In a vote that fulfilled a campaign promise made in the historic election that brought Democrats to power two years ago, Delaware County Council decided Wednesday night to privatize George W. Hill and bring its operations back to county control.
The five-member board unanimously voted to terminate the contract with GEO Group, the for-profit company that now operates the county jail. The Glen Mills facility has been in private operation since 1998.
Council member Kevin Madden, who chairs the county’s Prison Supervisory Board, said he did not want to “increase football” yet – he recognizes the difficult road ahead, he noted, but can’t help but be grateful for “the opportunity of life.
“I’m very proud to be a part of this county council and to be where we are today, to have such an impact in a part of our society that frankly really needs it,” said Madden.
Other council members affirmed Madden’s beliefs about the importance of the moment for a county trying to do a full 180 in criminal justice reform.
“With this decision, we will be able to provide better results, more coordinated services for the individuals in our county, and we will be able to reduce recidivism,” said Monica Taylor, vice-president of the county council.
Over the years, the prison has been a frequent subject of controversy, with accusations of mistreatment of inmates and even its own. Staff get the attention of the community and current board members.