Its revenue swelled to an all-time high of .1 billion in 2016. In her memo last August, Yates wrote that private prisons “do not save substantially on costs.” The IG’s office found that 9 million was spent on private prisons in 2014 — a hefty sum, yet less than 10 percent of the Bureau of Prisons’ .9 billion budget that year.Exactly “The private-prison industry is a little bit of a black box,” said Lauren-Brooke Eisen, a former prosecutor who now works as a senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Criminal Justice at New York University School of Law.“They did absolutely nothing to help him.” When the agony became too much, Bryant hanged himself with prison-issued linens on Nov. He was one of 12 inmates who died at the facility between 20, according to a lawsuit Bryant's family filed in 2009 against the GEO Group, an international conglomerate that manages George W.

But the companies have enjoyed a lucrative relationship with the federal government. It was a convenient arrangement for a nation with the world’s highest prison population, underpinned by a belief that private corporations could do the job cheaper and better.

The government’s stance toward companies like GEO underwent a dramatic shift last summer.

So instead of being cut off, GEO is raking in the money.

The company has signed $774 million worth of federal contracts so far this year, including a $110 million deal to build an immigration detention center in Texas.

(It was renamed the GEO Group in 2003, a year before Wackenhut died at 85.) Thanks in part to a nationwide embrace of tough-on-crime policies as part of the war on drugs, the overall number of federal inmates in the United States mushroomed from 25,000 in 1980 to a peak of 219,000 in 2012, according to the Inspector General’s Office.

GEO, Core Civic (formerly known as CCA), and companies like them were supposed to help the overwhelmed Bureau of Prisons safely manage a percentage of this ever-growing prison population — and for less money than it would have cost to simply enlarge the bureau.

Its facilities are “equally safe, secure and humane as government-run facilities,” Pablo Paez, a GEO spokesman, wrote in an email to the Inquirer and Daily News.

But a few weeks later, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo that directed the Bureau of Prisons to phase out its use of private-run prisons altogether.

The newspapers also asked to tour Moshannon Valley, which has been the subject of multiple federal civil rights lawsuits in Pennsylvania.

After some hemming and hawing, prison officials agreed to arrange a one-hour tour for a reporter in August — and then denied the request at the last minute without offering an explanation.

This was a potentially fatal blow to the industry; the stock price of publicly traded GEO plummeted 40 percent that day. Since the election of President Trump, GEO — which donated 0,000 to a Trump political action committee last year, and 0,000 to his inaugural bash — has seen its stock price nearly quadruple.