Council Takes Key Steps to Deprivatize George W. Hill Correctional Facility

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Released: December 16, 2020

During its Dec. 16 public meeting, Delaware County Council unanimously voted to retain CGL Companies to oversee the deprivatization of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility (GWH). Deprivatization is core to Council’s overall criminal justice reform agenda by removing the profit motive from incarceration. The firm was selected at the recommendation of the Delaware County Jail Oversight Board following a competitive bidding process.

“It is time we re-think our model for crime and punishment in Delaware County. Jail can be an opportunity for inmates to pay their debt to society but also to start anew and become healthy, contributing members of the community,” said Councilman Kevin Madden, who chairs the Jail Oversight Board and has taken the lead on planning the return of the jail to public control. “These inmates are our neighbors and will be returning to our neighborhoods, so we owe it to them and to our entire community to provide support and training so that they can lead productive lives when they are released and return to our community.”

Local jails, like Delaware County's, house people who have been accused of a crime and are awaiting adjudication or have received a sentence of less than two years. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of inmates currently return back to jail. Over 60 percent of the inmates held at George W. Hill at any time are recidivists, usually for minor, non-violent crimes or parole violations. A primary goal of deprivatization is to expand available support and resources to rehabilitate inmates and reduce the chances an inmate returns to jail.

With over 45 years of experience, CGL Companies is the largest criminal justice consulting firm in the world, with extensive experience in planning and operations for prisons.

As part of its contract, CGL Companies will:

Complete a cost comparison between private and public operation of existing programs, anticipated costs for additional programs the County would like to implement, estimates of capital improvement needs, and the potential transition costs

Assist in the hiring of staff, develop policies and procedures for ongoing operations, interface with the current operator and coordinate with State officials on licensing, certification, and grant funding

Provide support to the County leadership team after it assumes day-to-day operational responsibility for the facility

CGL Companies is expected to complete its analysis and recommendations this winter. With the review and approval of Council, GEO Group, the current operator of the jail, would be given the required 180-day notice that the County is ending the contract. It is expected that the County would assume operational control of the prison in the fall of 2021.

To assist in the transition process, the County also anticipates working with Alta Management to provide Owner’s Representative services. In this role, Alta, a minority-owned business, will assist the County and GWH leadership as they identify and develop management systems, capital improvements, transportation, personnel, re-entry, health, certification, and financial controls.

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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