are often ridiculed, humiliated or even fired, they contended. The group's investigation found sleep-deprived guards regularly logging 14-hour days, language barriers that impair critical communications, and a failure by the State Department to hold the contractor accountable. Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, had no immediate comment on the allegations. The State Department also had no immediate comment. The State Department has been aware of ArmorGroup's shortcomings, the letter says, but hasn't done enough to correct the problems. It cites a July 2007 warning from the department to ArmorGroup that detailed more than a dozen performance deficiencies, including too few guards and armored vehicles. Another "cure notice" was sent less than a year later, raising other problems and criticizing the contractor for failing to fix the prior ones. In July 2008, however, the department extended the contract for another year, according to the notice. More problems surfaced and more warning notices followed. Yet at a congressional hearing on the contract in June, State Department officials said the prior shortcomings had been remedied and security at the embassy is effective. The contract was renewed again through 2010. Nearly two-thirds of the embassy guards are Gurkhas from Nepal and northern India who don't speak adequate English, a situation that creates communications breakdowns, the group says. Pantomime is often used to convey orders and instructions. On the Net: Project on Government Oversight: http://www.pogo.org/

August 16, 2009 Sunday Mail
A SECURITY guard took a day off... so he could steal £40,000 from a shop where he usually delivered cash. John Liddell used his own motor as the getaway car and was caught when it was spotted speeding away from the scene on CCTV. He later claimed he had been paid £1000 for information which he used to pay off drug debts. Liddell, 33, sat in the car with an unnamed getaway driver while a third gang member Gary Owen pounced on his Group 4 Securicor colleagues. Owen, 21, snatched the cash from guards Ann McIntosh and Roderick O'Donnell, who were delivering money to fill the cash machine at a Spar store in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire. The female guard was barged to the ground before being punched and kicked on the head. Prosecutor Andrew Miller told the High Court in Glasgow: "The shop would normally have been covered by Liddell. "However, he and his usual partner were on leave with the result McIntosh and O'Donnell dealt with the delivery." Shamed dad-of-one Liddell, of Carmyle, Glasgow, was identified as being the front passenger in the car. His home was searched and £8580 from the raid was seized. The remaining £31,420 was never recovered. Liddell admitted the Ford Mondeo getaway car was his but denied knowing who committed the robbery. He claimed he had been "afraid" of the people behind the raid and had been paid £5000 from the stolen money. Mr Miller added: "He stated that he told 'them' where the security van with the money would be and that he provided this information to repay a drug debt of £1000." Liddell and Owen, of Shettleston, Glasgow, face jail when they are sentenced next month after admitting assault and robbery. The pair were also accused of stealing a security box holding £40,000 at a shop in Castlemilk last March. Owen faced further allegations that he was involved in two other security raids, stealing a total of £35,300. However, not guilty pleas to those charges were accepted. G4S Cash Services said: "This employee was immediately dismissed upon being charged."

July 8, 2009 Government Executive
The Federal Protective Service is failing to properly oversee its 13,000-strong contract guard force, causing grave security gaps at federal buildings nationwide, Government Accountability Office officials told senators on Wednesday. As part of a recent review, investigators from the watchdog agency successfully entered 10 high-security federal buildings carrying components for a bomb through doors being monitored by contract guards. Once inside, the investigators assembled an improvised explosive device and walked freely around the buildings and into various legislative and executive branch offices with the IED in a briefcase, GAO said in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lawmakers called GAO's findings disturbing, shocking and outrageous, and asked urgently and repeatedly what they could do to help FPS gain control of the situation. "In this post-9/11 world that we're now living in, I cannot fathom how security breaches of this magnitude were allowed to occur," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking member of the committee. Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said that in all his years of reading GAO reports, this one represented "about the broadest indictment of an agency in the federal government I've heard." Mark Goldstein, GAO's director of physical infrastructure issues and author of the report, told lawmakers the review revealed significant shortcomings in FPS' ability to monitor and verify contract guard training and firearms certifications. In reviewing 663 randomly selected guards, GAO found that 62 percent had at least one expired certification. Goldstein said a lack of funding has hindered the agency's ability to reach appropriate staffing levels and provide the technological tools necessary to protect federal buildings. But a number of the problems with the contract guard program are unrelated to budgetary constraints, he said. "Not having national standards and guidance for inspecting the guards, [and] better standards for knowing when certifications have expired -- things like that, are not resource-based," Goldstein said. "I think there has been a lack of attention to this part of the protective requirements for federal buildings." Lieberman said he and Collins are aware of management problems at FPS and that is one reason why they have not pressed to increase the agency's budget. "We didn't want to just throw more money at the problem until we fix the agency," he said. FPS Director Gary Schenkel did not dispute GAO's findings and said he takes full responsibility for the failures as head of the agency. He assured the committee that FPS officials have been making progress in addressing deficiencies and are working even faster now that they are aware of GAO's findings.

July 2, 2009 WA Today
The Director of Public Prosecutions has begun his inquiries into the death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van, giving his family and supporters hope that charges could be laid. The victim was 46-year-old Warburton man Mr Ward, who was effectively roasted in the van during a four-hour journey between Laverton and Kalgoorlie in January last year. A coronial inquest found Mr Ward's death was "wholly avoidable", and State Coroner Alistair Hope recommended charges should be laid over the incident. The inquest was told that Mr Ward - whose first name cannot be published because of cultural reasons - had endured temperatures in excess of 50 degrees in the pod of the van. Mr Hope found "inhumane treatment'' led to the elder's death and said the company involved, Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), its two guards Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, and the Department of Corrective Services had all contributed to Mr Ward's "terrible death''. Today, DPP Robert Cock QC met with two detective sergeants from the Major Crime Squad about the "horrendous" incident and said he had asked them to conduct further inquiries into the man's death. Mr Cock has also been in touch with the Coroner's Court and asked for further information. His spokeswoman said once he gathered all the information, he would then be in a position to decide if charges should be laid. "I don't know how long the garnering of all the information I require will take," Mr Cock said. "But as soon as I have it all, I will make a decision about charges."

June 23, 2009 The West
The West Australian government is reviewing the contract of a security company involved in the death in custody of an Aboriginal elder, Premier Colin Barnett says. Global Solutions, which was acquired by UK-based security services giant G4S last year, provided security for government groups including the Department of Immigration and the WA Department of Corrective Services. GSL employed two guards to transport the elder, 46-year-old Mr Ward, who died in the back of a prison van on a four-hour journey across the WA goldfields in January 2008. Mr Ward, whose first name cannot be released for cultural reasons, was being taken from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face a drink-driving charge. He died of heat stroke after suffering temperatures of 50C in the rear pod of a van driven by the guards, Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell. Earlier this month, WA coroner Alistair Hope apportioned blame for the “wholly avoidable” death among the guards, GSL and the WA Department of Corrective Services. The Director of Public Prosecutions is considering whether charges should be laid over the matter. Mr Barnett said today that G4S would be scrutinised before their government contract was renewed. “It is an absolute tragedy that a prisoner in the care of the state could end up dying in that condition,” Mr Barnett said. “The coroner’s reported, the attorney-general is dealing with that issue, and we will certainly look at the contract and the performance, and ensure that it is never repeated in Western Australia again.” The transport tender for corrective services is due to come up next year. Mr Barnett said G4S would be judged on their performance. “I’m not involved directly in the administration of that contract, but I assure you we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that future prisoners are treated with respect and safely,“ he said. “It would be quite inappropriate for me to comment on a tender process, but obviously their performance will be one of the factors that will be taken into account when that future tender is awarded.”

June 23, 2009 Brisbane Times
A sacked security guard has offered her apologies to the family of an Aboriginal elder who died in custody, while the West Australian government says it's reviewing her former employer's contract. Nina Stokoe, one of two guards who had charge of the man when he died of heatstroke in the back of a secure van during a 360km drive, accused authorities of providing inadequate vehicles to transport prisoners. Security giant G4S last week sacked Ms Stokoe and the other guard, Graham Powell, claiming the pair failed to follow directions to check on prisoners every two hours during the fatal four-hour journey. Mr Ward, whose first name cannot be released for cultural reasons, died after suffering temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in the rear of the privately operated van which had no air-conditioning. He was being taken from Laverton to Kalgoorlie on January 27 last year to face charges of drink-driving. WA coroner Alastair Hope, who in his findings said Mr Ward had suffered "inhumane treatment", has asked the director of public prosecutions to consider laying charges over the incident. Mr Hope found that Ms Stokoe, Mr Powell, Global Solutions Ltd (since acquired by G4S) and the Department of Corrective Services had all contributed to Mr Ward's "terrible death". Ms Stokoe on Tuesday broke her silence in an interview with the Nine Network, saying she is distraught over Mr Ward's death. In excerpts aired on Fairfax Radio on Tuesday, Ms Stokoe broke down while offering an apology to Mr Ward's family. "I am very sorry that it's happened and I can understand how they feel," she said. "I only wish that it never happened and that he was still around. "I am so sorry that it happened. "Mr Ward will always be on my mind, always, he will never go away." Mr Stokoe said guards endured terrible conditions in the vans supplied by authorities but were afraid of complaining lest they lose their shifts. She accepted her part in Mr Ward's death but said the prison vans were "untrustworthy". "(We've) probably been scapegoats, but at the end of the day we were the ones that were driving the vehicle," she said. "We had no choice what vehicle to drive. "At the end of the day, every day in Kalgoorlie when we drove out to pick up prisoners it's pot luck. "There's many times we have been sat by the side of the road broken down. "Sometimes 15, 20-odd hours those vehicles have been stuck out in the middle of nowhere, broken down, with prisoners on board and without prisoners on board. "Those vehicles were untrustworthy." WA Premier Colin Barnett said the government was reviewing G4S' contract. "It is an absolute tragedy that a prisoner in the care of the state could end up dying in that condition," Mr Barnett said on Tuesday. "The coroner's reported, the attorney-general is dealing with that issue, and we will certainly look at the contract and the performance, and ensure that it is never repeated in Western Australia again." The transport tender for corrective services is due to come up next year.

June 19, 2009 Brisbane Times
Two security guards who had charge of a prison van in which an Aboriginal elder died of heat stroke have been sacked, their employer says. UK-based security services giant G4S said on Friday it had terminated the employment of the two guards, Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, following the completion of a coroner's hearing into the man's death. West Australian Coroner Alastair Hope last Friday delivered a finding that the man, known only as Mr Ward for cultural reasons, had died of heat stroke. He said he had suffered through temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in the un-airconditioned pod of a van during a 360km journey between Laverton and Kalgoorlie on January 27 last year. Mr Hope apportioned blame for Mr Ward's death between Ms Stokoe and Mr Powell, the private company Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), which has since been acquired by G4S, and the WA Department of Corrective Services. G4S Public affairs director Tim Hall said Ms Stokoe and Mr Powell had disregarded orders to check on prisoners at least once every two hours. But he said their dismissal was a result of the Department of Corrective Services withdrawing their work permits on Monday. "The withdrawal of their work permits effectively made any other considerations unnecessary," Mr Hall told AAP on Friday. Mr Hope has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether charges should be laid over the incident.

June 15, 2009 Four Corners
The company linked to the death of Mr Ward was the subject of a damning report in 2005. An investigation by the ABC's Four Corners program found GSL (now G4S) was the subject of a damning report, published in 2005, by Queensland officials regarding the transportation of immigration detainees in 2004. In that incident, none of the detainees was given food during a seven-hour leg of a lengthy trip from Melbourne to South Australia, and only two were given water. The man who wrote the report, the former head of Queensland's corrective services, Keith Hamburger, says he is concerned about the issues raised by the subsequent death of Mr Ward in Western Australia. The Human Rights Commission later found that one of the detainees was so thirsty that he was forced to drink his own urine. Last week the state's coroner found Mr Ward had died of heat stroke after being carted through the desert in 40 degree-plus heat in a prisoner transport van that had faulty air conditioning. The Aboriginal elder, who had been arrested for drink driving, was found with a third-degree burn on his stomach where his body had come into contact with the van's floor. The coroner found the private security guards who drove the van, the company which employed them, GSL, and the WA Department of Corrective Services all contributed to his death. "The criticism of the company related to our procedures and processes," GSL spokesman Tim Hall has told ABC radio. "We accept that there was some ground for criticism." However it is not the first time GSL's procedures have been criticised. Mr Hamburger's findings were equally damning. He found GSL was "responsible for placing the safety of detainees at risk", "humiliating" them, and "disregarding appeals for assistance from detainees in obvious distress". The guards had driven the first leg of the journey to South Australia non-stop for seven hours. None of the detainees was given food, and only two were given water. "I felt quite appalled actually," Mr Hamburger told Four Corners. "I sat in the van. I talked to the staff that did the escort. I saw the CCTV footage. I was very shocked by the whole thing." One of the asylum seekers, now settled in Australia, describes for the first time the journey he endured. "People was in the back shouting and crying and I was banging as well because I needed to go to the toilet," he said. "And they didn't stop for anything. And I have to do it in the car." 'Great concern' -- One year after the Hamburger report was released, the WA government gave the contract for prisoner transport in the state to GSL. "If these issues are being repeated that's a matter of great concern, because this is not rocket science," Mr Hamburger said. "We're dealing here with, as I've said, duty of care. "We've had many years of experience across the board in corrections and detention and police in dealing with these situations. "There's a whole body of evidence around I guess on how to do these things, and so it is concerning. "They should know better."

June 13, 2009 Perth Now
ONE of two guards suspended over the death of an Aboriginal elder in a prisoner transport van, says she has been ''gagged'' from talking about the tragedy. On Friday, State Coroner Alastair Hope recommended Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock consider criminal charges over the "unnecessary and wholly avoidable death'' of Mr Ward, 46, who died on January 27 last year. Officers Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell drove the Warbuton elder, whose first name cannot be released for cultural reasons, for the 352km Outback journey between the Goldfields towns of Laverton to Kalgoorlie. In his stinging finding, Mr Hope said Mr Ward died when temperatures rose to 50C in the pod of the commercially owned van which had no air-conditioning and little-to-no air flow. Contracted transport company, G4S, formally known as Global Solutions Ltd, stood down Ms Stokoe and Mr Powell on Friday. "The two employees have been suspended and the findings of the coroner, the coroner's report and recommendations will be considered carefully and it will then be decided what the next step should be,'' G4S spokesman Tim Hall told ABC radio yesterday. Ms Stokoe declined to comment on her suspension, saying: "I can't talk about anything, I would like to, but I can't''. Mr Ward's family is planning to sue G4S, which runs other custodial services including court security, over the tragedy. Prison Officer's Union secretary John Welch said the inquest had raised questions about the privatisation of custodial services in WA. Mr Welch said he feared G4S would be allowed to be apply for the contract to run the recently announced Eastern Goldfields prison which was scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. "You wonder why, in the light apparent failures of privatisation, you would want to even consider looking at having at private provider in the Goldfields,'' Mr Welch said. A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Christian Porter said no decision had been made on whether the prison would be public or private, and any discussion on the potential awarding of a private contract was speculative. Deaths in Custody Watch Committee chair Marc Newhouse said another public protest was planned for the city on Saturday to lobby the State Government for improvements.

May 14, 2009 The West
More than 30 family members and supporters of Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder who had a fatal heatstroke in the back of a prison van, gathered outside the Kalgoorlie Courthouse yesterday to call for those responsible for his death to face tribal punishment. Mr Ward’s widow Nancy and his four sons were among those who wailed in grief as they demanded justice and answers to why the Warburton elder died in such horrific circumstances. The family’s interpreter and relative, Gail Jamieson, said that under traditional law, anyone found culpable of the death should be speared. “The family is just devastated,” she said. “He was treated with no respect and he was a well-respected, outstanding elder. If they were in an Aboriginal culture, they would be speared because us Aboriginal people are also going through two cultures.” The inquest was told no disciplinary action was taken against the two GSL officers responsible for transporting Mr Ward on the day he died. Mr Ward died after a four-hour journey in a GSL prison van from Laverton to Kalgoorlie on January 27 last year when temperatures reached 42C. Global Solutions Limited general manager John Hughes said security officers Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell were stood down on full pay and were reinstated when an internal investigation found they had not violated company policies or procedures. Questioned by the family’s barrister Michael Rynne, Mr Hughes said any reinvestigation would depend on Coroner Alastair Hope’s findings. GSL’s multi-million-dollar contract could require it to pay a penalty of 4.5 per cent of its value if found to have failed in its duty of care. Mr Hughes said he understood GSL’s obligations included ensuring officers minimised hardship to detainees, conducting regular checks to ensure their safety, security and health and preventing injury. The inquest concludes today.

May 17, 2009 Miami Herald
In the escalating showdown between Miami-Dade County and Wackenhut Corp., former congresswoman Carrie Meek is on both sides. She lobbies for Miami-Dade, which is accusing Wackenhut of bilking the county out of $3.4 million. And she lobbies for Wackenhut, which is suing the county for $20 million in damages. ''It's kind of hard to represent two masters,'' said Robert Meyers, executive director of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. But Meek is asking county officials to disregard the conflict of interests and allow her to continue representing both Miami-Dade taxpayers and the security company. She has received $150,000 from the county since mid-2007. She declined to disclose her Wackenhut pay. ''I don't see any reason why I can't continue to represent Wackenhut, and I've always been a strong proponent of the county,'' said Meek, a civil-rights pioneer who represented Miami-Dade in Congress from 1992 to 2001. Allegations that Wackenhut was doctoring timesheets and leaving county transit stations unguarded go back to a whistleblower's civil lawsuit filed in 2005. The county auditor found evidence of overbilling in 2006 and released a report in 2008. In early April, County Manager George Burgess said the Palm Beach Gardens-based company should be barred from doing business with Miami-Dade. Meek didn't file her conflict-waiver request until April 27 -- a year after the audit became public. She said she didn't know the county requires its lobbyists to give notice immediately in case of an ''actual or perceived'' dispute with a private client. ''I can tell you that Wackenhut feels that they're being unfairly judged,'' said Meek, who added that she did not know the lawsuit was coming. ``I can't tell you who is right or wrong.'' LONG-STANDING TIES  -- Meek and her family have long-standing ties to the Palm Beach Gardens-based security company. Her son, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, sold security contracts for the company from 1994 to 2002, and his Senate campaign has received the maximum $10,000 donation from Wackenhut's political action committee. Meek's wife, Leslie, registered with the county to lobby for Wackenhut in 2004, according to public records. The former congresswoman began lobbying for Wackenhut in April 2007, the same month the county hired her to focus on transit issues. She asked the county if she could continue representing both clients after she was reminded last month about the county's policy regarding lobbying conflicts, said Joe Rasco, director of the county Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. ''I think it's time we asked and that they proferred,'' Rasco said. ``I think it's a fair question and we'll be taking a look at it.'' Miami-Dade's lobbying contract describes a conflict of interest as a position contrary to county policy or its financial interests. Representing a client at odds with the county without permission ''shall result'' in the lobbyist's contract being thrown out and/or the lobbyist being barred from working for the county for up to three years. ''It is incumbent on the consultant and its employees, partners and subcontractors to remain mindful of the county's policy and fiscal interests and positions vis-a-vis other clients,'' reads the agreement. Meek didn't make the initial cut in 2006 when the county decided to scale back its Washington lobbying team from eight to three firms and put the contracts out for bid. The county had been spending nearly $1.2 million a year. `SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE' -- ''Paying this much for this many people was simply unacceptable,'' County Commissioner Sally Heyman said in March 2006. But two months earlier, Heyman directed staff to add Meek and former state Rep. Mike Abrams -- who came in fourth and fifth place -- to the lobbying team. ''This was coming out of nowhere,'' Rasco told county investigators, who concluded Heyman did not violate the ethics code because the lobbying office reports to the commission. The commission unanimously approved hiring Meek and Abrams on an ''as-needed basis'' and set their pay at a maximum of $75,000 a year. County officials said the money would come from reserves set aside for hiring outside experts in case of an emergency, such as a terrorist attack or major hurricane. Two years later, Heyman now says the county should consider paring down to two lobbying firms. The county pays two full-time employees in Washington to lobby the federal government, in addition to the team of three law firms plus Meek and Abrams.

May 16, 2009 The West
He literally cooked to death. Trapped in a prison van for four hours, suffocated by temperatures that climbed to more than 50C, the Aboriginal elder had no way to communicate with security officers sitting just a metre away, in the airconditioned cab. His only sustenance was a small bottle of water and a meat pie. When he finally collapsed on the van floor, the metal was so hot it seared his skin. Yesterday, Corrective Services Commissioner Ian Johnson travelled to Kalgoorlie to publicly apologise to Mr Ward’s family, accepting responsibility for the 46-year-old’s death in January last year. It was a dramatic end to a coronial inquest that has revealed a litany of failures in the justice and custodial systems in WA’s outback. Widow Nancy Ward and her children will return to Laverton next week after sitting quietly and with dignity throughout the case, which has attracted the attention of the United Nations and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Mr Ward, a conservation worker, a supporter and interpreter for local police and an advocate and educator for children of the Gibson Desert, was an international ambassador for the Ngaanyatjarra people. His family say he was treated like an animal. Mr Ward had been drinking on Australia Day last year in the remote Goldfields town of Laverton when he was arrested for driving with more than four times the legal alcohol limit. Conducting a quasi-court hearing for Mr Ward at his cell door at the local police station, justice of the peace Barrye Thompson remanded him in custody to face court in Kalgoorlie the following day. Mr Thompson told the inquest he had no formal training when appointed as a JP and could not even remember whether he had read the Bail Act. The Aboriginal Legal Service was not contacted. Guards and police officers testified the prison vans used by Global Solutions Limited and maintained by the State were notoriously unreliable, sub-standard and the air-conditioning was often faulty. GSL’s supervisor in Kalgoorlie, Leanne Jenkins, had warned her management an incident would occur unless the vehicles were replaced. At 11.20am, the GSL prison van pulled into a secure area at Laverton police station where the guards were told they would have a trouble-free passenger. Mr Ward made a comment about the warm day and a guard told him “the quicker he got into the van, the quicker the air-conditioning would kick in”. But the air-conditioning did not work: it had been reported faulty in the GSL maintenance log more than a month earlier. Before making the continuous 360km journey to Kalgoorlie, the guards did not tell Mr Ward there was a duress alarm in the back of the van in case he needed help. Towards the end of the trip, they heard a loud thump. Pulling over on to the side of the road and opening the outer door of the van, the guards felt the heat radiating from the rear pod and they saw Mr Ward face-down on the van floor — unconscious and unresponsive. Reaching into the back of the van felt like a “blast from a furnace”, according to Dr Lucien LaGrange, who assisted in removing Mr Ward’s lifeless body at Kalgoorlie Hospital. Doctors found full-thickness contact burns on his stomach and tried for 20 minutes to resuscitate Mr Ward, whose skin felt like a “hot cup of coffee”. They managed to get a brief return of a heartbeat, but after putting him in an ice bath, his body temperature was still 41.7C. Coroner Alastair Hope is due to deliver his findings on June 12. For now, the Ward family will have to return to a community missing a leader. It is little comfort to them that money was allocated in this week’s State Budget to replace the fleet of transport vans — four years after the Department for Corrective Services undertook to do so. “I am sorry,” Mr Johnson told Mrs Ward yesterday. “I have a deep regret but no matter what I say, it’s not going to change what happened.”

May 14, 2009 The West
More than 30 family members and supporters of Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder who had a fatal heatstroke in the back of a prison van, gathered outside the Kalgoorlie Courthouse yesterday to call for those responsible for his death to face tribal punishment. Mr Ward’s widow Nancy and his four sons were among those who wailed in grief as they demanded justice and answers to why the Warburton elder died in such horrific circumstances. The family’s interpreter and relative, Gail Jamieson, said that under traditional law, anyone found culpable of the death should be speared. “The family is just devastated,” she said. “He was treated with no respect and he was a well-respected, outstanding elder. If they were in an Aboriginal culture, they would be speared because us Aboriginal people are also going through two cultures.” The inquest was told no disciplinary action was taken against the two GSL officers responsible for transporting Mr Ward on the day he died. Mr Ward died after a four-hour journey in a GSL prison van from Laverton to Kalgoorlie on January 27 last year when temperatures reached 42C. Global Solutions Limited general manager John Hughes said security officers Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell were stood down on full pay and were reinstated when an internal investigation found they had not violated company policies or procedures. Questioned by the family’s barrister Michael Rynne, Mr Hughes said any reinvestigation would depend on Coroner Alastair Hope’s findings. GSL’s multi-million-dollar contract could require it to pay a penalty of 4.5 per cent of its value if found to have failed in its duty of care. Mr Hughes said he understood GSL’s obligations included ensuring officers minimised hardship to detainees, conducting regular checks to ensure their safety, security and health and preventing injury. The inquest concludes today.

April 30, 2009 Miami Herald
Three weeks after Miami-Dade County declared that Wackenhut Corp. bilked taxpayers of millions and would no longer do county business, the security firm fired back with its own show of force: a $20 million lawsuit against the county and two top officials. The escalating fight centers on allegations that Wackenhut Corp. overbilled Miami-Dade Transit for security services at Metrorail stops and failed to adequately staff guard posts. The Palm Beach Gardens-based firm, which does other security work for the county, has held the mass transit security contract for 20 years, though its latest contract expires in November. But the stakes for Wackenhut may go beyond its current business with the county. In its lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Miami, the security company said the move by Miami-Dade to bar the firm from working for the county could jeopardize contracts with other government agencies across the country. The future damages we ''will suffer as a result of this unfair and malicious taint'' on our ''reputation are incalculable,'' Wackenhut said in the lawsuit, which seeks $20 million in damages and asks the court to stop the county from relying on an audit which concludes time sheets were doctored and transit stops unguarded. The suit also names as defendants County Manager George Burgess and County Auditor Cathy Jackson. Wackenhut contends the county audit used improper methodology. ''It has no basis in reality,'' said Wackenhut President Drew Levine. ``We've done our job and done it well.'' Miami-Dade County spokeswoman Victoria Mallette said the county stands by the report authored by the government's Audit Management Services department. ''We want to be made whole,'' said Mallette. ``We haven't been made whole. It would be irresponsible for us to continue doing business with an entity that we believe has overbilled us.'' Earlier this month, Burgess wrote in a memo to commissioners that as a result of the audit the county would seek to recover $3.4 million in alleged overbillings and support an ongoing whistle blower's civil case against Wackenhut. Burgess named several firms to replace Wackenhut guards at Miami-Dade railway stops and bus facilities, the Juvenile Services Department and Public Works Department. The county manager also declared the county will seek ``debarment.'' The county move earlier this month and subsequent lawsuit Wednesday come several years after charges of overbillings and so-called ''ghost posts'' were first raised. The county -- roundly rebuked for poor stewardship of the transit system -- has been criticized for reacting slowly to the allegations. The whistle blower's civil court case against Wackenhut was filed in 2005 and the audit was completed in 2008.

April 11, 2009 Miami Herald
Four years after allegations surfaced that Wackenhut Corp. fraudulently overbilled Miami-Dade Transit for security work it never performed, the county is moving to replace the firm and support a lawsuit aimed at recouping millions paid for alleged ''phantom'' workers at Metrorail stops. County Manager George Burgess, in a memo to commissioners Friday, said he also wants to bar the Palm Beach Gardens-based security firm from doing business with the county in the future. The move is sure to escalate the testy fight between Miami-Dade County and Wackenhut, which has denied wrongdoing and hired a bevy of lobbyists, including former Congresswoman Carrie Meek, to press its case. Wackenhut has held the contract to patrol mass transit stations for 20 years, although the latest agreement -- a no-bid contract that pays the company as much as $17 million a year -- expires in November. Wackenhut issued a written statement late Friday saying it is ``shocked that the County Manager has falsely accused us of intentionally overbilling the county.'' It called claims of overcharging both false and unsubstantiated, while asserting the county has ``a history of mismanaged audits.'' The county action comes after several years of criticism that Miami-Dade government failed to address allegations of bogus charges for empty guard posts and doctored time sheets. The claims were first raised in an ongoing 2005 lawsuit and later detailed in a 2008 county audit, which initially estimated $6.26 million in overbillings but now pegs the total at $3.4 million. ''The evidence of overbilling has been overwhelming and existing for four years,'' said attorney Mark Vieth, who filed the 2005 lawsuit pending in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. He contends that the Wackenhut overcharges are much higher than the county's number. After the May 2008 county audit, County Mayor Carlos Alvarez declared that the security firm had 90 days to rebut the findings or repay the county. Wackenhut did neither, yet the county didn't move until now -- with six months left on the contract. Burgess defended the pace of the audit and the time it's taken to decide a course of action, calling the issues complex and voluminous.

April 6, 2009 Palm Beach Post
More than two years after a federal investigation found guards were sleeping on the job at Florida Power & Light Co.'s Turkey Point nuclear plant, the utility has paid a six-figure fine to resolve the case. FPL sent the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a check for $130,000 in January. Six guards slept or served as lookouts for other guards who were sleeping "on multiple occasions" between 2004 and 2006, the NRC found in the 2006 investigation. In one case, in April 2006, a guard was "sleeping while on duty at a post in a vital area of the reactor," according to the NRC. All of the guards were contractors with Palm Beach Gardens-based Wackenhut Corp. None remained on the job after the violations were announced last year. Also last year, FPL paid the NRC a $208,000 fine for four other security violations that involved Wackenhut guards at Turkey Point. In that case, the NRC said FPL didn't properly equip armed responders after two Wackenhut guards disabled their weapons by removing or breaking firing pins. The agency also said FPL provided it with incomplete and inaccurate information.

April 3, 2009 The Age
THE Federal Government is set to dump controversial company G4S as operator of immigration detention centres. The Department of Immigration has announced that Serco, which runs prisons and immigration centres in Britain, is its preferred tender to run Australia's six detentions centres. The contract is believed to be worth up to $500 million. But human rights advocates have hit out at the decision, saying Serco has a poor record in Britain, and detention centres should be operated by the public sector. Advocate Charandev Singh said Serco's record in Britain showed a "prison mentality" would be brought to its operations in Australia. "The Government just wants a clean skin in Australia — somebody with no blemishes (here)," Mr Singh said. "G4S and Serco are basically the same company. They come from the same corporate background, running prisons."

March 21, 2009 The West
The security guard who drove the van in which an Aboriginal elder died of heat stroke has admitted he should take responsibility for the death. Testifying for a second day at the inquest into the death of 46-year-old Mr Ward, Global Solutions Limited driver Graham Powell said yesterday he regretted how Mr Ward died. “In hindsight, if I had to do that journey again, I would certainly be doing it a lot differently,” he said. He agreed with lawyer assisting the coroner, Felicity Zempilas, it was inhumane to transport prisoners in the rear pod of the van over long distances and that the vans were “certainly not designed for that”. Coroner Alastair Hope told Mr Powell he was “troubled” over his evidence about phone calls made after Mr Ward collapsed. Mr Hope said a delay of two minutes between calls was a long time in an emergency. To questions from his counsel Linda Black, Mr Powell said he should have checked the airconditioning, made comfort stops and told Mr Ward explicitly how to communicate with the officers if he was in distress. The inquest has heard Mr Powell and colleague Nina Stokoe did not stop during the four hours they had Mr Ward in the van in mid-40C heat while driving from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in January last year. Mr Ward suffered a full-thickness hand-size burn on his stomach from a hot metal surface inside the van. Senior chemist David Tranthim-Fryer said the prison van temperature would have been above 50C. Evidence from a police re-enactment he helped with revealed the van floor reached 56C and the air temperature at least 50C on a slightly cooler day. The temperature would have been hotter with a person inside because there would have been another heat source. “We opened the back doors and could feel the heat coming out of the pods. The hot air affects you more than anything else,” Mr Tranthim-Fryer said. Mr Ward’s body temperature was 41.7C after 20 minutes of resuscitation in an ice bath while being fanned. The van’s rear-pod airconditioning was not working, a fault noted in the GSL maintenance log more than a month before Mr Ward’s death. Mr Powell said he did not check the airconditioning in the pod despite knowing it had a history of faults. He had assumed Ms Stokoe checked it. Mr Hope has heard evidence from witnesses, including GSL’s Kalgoorlie supervisor Leanne Jenkins, who spoke of substandard “unreliable” prison vans which were not suitable for long distance travel. The inquest did not finish within the two-week timeframe and Mr Hope adjourned it until May 11. Outside, Mr Ward’s cousin Bernard Newberry said his family wanted those responsible charged. The family has asked that Mr Ward’s first name not be used.

March 20, 2009 The West Australian
The guard responsible for transporting an Aboriginal elder who died in custody was previously demoted for breaching procedures and compromising prisoner safety. Giving evidence at a coronial inquest into the death of 46-yearold Mr Ward, Global Solutions Limited security officer Graham Powell said he had been stood down as a supervisor because he breached the company’s policies and procedures. The inquest in Kalgoorlie was told Mr Powell was stood down from GSL for six months in January 2007 because he compromised prisoner security when he failed to ensure prisoners were loaded into a prison van in a secure area. He also breached procedure by smoking in prison vans and allowing staff and prisoners to smoke in cells. Mr Ward’s relatives travelled from around the State to attend the inquest yesterday. Mr Ward’s widow Nancy cried when Mr Powell told how he and fellow security officer Nina Stokoe heard a “loud thud” when Mr Ward collapsed in the back of a prison van. Mr Ward died of heatstroke after collapsing in the back of the GSL prison van during a fourhour, non-stop journey from Laverton to Kalgoorlie-Boulder on January 27 last year. Mr Powell said when he arrived at the hospital he checked the airconditioning in the rear pod of the prison van. “I put my arm inside the prisoner compartment and it appeared to me there was no air coming out the vents,” he told State Coroner Alastair Hope. Mr Powell said he had not checked the prison van’s air-conditioning before leaving for Laverton because it had not been included on a vehicle inspection check sheet. He agreed with Mr Hope that it was highly dangerous not to check the air-conditioning before transporting prisoners.

March 18, 2009 Perth Now
TWO guards responsible for transporting an Aboriginal elder 352km across the West Australian outback joked about how he must have been "freezing his balls off" hours before he died of heatstroke in the back of a corrective services van, an inquest has been told. Giving evidence via video link yesterday, Global Solutions Ltd officer Nina Stokoe said she did not check that the air-conditioning in the back of the corrective services van in which the prisoner died was working - even though it had been faulty and the outside temperature had soared to 42C - because it was not part of procedure. Ms Stokoe said she assumed the air-conditioning was working in the rear because there was no problem with the air-conditioning in the front cab and Ward, whose family does not want his last name published for cultural reasons, would have banged on the side of the van if there was a problem. According to Ms Stokoe, during previous trips, other prisoners often complained that the air-conditioning was too cold, and she and fellow officer Graham Powell joked that, while they were too hot, Ward would be the opposite. "I had a joke with Graham," she told the inquest into Ward's death. "(I said) I bet he's freezing his balls off while we're sitting here stinking hot." Coroner Alastair Hope asked whether it would have been prudent to check the air-conditioning on such a hot day when it had been known to break down and Ward was in a section of the van with only metal seats. "It (the air-conditioning) wasn't on the check list ... I wouldn't know how to check it," Ms Stokoe replied. Ward died on January 27 last year after attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. He was being transferred from Laverton to prison in Kalgoorlie after being arrested for drink driving on Australia Day. Mr Hope was yesterday also told how the Kalgoorlie-based supervisor for GSL, Leanne Jenkins, warned her superiors just four months before Ward's death that someone would "eventually die" if the company's outdated and poorly maintained vans were not replaced. Ms Jenkins said the only response she received was that any vehicles in need of repairs should not be driven. She said the two vans based at Kalgoorlie always had problems and were not suitable for long trips. Ms Stokoe and Mr Powell made no stops on the 3 1/2-hour journey until they heard a thud in the back of the van when they were just outside Kalgoorlie. When they pulled over to check on Ward, Ms Stokoe said, they did not open the van's back doors completely because it was not procedure and Ward might have been trying to escape. "If he was mucking around and it was an escape attempt, we would look like idiots," she said. After realising he only had a faint pulse, the officers rushed Ward to hospital. The inquest continues today.

March 17, 2009 Perth Now
AN Aboriginal elder who died in the back of a prison van arrived at hospital, unconscious and with third-degree burns, an inquest has heard. Lucien LaGrange, who was working in the emergency department of Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital when Ward arrived in the non-airconditioned van, said a blast of hot air hit him when he opened the back of the vehicle. Respected elder Ward - whose family does not want his first name mentioned for cultural reasons - did not appear to be breathing. "It was like a blast from a furnace - it was extremely hot," Dr LaGrange told Coroner Alastair Hope. "I was struck by how wet and slippery he was. It was almost like he had been coated in soap - he just slid." Dr LaGrange said that despite medical staff placing ice over Ward's body, his body temperature was 41.7C. That day, January 27 last year, the outside temperature climbed to 42C. After many resuscitation attempts, Ward was declared dead about 90 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Ward was being transported 352km from Laverton to Goldfields Regional Prison in Kalgoorlie after being charged with drink-driving on Australia Day. The inquest was told that the company responsible for transporting Ward, Global Solutions Ltd, raised concerns with the West Australian Government about the poor state of its vans before Ward's death, but was told no new vehicles were available. Under a multi-million-dollar contract, GSL is responsible for transporting prisoners, while the Department of Corrective Services is responsible for maintaining the fleet of vehicles. Former GSL employee Thomas Akatsa told the hearing that after the company failed to secure new vans from the Government, he raised concerns with the company's supervisors, including airconditioning faults and overheating, but was told not to talk about it. Mr Akatsa said the vans used to transport prisoners were sub-standard, did not contain toilets and were not suitable for travelling long distances. Despite regular problems with airconditioning in the back of the vans, Mr Akatsa said there was no requirement for staff to check the airconditioning was working. He said that while he always did check, not all officers did, including one of the officers who transported Ward on that day, Graham Powell. The inquest heard that Mr Powell, who is to give evidence today, had been demoted from a supervisor to a driver before the death. One of his colleagues at the time, Lynette Corcoran-Sugars, testified that she requested not to work with Mr Powell, accusing him of breaching procedures and inappropriately using constraints on prisoners. Ms Corcoran-Sugars and Mr Akatsa said that when they transported prisoners from Laverton to Kalgoorlie, they made at least one stop and offered prisoners water, food and a toilet break. The inquest has heard that no stops were made during Ward's journey and that he was given only a 600ml bottle of water and a pie before leaving Laverton. Questions were raised about whether Ward should even have been in custody, with barrister Lachlan Carter for the Aboriginal Legal Service claiming a proper bail hearing, as defined by the act, did not take place. The inquest heard that GSL's motto was "safety first". Mr Hope questioned how this could be the case when the company allowed staff to transport prisoners in vehicles that did not have a usable spare tyre. The inquest continues today.

March 14, 2009 Sunday Mail
Former Defence Secretary John Reid faced fierce criticism yesterday as it emerged the world's largest security firm had won a huge contract from the Ministry of Defence weeks after taking him on as a consultant. Mr Reid - who ran the MoD until May 2006 before resigning from the Cabinet while Home Secretary in June 2007 - was hired by G4S three months ago for £50,000 a year to offer 'strategic advice'. This week, it was awarded a four-year contract to supply private security guards for around 200 MoD and military sites across Britain in a deal thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds. While many former ministers have taken private-sector jobs, it is unusual for such a senior Government figure and sitting MP to work for a company so closely linked to their former department. Opposition MPs last night said Mr Reid's earnings from G4S were 'totally inappropriate', while the Taxpayers' Alliance campaign group called for the rules governing employment for ex-ministers to be reviewed urgently.

March 12, 2009 ABC
A coronial inquest into the death in custody of an Aboriginal elder from the Central Desert will resume today in Kalgoorlie, in south-eastern Western Australia . Mr Ward died in Kalgoorlie hospital in January last year after being transferred in the back of a prison van from Laverton. Temperatures on the day were mid-40 degrees Celsius and the journey lasted for four hours. In Warburton earlier this week, the inquest heard the airconditioning in the back of the van was not working and that Mr Ward died of heatstroke. Mr Ward's family testified he was a hard working and respected elder. The inquiry will today hear from police officers who arrested Mr Ward for drink driving and officers from the private transport company Global Solutions Limited which transported him to Kalgoorlie.

January 22, 2009 Morning Star
DAVID Miliband said that the war on terror was an error, but some people don't regret it. Private security companies like Group 4 made a mint. Now, it wants to spread its good fortune - this month, Group 4 Security gave a £50,000 position to former Labour minister John Reid as an "adviser." Reid fits in this part-time job when he isn't too busy representing the good people of Airdrie and Shotts as their Member of Parliament. Group 4 has plenty of reasons to want access to the contact book of a former home and defence secretary - the firm now supplies the armed guards looking after British officials in Iraq and Afghanistan while locking up prisoners, asylum-seekers and "terror suspects" in Britain, so Reid is worth every one of the five million pennies that they are giving the man. Reid was once a Communist Party member, but abandoned Marxism in favour of new Labour. This is odd, because his career seems to illustrate the crudest and most determinist kind of Marxism. For years, Marxists have been grappling with the subtle and sophisticated ways in which the capitalist class dominates society, but Group 4 opted for a very unsubtle approach - the capitalists just hired Labour's representative. Reid hasn't always hawked his brawn for the money men. Back in 1992, Reid signed a House of Commons motion calling on Sir Norman Fowler to resign from the board of Group 4. The motion said that the House "regrets that the right honourable Member for Sutton Coldfield (Norman Fowler), chairman of the Conservative Party, has not seen fit to resign his directorship of another Group 4 company, Group 4 Securitas, and urges him to do so." It added: "The government should suspend all further moves to privatisation within the criminal justice system." Reid's call for Fowler to resign from Group 4 and for the government to shun the firm came after the company let a number of prisoners escape from their vans on the way to court. Whizz forward a decade and a half and Reid, having demanded that Fowler abandon Group 4, has himself taken a job with the firm. In the meantime, Conservative and Labour governments have not stopped their "privatisation of the criminal justice system," they have expanded it. Group 4 has men with truncheons in Britain and men carrying guns in Iraq. Nor has the firm become any less accident-prone. Group 4 Security prefers to be called G4S because, in ad people's language, the brand is tarnished. Group 4 was even described as a "national laughing stock" by the government's own lawyers in court in 2003 after a riot at an immigration detention centre that it ran which was later burned to the ground. Things haven't improved since. Reid himself sent the firm to new frontiers, where the firm ran new fiascos. When Reid was home secretary, the Law Lords told him that just labelling foreigners "terror suspects" didn't mean that he could lock them up without trial. Reid turned to Group 4 for help. It cobbled together something called "control orders," a house arrest for these "terror suspects" administered by Group 4 and other private firms. Control orders were simultaneously too draconian and too lax - prisoners, including vulnerable men who had been tortured in their home countries, were tagged and monitored by Group 4. Those who stuck by the rules were pushed to the edge of mental illness by the isolation of the strict house arrest. At the same time, Group 4 allowed another prisoner to simply disappear. This may have been embarrassing for the firm and for Reid, but they manfully hid their red faces and entered into a new relationship when Reid left government. Group 4 has risen thanks to the crudest economic determinism - Reid, who authorised the signing of cheques for Group 4 as a minister, ends up getting cheques from the firm. Reid is not alone. A small squad of politicians worked to get Group 4 where it is today. First, Tory chairman Fowler helped the firm get into the prisons business in the 1990s. Group 4 tightened its grip on British jails last year when it took over rival private prisons firm GSL. It bought GSL from an investment company called Englefield Capital, which employs another Labour ex-minister, former defence secretary George Robertson, as an adviser. Group 4 then broke into the international mercenary trade by buying a company called Armor Group, whose armed men guard British officials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up until this, Armor Group's chairman had been another top politician - leading Tory MP Malcolm Rifkind. Twenty years ago, the idea that a private company would run our jails and wars would have looked like science fiction. By hiring politicians, the "security industry" made it a reality.

January 11, 2009 The Observer
John Reid, the former home secretary, has cashed in on his ministerial experience by taking a £45,000-a-year job with private security company G4S, the Observer has learnt. His appointment comes just days after a parliamentary committee warned that former ministers have been exploiting their insider knowledge "with impunity". Formed from a merger of Group 4 and Securicor, G4S is Britain's largest security firm with contracts ranging from private prisons to the armed guards defending British officials in Iraq. The appointment was disclosed by the advisory committee on business appointments, which polices former ministers' job applications. Reid has been judged free to lobby ministers and officials on behalf of the security company. The public administration committee (PAC) called last week for all lobbying activity to be registered and monitored by a tougher watchdog - claiming the industry's attempt at self-regulation had entirely failed. "We are strongly concerned that, with the rules as loosely and as variously interpreted as they currently are, former ministers in particular appear to be able to use with impunity the contacts they built up as public servants to further a private interest," said a statement from the PAC.

November 11, 2008 South Florida Business Journal
Broward County auditors are raising red flags over how county agencies kept tabs on nearly $6 million in billings by Wackenhut Corp. for security services last year. In a report to be presented to county commissioners on Wednesday, county auditors noted several problems with the way Wackenhut invoices have been processed. Specifically, the report noted that county personnel were not reviewing and validating daily entries on security logs that document hours worked by guards. The audit also found that there was no evidence that hours billed were hours actually worked. County Auditor Evan A. Lukic said the decision to review the county’s oversight of Wackenhut grew out of news reports earlier this year that alleged the Palm Beach Gardens-based security company was overbilling Miami-Dade County for services that were not performed. “We were concerned about the allegations we heard and whether we were possibly experiencing the same thing here,” he said. “We wanted to look at it from how are we controlling the contract and administering it.” At this point in the auditing process, Lukic said, there was no evidence Wackenhut engaged in any wrongdoing. However, based on the audit’s findings Lukic said his department will take a closer look at payments to “make sure that guards who we are paying for are present.” In June 2005, Broward County entered into a three-year agreement with Wackenhut to provide security services. Payments for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007 totaled more than $14.8 million. In fiscal 2007, Broward County’s Aviation Department topped the list with $2.1 million in security services billings by Wackenhut. The county’s facilities maintenance division paid out $1.66 million to Wackenhut, and the county’s library division was billed nearly $633,000. The report found that during a one-week period, the libraries division paid 233 hours of overtime for security guards and found no evidence that Wackenhut provided the required written notification and payroll documentation to substantiate the overtime payments. When queried by the South Florida Business Journal about the auditor's findings, Wackenhut issued the following statement: "We've worked closely with facilities management through the audit department to insure compliance and to improve our processes." Questions also have been raised about matching guard qualifications to pay rates. In some instances, the audit raised concerns about guards with lesser qualifications billing at a higher rate, resulting in overcharges. In an Aug. 22 letter, Broward’s director of the facilities maintenance division advised Wackenhut President Drew Levine that he would now require the company to provide documentation that links guards’ qualifications with their job classifications. In the meantime, Lukic is asking the Broward County Commission to direct the county administrator to come up with procedures to ensure that billings are validated, that the guards’ qualifications match their job descriptions and that overtime charges are substantiated. In May, a Miami-Dade County audit found that Wackenhut overbilled the county by as much as $6 million over three years for services it did not provide to Miami-Dade Transit, and then falsified records to cover up the over charges. In its response to that audit, which Wackenhut published on its Web site, the company said it has cooperated with the county’s investigation, but “continues to question the audit methodology.” Wackenhut said a lawsuit by a former guard, who accused the company of padding its bills, has caused the increased scrutiny. “It is Wackenhut’s belief that county entities … have been placed under undue pressure and influence by unsubstantiated allegations in this ongoing disputed litigation,” it stated. Miami-Dade continues to review Wackenhut’s response to determine what actions should be taken, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.

June 18, 2008 NBC6
Miami-Dade County said it is poised to make good on its promise to fire Wackenhut Security from its massive contract on Metrorail trains unless it repays taxpayers millions of dollars. NBC6 has obtained internal county memos that confirm that Miami-Dade County is asking other security firms to submit bids to replace Wackenhut on Metrorail trains and other facilities. The county said Wackenhut's only hope of not getting fired is if it returns up to $6 million in taxpayer dollars. The Metrorail and Metromover systems are guarded by Wackenhut Security in a lucrative no-bid contract. The county said it is getting ready to replace Wackenhut, cutting short the existing contract unless Wackenhut makes amends. "It's very troubling," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez. In May, Alvarez threatened to fire Wackenhut. On Tuesday, it was clear that was no idle threat. "We are prepared to cancel all contracts with the Wackenhut corporation and demand that we get the money that's owed to us," Alvarez said. The county said Wackenhut scheduled guards to work partial shifts while billing taxpayers for a full shift and sometimes billing taxpayers for a post that had no guards at all, NBC6's Jeff Burnside reported. The allegations were the same as those contained in an NBC6 investigation called "A Question Of Security." The amount in question is up to $6 million. An independent audit claimed it was much more. One problem is that any company that replaces Wackenhut might need to hire some of Wackenhut's guards because of the size of the contract. In an internal memo, Wackenhut called that, "underhanded … tactics by third-party instigators." A labor union urged county commissioners Tuesday to improve working conditions in any new contract. Wackenhut had no response on Tuesday, Burnside reported. Previously, the company has disputed the allegations.

May 9, 2008 Miami-Herald
The Wackenhut Corp. overbilled Miami-Dade County as much as $6 million over three years for phantom security guards at county transit stations, according to a long-awaited audit released Thursday. County auditor Cathy Jackson -- who reviewed a sample of the bills -- found that Wackenhut, one of the country's largest security firms, routinely charged the county for empty guard posts at Metrorail stations and along bus routes, and relied on inaccurate and falsified records to try to cover up the overbilling. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has given Wackenhut 90 days to repay the county or rebut the audit findings or he will cancel the company's no-bid contract, along with a separate Wackenhut contract for guards at a juvenile detention center. Jackson said Wackenhut should also pay the county an additional $233,000 for violating the terms of its contract. Wackenhut's billing is also being examined by public-corruption detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department. 'There is no disputing that [Miami-Dade Transit] was billed for hours not worked by Wackenhut security officers, which is a very serious offense,'' County Manager George Burgess wrote in a memo to Alvarez. Wackenhut, however, does dispute the audit. The company says Jackson used unreliable records to determine that posts were uncovered, and ignored other records that could prove guards were on duty. FIGURES DISPUTED -- While Wackenhut says it will reimburse the county for any ''substantiated billing errors,'' the company says Jackson's conclusion of $6 million in overbilling from 2002 to 2005 is an exaggerated estimate based on a small sample. ''If you start with a false premise, you end up with a false conclusion,'' said Bruce Rubin, a company spokesman. ``We respectfully but forcefully disagree with the auditor's methodology.'' Jackson based her estimate on a review of 505 billing records -- only .25 percent of the bills submitted in the three years studied -- which found $14,722 in questionable charges. She also found $83,665 in suspicious charges, but these were not included in her sample for estimation purposes. Wackenhut has been providing security for Miami-Dade Transit since 1989, and the contract has been awarded without bidding since 1994. The current contract, which pays Wackenhut as much as $17 million a year, is set to expire in November 2009. The security company, based in Palm Beach Gardens, has also spent the past three years fending off an unusual lawsuit brought by a former guard at the county's Juvenile Assessment Center, who accused her former employer of padding its bill to the county. The former guard's attorney, H. Mark Vieth, has said he believes the overbilling could be as much as $3.6 million a year. He has compiled sworn statements from ex-guards who said they struggled to fill unmanned posts, submitted false records and received pay for hours they didn't work. Jackson ''found exactly what we've been telling the county for a while now,'' Vieth said. ''I could have practically written that report for her. The only difference, really, is that we're auditing 100 percent of the bills and she's found this much fraud'' based on a far smaller sample. Wackenhut has denied wrongdoing in the suit and has challenged Vieth to provide proof of specific instances of overbilling. Vieth has enlisted a team of investigators and bookkeepers to sort through Wackenhut bills, sign-in sheets, log books and other records to prove his case, which is not yet scheduled for trial. If he wins the case -- brought under the county's False Claims Act -- his client will receive 25 percent of any damages and the county will receive 75 percent. REFUSED TO TESTIFY -- Yet the lawsuit has put Vieth at odds with the county. Last month he sought a contempt of court order against Jackson after she refused to testify about the audit before it was completed. Vieth plans to call her again for a deposition next week. The audit was costly to Wackenhut even before its release. The company had been selected by county staffers to win another $4.8 million county security contract -- before county commissioners, worried about the audit findings, decided Tuesday to scrap the bids and start over. In her audit, Jackson said Wackenhut constantly shifted guards around to cover unguarded posts, pulling in supervisors or patrols from the bus routes, but the county was billed as though all these jobs were filled. In some cases, log books at Metrorail stations contained no notes to prove a guard was there, the audit found. In other cases, the logs and other records showed guards in two different locations at the same time. Records showed that one armed guard was on duty for 34 ½ hours in a row -- violating a rule capping guards at 13 ½ hours in a 24-hour period and ''leaving in question the ability of armed employees to remain alert and responsive,'' the audit said. Wackenhut officials said the log books were never intended to be used for timekeeping, and said the absence of notes in the books do not prove a guard wasn't on duty.

May 2, 2008 Edinburgh Evening News
TWO security guards who stole £10,000 of bank notes while on a collection run have been jailed for six months. Group 4 Security workers Gary Docherty, 41, and Hugh Drummond, 47, each helped themselves to a £5000 bundle of £20 notes when a bag burst in their van. Staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh immediately realised there was something wrong when the pair delivered a case which should have contained £50,000 with only £40,000 in it. Police were called in after they found notes in Drummond's rucksack and the officers recovered the rest from Docherty. They previously pleaded guilty to stealing £10,000 on March 28 this year – Docherty's birthday – and were sentenced today. The pair had been collecting cash in plastic cases from branches of the bank when one of the cases burst at Bruntsfield Place. They continued with their run, arriving at the RBS cash collection centre in The Gyle, where the theft was discovered. Solicitor Andy Gilbertson said Docherty, of Clermiston Drive, had worked for the firm for 14 years before he carried out the "spontaneous" crime and had lost his job as a result. He said Docherty had been suffering stress. "It wasn't a matter of if this crime would be detected but a matter of when," Mr Gilbertson added, appealing for a community service order instead of custody. Solicitor Nigel Bruce said Drummond, of Victoria Road, Harthill, Lanarkshire, had spent seven years with the firm, before the "moment of madness".

April 12, 2008 Palm Beach Post
Sen. Jeff Atwater has hired an aide who will get on-the-job training before he becomes Senate president chief of staff, and Atwater's campaign opponent is criticizing the expenditure. Robert "Budd" Kneip is a Palm Beach Gardens businessman with no legislative experience. He founded The Oasis Group, an outsourcing division of Wackenhut Corp. Kneip, who is earning $7,000 a month, needed to come on board early to get the feel of how the legislature runs and how government budgets are developed and negotiated before his new boss officially takes over, Atwater said. Normally the chief of staff is appointed after the legislative leader assumes his role in the fall. Atwater is being challenged for reelection in November by Democrat Skip Campbell, a trial lawyer who formerly served in the Senate alongside Atwater. Campbell criticized Kneip's salary at a time when lawmakers are slashing about $5 billion from the state budget because of plummeting tax collections. "How can we be hiring somebody for on the job training at 7K a month when we're cutting education, food for the poor, Medicaid treatment for the mentally ill? This is one of the most hypocritical actions I've seen in government," Campbell said. Kneip has sat on the advisory boards for Florida Atlantic University and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and served as chairman of the Palm Beach County Task Force on Business Development. In the latter role, he successfully pushed a 2004 referendum for a half-penny sales tax hike to pay for building schools to comply with the constitutional amendment limiting class sizes. Kneip's know-how at implementing state policy at the local level and business acumen are why he's right for the job, said Atwater, a North Palm Beach Republican. "He doesn't have the experience in this process," Atwater said. "To have him be able to watch how this works is going to help me as we think about structure, the design, the flow and process of work."

March 13, 2008 The Age
A NIGERIAN man who twice resorted to drinking his urine during a nightmarish seven-hour transfer to Baxter detention centre without food or water will be given $20,000 compensation. Four others who endured the trip in the back of the van with him will also be compensated after the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found they had been subjected to "degrading treatment". The five detainees, whose plight was revealed in The Age, were taken from Maribyrnong in Melbourne to Baxter on September 17, 2004 by guards from GSL, the company that runs Australia's detention centres. A report by commission president John von Doussa found the van did not stop for any breaks in the seven hours from Melbourne to Mildura, breaching the detainees' human rights. The report said the drivers ignored signs that the detainees needed toilet stops, having watched them urinate on closed-circuit camera, and disregarded their banging on the walls. Nigerian man Austin Okoye, 26, suffered the "additional indignity" of twice drinking his urine to relieve his "excessive thirst", the report said. GSL guards were also accused of using excessive force in removing 53-year-old Vietnamese detainee Huong Hai Nguyen from his dormitory at Maribyrnong for the trip. The Immigration Department initially denied Mr Nguyen's allegations. But the department referred the case to the commission after receiving a second complaint from Mr Okoye. In July 2005, Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe said GSL would be fined $500,000 after the independent report substantiated most of the allegations. Yesterday Mr Metcalfe said GSL would also pay the compensation. "These people were mistreated and they deserve to be compensated," he said. The report said Mr Okoye and Mr Nguyen should get $20,000 each, and the others $15,000. GSL spokesman Tim Hall said the company did not accept the claims about Mr Okoye being forced to drink his urine. But he said GSL endorsed the rest of the report and the Commonwealth would be fully indemnified. The report urged the Government to locate the victims as soon as possible (three of them, including Mr Nguyen and Mr Okoye, have been deported) to provide them with their compensation and a formal apology.

February 22, 2008 The Green Left
A February 22 meeting between Western Australian prisons minister Margaret Quirk, Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington and WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committee chairperson Marc Newhouse resulted in some ministerial promises of reforms following the the death in custody of an Aboriginal elder on January 27. The elder, from the desert town of Warburton, died after collapsing in the back of a prison van while being transported for four hours in 43oC heat to a jail in the outback city of Kalgoorlie. He had been arrested on January 26 for alleged drink-driving while visiting relatives in the remote town of Laverton, 352 kilometres north of Kalgoorie. The van was driven and staffed by employees of Global Solutions Ltd, an Anglo-French prison management company, which the WA government has contracted to transport prisoners. Professor Richard Harding, the WA government’s inspector of custodial services, told the news media on January 29 that he was not surprised at the Warburton elder’s death, given the state of the prisoner transport fleet. He said that the “government-owned vans are continually breaking down, leaving prisoners stranded in searingly hot conditions in remote areas”. Among other things, Quirk has agreed to overhaul procedures followed when a prisoner is transported. New procedures, to be in place by March 14, will include a health assessment and provision of water and food.

February 4, 2008 News.com.AU
THE contractor that transported an Aboriginal leader who died in custody last weekend has previously been criticised for the treatment of detainees. Government contractor Global Solutions Limited has been accused of the humiliation and sensory deprivation of detainees, who were forced to urinate in their cramped compartments, inadequate provision of food and fluids and the prank strip search of a prisoner. The death of Ian Ward in the sealed compartment of a "bloody hot" van last Sunday as the outside temperature climbed to 43C has prompted an unprecedented attack on the Carpenter Government by the Inspector of Custodial Services, who said the state's chronically deficient prisoner transport system would probably not be tolerated if 95 per cent of prisoners were white, instead of up to 95 per cent of them being Aboriginal. Anger is growing in the desert community of Warburton in WA's Ngaanyatjarra lands over the death of Mr Ward, who collapsed in what may have been an unairconditioned or inadequately airconditioned rear compartment while being transported 352km by GSL. The van transporting Mr Ward left the town of Laverton about midday for Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison to be remanded in custody on a drink-driving charge when he vomited on himself and fell unconscious. His body was wheeled into Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital at 4.30pm on Sunday after the two GSL guards in the van found he had collapsed in the back. Witness Jodie Aurisch said a female GSL guard told an emergency department doctor: "It is bloody hot in the back of the van". GSL and its $70 million prison transport contract with the Carpenter Government are likely to be examined as part of a coronial inquest into Mr Ward's death in custody. It will not be the first time the company faces scrutiny. In 2005, GSL was fined almost $500,000 over mistreatment of immigration detainees. In 2006, GSL was fined a reported $200,000 after guards at Port Phillip Prison in Victoria jokingly strip searched a prisoner as part of a prank called "Sausagegate". A federal government report into GSL's transfer of five detainees from Maribyrnong Detention Centre in Melbourne to Baxter Immigration Facility in South Australia over two days in 2004 found the officers involved had not been adequately trained and treated the detainees inhumanely. In his report into the incident for the Howard government, investigator Keith Hamburger found the van used was unsafe and inhumane and that the detainees had been denied access to toilet facilities, forcing them to urinate in their compartments. The officers were also found to have ignored appeals for assistance from detainees in distress. Melbourne legal advocate Chandarev Singh said GSL had shown "a pattern of lethal indifference". GSL's director of public affairs, Tim Hall, said Mr Singh's "inaccurate and unpleasant personal views" did not warrant comment.

February 1, 2008 The Western Australian
Police yesterday refused to reveal the results of a post-mortem examination on the body of an Aboriginal elder who died after he collapsed in custody while being taken to Kalgoorlie in the back of a van. It is understood police received the results yesterday. Warburton Aboriginal elder Ian Ward collapsed in the back of a Global Solutions Limited van on Sunday after a four-hour trip from Laverton to Kalgoorlie and died a short time later at Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital. The 46-year-old, who was being transferred to face a charge of drinkdriving, was found unconscious in the back of the van in the middle of the afternoon when temperatures outside exceeded 40 degrees. It is understood the van’s air-conditioning broke down the previous week and had to be replaced. The van is part of a fleet owned by the State Government but managed by the private prison management company. The State Government’s controversial deal with Global Solutions Limited, the group responsible for prisoner transport, could be tested, depending on the outcome of the investigation into Mr Ward’s death. Opposition Leader Troy Buswell said the death in custody raised serious concerns over the State Government’s “gifting” of the contract to GSL. GSL was controversially awarded the $70 million prisoner transport, court custody and security services contract last year when the company bought out the previous contractor Australian Integrated Management Service. Letters obtained under Freedom of Information laws revealed the Inspector for Custodial Services, Richard Harding, told Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk in April that the plan for GSL to take over the contract was unwise and risky. Despite his advice, Cabinet not only approved the takeover of the AIMS contract by GSL last July, but days later it extended the deal by three years without any public tender process. “Depending on the outcome of the investigation by police and the coroner, the State Government needs to be examining every aspect of the contract and take action against GSL if and when it is appropriate,” Mr Buswell said. Ms Quirk said issues surrounding Mr Ward’s death, including the contract with GSL, was a matter for the police investigation and the coronial inquest and it was not appropriate to speculate.

January 31, 2008 News.Com.AU
PRISONER transport contractors for the WA government were warned about the "parlous state" of their fleet well before an Aboriginal elder died in a prison van. Ian Ward, 46, of Warburton in the Goldfields, died during a Global Solutions Ltd transfer from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in hot conditions on January 27. It is unclear if the airconditioning was off, or faulty. Drivers of the van took Mr Ward, who had been picked up for drink driving on Australia Day, to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital after they found him collapsed. He died a short time later. WA Custodial Services Inspector Richard Harding wrote to GSL last year outlining six concerns, including 'GSL's capacity to cope with the logistical challenge of running a transport service across such huge distances as are involved with Western Australia''. "The parlous state'' of the government-owned fleet upon which GSL would have to rely was among Mr Harding's concerns. GSL is contracted by the WA government to provide prisoner transport services and by the federal government to run immigration detention camps and transport immigration detainees and prisoners. Project SafeCom spokesman Jack Smit said there had been other transportation issues under the watch of GSL, formerly US-owned but bought last month by European security consortium Group 4 Securitas. "This is an ongoing issue partly because it's an out-of-Australia company ... you no longer have people employed who are directly responsible, by contract, to the minister,'' Mr Smit said. A 2005 federal government inquiry found GSL failed to provide medical assessments and treatments for injured detainees who were being transferred to the Baxter detention centre in South Australia from Maribyrnong in 2004. The probe found the van used to transport detainees was "unsafe and inhumane'' with airconditioning design faults. The five were sent an apology and compensated by the immigration department. WA major crime squad detectives are investigating the latest death amid calls from human rights groups for an independent investigation. WA Deaths in Custody watch committee spokesman Marc Newhouse said Mr Ward's death should not have happened. "Clearly the government has already been warned about the state of that fleet, which is government-owned,'' Mr Newhouse said.

January 22, 2008 St Petersburg Times
If you’re guarding a nuclear power plant, your gun better work. That’s the message federal regulators sent Tuesday to Florida Power & Light. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed a $208,000 fine for four security violations at the utility’s Turkey Point nuclear plant, including security workers who deliberately broke the firing pins on their weapons. The violations occurred in 2004 and 2005, according to the commission. The commission, a federal agency that oversees the safety of the U.S. nuclear industry, also faulted the Juno Beach utility for failing to promptly report the violations. Three of the four employees involved worked for Wackenhut, and none of the four work at the plant now, said FP&L spokeswoman April Schilpp. Wackenhut still provides security, and the utility has improved training, she said. The utility has 30 days to appeal the fine, but has no plans to, she said. “The NRC confirms that at no time was plant security compromised,” Schilpp said. “That’s the important thing.”

January 9, 2008 NBC TV6
The CEO of Wackenhut Security, a South Florida company that has been surrounded by controversy, is stepping down. A representative with the company declined to say why Gary Sanders made the decision to quit pending a formal announcement on Wednesday. The change at the top came at a time when Wackenhut Security was facing mounting criticism in various cities, including some in South Florida where its Miami-Dade County operation is the target of a criminal probe. The county audit, which was detailed in an NBC 6 investigation of Wackenhut billing practices, is examining whether Wackenhut overcharged taxpayers millions of dollars. Sanders had been with Wackenhut for more than 25 years.

December 18, 2007 Yahoo Business Wire
Cognetas, an independent mid-market pan-European private equity firm specialising in complex deals, today announces the sale of Global Solutions (GSL) for £355 million to G4S. The sale, subject to EU merger clearance and South African competition commission clearance, is expected to complete in 2008. GSL is a leading provider of outsourced support services to public authorities and corporate organisations worldwide. Services are typically provided under long-term contracts (5 to 30 years) either directly to the end customer or through joint ventures and Public Private Partnerships with government and corporates. GSL has operations in the UK, South Africa and Australia. Its service offering covers three areas: Custodial services, including prison management, escorting, immigration, custody and training; Public Services, for example healthcare, education and Local Authority services; and Business services, comprising utilities, office accommodation and other managed services. Cognetas backed the original MBO of GSL in 2004 in a £207 million (€309 million) transaction. At the time, Cognetas underwrote equity and debt to facilitate certainty for the vendor with an initial commitment of £105 million (€158 million) on behalf of Cognetas Fund I. This was reduced within two months to £54 million (€81 million) by introducing senior debt. The balance of the funding was provided by Englefield Capital on behalf of the Englefield Funds. Since then Cognetas has supported management in the implementation of a growth plan that has seen revenues increase from £291 million in 2004 to over £400 million in 2007 through organic growth, in fill acquisition and expansion of services in its sectors over three continents with the number of staff employed increasing by over 25% to more than 9,500. Nigel McConnell, Managing Partner of Cognetas commented: “We are delighted to be associated with the success of GSL over the past three years and we are pleased to see that the dynamic management team has built the business into a worldwide quality provider of outsourced services. We leave the business on extremely sound and robust grounds which will help sustain its continued growth. I am confident that being part of a larger global business like G4S will take this business forward to a new level and I wish them well”.

December 10, 2007 NBC TV6
Miami-Dade and federal investigators raided the headquarters Friday night of one of the county's largest government contractors. NBC 6 was the first to report in May that Wackenhut Security is under a criminal investigation for overbilling taxpayers millions of dollars, money for work on transit and the downtown juvenile center. NBC 6 camera's filmed public corruption investigators and police removing boxes filled with documents from Wackenhut's Miami-Dade headquarters on Blue Lagoon Drive. Investigators were there for several hours and were being assisted by top Wackenhut executives. Wackenhut has repeatedly declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that the company was cooperating with authorities. "The Wackenhut Corporation ('Wackenhut') continues to cooperate with Miami-Dade County ('MDC'), and voluntarily provided MDC additional records and documents yesterday to assist and facilitate MDC’s investigation and audit of Wackenhut’s performance under its security contract with the Miami Dade Transit Authority," said Drew Levine, president of the Security Services Division. "Wackenhut is proud of its service and performance under its contracts with Miami-Dade County and is very confident that after a thorough investigation the County will conclude that Wackenhut acted properly and performed its responsibilities under the contract in a highly professional and responsible manner." The company has previously denied overbilling taxpayers. Miami-Dade County is nearing completion of an audit of Wackenhut's billing practices. The preliminary audit found serious discrepancies.

November 29, 2007 The Telegraph
Group4Securicor is in talks to buy Global Solutions, a company it used to own, for around £350m. Earlier this year, private equity firm Cognetas appointed investment bank UBS to carry out a strategic review of Global Solutions, which runs a number of Britain's prisons and detention centres. However, the credit crunch forced Cognetas to put the review of Global Solutions on hold. Since then, the company has received a number of approaches, including one from Group4Securicor. Cognetas bought Global Solutions, which also manages hospitals, schools and tourist offices, from Danish security firm Group 4 Falk for about £200m three years ago. Group4Securicor is now understood to be carrying out due diligence on the business. However, it is not the only company bidding. Sources said US group GEO and several private equity firms have also made approaches for the company. Global Solutions has previously come under the spotlight for the way it runs its prisons and detention centres, following the Government's privatisation of the sector. Earlier this year, there was a Panorama investigation by an undercover BBC reporter, who worked as a custody officer, in one of Global Solutions' prisons at Rye Hill. None of the parties involved would comment.

November 20, 2007 This Is Hampshire
A SECURITY firm employee who was heavily in debt stole £25,000 following an extraordinary blunder by two colleagues, a court heard. The cash had been collected from the London Road branch of Nat West in Southampton - and left overnight at the depot. The following day, Paul Dean spotted the bag and stole it, dropping it off at home before continuing with his deliveries. Police carried out a major investigation during which Dean and a co-driver were suspended from their jobs with Group 4 Securicor. Seven months after the theft last November, they executed a warrant at Dean's home and recovered more than £10,000. Some of the proceeds had been spent on a large slim line television, Mr Anderson added. Southampton Crown Court heard the two men who had left the cash behind were fired and Dean's colleague, though exonerated, had resigned. Dean, 51, of Maclean Road, Bournemouth, admitted theft and was jailed for 12 months. In mitigation, Christopher Gair said Dean lost his wife in a road accident in 1994 and had debts of £24,000. A month before the theft, he had been given two county court judgments against him. "In a moment of madness he took advantage of the money left there," said Mr Gair.

November 1, 2007 This Is Leicestershire
An "inside man" involved in a plot to steal £1 million from a Securicor van has been jailed for four years. Ex-soldier Neil Colbourne, from Hinckley, worked for the firm in the lead-up to the robbery bid, which would have involved kidnapping a driver's wife. He was among six gang members who were jailed in connection with the case. A court heard how the plan involved two kidnappers seizing a driver's wife at her home in Swanscombe, Kent, and holding her hostage while others raided her husband's security van at gunpoint. But the plan to target a depot in Dartford, Kent, was foiled when a seventh member of the gang, brothel keeper Vincent Calleja, turned himself in to police. Police swooped on the gang's headquarters the night before the heist last June and found two guns and ammunition, balaclavas, and cable ties. They also found keys to a stolen Renault Espace. Four of the men were found guilty on June 29 of conspiracy to rob and were sentenced on Monday at Guildford Crown Court. Ashley O'Driscoll (21), from Eaton Grove, in Mitcham, Surrey, Billy French (22), from Steers Mead, Mitcham, and Michael Cloherty (41), of no fixed address, were each sentenced to 15 years. The father of Billy French, unemployed Clive Tedder (42), from Spencer Roady, Mitcham, received 18 years. Colbourne, now 34, who had an address in Hinckley and Orpington, Kent, had worked as a guard for Group 4 Securicor and was sentenced to four years, while 33-year-old Wayne McKenna-Bruce, from Chislehurst, Kent, was sentenced to three years in prison. The pair's conspiracy to steal pleas were accepted after a court heard they had not known about the full scale of the plot. The seventh member, Vincent Calleja (45), from Tadworth, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and seven unrelated human trafficking and prostitution charges, and is to be sentenced.

November 1, 2007 PR News
The Wackenhut Corporation ("Wackenhut" or "the Company") today filed a civil action against the Service Employees International Union ("SEIU" or "the Union"). The lawsuit is in response to the SEIU's malicious, four-year, international corporate campaign to force Wackenhut to recognize the Union as the employees' bargaining representative while denying the employees their federal rights to free choice and a secret ballot election. The SEIU's top-down, wholesale, organizing attack also would compromise the quality of Wackenhut's services by forcing the Company to deal with a union that also represents workers other than guards which federal law specifically prohibits as an appropriate unit for representation and bargaining. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit alleges violations of the federal Racketeering Influenced Corporations Act, 18 U.S.C. section 1961 et seq., and seeks injunctive relief, treble compensatory damages and costs.

September 14, 2007 BBC
A security worker has been jailed for stealing almost £130,000 in coins from parking meters on Teesside. Bryn Lynas, 47, of Ormesby, Middlesbrough, was employed to empty the machines in Redcar and Cleveland. At Teesside Crown Court, the former Group 4 Securicor Cash Services employee pleaded guilty to the theft of £128,301 from January 2004 to May 2006. Jailing him for 21 months, Judge Tony Briggs told Lynas he had grossly abused a position of trust. Group 4 was contracted by Redcar and Cleveland Council to empty parking meters. An audit revealed tens of thousands of pounds was missing and when Lynas was arrested last year he told police: "I've got a bag full of money on my back seat." He was interviewed and admitted taking cash from the machines, but said he had been doing it for only 10 months The court was shown footage from a camera covertly placed by police in Lynas' van, in which he repeatedly attempts to prise open cash boxes with a screwdriver. He also admitted money laundering between June 2004 and last May, but disputed stealing £40,000 of the total, claiming that he was not employed on some of the days stated in the case. But Judge Briggs said "the loss of at least £80,000-£90,000" and "dishonesty of this magnitude" required a significant sentence.

September 14, 2007 24 Dash
A security worker who stole nearly £130,000 in coins from parking meters he was employed to empty is facing jail. Bryn Lynas, 47, plundered the machines in Cleveland for two years before his bungled get-rich-quick scheme was uncovered by his bosses. When Lynas was arrested in May last year, after an audit revealed tens of thousands of pounds were missing, he told police: "I\'ve got a bag full of money on my back seat." Officers searched his vehicle and found a bag containing more than £500 stuffed in the footwell of the Renault Megane. Lynas was interviewed and admitted taking cash from the machines, but said he had been doing it for only 10 months. Police inquiries revealed that his partner, Susan Shaw, also 47, had received £23,655 in her bank account from Lynas. She was arrested for a money laundering offence, but had the charges dropped by prosecutors at Teesside Crown Court in August. Lynas, of Ormesby, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court on August 8 to the theft of £128,301 between January 2004 and May last year, and money laundering between June 2004 and last May. His case was adjourned until today for reports. Lynas was employed by Group 4 Securicor Cash Services, which was contracted by the borough council to empty parking meters. Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said it was pleased Lynas had been brought to justice but added the cash collecting contract was re-tendered last year and given to a different company.

September 6, 2007 News Shopper
A FORMER soldier has been jailed for four years for his part in a plot to steal more than £1m from security vans - including his own. Neil Colbourne had worked for Securicor for two years when he was the "victim" of an armed robbery outside the HSBC bank in Sydenham. But he was an accomplice and slipped the money box containing £25,000 out of the back of his van to a waiting vehicle before calling the police claiming he had been robbed. Prosecutor Maria Kariaskos told Guildford Crown Court the 33-year-old later changed his story, saying there was no gun involved. He also failed to pick out the real "robbers" in an identification parade. Officers arrested him after studying CCTV footage of the incident on May 16 last year. He could be seen waiting for a minute-and-a-half until the vehicle being used by the "robbers" arrived. Colbourne, of Station Square, Petts Wood, admitted a charge of conspiracy to steal. He also pleaded guilty to another count of conspiracy to steal for helping a gang to plot a £1m theft from another van. The cash handler and his old Army friend Wayne McKenna-Bruce, aged 33, gave the gang the van driver's name and the registration numbers of his car and of two Securicor vehicles. This enabled them to follow their intended target to his house and plan their attack. McKenna-Bruce, from Sevenoaks, pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to steal and was sentenced to three years in jail. James Scobie, representing McKenna-Bruce, said the two defendants thought the driver in the second incident was in on the plot and violence would not be threatened or used.

August 26, 2007 Sunday Mail
A SECURITY van driver who claimed he was robbed by gunmen wearing fake Mexican moustaches has admitted lying to steal more than £300,000. Ian Watt, 44, made up the far-fetched tale about how his Group 4 van was robbed at gunpoint because he was desperate for cash. Watt even went to the trouble of driving himself to a forest outside Edinburgh and bound his own hands to make it look as if he had been assaulted and robbed. Police issued an appeal for witnesses through TV and newspapers and quizzed 500 drivers close to where the alleged robbery was meant to have happened. But they later found CCTV footage of Watt sitting in his vehicle at a time he said he was being beaten, bound and blindfolded by the desperado gang. Then they checked the tracking system on his van and found it did not match his story. Detectives confronted the ex-soldier, who admitted he had buried the load in a nearby wood. Last week he was jailed for 16 months for stealing £271,963.94 in cash, £41,928.72 in cheques and £236.61 in euros. He also confessed to wasting police time. Watt claimed he took the money to help bail out his new girlfriend, who was going through an expensive divorce. A police insider said: "This is one of the most bizarre cases we have ever dealt with. "The guy went to extreme measures to look convincing and on the face of it this was a very serious robbery. "The guys working on the case were incredulous when the truth emerged." Watt had been working for Group 4 security for more than 20 years when he faked the robbery in May.

August 24, 2007 Narco Sphere
Another industry has been privatized in the United States by the Bush administration. This time it is the transportation of migrants for deportation. The Wackenhut Corporation, whose buses wait along the border to be filled with migrants for deportation, is actually owned by a Danish Corporation, Group 4/Securicor. It is known as G4S. Some border residents are concerned that a foreign-owned corporation, and not a U.S.-owned corporation, is handling security and deportations at the border and profiting from it. Wackenhut/G4S took over these duties from the U.S. Border Patrol. The executive director of the watchdog group Private Corrections Institute, Ken Kopczynski, wrote to the Censored Blog: "Great piece on the Minutemen and immigration but Wackenhut is not connected to GEO Group. Group 4 bought out Wackenhut Corporation a number of years ago and sold off the corrections unit to George Zoley and friends. Part of the agreement was that they could no longer use the name Wackenhut which currently is a subsidiary of Group 4/Securicor. Hope this helps and keep at 'em, Sincerely, Ken Kopczynski, executive director, Private Corrections Institute. Imprisoning migrants -- George Zoley is chairman of GEO Group, Inc., which operates privatized prisons across the nation, including prisons in Florence, Arizona. Building prisons for immigrants has been profitable for the GEO Group. In 2007, Geo Group won contracts for a prison in Eagle, Pass, Texas; an immigration detention facility in Jena, La. and a detention facility for U.S. Marshals service in Laredo, Tex., according to its news releases. Headquarted in Boca Raton, Fla., GEO Group, announced in January that it received a new U.S., 10-year contract, for the detention of 2,407 "criminal aliens" at the Reeves County Detention Complex in Texas. GEO took over the county's contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Reeves County is located in southwest Texas, with its county seat at Pecos. GEO said it believes that the facility is the largest privately-operated prison in the world. In Taylor, Texas, another for-profit company, Corrections Corporation of America, imprisons migrant and refugee children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Recently, a prison guard exposed maggots in the food there.

March 23, 2007 The Telegraph
Ministers have been forced to act after receiving disturbing evidence of equipment failures and doctored record-keeping within Group 4 Securicor Justice Services, which operates 60 per cent of tags for offenders released early under the Home Detention Curfew scheme. A 130-page dossier obtained by a BBC journalist, who worked undercover for five months in the security company's Nottingham operations centre, includes the following allegations: A manager secretly taped saying that three paedophiles were not being monitored. A prisoner incorrectly returned to jail for seven weeks because of a blunder by the security company. A violent offender breached his bail conditions by going into a pub 10 minutes after removing his tag the night before his court appearance. An employee mocked Victor Bates, a campaigner against tagging whose wife Marian was shot dead in their jewellery shop after the gunman's accomplice had ripped off his tag. A prisoner convicted of indecent assault on home leave was unmonitored for several days because his tagging equipment failed. The revelations will further undermine confidence in tagging after figures revealed that inmates let out under the system committed more than 1,000 violent crimes including four manslaughters, one murder, 56 woundings and more than 700 assaults since it was introduced in 1999. The investigation also discovered evidence of staff fabricating records to save money. G4S is paid around £45 million a year by the Home Office to administer the curfew system. After being confronted with the evidence G4S, which has admitted there was faulty equipment, has been forced to apologise and has suspended five employees in Nottingham. A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Public protection is the Government's first priority. The findings of this programme are of concern. We are reviewing the contract and will be asking G4S urgent questions to ensure that these allegations are thoroughly investigated and issues arising are addressed." The investigation by a team from BBC Inside Out East Midlands disclosed that the monitoring boxes in tagged offenders homes, which relay information about their movements, routinely broke down. One factor in the failure of the system could be that G4S, which has admitted there was a batch of faulty equipment in Nottingham, uses the mobile telephone network technology rather than fixed lines. Steve Green, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, said the Home Office had to establish whether the Nottingham problems were nationwide. "I want to urgently know if is this a Nottingham problem or a G4S problem. If it is a G4S problem and this is the way company is run then that puts a huge responsibility on the Home Office to tackle and address because that is not acceptable," he said. Ian Ridgely, chief operations officer at G4S, said: "We believe in a small number of cases that we may not have been monitoring to the level that we would expect to, we apologise for that, we accept that. From that point of view we recognise that the Home Office requires us to work to a very high standard and of course we are sorry that in some minor number of instances, we may not have operated to those standards."

February 20, 2007 Great Yarmouth Mercury
An opportunist thief stole a Securicor van containing more than £35,000 after a guard left the keys in the ignition and the engine running, a court heard yesterday. The Securicor guard had just collected the cash from Norwich city centre car parks leaving his security van unlocked, when Martin Chapman, 31, saw his chance and stole the van containing the cash, Norwich Crown Court heard. Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting, said the van was later found abandoned at Swanton Road travellers site in Norwich and Chapman was later arrested and £26,000 of the cash was recovered. However Mr O'Donnell said the security guard responsible for leaving the van unattended had since lost his job. Chapman, of Rosedale Gardens, Belton, near Yarmouth, admitted taking a Securicor van and stealing £9,239.50 on October 18. He was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for a year and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work. Guy Ayers, mitigating, said it was an unusual set of circumstances. “It was purely opportunistic. He saw the van left in this way and thought it was careless and took advantage of that particular driver's way of working.” He said Chapman was genuinely sorry that the guard had lost his job. Chapman who was of previous good character was unlikely to re-offending, Mr Ayers added.

August 12, 2006 Daily Telegraph
INDIA'S biggest private airline Jet Airways would suspend a British employee arrested in London over an alleged plot to blow up US airliners, it said today. "(Asmin) Tariq is being suspended pending a full investigation, having not reported for duty for the past couple of days," an airline statement said. Tariq, a Jet security employee, was among 24 people arrested in Britain earlier this week over the alleged plot to use suicide bombers with explosives to blow US airliners out of the sky. One person was later freed. Jet said Tariq, who holds a British passport, was transferred to Jet in March from global security group G4S - previously called Securicor - after the airline ended its contract with the company. Jet, which flies to London and other international destinations as well as serving Indian domestic routes, said under British employment law, it had been obliged to take on employees working for G4S before the contract ended.

May 23, 2006 The Mirror
IN THE latest major Home Office blunder, 2,700 innocent people were branded as criminals. They were labelled robbers, thieves and sex offenders because their names and dates of birth matched those of convicted criminals. As a result, many were refused jobs, turned down for university or threatened with the sack. The shambles was the fault of the Home Office Criminal Records Bureau, which is managed by private-sector IT firm Capita. Unions say the increasing involvement of private firms in government departments will lead to more mistakes. A Unison spokesman said yesterday: "So many different parts of our public services are in disarray, and privatisation has played a big part in this. "There's a conflict between the motivations of private companies and their clients, the government. For private firms there's a pressing need to be competitive and deliver profits to the shareholder. Prison security COMPANY: Group 4 RESPONSIBLE for a catalogue of blunders, including allowing seven prisoners to escape while ferrying them between prison and court in the East Midlands and Yorkshire in 1993. In the same year, a prisoner fled Group 4 custody at a Hull court. Two years ago, killer Gordon Topen escaped from HMP Rye Hill. Now known as Group 4 Securicor, it detains and escorts asylum seekers, and made a profit of £254million last year.

May 19, 2006 The Mirror
A WHISTLEBLOWER last night claimed the UK's deportation system is a shambolic failure that does nothing to ease our spiralling immigration crisis. The Group 4 Securicor officer, who escorts deportees back to their home country, insists an amazing 6 in 10 efforts end in failure. He says many manage to get sent back to UK detention centres by harming themselves or their children on the way to the airport. Others cause such uproar on the plane that pilots insist they are removed. In the worst cases private jets allegedly have to be charted at vast expense to get them home. And the officer claims it will take 23 years to clear out huge backlog of illegal immigrants. He said: "It's about time people knew what a state the system is in. We have a 60 percent cancellation rate on deportations and it's getting worse. "The deportees will use every trick in the book to avoid getting kicked out. The men will kick and spit and scream that they have HIV. The officer said many corrupt officials in foreign countries refuse to let the deportees in - unless they get a large backhander. He said: "We are often going to banana republics where the authorities will say they don't have the right paperwork or deny the deportee is from their country. Then they ask us for bribes." The officer claimed he and his colleagues often have no choice but to pay the backhander with company cash or credit cards that are supposed to be used for expenses. He added: "Although it's not our money, we try and keep the price down as we resent paying bribes." The whistleblower is a Detention Custody Officer with Group 4 Securicor, which has the Home Office contract to run detention centres and escort failed asylum seekers. He is from the West Midlands but works at Group 4's Overseas Escorting headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex. His duties include collecting failed asylum seekers from UK detention centres and escorting them home. He claims that for high-profile or troublesome deportees, Group 4 Securicor charters a private jet to fly them home - at a rate of up to £1,500-an-hour. The officer said: "It's a shocking waste of taxpayers' money. But the bosses say it's the only way." According to a 2005 National Audit Office report, the average cost of deporting an illegal immigrant is £11,000 per person. Group 4 Securicor last night denied company money was used to pay bribes. A spokesman said: "We provide credit cards and petty cash to cover incidental expenses. We deny paying bribes." The company said the whistleblower's claims of a 60 percent failure rate were false, saying "Less than one per cent of our removals result in immigration detainees being returned to the UK." The firm refused to reveal how many deportees fail to leave the UK. The Home Office admitted chartering flights "when economical and efficient to do so". The spokesman added: "We strongly refute these allegations and do not recognise the figures being quoted."

March 16, 2006 The Age
WHEN Devandar Naidu was at work his boss would kick his chair from beneath him. The security guard was subjected over four years to names such as "coconut head" and "monkey face". He would start work at 7am and not be allowed to go home until 10pm. He had to ask his boss's permission to go to the toilet. Yesterday, the NSW Supreme Court awarded the former guard $1.9 million in compensation for the relentless bullying that left him incapable of working again. Outside the court, Mr Naidu's lawyer, Shaun McCarthy, described the award as a "rare victory for the little man against a giant … conglomerate". "He had a nervous breakdown, he will never work again," Mr McCarthy said. The abuse of Mr Naidu at the hands of News Ltd's security and fire manager, Lance Chaloner, was described as "extraordinary" by Justice Michael Adams. The abuse started in 1992, when Mr Chaloner threw tantrums, would kick chairs from under Mr Naidu, and call him names such as "black c---". Although his hours were 7am to 4pm, Mr Chaloner made him work unpaid until after 10pm. When Mr Naidu went on a rare holiday to Fiji with his family, Mr Chaloner insisted that he telephone work every day, which involved a 15-kilometre trip to a phone, and he had to pay for the calls. When he returned, he was told to do manual work at Mr Chaloner's home, and threatened with the sack if he didn't. Mr Chaloner was dismissed by News Ltd in January 1997. The judge said that although Mr Naidu remained at work until mid-1997, he could not operate effectively. He had major depression and post traumatic stress disorder. News Ltd will share the damages with Group 4 Securitas Pty Ltd, the bulk to be paid by Group 4, which employed Mr Naidu.

June 30, 2005 The Statesman
Britain’s asylum policy came under renewed scrutiny on Monday as dozens of Zimbabweans staged a hunger strike in protest at their imminent deportation and Kurdish Turks mourned a teenage detainee who has killed himself. The Archbishop of Canterbury and former Labour leader Lord Kinnock joined protests over the decision to send failed asylum-seekers back to Robert Mugabe’s regime. Dr Rowan Williams said it would be “deeply immoral” to send failed claimants back to a country where they could face persecution and torture. Lord Kinnock said it would be better to let “a couple of dozen” unjustified claimants remain in Britain than risk sending back people who needed protection. Zimbabweans at the Campsfield detention centre in Oxfordshire said they had been told the Government has delayed further deportations for two weeks, which would forestall the embarrassing prospect of Tony Blair hosting the G8 summit that will focus on the plight of Africa while dozens of Africans are in Britain on hunger strike at his government’s policy.

April 9, 2005 The Guardian
Security firms involved in the deportation of failed asylum seekers are facing more and more claims of intimidation and assault. Group 4/Global Solutions Ltd (GSL) topped the league table of complaints by asylum seekers and their lawyers. Campaigners who studied 35 complaints now being pursued by lawyers revealed GSL was involved in 30% of cases. GSL, which deals with by far the majority of deportees in Britain, recently won a 10-year Home Office contract to run Bicester Accommodation Centre for asylum seekers. The firm was criticised last month after the broadcast of the BBC documentary Asylum Undercover, which contained claims of abuse by GSL guards. Most of the alleged assaults analysed involve incidents on the way to or at airports. Most concern incidents resulting in cuts, bruises and swelling, although deportees have complained of head injuries, damaged nerves, and sexual assault.

March 31, 2005 IRR News
Recent unannounced inspections of centres used to hold asylum seekers in transit to detention centres and to ports for deportation have found that no centre meets the minimum requirements in relation to child protection. Officials carried out their first (unannounced) inspections into 'holding' centres for asylum seekers between June and October 2004. The holding centres, all run by private company GSL Ltd, (formerly Group 4) were: Communications House (Old Street, London), Lunar House (Croydon), Electric House (Croydon) and Dallas Court (Manchester). The report states that 'all four holding centres had inadequate provision for childcare and child protection. None had a child protection policy in place, and staff likely to be in contact with children had not undergone enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.' At Lunar House the inspection team reported that they 'spoke to one woman detainee with a two-year-old child during the mid-afternoon. She and the child had been in other areas of the building since 8am that morning. Neither she nor her child had been offered anything to eat during that time and had to wait for relocation to a residential centre that evening.' They found that this was 'unacceptable'. At Dallas Court, the team found that 'a weekend shift recently complained when they discovered a young woman in the holding room who had miscarried a few days previously. She had been collected from a hospital following psychiatric referral, had not eaten for three days and had to be helped to and from the van. She was subject to a live F2052SH self-harm monitoring form because she kept asking for her baby and said she wanted to die. Having been delivered to the holding room in the morning, she was not due to be collected by another vehicle until more than six hours later.' For the first time it emerged that other private contractors (unnamed in this report) are being used to move asylum seekers - though GSL Ltd remains responsible for the four holding centres inspected here. The inspection teams also found a worrying 'absence of operational or independent oversight, compared to other immigration detention facilities. There was no Independent Monitoring Board, and no on-site monitor to provide daily oversight of service provision, as there is in immigration removal centres (IRCs). Senior Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) staff visited only occasionally, and, with the exception of Dallas Court, had little involvement with the centres.'

January 13, 2005 PR Newswire
The Wackenhut Corporation, the U.S.-based division of the large U.K. and European security contractor, Group 4 Securicor, has apparently persuaded the U.S. National Labor Relations Board ["NLRB"] to pursue allies of Protects USA. Late last week, the NLRB notified Protects USA ally at the non-profit Prewitt Organizing Fund ["POF"] a formal investigation was under way. "They are requesting private information on activists, allies and funding. It's clearly a continuation of G4-Wackenhut's witch hunt for scapegoats," says Protects USA spokesperson Adam Wilson. "Protects USA and POF are not parties in any matter before the NLRB. We will notify the NLRB that the request will be taken under advisement as it comes in tandem with the intimidation lawsuit G4/Wackenhut filed last month to silence Protects USA," said Wilson. Since last summer, Protects USA and similar groups [Denver PROTECTS, New York/New Jersey PROTECTS, California PROOFERS, Albuquerque-based BOCAS] have conducted more than 200 peaceful public information events in 14 states, aimed at educating the public about the current condition of homeland security. U.K.-based G4/Wackenhut filed a lawsuit in federal court on December 6 to silence its U.S.-based critics and stop public advocacy conducted by Protects USA. Protects USA, a citizen-based homeland security advocacy project, seeks to educate the public on the perils of handing over the security of our most sensitive sites to private profiteers with spotty records or worse.

Police may charge private security company Group 4 tens of thousands of pounds after an 11-day hunt to recapture a dangerous escaped murderer.  Gordon Topen, who was 12 years into a life sentence for killing a businessman, broke free fromtwoGroup4 security officer sat Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry, on Good Friday.  West Midlands Police launched a huge manhunt for the murderer - who had been in hospital for a blood transfusion - involving officers, sniffer dogs and helicopters but he evaded capture.  More than 20 Coventry detectives spent 11 days in a nationwide operation to catch the killer who, it was feared, could try to hunt down the Midland ex-girlfriend whose evidence put him behind bars.  He was finally snared when officers in London discovered Topen holed up in a friend’s house following a tip-off.  Now the Sunday Mercury understands that West Midlands Police may hit Group 4 with a bill for the costs of the manhunt if it believes the security firm was negligent in the escape.    (Sunday Mercury, April 25, 2004)

Hassockfield Secure Training Centre
Doncaster, England
Group 4 (formerly Serco, formerly run by Wackenhut)
November 22, 2011 The Guardian
Serious injuries or other life-threatening warning signs have been detected on 285 occasions when children have been physically restrained in privately run jails over the past five years, according to Ministry of Justice figures. The figure reflects the number of "exception reports" submitted by the four privately run secure training centres to the youth justice board since 2006. The warning signs triggering an exception report include struggling to breathe, nausea, vomiting, limpness and abnormal redness to the face. Serious injuries are classified as those requiring hospitalisation and include serious cuts, fractures, concussion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs. The MoJ figures, which have been disclosed for the first time, show that there were 61 such exception reports made last year. There have been 29 so far in the first 10 months of this year. Their disclosure comes as a two-day High Court challenge is due to get underway over the MoJ's refusal to identify and trace hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. Children's rights campaigners believe they should be entitled to compensation. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has brought the case challenging the justice secretary, Ken Clarke's, refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998, when the first secure training centre opened. The legal challenge follows a second inquest earlier this year into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, who was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where he was on remand in 2006. It concluded there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the child jail. The use of several "distraction" restraint techniques, that involved inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint techniques to control teenagers simply for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled unlawful by the court of appeal. Carolyne Willow, Crae's national co-ordinator, said their lawyers will argue there had been a chronic failure by the authorities to protect vulnerable children over many years. "It was not children's responsibility to know about, challenge and stop unlawful and abusive treatment," said Willow, adding there were potentially thousands of former detainees who should now be contacted. "Children in custody are among the most disadvantaged in society and they were held in closed institutions where unlawful restraint was routine and ordinary. It was the state, and the private contractors, who were duty-bound to protect the welfare and rights of vulnerable children." She said that government officials now had a duty to notify potential victims that their rights had been infringed. The abuses should no longer remain hidden and unchallenged. The security company, G4S, which operates three of the four child jails is also joining the case as an 'interested party'.

April 25, 2011 The Independent
Juveniles in private prisons are at risk of serious injury or death through the use of illegal restraints, according to research by the penal reform charity the Howard League. Some privately run Secure Training Centres (STC) are using unlawful restraints which have resulted in bruising, broken bones and a number of deaths of under 18s in penal custody, according to researchers. The report from Howard League lawyers documents the daily violence the juveniles have faced while they have been in custody. A 15-year-old boy in a STC said in evidence given to a Howard League lawyer: "I had bruised shoulders from when one of the staff dragged me across the room and shoved me into the wall. I had bruising on my back from where I was slammed into the wall in my cell." The report reveals that there were 142 injuries to children recorded as a result of the restraint of boys in prisons between April 2008 and March 2009. Lord Carlile of Berriew QC is holding a series of public hearings in the House of Lords into the policies and practices of using force on children in custody. In an independent inquiry into the use of physical restraint in 2006, Lord Carlile recommended that it should never be used as punishment or to secure compliance. He added that the infliction of pain was not acceptable and may be unlawful. The report, Twisted: the Use of Force on Children in Custody, comes after the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood who was found hanging in his cell in 2004 after being restrained by staff at Hassockfield STC in County Durham. At a second inquest into his death, held at Easington earlier this year, a jury found that the unlawful use of force by staff had contributed to it. A secret manual published by the Ministry of Justice that was publicly disclosed after legal action in 2010 shows that staff were authorised to use pain-inflicting distraction techniques on the thumbs, ribs and noses of children. According to the Youth Justice Board, 6,904 incidents of restraint were reported between 2009-10 in England and Wales, 257 of which resulted in injury. However, the report highlights that statistics are likely to underestimate the extent to which physical restraint is used, as not all incidents are recorded. Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, said: "These shadowy private companies who profit from children being locked up have disguised their methods of painful holds on children for years. It is time we revealed what is really happening."

February 15, 2011 The Guardian
A high court challenge has been launched over the Ministry of Justice's refusal to identify hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has applied for a judicial review of the refusal by the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, to identify and contact children who may have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run secure training centres. The legal battle follows the second inquest two weeks ago into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, found hanging in his room at Hassockfield secure training centre where he was on remand in 2006. The inquest concluded that there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the jail. The use of several "distraction'' restraint techniques, which involve inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were first suspended in 2007 before being banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint to control teenagers in child jails for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled to be unlawful by the court of appeal in the same year. Carolyne Willow of Crae said she believed that there may be hundreds, if not thousands, of children who have been unlawfully restrained in secure training centres since they first opened in 1998.

Hastings Youth Academy, Hastings, Florida
June 27, 2007 Florida Times-Union
A detention worker at the Hastings Youth Academy found himself behind bars after a juvenile at the minimum security facility in western St. Johns County told investigators he thought he was going to be stabbed in a confrontation between the two. Kevin Dewayne Ford, 30, of Interlachen was charged with aggravated assault after a surveillance tape showed him pulling what looks like a knife from his pocket and flicking it open during an argument with a 16-year-old Friday, investigators said. In the recording from the center's surveillance system, Ford and the youth are seen near a desk and making gestures as if arguing. Ford is then seen pulling something from his back pocket and walking toward the juvenile, who was then pulled away by another worker, according to police reports. Moments later, Ford appears to put something in his shoe, according to an offense report by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. No knife was found but other workers who witnessed the argument said they saw one or heard the juvenile being threatened. In addition to aggravated assault, Ford was charged with taking contraband into the Hastings jail. Employees are not permitted to take weapons into the facility. Ford, who'd been with the academy a month, was released Tuesday from the St. Johns County jail on $4,500 bail, according to jail records.

Heathrow Airport, England
Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit: Expose on immigration by Nina Bernstein at the New York Times, September 28, 2011

April 15, 2009 The Independent
Thousands of foreign visitors and refugees who are detained at Heathrow airport each year are forced to endure degrading living conditions and "deep-seated" negative attitudes about their welfare, an independent report concludes today. The findings will add to growing concerns about the treatment of foreign people held in detention in the UK before they are granted entry clearance or sent home. The report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) makes note of cockroaches in Terminal 4 kitchens and the absence of proper washing facilities for detainees held overnight. The monitors were so angered by one case, the comprehensive failure to care for the needs of a disabled visitor who was travelling to the UK with her young son, that they sought personal apologies from the staff concerned. Some of the visitors held at Heathrow are incoming passengers detained for questioning or refused entry to the UK. Others are brought to Heathrow from immigration removal centres, prisons or police stations to be deported. The authors said: "The generic term 'detainee' casts no light on the humanity of the men, women and children to whom it is applied. The IMB perceives a deep-seated negative attitude towards their wellbeing while in detention at the airport, at both policy and operational levels." Other language which the report said reflected these views included the use of the phrase "these people" to describe visitors held in what staff inappropriately referred to as "pens". Between 2008 and 2009, 33,100 people were detained at the airport, of whom 22,000 were detained in holding rooms and 11,100 in Queen's Buildings, which is mostly used for holding failed asylum-seekers before they are returned to their own countries. The UK Border Agency has hired G4 Securicor to staff the short-term detention facilities but the report makes it clear that the IBM thought the Government had "failed repeatedly to supervise its staff in key areas, all impacting on detainees' welfare." The IMB called on G4 Securicor to address these issues urgently. It said: "We urge the [UK Border Agency] to take necessary steps, whether in terms of their own processes, or the performance of G4S as escort contractor, to drive down the length of time many are detained. Action is overdue."

June 15, 2008 Sunday Mail
SUSPECTED
ILLEGALIMMIGRANTS AREBEINGHELDIN"HOLDING rooms" at UK airports and ports withoutregularindependent scrutiny of their welfare and human rights, three years after the prisons watchdog recommended in a report to the home secretary that detainees should be monitored. The situation is affecting thousands of people detained each year over visa and other document irregularities by the UK Border Agency at three non-residential facilities run by Group 4 Securicor at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, and Scotland's immigration reporting centre at Festival Court in Glasgow. Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales - who has responsibility for inspections because immigration is reserved to Westminster, -recommendedmonitoringofthe facilities after spot checks on Glasgow airportandFestivalCourtin2005. Heathrow, which has holding facilities at each of its five terminals, is the only UK airport which has set up Independent Monitoring Board (IMD) committees - members of the public who visit the facilities every week. TheUKjusticedepartmenthas not even begun talks with its Scottish counterpart, which must approve the proposal, and it is feared it could take another year to set up. One insider said: "It's shocking they have been allowed to get away with this at a time when the Border Agency is targeting more people coming into regional airports. "This is as big a political hot potato as dawn raids. Even if these people are only detained for a matter of hours before their cases are rejected and they are put on planes home, they are still entitled to basic human rights, which includes access to full legal representation. "There would have been an outcry had this happened at Dungavel detention centre, which does have independent monitoring." John Wilkes, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: "In 2005, the chief inspector of prisons had many reservations about the holding facilities in Glasgow airport. She found people were not being given adequate information in their own language about their reason for detention. Crucially, people were not offered information on their legal rights and, as they had no access to phones, email or fax, legal or other assistance was impossible. "In this report, three years ago, she strongly recommended the need for independent monitoring, but this has not yet happened in Glasgow. This must happen as a matter of necessity." Asylum lawyer Fraser Latta said: "It's not uncommon for claimants to be detained on a Friday and spend several hours in one of these places, and it must be extremely frustrating if they can't get access to legal help." Latta said it was an example of the breakdown of Westminster-Holyrood relations following former first minister Jack McConnell's failure to win a separate asylum protocol for Scotland. There has also been a sharp rise in the number of people being held at the Glasgowfacilities.BetweenJanuary and the end of March 2005, 34 people were detained. This year, over the same period, 242 people were held, including some at Edinburgh airport. Most were held for less than eight hours, but one person was held in Edinburgh for more than eight hours but less than 12, according to the UK Border Agency. The August 2005 report claimed legal information for detainees was "deficient"; childcare and child protection provision was inadequate; and staff had notundergoneenhancedCriminal Records Bureau checks. Those held in Glasgow were not routinely seen by a health professional, there were "insufficient" activities to relieve boredom and there was no hot food available. Glasgow airport did not even have a television. Theinspectorscouldalsoseeno evidence of notices or leaflets "designed to inform detainees about legal rights or how to get immigration advice". At the airport,accessinglegaladvicewas "impossible" as no free phone calls were automatically offered. Neil Powrie, head of the Association of Prison Visiting Committees in Scotland, which hopes to help the IMB find volunteers, revealed he has only recently been sent an email by the organisation asking him for "a chat" about the plans. "When people are being detained there are always concerns if their conditions are not being monitored," he said. "The fact the chief inspector made the recommendation three years ago and nothing has been done since is down to the Home Office. It would be a lot smoother if these issues were devolved." Norman McLean, head of the IMB Secretariat,said:"Wearerollingout the programmegradually and it is a major exercise. I don't want to be seen as intruding in Scotland and that's why we must have approval from the executive." Tayside Police chief constable John Vine, who has been appointed the first chief inspector of the UK Border Agency, said: "I am very conscious of the fact we are dealing with human beings who in many cases have a legitimate right to come to Britain and seek a better life. Although I will principally be reporting to Westminster, I will have to establish good relations with the devolved government as well." A UK Border Agency spokesman welcomed monitoring of the facilities and added that Edinburgh airport's holding facility is currently being refurbished.

January 16, 2007 IC Coventry
Conditions in holding centres for immigration offenders awaiting deportation still need to be improved, the jails watchdog has said. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers published reports on four immigration short-term holding facilities at Colnbrook near Heathrow Airport, Sandford House in Solihull, and Liverpool's Reliance House and John Lennon Airport. Inspectors found that detainees at Colnbrook spent unacceptably long periods locked in single rooms, and there was a lack of information and independent advice for people facing removal. But it had avoided some of the problems seen in other facilities because it was managed by the Immigration Removal Centre, offering access to healthcare facilities, welfare and race relations support, Ms Owers said. Staff at the three centres in Liverpool and Solihull - all run by Group 4 Securicor - needed more training in the care and protection of children, her report found. The facilities also required reorganising for a mixed population, it added. Ms Owers said: "Accommodation still remains inadequate in many centres and the needs of detainees in relation to healthcare, information and advice, and preparations for release are not yet sufficiently met." Home Office Minister Liam Byrne said: "I take very seriously the recommendations, and action plans responding in detail are currently being drawn up to ensure further improvements are made. "It is important to remember that non-residential short-term holding facilities are intended to accommodate people for very brief periods of time." Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "The inspector's report confirms what has been apparent for some time: that, for the Government, these people are out of sight and out of mind. "Any society should be ashamed when people are treated like this just because they are to be deported."

April 6, 2006 Gulf Daily News
Holding cells used by British immigration officials at a French freight terminal were so crowded and filthy that staff called them "the dog kennels," a prison watchdog said yesterday. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers also said staff were unsure whether they could stop a detainee from fighting, trying to escape, or committing suicide because they did not know whether English or French law applied. Her report concerned the centres at Calais seaport and the Channel tunnel freight and tourist terminals at Coquelles, which were set up on French soil under an international treaty to hold detainees seeking entry to Britain. Accommodation at Coquelles freight terminal was described by staff as the "dog kennels," Owers said. The six 13 feet by 10 feet cells at Coquelles freight terminal featured hole-in-the-ground toilets and on busy days one cell could be used to hold six people. Furnishing, ventilation and heating were all inadequate, her report added. Records suggested average detention time was seven and a half hours, with the maximum nearly 12 hours. The chief inspector made 49 recommendations for improvement, including one that an independent monitoring board should have regular access. Figures for May to July last year showed 661 detainees had been through Calais Seaport detention centre, 11 of whom were children. The average period of detention was four hours, although the longest was 17. In all, 17 per cent were given permission to enter Britain. At the third centre at Coquelles tourist terminal, average detention time was three hours but the maximum recorded was nearly 16 hours. None of the facilities, run by private firm Group 4 Securicor, could appropriately separate men, women and children. The chief inspector also published a report on detention facilities at Heathrow airport, including the Queen's Building, which handles the greatest number of forced removals from Britain. People could be detained there for up to 36 hours, the report said. Owers complimented the staff's approach to welfare of detainees but called the system inhumane. "Some of those we observed in detention had been dealt with as though they were parcels, not people, and parcels whose contents and destination were sometimes incorrect," Owers said.

Hernando County Courthouse, Brooksville, Florida
September 13, 2009 St Petersburg Times
In its first week on the job, a private security firm hired by the sheriff to protect the courthouse had to remove a guard who fell asleep, the company has confirmed. The incident occurred Sept. 3, just three days after Wackenhut Corp. began operating two security checkpoints at the Hernando County Government Center under a $220,000 contract with the Sheriff's Office. The armed guard was seen sleeping at a table in the cafeteria on the third floor of the government center during his lunch break. The company immediately suspended the guard and formally fired him Wednesday, said Wackenhut's Jim Parrish, the general manager of the Tampa office. "He dozed off, and having a weapon exposed at that point is not tolerable," Parrish said. "We take that seriously. There is no excuse for not protecting your weapon." Parrish would not identify the guard, a retired law enforcement officer from Philadelphia, citing company policy. This is not the first time the company and its parent, Group 4 Falck AS of Denmark, have been embarrassed by sleeping guards. In 2008, Florida Power & Light was fined $130,000 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when an investigation revealed that Wackenhut guards repeatedly slept on the job at the power company's Turkey Point nuclear plant. Parrish said the Hernando County incident should not diminish the public's perception of security at the courthouse. Sheriff Richard Nugent hired the Palm Beach Gardens-based firm in August, saying it would save money and help him meet requested budget cuts.

Holden Wal-Mart, Holden, Texas
August 28, 2006 Tyler Morning Telegraph
Just days before jury selection was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Wal-Mart settled a wrongful death lawsuit for an undisclosed amount with the parents of Megan LeAnn Holden, a clerk who was kidnapped from the Tyler supercenter's parking lot and murdered. Attorneys for Ms. Holden's parents, Sheri Kay Dunlap and James Vincent Holden, said the terms of the Wal-Mart settlement were confidential. The Wackenhut Corp, which provided security for the store, was also named in the lawsuit and settled for $1.3 million, according to court records. Ms. Dunlap, "would like to see this as a beginning to Wal-Mart making its parking lots safer for its customers and employees, not just in Tyler, but everywhere," said her attorney, John "Rusty" Phenix, of Henderson. Jury selection for the case was scheduled to begin in U.S. District Judge T. John Ward's Marshall court Tuesday, but, on Friday, Phenix sent a letter to the court announcing the sealed settlement. Attorney Randell "Randy" Roberts, of Tyler, said his client, Holden, was "very glad to have this entire matter behind him." Ms. Holden was abducted Jan. 19, 2005, from the Wal-Mart Supercenter by Johnny Lee Williams Jr., who pleaded guilty last year to capital murder - kidnapping, sexually assaulting, strangling and shooting to death Ms. Holden to death before he allegedly discarded her body in a West Texas ditch. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to five stacked life sentences. Surveillance footage released by law enforcement showed Williams following Ms. Holden to her pickup in the Wal-Mart parking lot, rushing up behind her, shoving her into the vehicle and driving off. Before the abduction, the video showed a security guard talking to the suspect.

Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Holston, Tennessee
December 7, 2007 PR Newswire
Checks, ranging from $200 to $50,000, were distributed to 280 employees at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant this week. Two years after plant workers filed a formal complaint, the Department of Labor awarded the Wackenhut Services Inc. fire and security workers $2.5 million in back pay. According to DOL findings, from 1999 to April 2007 Wackenhut violated the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act, which requires federal contractors to provide pay and benefits commensurable to those found prevailing in the locality. While the final settlement was less than the workers claim, this is the largest SCA settlement for Wackenhut workers to date -- about ten times the previous high. This past June the Army stated, "The money is owed by Wackenhut. Wackenhut should have known all along (the SCA wages applied) based on the original (contract) solicitation." But, Wackenhut claims that federal acquisition procurement regulations allow it to bill the Army for this back pay. "It is shocking that a company with such lucrative government contracts like Wackenhut lacks the necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls to pay their employees what is due to them according to federal contracting law," said Valarie Long, SEIU Property Services Division Director. "Now the US Army has to make up for almost a decade of shortchanging the workers."

June 3, 2007 AP
A U.S. senator and a congressman have taken up the cause of contract workers who say they are owed more than $3 million in back pay for fire-protection and security work at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant. The Wackenhut Security Services employees filed a complaint in 2005 claiming their pay and benefits since were below what they are legally required to receive under federal law. There were 85 fire and security workers at the plant at that time and their claim has yet to be resolved. Recently, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., both have sent letters to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao asking the department to resolve the workers' claims.

September 26, 2006 Business Wire
Group 4 Securicor, the London-based global security firm lobbying hard to stay in the race to guard the 2012 Olympics – and which is guarding this week’s Labour Conference – has been rocked by allegations from its own guards at a U.S. ammunitions plant. Security officers have exposed lax practices at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant guarded by Wackenhut Services Inc. (WSI), which is wholly owned by Group 4 Securicor (G4S). The officers allege Wackenhut cheats during security inspections, cuts back on perimeter patrols to save on petrol, and has allowed civilians in rowboats, including teenage girls, to gain access to the plant by water. The Holston plant in Tennessee produces explosives used in various missiles, as well as C4, a military plastic explosive. “I think you can safely say if it goes boom, it comes from here," said an Army spokesperson. The plant is operated for the U.S. Army by foreign-owned BAE Systems, which subcontracts to WSI. Wackenhut, the largest provider of security services to the US government, has a troubled performance record at nuclear weapons and nuclear power sites. Wackenhut’s problems at Holston come as G4S is positioning itself to win security contracts for the 2012 London Olympics, despite its record of problems in Britain and elsewhere. In the UK G4S has been criticized for racism and poor management at a UK prison; for poor services and facilities for detained immigrants; and for slipshod implementation of electronic tagging of criminals released from prisons, sometimes with violent or even deadly consequences. G4S has been found to have violated worker rights in Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, and the US.

International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC
We have received information that over the last few weeks Wackenhut (Group 4 Falck's subsidiary) has dismissed 2 workers for union activities. Both were employed by Wackenhut in Washington DC and worked at the offices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Union-Network, March 19, 2004)

Iraq Private Security
Oct 7, 2012 Southern Reporter
A BORDERS MSP has vowed to support an Innerleithen mother who has accused a private security firm of corporate manslaughter following her son’s death in Iraq, writes Kenny Paterson. Security guard Paul McGuigan, 37, originally from Peebles, was shot dead by fellow G4S worker Danny Fitzsimmons in 2009. It is now maintained that the multi-national company were warned that Fitzsimmons had previous convictions, including an outstanding charge for a firearms offence. And medical records also appear to show the former paratrooper had been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder. However, he was still employed and sent to Baghdad to work as a security contractor – and within hours of arriving had murdered former Marine Mr McGuigan, as well as Australian guard Darren Hoare. Fitzsimmons was found guilty of murdering both men in 2011 in an Iraqi court and is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence. Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, now plans to meet with Mr McGuigan’s mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, to discuss the case. Ms Grahame told TheSouthern: “The additional evidence that has come forward seems to show the warnings set out to G4S about the man they employed who went on to kill Mr McGuigan went unheeded. “I want to find out whether there is an issue of corporate culpability by the employer.” Ms Grahame, a qualified solicitor, said as the offences took place in Iraq, the Crown Office cannot take any action. “However, I hope the relevant authorities will look into this matter,” she added. “There may also be a case for putting pressure on the Iraqi authorities to look into the company’s role. “It appears the company were clearly warned about the mental instability of Mr Fitzsimmons. “Mrs Boyd-Russell will be inundated at the moment, but I wish to speak to her as soon as possible about the case. “This is a traumatic case for everyone, not just Mr McGuigan’s family, but the parents of Mr Fitzsimmons. They are also the victims. “I am sure if the security company had taken the appropriate steps in vetting Mr Fitzsimmons, Mr McGuigan would be alive today.

June 13, 2010 The Telegraph
The trial of Danny Fitzsimons, who is accused of murdering two colleagues in a drunken rampage, will open on August 4 unless further medical reports contradict the assessment. Judge Ali Abbas al-Yousif of the Baghdad central criminal court said yesterday Mr Fitzsimons had been adjudged by doctors to be mentally normal and fit to stand trial. But he also allowed an appeal by Mr Fitzsimons's lawyers for a second opinion, allowing a re-examination by a second panel of doctors. Mr Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, was working for ArmorGroup, a private security division of G4S, the former Group 4 Security, last August when he shot two colleagues and an Iraqi interpreter. The two dead men were Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton, and Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, with whom he had been drinking in a bar in Baghdad's "Green Zone" foreign enclave. He wounded the interpreter as he tried to run away. Mr Fitzimons has claimed self-defence, but his lawyers are also arguing that he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his years of military service in Iraq. He had previously been fired from another security company after it was decided he was too unstable and had been given a suspended sentence for firearms charges in the previous November. Mr Fitzsimons was facing further charges after brandishing a gun at a gang of teenagers outside his flat in Bolton. If he is convicted, he faces the death penalty, though lawyers say it is more likely that he would receive life in prison, and at some time be transferred to serve his sentence in Britain.

October 11, 2009 Weekly Standard
There seems no end to contractor abuse scandals in countries fighting terrorism or undergoing "nation-building." The latest to be reported in the media involves ArmorGroup North America, a private security firm guarding the American embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It began in Baghdad on August 9, when an ArmorGroup employee shot two of his colleagues dead. The victims were Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, and Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton and ArmorGroup executive. The alleged killer, Daniel Fitzsimons, 33, is also British. ArmorGroup North America is owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., a Florida-based company, which is a division, in turn, of a Danish enterprise, G4S, that advertises itself as the world's largest security company. The shootings reportedly occurred late at night, inside the ArmorGroup compound in Baghdad's international area known as the Green Zone. Fitzsimons, according to a Baghdad source who declined to be named, is said to have shot his coworkers because they claimed he was homosexual. After killing them, he shot an Iraqi, Arkhan Mahdi, in the leg, then was arrested by Iraqi police (who now patrol the Green Zone). Fitzsimons faces a possible death sentence. He will be the first foreigner employed in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 intervention to be held to account under Iraqi law. Fitzsimons says he cannot remember the incident. According to the London Sunday Times, Fitzsimons was seen on an earlier occasion injecting Valium and morphine into his leg while already drunk. Another trail of misconduct has led to an uproar in Kabul, where 16 U.S. embassy guards provided by ArmorGroup were fired in early September for alleged drunkenness and for forcing those under their control to engage in deviant and humiliating behavior. U.S. press coverage of the Fitzsimons case has been minimal, and even the contractors' misbehavior in Kabul, although documented by video, has mostly been handled with discretion by the print media. The New York Times mentioned "lurid details" and "lewd conduct" at weekly parties hosted by embassy guards. The Kabul carousing was disclosed when the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a report on September 1. More information emerged in a suit filed September 9 by James Gordon, a New Zealander and former operations director of ArmorGroup North America. Gordon says he is a "whistle-blower," forced out of his job after warning company executives and the U.S. Department of State about the situation at the embassy. According to the New York Times, the POGO report stated that victims of "deviant hazing" included Afghans, whose conservative Muslim culture left them especially repelled by such behavior; those who refused to submit were dismissed from their jobs. The report described a "
'Lord of the Flies' environment." Fitzsimons, the accused Baghdad shooter, has been treated in the British media as a case of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his prior military service in Iraq and the Balkans. But it would be a mistake to blame such dissolution on the stress of war alone. The Green Zone syndrome of alienation from the local population, as chronicled by critics of the Iraq war, is a ubiquitous feature of life among foreign administrators in conflict and post-conflict areas across the globe. Sex trafficking and corruption of locals have become prominent wherever operations are conducted by transnational bureaucracies like the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along with the attendant ranks of nongovernmental organizations and private contractors. I have observed similar patterns in the Balkans for a decade.

January 7, 2007 Chicagoist
On Wednesday it was discovered that an Orland Park firefighter was arrested for felony theft for falsely claiming he was fighting for the military in Iraq. Lawrence Masa was actually working for a private security firm in Iraq and was being paid quite well. During this time Masa made approximately $190,000 as a firefighter and $200,000 as a private security worker. Yesterday, Steven Slawinski, a Lemont Firefighter, was accused of the same crime. Slawinski, a friend of Masa, is charged with Felony theft for falsely claiming he was fighting for the military in Iraq. Slawinski too was working at a private security firm, getting paid $27,000 from the Fire Department while in Iraq. Officials looked into Slawinksi's claims after they realized the relationship between the two and the timing of both men's return to work. Slawinski was making $63/hour as a trainer in Iraq. Since the start of the Iraq war tens of thousands of private security workers have entered the country. With the ease these two had at falsely producing documents stating they were serving in the military, we assume this is much more of a widespread problem. This is just another addition to the slew of problems we face with private military contractors in Iraq. The U.S. Department of State currently recognizes 28 Security Companies doing business in Iraq, it is not known which company Masa and Slawinski were working for, but our look into the companies shows two which specialize in both fire and security. Baghdad Fire and Security is described as providing the following services,"Fire protection and security equipment supply. Install, maintain and commission these systems. Physical security and demining." The second, Group 4 Falck A/S, provides, "Cashing sorting. Ambulance services (vehicles and professional staff). Firefighting services (vehicles, products and professional staff). Prisons and prison management. Global solutions. Facility management and training services." The State Department's disclaimer regarding these companies is, "The U.S. government assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms whose names appear on the list." The other problems we mentioned above, include abuse at Abu Ghraib (following these allegations the companies involved were awarded additional Pentagon contracts) and a video of firms shooting at Iraqi citizens. Needless to say, previously these firms were acting without any regard for, and any repercussions from, the law. With five words slipped into the most recent Pentagon Budget, however, this should change. Previously, if Congress had not declared war the Military had no jurisdiction over security contractors. Essentially leaving Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan as playgrounds for the firms. We don't discredit the risk the workers of these firms take, but it only makes sense they have some sort of moral authority guiding them. The amendment included in the budget bill simply took the word "war" and replaced it with "declared war or a contingency operation." The Defense Tech article suggests that Journalists embedded in contingency operation zones could also be subject to the change, but this will most likely not remain true as embedded journalists are unarmed and not considered contractors.

Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawai'i
June 17, 2008 Maui News
A federal grand jury in Honolulu has indicted Robert “Butchie” Tam Ho, a former Wackenhut supervisor, for tampering with a witness to an arrest and alleged assault by Tam Ho at Kahului Airport in 2005. Tam Ho has pleaded not guilty to the two felony counts, which carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison. He could not be reached for comment. The former assistant police chief already was being sued in a civil action in 2nd Circuit Court over the same events. Phil Lo-wenthal — the Maui lawyer who, with his lawyer son, Ben, is representing the plaintiffs — said Monday, “We didn’t even know about the tampering” until the indictment was handed up earlier this month. However, he said, the grand jury account tracked closely with the narrative given by his clients: Greg Kahlstorf, president of Pacific Wings; Kahlstorf’s business partner, Frank Ford; William Goshorn, then a pilot for the airline; and Kahealani Reinhardt, then also an airline employee. The name of the witness is given in the indictment as “J.W.,” a Wackenhut employee. On Oct. 20, 2005, Kahlstorf had demanded a meeting with Airports Division and Wackenhut managers after one of his pilots was cited and detained by Wackenhut for being in a restricted operating area — an offense Kahlstorf denied. The airline and the guard company had had uneasy relations since at least February 2004, when Wackenhut guards apparently pressured Pacific Wings to board a passenger who had been turned back by airline security because she did not have acceptable identification. The grand jury reported that Tam Ho left the meeting after a shouting exchange with Kahlstorf. When he returned with two other Wackenhut employees, they made a “citizen’s arrest” and tried to handcuff Kahlstorf for harassment. Kahlstorf did not cooperate, and he and the two other guards fell to the floor. Tam Ho ordered the other Pacific Wings employees out. They left, but one, identified as W.G. (Goshorn, who related his story to reporters in 2005), came back to witness what was happening to his boss. Tam Ho “adopted an aggressive fighting stance and struck W.G. about the head and shoulders several times with his fists,” according to the grand jury report. Goshorn did not fight back, and others (not identified) pulled Tam Ho off Goshorn. Maui police arrived, and Tam Ho, a former assistant police chief, demanded that they arrest Goshorn. After an investigation that included an interview with J.W., they did. Meanwhile, the private guards moved Kahlstorf and Goshorn to the Wackenhut offices, which provides the basis for the civil suit’s allegations of kidnapping. According to the grand jury, J.W. also went to the offices, where Tam Ho told her “she should simply say she was heading home for the day . . . and that she didn’t see what happened.” Although that was not so, that is what J.W. told police. The second count refers to the following day, when, the grand jury said, Tam Ho dictated a written statement to J.W., who entered it into a Wackenhut computer. The jurors said Tam Ho falsely had her write that Goshorn had stopped the door and did not comply with Tam Ho’s request; and that J.W. could not see what was happening but had “observed Tam Ho and him in a scuffle.” The Airports Division investigated the incident and concluded that there was “no evidence that the actions taken by its airport security contractor . . . were inappropriate.” Tam Ho tried to get county prosecutors to charge Kahlstorf and Goshorn with resisting arrest or assault, but the prosecutors declined. They also dropped the initial complaint against the pilot for entering a restricted area. The next month, a Wackenhut guard confronted a Pacific Wings pilot about a parking spot and in a lengthy, videotaped incident spat on and threatened the pilot. That guard was barred from state facilities, and Wackenhut was ordered to train its employees about conduct. The feud did not end there. In another confrontation, Pacific Wings called Maui police, who declined to intervene in what they determined was a civil matter. “This is what the feds are supposed to do” when local police and prosecutors are involved so closely in a dispute, Lowenthal said of the tampering indictment. The civil suit alleges that Tam Ho and other Wackenhut employees “assaulted, battered, kidnapped, unlawfully restrained and intentionally inflicted emotional distress” on the four Pacific Wings people. In April, Tam Ho and Wackenhut separately denied those claims and asserted that the airline group contributed to the incident themselves. Wackenhut could not be reached for comment, but the company has demanded a jury trial. Lowenthal later also asked for a jury trial, but he said Monday his suit will have to hold until the criminal trial is settled, because of the Fifth Amendment implications if Tam Ho were to be deposed for his clients. Tam Ho is free on $10,000 unsecured bail.

June 13, 2008 KITV
The former head of security for Wackenhut at Kahului Airport pleaded not guilty to federal charges on Friday. Authorities charged Robert Tam Ho with two counts of witness tampering. Tam Ho told a subordinate to lie and file a false report about an altercation between Tam Ho and an executive of Pacific Wings, prosecutors said. Tam Ho joined Wackenhut after leaving the Maui Police Department, where he was assistant chief. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

June 8, 2008 Star Bulletin
A former Wackenhut of Hawaii security officer is facing federal charges in connection with an altercation between Wackenhut employees and Pacific Wings airline employees at Kahului Airport in 2005. A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Robert Tam Ho with two counts of witness tampering. Tam Ho instructed a subordinate Wackenhut employee to tell Maui police that she did not see Tam Ho assault Pacific Wings security coordinator William Goshorn in an airport conference room on Oct. 20, 2005, when in fact she did, according to the indictment. Tam Ho also directed the worker to write a false statement about the assault, the indictment says. Maui police arrested Goshorn on third-degree assault charges and Pacific Wings President James Greg Kahlstorf for alleged harassment and resisting arrest based on statements from Tam Ho and other Wackenhut employees. Less than a month later, Maui police arrested Wackenhut security officer Eric Brown for allegedly threatening another Pacific Wings employee at Kahului Airport. Wackenhut suspended Brown, and the state Department of Transportation banned him from working on any state property or facility.

November 24, 2005 The Maui News
The Maui County prosecutors office is continuing an investigation into allegations of assault, harassment and violations of airport security rules by personnel with Pacific Wings, a county official said Wednesday. Prosecutors have not "dropped" the case, which involves conflicting claims by the Pacific Wings staff and airport security guards with Wackenhut Corp. "On the contrary, the prosecutor is still in the process of gathering all the reports," the county statement said. "The prosecutor intends to fully investigate both sides of the controversy, to talk to various state personnel who may have knowledge of the case or some particulars thereof."

November 15, 2005 KGMB 9
A Wackenhut security guard was arrested Sunday after threatening to kill a pilot at the Kahului Airport. Pacific Wings pilot Gabriel Kimbrell caught the incident on videotape. "Don't take picture of me!", yelled guard Eric Brown as he lunged toward Kimbrell, and then spit at the camera. "I'm going to kill this (expletive). I don't care," said Brown. "Give me your (expletive) gun. I'm going to shoot this (expletive) in the head." Maui police arrested Brown for second degree terroristic threatening. "The only thing I could think of was to keep filming," said Kimbrell. "I was pretty traumatized." Because of an ongoing beef with the guards, Kimbrell had been ordered by his company's lawyer to videotape any encounters. Sunday's incident stemmed from a parking ticket Kimbrell got when he left his silver truck in this loading-zone at the Kahului airport. KGMB called Wackenhut officials five times today. They did not return our calls. But the Department of Transportation says Kimbrell had been ticketed in that same spot last month. And this time, according to the DOT, as the guard was about to write the ticket, Kimbrell could have just moved his truck but he went to get his video camera instead. "We believe that at this point Wackenhut has followed proper security procedures and we think they've done the job in checking on any security violations," said Scott Ishikawa, spokesperson for the DOT. While the state's Airports Division investigates the case, the Maui Police Department has about 45-minutes of this tape. The Pacific Wings airline only gave the media less than three minutes worth. The airline's president says the rest of it shows a pattern of harassment. The airline's president refers specifically to a meeting last month in which he says security guards attacked him and handcuffed him. In the end, the airline's president was charged with harassment and resisting arrest. Complaints were filed, investigations launched, and there's still no sign of a resolution.

Kennedy Space Center
July 12, 2012 CNN
Drastic cuts to NASA's budget are threatening pay and benefits for Kennedy Space Center's fire and rescue personnel, workers said Thursday, sparking a union protest outside the space center. "We are here today to send a very poignant message to both the company G4S and NASA to keep their hands off what the fireman have already earned," said Kevin Smith, president of Transport Workers Union Local 525. The union represents workers for G4S Government Solutions, formerly Wackenhut. It took over NASA's fire and rescue contract at Kennedy Space Center eight months ago. The workers are negotiating a new contract, which is to begin in December. During the first year of its contract, G4S agreed that salaries and benefits would remain unchanged. But now, fire and rescue workers say the company wants to cut pay by 20% and eliminate the workers' pension plan. NASA spokesman Mike Curie told CNN, "no new employees will be covered under the previous pension plan," going forward. "G4S is attempting to negotiate a 401k plan with the union."

Las Vegas Wal-Mart, Las Vegas, Nevada
February 16, 2011 The Street
After fiery closing arguments in the Smith v. Walmart trial, a jury found Wackenhut, but not Wal-Mart(WMT), liable for inadequate security in a store parking lot where a customer was murdered. The jury awarded over $1M in damages. Michael Born was murdered in a Wal-Mart parking lot while replacing his car's headlight. The plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart knew the store was located in a high-crime area, and that police were repeatedly called to the site. However, neither Wal-Mart nor its hired security service, Wackenhut, took adequate measures to protect Wal-Mart customers. Plaintiff attorney Mont Tanner reminded the jury that there had been more than a hundred similar incidents of serious crimes at the store, such as battery and robbery, most within the two years prior to the murder. However, said Tanner, there was no annual security assessment at this "crime magnet" by either Wal-Mart or Wackenhut, and the Wackenhut patrol officer was not trained to identify or deal with suspicious persons. Wal-Mart also allegedly failed to comply with its own security guidelines.

Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
June 26, 2007 PR Newswire
The City of Los Angeles is launching an investigation into security contractor Wackenhut Corporation/G4S' compliance with the city's Responsible Contractor Policy, a probe that could result in debarment from city contracts for five years. Prior to the investigation, Wackenhut had more than US$5 million annually in contracts with the City of Los Angeles to guard at least two dozen buildings and public places including Los Angeles City Hall East; Mount Lee -- the home of the famous Hollywood sign; the Ed Davis Training Facility, which is the newest and most elaborate LAPD training facility; other parks, performing arts centers, and the Watts and Van Nuys city halls. In addition to launching the investigation, Los Angeles did not select Wackenhut for future city work worth up to an estimated US$20 million over three years. Wackenhut Corporation formerly had the largest piece of this city account. They were first selected in 2004 for a three-year contract along with four other contractors for the Los Angeles security work. In its Notice of Investigation, the Los Angeles City Bureau of Contract Administration (BCA) determined, "after researching [a] complaint (regarding [Wackenhut's] contractor responsibility status) that the issues raised are valid." Accordingly, Wackenhut "[has] been placed under investigation for violations of [the Contractor Responsibility Ordinance] of Los Angeles." Under the Responsible Contractor Program (RCP), the City determines whether the prospective contractor is one that has the necessary quality, fitness and capacity to perform the work set forth in the contract. Irresponsible contractors with poor performance of other contracts; failure to comply with relevant laws and regulations; and shoddy record of business integrity are not eligible for city contracts for up to five years according to the Los Angeles Administrative Code Section 10.40.2(a), Ordinance No. #17367. In March 2007, U.S. Congresswoman Diane Watson co-chaired a public hearing where she heard current and former Wackenhut employees testify to the company's long record of workplace discrimination, labor violations, and management incompetence. In response to charges of racial discrimination by Wackenhut within the Department of Energy's elite anti-terrorist Protective Force, Congresswoman Watson declared, "I'm appalled that we have contractors here with Federal government contracts being paid by taxpayers' dollars ..... practicing the behavior of the 1950's and the 1960's." California Assembly member Mervyn Dymally (D-52) and California Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-26) also co-chaired the Commission on Wackenhut and Security Standards that included Los Angeles City Council member Wendy Greuel and Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor, California State University, Long Beach and National Chairman of the Organization US. The Los Angeles Commission on Wackenhut and Security Standards, a group of prominent religious, community leaders and trade unionists, conducted the hearing. In addition to the hearing, the group sent a letter to Los Angeles' head of the Bureau of Contract Administration, John L. Reamer, expressing their concerns about the company's "well documented record of racism, discrimination and poor security that appears to violate the City of Los Angeles' Responsible Contractor Policy." The March 28, 2007 letter was signed by Rev. Eric P. Lee, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles and Rev. Dr. Lewis E. Logan II, senior Pastor of the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles BCA received evidence that Wackenhut Corporation's answers on the contractor responsibility questionnaire in January 2007 were less than truthful. With respect to early termination of contracts within the past five years, Wackenhut failed to mention losing contracts at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant (August 2006), Indian Point #2 Nuclear Power Plant (2003), and Utah Transit Authority (2002). In addition, Wackenhut's contract to guard Dept. of Homeland Security Headquarters and Army Bases was not renewed. As for recent employment litigation brought by workers, Wackenhut overlooked a number of race discrimination and civil rights cases, including an US$80,000 settlement in a sexual harassment case. Wackenhut also failed to mention governmental investigations for violating laws and rules including investigation leading to the loss of the Dayton Transit contract in Ohio. Problems and failures there included missing incident reports, sleeping on the job, concerns about officers' qualifications, lack of supervision, and unprofessional conduct. As for current investigations of false claim(s) and material misrepresentation(s), Wackenhut neglected to tell the City of Los Angeles about a fraud suit for services allegedly not performed on the Miami-Dade County Transit contract and the County's Juvenile Assessment Center. An ongoing investigation by the NBC affiliate in Miami on parts of a preliminary Miami-Dade county audit revealed that "Wackenhut owes taxpayers up to US$12.1 million for what it calls 'questioned hours' and 'questioned billings'" in addition to various other contract violations. The company also omitted an ongoing investigation by the Department of Energy's Inspector General of falsification of training records. After the hearing, the coalition presented additional materials to the city in the period of the last several months. While Wackenhut had been the incumbent choice for more years of work, the city recently decided not to choose the company for new work. This is in addition to beginning the investigative probe toward potential debarment. Faith Culbreath, president of SEIU Local 2006, which represents security officers at other companies in the Los Angeles area said, "Security workers want to be accountable to the community they serve. That means working for companies that do the right thing by their workers and by the citizens of Los Angeles. Wackenhut abused the public trust and the trust and safety of its workforce."

Malawi
February 1, 2008 Daily Times
SOME of Standard Bank services have been negatively affected due to the on going industrial action by Group 4 Securicor (G4S), the bank has announced. In a statement published Thursday the bank says it has taken some measures to find alternative means for the affected areas. “However, we have been assured by Group 4 Securicor management that normal services will resume soon,” reads part of the statement. The strike started Wednesday with guards demanding a 30 percent annual salary increment which management refused saying they could only manage 12 percent. The court however, stopped the strike after management got an injunction Tuesday evening and employees were told to go back to work on Wednesday morning as the workers’ union also went to court to seek an injunction which the court refused to grant them. According to The Daily Times investigations G4S charges it clients K18, 834.45 for a guard on a 12 hour shift. Those with an Malawi School Certificate of Education (equivalent of O levels ), who are also known as commissioners, are at K29,412.83 while those putting on Securicor Uniform are at K23,477.52. The investigations also revealed that the rates customers pay for a Dog and Handler is K40, 632.32 and a supervisor is at K23, 477.75 and the patrol and alarm guards are at K10, 161.87. However despite netting so much money for the company the starting salary for a guard is K3200 per month (K8 per hour) and those with more experience get about K4000(K11 per hour).There is no guard who gets more than K20, 000. Government has announced with effect from January this year a minimum wage of about K129 per day for those in town up from K87 and K95 in rural areas from K66. G4S is an international company that has branches all over the world. In the United Kingdom their guards do not get less than 5.68 pounds per hour (about K1,700) or K40,000 per 24 hour shift.

September 4, 2007 The Daily Times
Ndirande Police have arrested seven people in connection with the theft of assorted goods valued at over K500,000 on July 24 from Blantyre’s Superior Hotel. Blantyre Police spokesperson Elizabeth Divala Monday said four of the seven were security guards employed by Group 4 Securicor. The seven are Clifford Chatha, 26, Benjamin Chipwete, 28, Dex Hamoni, 24, Mosses Wyson, 27, Lawrence Ludechi, 19, Henry Nkamero, 26, and Mphatso Sigamba, 26. “The seven were arrested on August 25 after some members of the public tipped the police of the suspects’ whereabouts. “Our officers in Ndirande, acting on the tip raided the suspects’ hideout. The seven appeared before Blantyre Magistrate last Thursday and were remanded at Chichiri Maximum Prison waiting for trial”. Divala explained that after stealing the goods the seven kept the entire loot consisting of mattresses, Screens, blankets and telephone receivers at a safe house in Ndirande. Divala said police recovered the stolen materials.

Mangaung Maximum Security Prison, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Feb 14, 2015 theguardian.com
A group of South African prisoners are suing G4S over abuse they allege they suffered in a Bloemfontein prison run by the British security company. British law firm Leigh Day, which is representing the 43 prisoners, sent an urgent letter to the company’s UK headquarters in Crawley on Thursday. The inmates claim they were given electric shocks, forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and held in isolation cells for up to three years. The firm is also acting for the mother of an inmate who died in custody. “The instructions we have received from our clients attest to a culture of abuse and fear that appears to have been endemic in Mangaung Correctional Centre for years,” the letter to G4S reads. “Many allegations involve inmates being taken to solitary cells where there are no cameras, stripped naked and forced on to a metal bed with water thrown on them before being repeatedly shocked with electric shields, including to the head and genitals.” If the claim is successful, it will be a landmark case for prisoners held by the biggest security provider in the world, with revenues worth £7.4bn. G4S won a 25-year R15bn (about £820m) contract from the South African government to construct, run and manage the prison in 2000. Leigh Day has asked G4S to respond to the claim within three months and it is expected to go to the high court in London later this year. In October 2013, the Wits Justice Project exposed allegations that so-called emergency security team warders routinely assaulted inmates. Prisoners, warders and other sources have claimed that the EST, also known as the Ninjas, would kick and punch the inmates and shock them with electric shields, after dousing them with water. Leaked video footage shot inside the prison apparently showed an inmate with no record of mental illness being forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs. Twelve of Leigh Day’s clients claim they were forcibly injected. This violence at Mangaung prison was exacerbated by the dismissal of about 330 warders in September 2013 after a lengthy strike. When the situation in the jail descended into chaos, the government’s department of correctional services took control of the prison. In August last year, G4S was handed back control of the prison. A government investigation into the alleged abuse has been finalised but not yet released. Leigh Day attorney Tessa Gregory said: “This is not the first time that G4S and its subsidiaries, operating across the globe, have faced accusations of human rights abuses. It is important that companies, even those as large as G4S, understand that there will be consequences if they do not respect the human rights of those they are paid to provide security to.” G4S has denied the allegations. A spokesman said: “G4S insists on the highest standards of care and we do not tolerate the mistreatment of prisoners. When these allegations arose in 2013 the department for correctional services investigated the claims and returned the operation of the facility to us on 1 August 2014, having not presented any evidence to substantiate the accusations.”


Nov 8, 2013 allafrica.com

The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services has made its views clear on the establishment of more private prisons in the country. Speaking during a Committee Meeting, the Committee Chairperson, Mr Vincent Smith, said: "You can leave here knowing that the sentiment of the Portfolio Committee is that we are not in favour (of such outsourcing)." The meeting received a briefing on the state of correctional services in the country from the Minister of Correctional Service, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, who Mr Ndebele told the Committee that the Department now had doubts about the effectiveness of private contractors running prisons. He was referring to allegations of torture and brutality made by employees at Mangaung prison, in the Free State. Mangaung, and Kutama Sinthumule prison, in Limpopo, are the only privately operated prisons in the country. Employees allege that prisoners were forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and subjected to electroshock therapy. The Department of Correctional Services took control of Mangaung early last month after a hostage-taking incident and labour unrest. The multi-party Portfolio Committee made it clear that outsourcing should be reconsidered. Chief Deputy Commissioner of incarceration and corrections Mr James Smalberger said: "At the institution, we have almost 3 000 offenders and you have one person there that is assigned to do certain things." Mr Ndebele also said the two privately-run prisons were very expensive and were expected to cost the state about R20bn over the 25 years of the contract. Mr Smith said over the 25 years of the contract - which ends in 2025 - R800m would be spent on the two prisons each year, meaning that the total bill would be close to R20bn. "We (South Africa) could have built 18 prisons for that amount of money. Is there a need to look again at this issue?" Mr Smith asked. Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Ms Nontsikelelo Jolingana, said the public-private partnerships had not been carefully thought through and the Cabinet had decided not to proceed with four other private prisons. Mr Ndebele added that the private prisons were an experiment that did not work. In the UK, where private prisons were pioneered, he said "They are coming to a similar conclusion that they do not work very well." Committee Member Mr James Selfe said a controller from the Department was supposed to monitor the situation in private prisons. "What was the controller doing at Mangaung?" he asked. Ms Jolingana replied that allegations against the controller were part of the broader investigation into the private prison at Mangaung.


Nov 5, 2013 ewn.co.za

CAPE TOWN – The decision to allow private security companies to run prisons is an experiment which has not worked very well, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Tuesday. The department took control of the Mangaung Correctional Centre  in the Free State in October from private security company G4S. The facility was hit by controversy following a hostage crisis there. Reports also emerged that inmates were being forcibly injected with anti-psychotic medication and warders were using electroshock techniques to control prisoners. Ndebele says only two prisons in the country were run by private companies. Mangaung was one of them. “I think the United Kingdom is also coming to the same conclusion as us - it doesn’t work very well. We were supposed to have six prisons being run by private companies, but we only had two. Cabinet took a decision that we wouldn’t go beyond the two that we had.” In 2000, government entered into a private-public partnership to maintain and manage the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

 

27 October 2013 bbc.co.uk

South Africa G4S prison staff accused of abuse Leaked video footage shows a prisoner resisting an injection. Staff at one of South Africa's most dangerous prisons, run by British firm G4S, have been accused of "shocking" abuses and of losing control. The South African government has temporarily taken over the running of Mangaung prison from G4S and launched an official investigation. It comes after inmates claimed they had been subjected to electric shocks and forced injections.  G4S says it has seen no evidence of abuse by its employees. The BBC has obtained leaked footage filmed inside the high security prison, in which one can hear the click of electrified shields, and shrieking. It also shows a prisoner resisting a medication. Researchers at the Wits Justice Project at Wits University in Johannesburg say they have collected accounts of electric shocks and beatings from almost 30 prisoners during a year-long investigation. Africa correspondent Andrew Harding: "S African authorities say the situation at the maximum security Mangaung Prison is shocking and out of control" "Some said they would pass out when the shocks became too intense," said Ruth Hopkins, a journalist with the Wits Justice Project. She said inmates also complained about suffering broken limbs and other serious injuries. One former prisoner told the BBC electric shocks were used as "torture", while a sacked security guard said water was thrown over inmates to increase the impact of the charge. "If anything specific is brought to us that is a specific case you have my commitment... that we'll investigate fully and completely” Andy Baker G4S for Africa A lawyer for some of the prisoners has condemned a culture of impunity amongst prison staff, according to the BBC's Africa correspondent Andrew Harding. G4S has blamed an upsurge of violence at the prison on a labour dispute, our correspondent adds. More than 300 guards there were sacked this month after going on an unofficial strike. Nontsikelelo Jolingana, the acting national commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, told the BBC her department had launched a formal investigation into the claims of abuse. The South African prison authorities announced last month they were temporarily taking over the running of the prison near Bloemfontein, in the central Free State province, after the private security contractor "lost effective control of the facility". Andy Baker, regional president of G4S for Africa, said administering and prescribing injections was not the domain of G4S staff, but of a separate medical staff. When asked about allegations of electric shocking and beatings, he told the BBC there had "never been an abuse of this type or nature" to his knowledge. But he said: "If anything specific is brought to us that is a specific case you have my commitment and the rest of our organisation's commitment that we'll investigate fully and completely."

 

25 Oct 2013 Mail & Guardian

Forced anti-psychotics and shock therapy are par for the course at the correctional facility. The Mangaung prison in the Free State, run by the beleaguered multinational private security company G4S, is allegedly forcibly injecting inmates with antipsychotic medication and using electroshocks to subdue and control prisoners. This is according to at least 35 sources – prisoners as well as security guards, prison and health officials – and based on medical records seen by reliable sources, legal documents and video footage shot inside the prison. A 12-month-long investigation into the prison has uncovered video footage shot inside the prison hospital that shows prisoners being given medication against their will, as well as the use of electroshocks and assaults on prisoners. •Mangaung prison: Drugs, shock and torture by 'Ninjas'  The medication causes memory loss, muscle rigidity and other serious, potentially life-threatening side effects, and by law is only meant to be used under strictly controlled circumstances. But these drugs have been used at the prison up to five times a week, sometimes on inmates who show no sign of being psychotic. Letters from prisoners tipped off the Wits Justice Project about conditions at Mangaung prison, sparking a year-long investigation that has involved talking to warders, inmates, department of correctional services officials and others at the prison. The department assumed command of the prison on October 9, after it established that the management had lost "effective control over the prison" following a lengthy spate of stabbings, riots, strikes and a hostage-taking. The department was obliged to step in after G4S dismissed 330 warders and replaced them with uncertified staff, which is unlawful. 'I feel like a zombie' Inmate Sello Mogale looks like a big, burly baby, curled up in the foetal position on a bench in the visiting section of Mangaung prison earlier this month. A warder shakes his arm and he opens his eyes. He slowly gets up and walks to the interview room with unsteady steps. Mogale is followed by inmates Willem Vis, Joseph Maruping, David Kambhule and Aubrey Buthelezi. The men, dressed in the light-blue prison uniform, crowd into the small interview room. Vis says: "It feels like my jaw is falling off. I feel dizzy, my muscles are spastic and my memory has gone." The other inmates nod as Vis relates the side effects of the anti-psychotic medicine called Clopixol Depot. He says that the prison started injecting him halfway through 2012 when he complained of hearing voices in his head and a general feeling of depression. Scenes from video footage shot inside Mangaung prison. (Supplied) When he refused the medication, the prison's emergency security team – known in the jail as the "Ninjas" or the "Zulus" – was called. They are a 16-man team who are called when the warders cannot handle the situation. Vis alleges that six of them, armed with electroshock shields and Tasers, held him down on the bed, while a nurse injected the antipsychotic drugs into his buttocks. Mogale, who was sentenced to life for rape in 2008, arrived at the maximum security prison in 2012. He says that the forced monthly injections of Clopixol Depot started soon after his arrival, when he complained of depression and suicidal thoughts. "I sleep all the time, I cannot stay awake. My mouth is dry and my hands are jumpy. I feel like a zombie or a robot." Medicated: A staff member at the hospital, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing employment, told the Wits Justice Project that Mogale and Vis are given Clopixol Depot once a month. According to the hospital worker, inmates who are considered aggressive, difficult or suffering from mental problems are also given Modecate and Risperdal, antipsychotic medication with known side effects. Fourteen members of the emergency security team, who spoke to the Wits Justice Project on condition of anonymity, said they helped restrain inmates who were injected involuntarily, up to five times a week. They also said that the injections are authorised through the command structures – which all lead to the head of the prison, Johan Theron. A video shot on July 24 by the emergency security team, which is legally required to film its actions, reveals how Bheki Dlamini, who is serving a 21-year sentence for armed robbery, is forcefully injected. The team leader of the emergency security team announces that Dlamini is disturbing the peace and good order of the prison. "We are moving him to healthcare in order to get his medication." Although Dlamini understands and co-operates with all their instructions, the team leader claims: "You can see the state of mind of the inmate. It is very risky." Life-threatening: In the hospital a warder says that the injection has been approved. When they tell Dlamini he will be injected, he protests loudly. "I am not a donkey, I am not an animal." He yells: "No, no, no" while the security team grabs him, twist his arms behind his back and drag him to a room where they wrestle him to a bed and a nurse is called. According to the hospital worker, who has seen Dlamini's medical records, he was given an antipsychotic drug called Etomine, which has a potentially life-threatening side effect known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome; it causes muscle rigidity and fever and in extreme cases it can lead to strokes and coma. Dlamini is not psychotic or schizophrenic. Attorney Egon Oswald spoke to Dlamini on October18. "Dlamini had complained to a warder that he did not like the vienna sausages they served him; he demanded that the warder should bring him 'real meat'," said Oswald. "They got into an argument and the warder told him the emergency security team would deal with him." The video stops as the "Ninjas" pin Dlamini to the bed and they call out to a nurse. According to Dlamini the nurse initially refused to administer the drugs, as she claimed it was unlawful to inject someone without a prescription. But the "Ninjas" insisted she inject the inmate, as it had been approved. Dlamini allegedly suffered from the side effects of the drugs. "He complained about fidgeting hands, dryness of the mouth, neck spasms and a feeling of lethargy," said Oswald. Involuntary medication: According to the Mental Health Care Act, forced medication should leave a lengthy paper trail. It is only allowed if a guardian, spouse or family member has given permission or, if they are unavailable, a healthcare worker. Also, two healthcare practitioners must assess the mental health of the inmate. They have to report to the head of the health institution, who can then decide to treat the patient involuntarily based on the clinicians' report and the approval of family members or guardians. Involuntary medication is only permissible if the patient is a danger to himself or others and if he is incapable of making an informed decision. Professor Jan van Rensburg, associate professor at the department of psychiatry at the University of the Witwatersrand, said: "It is illegal to medicate patients with these drugs if they are not experiencing a psychosis. The side effects are very severe. If the prison is medicating the inmates with these drugs just because they are aggressive or as a measure of crowd control, then there is a huge problem." Inmate James Mothulwe, who is serving a 35-year sentence at Mangaung prison for rape and murder, is debilitated by the side effects of the drugs. They forcefully injected him for five years, he says. Mangaung Correctional Centre outside Bloemfontein is at the centre of a storm of allegations of torture and forced medicating. (Supplied) In 2004, Mothulwe experienced extreme side effects: he was no longer able to straighten his neck, he lost all feeling in his left hand, he could no longer walk normally and he had fits that caused him to pass out. Despite his prolonged protests, he claims the prison kept ordering the injections. In 2007, Mothulwe needed a neck brace because his neck is in spastic paralysis. He was still wearing it in April, when the Wits Justice Project interviewed him. His body makes involuntary spastic movements; there is excess saliva dribbling from his lips. Mothulwe says he has lost feeling in the left side of his body. Unexplained deaths: Modecate, Risperdal and Clopixol Depot are known to have severe side effects; in extreme cases they can cause strokes and cardiac arrest. Sudden unexpected and unexplained deaths as well as seizures and brain damage are listed as side effects of Modecate. In 2012, pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson was fined more than $1.1-billion for downplaying and hiding risks associated with the potentially life-threatening side effects of Risperdal, which include increased risk of strokes, death in elderly patients, seizures, weight gain and diabetes. Clopixol Depot is equally dangerous, with side effects ranging from strokes to involuntary movements of face and tongue, muscle stiffness, drowsiness and sleepiness. When these side effects occur, the medication should be stopped or decreased. In 2009, the prison is alleged to have gone a step further and injected a warder. Former G4S employee Pule Moholo was taken hostage in 2009 by 11 inmates. After a 16-hour ordeal, Moholo and his colleagues were freed and then whisked off to the prison hospital. Moholo said: "I was told not to talk to anyone, especially the media. A nurse injected me in the buttocks. I hardly remember anything after that moment. I had to be taken out of the hospital in a wheelchair. Two days went by in a blurry haze. I lost my appetite and felt very stiff and disconnected, like a zombie." When Moholo finally came to, he said, G4S had started a disciplinary procedure to dismiss him. 

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Forced medicating is 'illegal' and unacceptable: Nontsikelelo Jolingana, the ­acting commissioner of the department of correctional ­services, said the department is carrying out an investigation into the problems at the Mangaung prison. The forced medicating of inmates is, she said, "illegal and unacceptable". "We are also investigating the [prison] controller to see why these very serious and shocking allegations were not reported to us," said Jolingana. She said the official appointed to oversee and report on the prison's compliance with the law is supposed to report any legal infringement.  The department has been aware of some of the allegations as the 2010 confidential department report was seen by then- minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Jolingana said she would have to try to find this information. Commenting on G4S, she said: "I can't predict any scenario, but this is very serious."

The department will compile a preliminary report by the end of October.

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Prison operator claims everything is done by the book: "G4S denies any assaults or use of torture, either by means of electroshocking or medical substances, on inmates. It also has a zero tolerance policy against the use of undue or excessive force. "The clinical management and diagnosis of inmate patients are managed by a reputable third-party medical facility, which treats a patient's medical information as confidential. G4S therefore has no access to the specific medical records of inmate Bheki Dlamini. The medical practitioners are bound by ethical codes and the law. "G4S and its personnel are not involved in the decision to apply, nor do we apply medication. We have not witnessed the illegal application of medication and do not condone it. "Emergency support team operations are meticulously recorded and subject to review by DCS [the department of correctional services]. "The solitary confinement room, referred to as the dark room, was built as part of the concession contract and was never used as a torture room. Since 2002, it has been used as a storeroom. "Inmates have unrestricted and confidential access to the DCS controller, employees from the office of the inspecting judge, the director, healthcare personnel and psychologists, with whom they can log complaints and raise concerns. "If any laws were broken, DCS would have strongly acted against G4S. We are taking legal advice to address the serious defamatory allegations made against G4S."

October 14, 2010 Times Live
The Correctional Services Department is reviewing its partnership with the companies running two of the country's private prisons at a cost of R700-million a year. This was revealed yesterday in Parliament by the department's director-general, Tom Moyane. MPs yesterday lashed out at the department for paying two companies a combined R700-million a year to run jails for it - though it had spent the same amount to build a new prison in Kimberley, in Northern Cape. The contracts between the department and the owners of the private prisons are in force for the next 25 years. "Twenty-five years of paying R700-million [a year]? I'm sure I can buy facilities with that amount of money if I save the money," said Vincent Smith, chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on prisons, and an ANC MP . In response, Moyane admitted that the public-private partnerships were not meeting the department's expectations. "The current public-private partnerships, one in Mangaung and one in Limpopo, do not address, fundamentally, the needs of the organisation," he said. He told the committee that Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has started a policy review of the partnerships with the aim of giving the department full control of the private jails. The department is not involved in their management.

January 20, 2010 Sowetan
AUTHORITIES at the Mangaung Private Prison outside Bloemfontein have sent samples of food for forensic testing after five prisoners landed in hospital with food poisoning. The prisoners who were admitted to the local hospital have since being discharged. The incident happened last week when four prisoners reported ill after lunch, according to Mangaung Correctional Centre deputy controller MC Motsapi. Motsapi said 281 inmates were treated for runny stomachs. “Five out of 281 prisoners were admitted to hospital but their condition was stable. No new cases have so far been reported,” Motsapi said. The prison is one of three private prisons in the country. The contract to run Mangaung Private Prison was granted to GS4 Care and Justice Service. GS4 spokesperson Leana Goosen confirmed the incident but said things had returned to normal. She said the food consignment of the day was being tested.

September 25, 2009 IOL
Nine prisoners at the Mangaung maximum security prison in Bloemfontein damaged furniture and a building on Friday for unknown reasons, police said. Inspector Harry Nagel said the group of men locked themselves in a "school building" on the grounds and started to break and damage chairs, tables, computers and the building's bulletproof windows. "The building also sustained water and smoke damage." Nagel said the prisoners were armed with picks, spades, garden forks and screwdrivers. Police were called in and they negotiated with the men to come out. "As the men started to surrender they were handed to the private prison authorities," said Nagel. Police said one of the prisoners was apparently slightly injured. Nagel said the reason for the incident was not immediately known. It started around 1pm and lasted for three hours.

August 18, 2003
South Africa's private prisons and maximum security prisons have turned out to be an enormous waste of money, energy and time.  These are some of the findings made by University of the Western Cape Professor Julia Sloth-Nielsen, whose overview of policy developments in the Department of Correctional Services was published recently as part of the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative's series of research papers.  Sloth-Nielsen has called for an investigation similar to that into the arms deal regarding the tender process for existing private prisons.  "The reason for prison privatisation was mainly cost based," she said.  Privatisation, however, was costing the Department of Correctional Services much more than it had bargained for.  In 2001/2002 it was projected that by 2004/2005 the existing projects (those deemed viable by a prisons task team) would cost the department R538-million - up from projections of R143-million in 2001/2002.  "The department agreed that the decision had been unwise, and that Treasury had at the time advised against the transaction.  "The decision to undertake the private prisons projects was, however, a political one, according to the departmental spokesperson."  The official position currently appeared to be that no more private prisons would be contemplated because of the inordinate and unforeseen expense.  Sloth-Nielsen said the concept of C-Max prisons was introduced at a time when the Department of Correctional Services was characterised by the influence of American ideas in the penal sphere.  The intention was originally to create more of these facilities, she said, but this was put on the backburner during 2001 because it had turned out to be "a cost-intensive exercise".  According to Sloth-Nielsen, the new prison for "bad eggs", Supermax near Kokstad, was an even more lasting testimony to the influence of American penal philosophy and practice.  "No impact analysis or land survey was done, which explains why the facility has been built without a kitchen - the site is too steep to transport food in the normal manner.  "It cost R360-million to build - 155% more than budgeted for."  Supermax - reserved for high-risk prisoners - was a "veritable Robben Island on land" in terms of its inaccessibility for family visits.  In addition, the department had not been able to find enough "bad eggs" to fill the prison.  Now the department envisaged a series of "new generation prisons" for medium and low-risk prisoners.  Four would be built within the next two years. Construction would rely on local resources; empowerment and security would be people centred and not technology based, Sloth-Nielsen added.  They would be strategically placed in areas most affected by overcrowding.  The focus would be on rehabilitation.  (The Star)

August 4, 2003
A PROFESSOR of law has called for an arms deal-like investigation into the awarding of contracts for private prisons.  Professor Julia Sloth-Nielsen of the University of the Western Cape said that the Department of Correctional Services had admitted "impropriety" in the privatisation process yet nothing had been done about it.  She made these claims in a research document presented at a seminar in Cape Town on Thursday.  "If this matter is not being taken up by any other investigative authority . . . this should be a priority of the [Parliamentary Portfolio] Committee in the same way as the arms investigation has been dealt with," she said.  In the document Sloth-Nielsen says:  Initially seven contracts for private prisons were announced, but only two have been constructed, Mangaung Maximum Security Prison in Bloemfontein, contracted to a UK-based consortium, and the maximum security prison in Louis Trichardt in Limpopo; The process of awarding these contracts was hasty, with the first five tenders awarded months before the legislation was tabled in Parliament; and The Department of Correctional Services itself had noted, "with some acrimony", that the people involved in the project design, contract-drafting and negotiations, had upped and left soon afterwards - to take up senior positions in the companies that had won the tenders. "Again, this gave rise to considerable suspicion about the integrity of the process itself," said Sloth-Nielsen.  A task team, consisting of representatives of Correctional Services and the Treasury, presented a report to Parliament in November last year about the financial arrangements of private prisons.  "For a start, the official view appears to be that the contracts were awarded without proper homework having been done," she said.  The actual cost per prisoner a day at the Bloemfontein private prison is R132.20, compared with R93.67 a day for prisoners in state prisons.  "A debate about the morality of housing 6 000 prisoners in the undeniable [comparative] luxury of uncrowded new facilities, while 182 000 remaining prisoners are left to languish in cells where sleeping by rote is the order of the day, is also required," said Sloth-Nielsen.  "If indeed state officials (or former state officials) benefited materially from the privatisation processes, this must be exposed."  Department of Correctional Services spokesman Russel Mamabolo said on Friday they needed more time to study the 58-page document before they would comment.  (Johannesburg)

March 4, 2003
The chairman of the South African Human Rights Commission visited the privately-run Mangaung Maximum Security Prison outside Bloemfontein on Tuesday to investigate alleged violations of prisoners' rights. SAHRC spokeswoman Phumla Mthala said Jody Kollapen would interview individual prisoners and meet with prison authorities on Tuesday morning. Mthala said the investigation followed several complaints by prisoners to the SAHRC's Free State office about, among other things, detention conditions at the prison. The first complaints were received last year. The aim of the investigation was to look at detention conditions and verify the authenticity of the alleged human rights violations, Mthala said. Earlier on Tuesday Dr Motsoko Pheko, deputy president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and Member of Parliament, told Sapa that he planned to ask Correctional Services Minister Ben Skosana in Parliament about alleged gang violence in Mangaung Prison. Pheko said he had received complaints from inmates who feared for their lives due to gang violence in the prison. "When people are punished and sent to prison by court, they should be allowed to serve their sentences without putting their lives at risk," Pheko said. According to Pheko, the murder of a Mangaung Prison inmate last week by a fellow inmate was gang-related. Mangaung Prison is one of two private prisons in South Africa run by the British based company Group 4. It has approximately 2928 inmates.  (South African Press Association)

February 27, 2003
An inmate of the privately-run Mangaung Maximum Security Prison outside Bloemfontein died after an alleged assault by a fellow prisoner, the prison confirmed on Thursday. The prison's managing director, Frikkie Venter, said the deceased was allegedly assaulted in the prison late on Wednesday afternoon.  No weapon was used in the attack. The injured prisoner was taken to the prison hospital where he died while in a doctor's care. Venter said a team was already investigating the incident. He was waiting for a report with full details.  Captain Ernest Mayiki spokesman for the Free State police confirmed that police were investigating a case of murder. Venter expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased. Mangaung Maximum Security, belonging to the company Group Four, is one of two privately-managed correctional institutions in South Africa. It is situated adjacent to the Department of Correctional Services' Grootvlei Prison near Bloemfontein. Two convicts escaped from the prison on New Year's Day.  (South African Press Association)

January 1, 2003
Two reportedly dangerous convicts are at large after the first escape from a privately-managed prison in South Africa on Wednesday.  The prisoners made their daring escape around 1 pm while working out in the gym of the Maung Maximum Correctional Facility near Bloemfontein, Department of Correctional Services spokesman Russel Mamabolo told Sapa.  Both men were regarded as dangerous.  Mamabolo said his department would conduct a thorough investigation into the escape and expected a full report from the management company that runs Maung Maximum, Group 4.  Maung Maximum is one of only two privately-managed correctional institutions in South Africa.  The other is near Louis Trichardt in limpopo.  (South African Press Association)

May 2001
A youngster caught stealing three mangoes out of hunger, recently spent four months awaiting trial in a Johannesburg prison due to bungling by justice officials, the country's top independent prisons' inspector revealed on Friday.  "This boy was prepared to plead guilty.  It is obvious the magistrate and prosecutor were not doing their job properly," Judge Johannes Fagan told guests visiting the new Mangaung Maximum Security Prison outside Bloemfontein.  He blamed prison overcrowding on inept justice officials who fail to process cases speedily.  According to statistics from the Department of Correctional Services, the country's 236 prisons, with an accommodation capacity of 102, 048 was housing about 170,168 inmates by the end of February.  Nearly a third of these, or about 64,000 individuals, were awaiting trial, Fagan said.  (News 24, South Africa)

Manhattan FBI Headquarters, Manhattan, New York
January 21, 2010 New York Daily News
A Muslim security guard at the Manhattan FBI headquarters claims he's being forced to carry around proof of his religion because he has a beard. Daoud Ibraheem, 72, was granted a religious exception for facial hair when he was hired in 2007 by Wackenhut Services, but says the special treatment has triggered harassment by supervisors. In a $3 million discrimination suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, Ibraheem says he is subjected to daily spot-checks by officers from the Federal Protective Service. They repeatedly insist he must produce a letter written by the imam of his Brooklyn mosque vouching for his faith, the suit says. They also falsely accused Ibraheem of sleeping on the job and ordered him to stay outside a heated guard booth while non-Muslim guards have unlimited access to the shelter in freezing weather, said his lawyer, Tamara Harris. She said Ibraheem fears upcoming terror trials of 9/11 plotters could ramp up the hostility even further. "The anger people harbor against Muslims might be heightened by the proximity of his workplace to Ground Zero, where 9/11 happened," Harris said. The Federal Protective Service, a government agency, and private contractor Wackenhut are jointly responsible for security at 26 Federal Plaza. A lawyer representing both Wackenhut and the Federal Protective Service did not return calls for comment.

Medway Secure Training Centre, Rochester, UK
Oct 22, 2016 theguardian.com
Managers at G4S-run Medway youth jail paid bonuses despite failings
Senior managers at a privately run children’s jail received bonuses this year despite the prison being taken out of their hands following allegations of abuse. The managers received performance-related pay awards in April, weeks after the chief inspector of prisons said that “managerial oversight failed to protect young people from harm at the jail”. Eight former staff currently face criminal charges. In January, the BBC’s Panorama programme showed an undercover reporter working as a guard at the G4S-run Medway secure training centre (STC) in Kent. The film showed children allegedly being mistreated and claimed that staff falsified records of violent incidents. No senior managers were disciplined or dismissed. In February, a Guardian investigation revealed that, in 2003, whistleblowers had warned G4S, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB) that staff were mistreating detained children. Their letter, sent by Prof John Pitts, an expert on youth justice, was ignored. Just before the Panorama programme was broadcast, the YJB, which oversees youth custody in England, stopped placing children in Medway. Also in January, the prisons inspectorate carried out a snap inspection of Medway. Inspectors reported that a small group of detainees said some staff used insulting, aggressive or racist language and that they felt unsafe in areas not covered by CCTV. Inspectors said the concerns raised were consistent with evidence presented by Panorama “which showed targeted bullying of vulnerable boys by a small number of staff”. They added: “A larger group of staff must have been aware of unacceptable practice but did not challenge or report this behaviour.” In an earlier Ofsted report on Medway, inspectors said staff and middle managers reported feeling a lack of leadership and having “low, or no confidence in senior managers”. The then chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, said: “Managerial oversight failed to protect young people from harm. Effective oversight is key to creating a positive culture that prevents poor practice happening and ensuring it is reported when it does.” The Guardian has learned that senior managers at Medway received performance-related pay awards in April amounting to between 10-25% of their annual salaries, according to seniority. In February, G4S announced their intention to sell off their UK children’s services arm of the business, including two secure training centres. In May, the MoJ said the National Offender Management Service would take over the running of Medway. In July, Noms formally took control of the STC. Lela Xhemajli was detained at Medway in 2009, aged 15. She says she was unlawfully restrained numerous times in the 18 months she spent at the STC, including one occasion in which her face was repeatedly slammed into icy ground. Now in employment, having “turned [her] life around”, she says she was angry when she heard about the pay awards to managers. “I assumed the senior management team would be sacked after what was revealed in the investigations. But now it looks like they have been rewarded for allowing children to be abused in prison on their watch,” she said. Former Labour MP Sally Keeble, who has highlighted alleged G4S abuses in children’s secure training centres for more than a decade, said: “This is people making personal profit out of tragedy, and it is completely unacceptable. Given the government’s expressed concern about the need to protect vulnerable young people, I would hope that justice minister Liz Truss would intervene and make sure these bonuses are not being paid by a Ministry of Justice contractor.” A spokesman for G4s confirmed that no senior managers at Medway were disciplined or dismissed following the Panorama and Guardian investigations. He said two duty operational managers had been dismissed. The spokesman said: “Four people working at Medway were eligible for performance related pay this year under a mix of personal [non-financial] and financial objectives. One received no payment and the remaining three received reduced payments, based on elements of personal and financial performance.” The MoJ declined to comment, saying the pay awards were a matter for G4S.

Jun 9, 2015 opendemocracy.net
Five more arrests and another critical inspection report for G4S child prisons
Children tell inspectors of being verbally, physically and sexually abused. Yesterday Kent police investigating alleged abuse at Medway child prison, run by G4S, made five more arrests. The same day a report by prisons inspectors revealed that a child at another G4S prison, Parc, in Bridgend, Wales, had been strip searched while held under restraint, one guard had been dismissed for using “excessive force”, and children reported being verbally, physically and sexually abused. G4S-run Medway secure training centre has been under close scrutiny since BBC Panorama broadcast undercover footage, in January, of children there being subject to physical and emotional abuse. This latest inspection report concerns the juvenile unit of an adult prison run by the same company. Inspectors visited the prison on the day of the Panorama programme, and stayed for 11 days. Use of force by prison officers had tripled in Parc’s juvenile unit since the last inspection — there were 202 incidents in the previous six months, compared to 67 last time. In every incident, officers from the adjoining adult prison were called to carry out the restraint. Inspectors complain that the officers do not know the children. They would not have been recruited for their expertise in working with children either. Inspectors found a case where a child had been strip-searched whilst held under restraint — again, this would have been by officers working in the adult parts of the prison. “Pain compliant locks” were used on children: the prisons inspectorate, alongside many other bodies, including the UN Committee Against Torture, has repeatedly said the deliberate infliction of pain should not be permitted in children’s prisons. One officer had been dismissed shortly before the announced inspection, for using “excessive force” on a child. Some boys complained of officers restraining them away from CCTV, which has been reported by children across the secure estate for many years. After the G4S Medway child abuse scandal, the Youth Justice Board introduced body-worn cameras into all child prisons. Inspectors complain that there were not enough of them to ensure all incidents were captured. More evidence of the irrepressible penal culture. About half the boys in this juvenile prison were looked after children, underlining the revolving door between care and custody highlighted powerfully by the Laming Review. Inspectors report: “Many boys had low levels of education and presented with clear difficulties in expressing their anxieties and problems; this was often characterised by angry outbursts or self isolation.” Prison cannot provide these children with the skilled intervention they need. Three boys were refusing to come out of their cells because they were so frightened, and 7 boys (a quarter of those questioned) told inspectors they felt unsafe everywhere. Eight children told inspectors they had been verbally insulted by officers, and there was one report each of physical abuse and sexual abuse by staff. Seven children said they had suffered physical abuse by other children. Where is that government intolerance of poorly performing children’s services, when you need it? At the end of February, G4S announced it would be selling its children’s services, including its government contracts to run Oakhill and Medway secure training centres. Today’s inspection report is a reminder that the multinational has not completely surrendered looking after UK child prisoners. For it is not G4S Children’s Services that manages this contract, but G4S Central Government Services. At the last inspection, in May 2014, the company was handed 31 recommendations and 7 of these had been achieved by the time inspectors visited again in January 2016. More than half (58%) had not been achieved at all. Only one of four recommendations in respect of children’s safety had been achieved. As child prisons go, this inspection report delivers some positive news. Children are eating together in dining areas, they get some (limited) time in the fresh air each day, most are able to shower daily, they have telephones in their cells (though calls are expensive) and there are good quality educational resources. But this cannot detract from the prison environment and ethos, and the consequences for children’s safety and well-being. Inspectors praised the “newly refurbished and restocked” prison library, which has “a good stock of easy readers, books based on popular films and games”. The report from Charlie Taylor’s Youth Justice Review is due to be published next month. A teacher by trade, Taylor is sure to see the absurdity of buying in easy reader books whilst holding children in locked cells for hours at a time, keeping them in permanent states of fear and delegating control and discipline to prison officers working with adults.

Mar 2, 2016 theguardian.com
G4S to sell controversial youth jail contracts
The private security firm G4S is to sell its UK children’s services business, including its contracts to run two youth prisons, weeks after damning footage emerged of its staff using excessive force on children. The contracts to be sold include the management of Medway secure training centre (STC) in Kent, where five men were arrested in January after an undercover BBC Panorama investigation exposed the alleged abuse of “trainees”. G4S has been repeatedly criticised over the use of restraint at Medway STC, which the company has run since it opened in 1998. The second child prison run by the company, at Oakhill, Milton Keynes, is also to be sold. A third secure training centre, Rainsbrook, is already in the process of being transferred to a new company, MTC Novo. A G4S statement said the sale of the operation was going ahead as part of “its ongoing review of its portfolio of businesses”. The business, with revenues of £40m a year, includes the management of 13 children’s homes. The wellbeing and education of the children in the company’s care will remain its priority until such time as an orderly transition to a new operator has been completed,” it said. The STCs hold 12- to 17-year-olds who have been sentenced to, or remanded in custody. The announcement also follows an investigation by the Ministry of Justice into the accuracy of figures indicating that no children were injured while being restrained by staff at Medway in 2014. The MoJ confirmed that it had launched an audit of all the restraint injury data from Medway STC that had been provided to the Youth Justice Board by G4S. The decision to sell the contracts to run the two youth prisons and 13 local authority children’s homes does not concern the prisons or immigration detention centres also managed by the company. Penal reformers called for the STCs to be shut down instead of sold. “These child jails have been the focus of much controversy, not least the recent BBC Panorama documentary into abuse by staff at Medway,” said Andrew Neilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform. “There is now an opportunity developing to close the secure training centres down completely. These centres are a failed model and this wise withdrawal from the market by G4S should not be followed up by new private security companies coming in to replace them, with dubious track records abroad in the treatment of people in custody.”

Jan 9, 2016 morningstaronline.co.uk
Abuse Exposed At G4S-Run Borstal
PRIVATE prison operator G4S suspended seven members of staff at a facility for young offenders yesterday amid allegations of abuse and mistreatment. Staff reportedly punched and slapped some teenagers held at Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester, Kent, a 76-bed facility for 12- to 18-year-olds, and allegedly boasted about using inappropriate techniques to restrain youngsters. G4S, which has run the facility in co-operation with the Youth Justice Board since it opened in 1998, announced the suspensions after being told that BBC Panorama undercover reporters had been secretly filming the centre for an exposé yet to be aired. “These allegations are extremely concerning, not least because only eight months ago G4S was subject to a damning report from Ofsted into another of its child jails, Rainsbrook,” said Howard League for Penal Reform director Andrew Neilson. “The company has since lost the contract to run Rainsbrook but the contract to run Medway was renewed. “Over 200 children are under the supposed care of G4S in these detention centres.” G4S said it had referred the “serious allegations of inappropriate staff conduct” to Medway Council’s designated officer, the board and the Ministry of Justice. Mr Neilson expressed hope that the forthcoming Ministry of Justice review of youth justice would take a hard look at what companies like G4S are doing to children in trouble with the law. “I’m extremely shocked and appalled at the allegations that were presented to us, which clearly have no place in our business or any institution responsible for looking after young people,” said G4S children’s services managing director Paul Cook. “We received the allegations from Panorama to our press team on December 30, and all I have are written allegations at this time.” Kent Police are also understood to have been alerted to the claims of “unnecessary use of force and the use of improper language” at the centre. The force confirmed it was investigating allegations following a referral from Medway Council that had been made regarding reports of both physical and verbal abusive behaviour at the facility.

January 5, 2009 Kent News
Inmates at the Medway Secure Training Centre – which houses some of Britain’s most hardened criminals – enjoyed a weekend of tropical fun, playing bongo drums and l