De­liv­er­ing value, su­pe­rior out­comes at Delco prison

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - OPINION - By David Byrne Times Guest Colum­nist David Byrne is war­den of the Ge­orge W. Hill Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity.

We at The GEO Group are proud to part­ner with Delaware County as the cor­rec­tional ser­vices sub­con­trac­tor re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing the day to day op­er­a­tions of the Ge­orge W. Hill Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity.

Dur­ing the 20-year pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ship to man­age the fa­cil­ity, the cit­i­zens of Delaware County have ben­e­fit­ted from sta­bil­ity and pre­dictabil­ity re­gard­ing the costs of run­ning the county jail. Costs as­so­ci­ated with run­ning the fa­cil­ity have only risen by 2 per­cent per year over the past 20 years, and this has likely saved the tax­pay­ers of Delaware County mil­lions of dol­lars.

How­ever, the ben­e­fits of sub-con­tract­ing the op­er­a­tions of the county jail to GEO go be­yond mere fiscal con­sid­er­a­tions. As a global leader in cor­rec­tional fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment, GEO pos­sesses un­par­al­leled ex­per­tise that en­ables us to run fa­cil­i­ties more ef­fi­ciently and cost ef­fec­tively, as well as pro­vide solutions to re­duce re­cidi­vism and of­fer in­di­vid­u­als with best pos­si­ble chance of suc­cess­fully re-en­ter­ing so­ci­ety and be­com­ing pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens.

Since as­sum­ing the fa­cil­ity op­er­a­tions in 2017, our fo­cus has been on pro­vid­ing the high­est qual­ity level of ser­vice to our gov­ern­ment part­ner and the in­di­vid­u­als en­trusted to our care. Our con­tract re­newal pro­posal for Delaware County re­flects our deep and abid­ing com­mit­ment de­liv­er­ing on that prom­ise.

In our new pro­posal, daily cost for 2019 is $72.52, which is ap­prox­i­mately 32 per­cent lower than the daily rate at com­pa­ra­ble Penn­syl­va­nia jails in 2017. In ad­di­tion, we have pro­posed to in­vest more than $13 mil­lion dol­lars in much needed cap­i­tal im­prove­ments at the fa­cil­ity, pro­vide wellde­served cost of liv­ing raises for our lo­cal staff, and dra­mat­i­cally ex­pand the ser­vice of­fer­ings pro­vided to in­mates at the jail.

Per­haps the most crit­i­cal new pro­gram we have pro­posed to of­fer is a $600,000-per-year opi­oid treat­ment pro­gram that in­cludes medicine-as­sisted re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion through the use of Viv­it­rol. We are part­ner­ing with a li­censed physi­cian to over­see and im­ple­ment the pro­gram and will be hir­ing an Opi­ate Treat­ment Co­or­di­na­tor and a Li­censed Clin­i­cal So­cial Worker to as­sist in the pro­gram’s im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Fur­ther­more, as part of our ef­forts to en­hance aca­demic and vo­ca­tional of­fer­ings, we also pro­pose hir­ing three new ed­u­ca­tors. And rec­og­niz­ing the im­por­tance of health and well­ness pro­grams, we will be hir­ing a new well­ness di­rec­tor, and hir­ing in­struc­tors who will pro­vide more than 200 well­ness classes per month.

To fur­ther demon­strate our com­mit­ment to mak­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact for this pop­u­la­tion, we will also be im­ple­ment­ing GEO’s award win­ning “Con­tin­uum of Care” at the fa­cil­ity. The GEO Con­tin­uum of Care uti­lizes a range of ev­i­dence-based pro­gram­ming, in­clud­ing aca­demic and vo­ca­tional pro­gram­ming, sub­stance abuse treat­ment, and cog­ni­tive be­hav­ioral ther­apy. These pro­grams, which have been de­signed by lead­ing ex­perts in their fields and are con­stantly up­dated to re­flect the lat­est re­search, pro­vide in­di­vid­u­als with the tools and skills that are re­quired to fa­cil­i­tate a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion back to the com­mu­nity.

In ad­di­tion to these pro­gram­matic en­hance­ments, GEO also has com­mit­ted to mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to the fa­cil­ity it­self that will not only im­prove the in­mates’ safety and daily qual­ity of life, but also their med­i­cal treat­ment and ed­u­ca­tional op­tions. We plan to ren­o­vate the med­i­cal exam and triage rooms, class­rooms, and the in­mate liv­ing ar­eas to en­sure that Delaware County’s jail is fully mod­ern­ized. These are just some ex­am­ples of how Delaware County can ben­e­fit from a suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship with GEO.

We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing this mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ship with Delaware County and be­ing an in­te­gral part of the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Un­for­tu­nately, many of the un­founded crit­i­cisms of the GEO Group are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated and not sup­ported by facts. To get the real story on our role at the Ge­orge W. Hill Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, we would en­cour­age you to visit www.del­co­pris­on­facts.com.

When all the po­lit­i­cal dis­trac­tions fade, the res­i­dents of Delaware County will re­al­ize that GEO is part of the so­lu­tion and not part of the prob­lem.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Delaware County’s prison, The Ge­orge W. Hill Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, in Con­cord.

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