INQUIRER: Leaning up against the counter in his second-floor gun shop in South Philadelphia, Gregory J. Isabella just sighed. On Tuesday, his business, Firing Line Inc., and the business of a competitor, Colosimo’s Inc. in Center City, found themselves in the crosshairs of Mayor Nutter, who referred to them as “gun traffickers.” Isabella’s been in the gun business nearly a quarter of a century, and it’s always the same. Politicians are constantly squawking about guns. Lots of squawk, not a lot of real action. “You look at all these politicos and all these bureaucrats,” Isabella said. “They are hypocrites. They want to do something about crime. They know the issue, and they don’t do anything.” The issue, according to papers filed by the city in a court procedure yesterday related to Philadelphia’s proposed gun laws, is that guns used in crimes often come from dealers like Firing Line and Colosimo’s, who sell multiple guns to single customers. “At worst, Colosimo’s knowingly traffics in crime guns,” city solicitor Shelley Smith and outside counsel Susan Burke wrote in the court documents. Isabella sees the crime issue a little bit differently than the mayor’s people. The issue, he said, is that repeat offenders, who should be locked up, are out on the street. They get guns, illegally. And they use them because they are desperate. That has nothing to do with him and his business. MORE
SHOOTING INDUSTRY: The “Don’t Lie For The Other Guy” program will provide firearms dealers with comprehensive kits to educate the public and alert potential strawman purchasers of the consequences of buying a firearm for someone else. These kits will include posters, counter mats and brochures. The items are designed not only to educate firearms purchasers, but also to educate retailers on how to better identify a potential strawman purchase. MORE
INQUIRER: Standing next to pictures of the three men accused in the killing of Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, State Rep. John M. Perzel today issued this message: Violent offender – no parole. “We’ve had enough of repeat violent criminals murdering and terrorizing our loved ones and our neighborhoods,” said Perzel, announcing legislation aimed at making violent offenders serve their maximum sentences. Liczbinski’s murder, Perzel said, was “the last straw.” He was joined by Reps. John Taylor and George T. Kenney Jr. All are Philadelphia Republicans. Taylor noted that the men accused in Liczbinski’s shooting death – Eric Floyd, Levon Warner and Howard Cain – all had long criminal records and were on parole. “In the event that the Board of Probation and Parole did what the system provided,” Taylor said in reference to their cases, “the very system of parole no longer works, and we have to make drastic changes to the system.” The proposed legislation would eliminate parole and early-release programs for any offender convicted of rape, robbery, murder, aggravated assault, or any crime with a gun. Currently, parole can be granted by a two-member panel. According to state Department of Corrections data, 16,832 inmates were released last year from Pennsylvania prisons. Of them, 23 percent were considered violent offenders. Between 2001 and 2007, the state’s inmate population has increased 21 percent, from 37,995 to 46,028, with nonviolent offenders making up most of the population. The Corrections Department estimates that bed space inside prisons could run out by 2010. MORE
PHILLY FUTURE: The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Perzel was enjoyed free hospitality at the luxurious Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida. While staying in a room which normally costs between $259 to $400 a night, the Republican from Philadephia made about $5,000 attending the annual shareholders meeting of GEO Group Inc. Perzel, 55, has been on the company’s board of directors since last year. Never heard of GEO? Me neither. So I did a little research. GEO primarily builds and operates prisons. Last year, its 10,000 employees ran 61 jails around the world – including the 1,785 men, women and kids serving time at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Thorton, Pa., which GEO expanded in the late 90s when the company was known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp. The Delaware County medium-security jail is the only privately run prison in Pennsylvania. In 2002, the Philadelphia Prison System started sending hundreds of its inmates there whenever Philly’s slams are filled. MORE
WHAT IS GEO GROUP INC.: The GEO Group, Inc. (“GEO”) is a world leader in the delivery of correctional, detention, and residential treatment services to federal, state, and local government agencies around the globe. GEO offers a turnkey approach that includes design, construction, financing, and operations. GEO represents government clients in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. GEO’s worldwide operations include the management and/or ownership of 68 correctional and residential treatment facilities with a total design capacity of approximately 59,000 beds, including projects under development. MORE
GEO GROUP PROXY STATEMENT: The Honorable John M. Perzel has served as a director of GEO since 2005.
GEO GROUP PRESS RELEASE: –Nov. 27, 2007–The GEO Group, Inc. (NYSE:GEO) (“GEO”) announced today that it has been awarded a two-year extension of its contract to provide operating services at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility (the “Facility”) located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. GEO has managed the Facility since 1995. Under the two-year contract extension, the Facility is expected to generate approximately $39 million in annual operating revenues in 2008 and approximately $40.5 million in annual operating revenues in 2009. GEO’s contract can be successively extended for two-year option periods under mutual agreement. MORE
INQUIRER: Kenneth Keith Kallenbach‘s mother said the staff at [George W. Hill Correctional Facility] – which in 2005 was the subject of at least two inquiries into the deaths of five inmates in as many months – failed to properly treat Kallenbach’s cystic fibrosis, a congenital disease that affects the lungs and other vital organs and can lead to chronic infections and premature death. Pablo Paez, a spokesman for The GEO Group Inc., the Boca Raton-based company that runs the prison, would only provide information on when Kallenbach was first incarcerated on March 27 and when he was transferred to Riddle. Last year, the family of a 38-year-old mentally ill Aston woman filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia alleging her death resulted in part from the prison’s failure to give her medication for a thyroid condition. Cassandra “Sandy” Morgan died in Riddle Memorial Hospital on March 29, 2006, four days after lapsing into a coma at the prison, where she had been held for six weeks on shoplifting charges. Her death resulted from complications caused by hypothyroidism. MORE
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: In 1980, more than 70 percent of prisoners were paroled for good behavior after serving part of their sentence, according to the Association of Paroling Authorities International. [By 2001], only about 30 percent are given discretionary release.