GEO Group Inc. | Racial Equity Audit at GEO Group Inc.

Status
6.88% votes in favour
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
6
Resolution details
Company ticker
GEO
Resolution ask
Conduct due diligence, audit or risk/impact assessment
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Company sector
Financials
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED that shareholders of The GEO Group Inc. (“GEO”) urge the Board of Directors to oversee an independent third-party racial equity audit analyzing GEO’s adverse impacts on nonwhite stakeholders and communities of color and GEO’s plans to mitigate any such impacts. Input from civil rights organizations, criminal justice experts, and employees should be considered in determining the specific matters to be analyzed. A report on the audit, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential and proprietary information, should be disclosed on GEO’s website.
Supporting statement
"SUPPORTING STATEMENT
Several aspects of GEO’s business and operations suggest that a racial equity audit would be useful. In opposing this proposal last year, GEO emphasized that a substantial proportion of its workforce is nonwhite. This proposal does not aim to obtain diversity data, though; instead, it asks GEO to analyze its entire operation through a racial equity lens to identify adverse racial impacts.
People of color are disproportionately represented in private low and medium security facilities at least in part because contracts tend to exclude elderly and ill inmates who are more likely to be white.1 Immigration enforcement, which has been called “racial discrimination by proxy,”2 plays a key role for GEO, with 43.9% of 2022 revenues derived from contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.3 There is reason to believe that GEO’s operation of immigration detention facilities has racially adverse impacts. For example, GEO’s Aurora immigration detention facility has been the subject of recent administrative complaints, including one alleging that guards made racially derogatory remarks and used excessive force against two black detainees4 and another alleging misuse of solitary confinement.5
A racial equity audit could also examine whether GEO’s political activities have a negative racial impact. According to Open Secrets, in the 2022 and 2024 election cycles, GEO’s political action committee contributed to Members of Congress who objected to certifying the 2020 election results,6 an action some viewed as “a direct attack on the voting rights of people of color.”7 In 2022, GEO spent over $900,000 lobbying at the federal level8 and paid lobbyists in 18 states.9 GEO states that it has not “advocated for or against, nor have we played a role in setting, criminal justice, or immigration enforcement policies, such as whether to criminalize behavior, the length of criminal sentences, or the basis for or length of an individual’s incarceration or detention.”10 While that approach avoids the most obvious conflicts of interest, GEO may still take positions on other matters that are harmful to nonwhite stakeholders and communities of color.
Finally, an independent audit would provide objectivity, assurance and specialized expertise beyond what would be possible with an internal analysis. We urge GEO to assess its behavior through a racial equity lens to identify how it contributes to systemic racism, and how it could begin to help dismantle it.
1 journal.radicalcriminology.org/index.php/rc/article/view/44/html
2 scholarship.law.uci.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=ucilr, n.5
3 https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/923796/000095017023004713/geo-20221231.htm#item_1_business, at 31.
4 coloradosun.com/2022/04/14/aurora-detention-center/
5 https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/research/misuse_of_solitary_confinement_in_colorad o_immigration_detention_center_complaint.pdf 6 See www.opensecrets.org/orgs/geo-group/recipients?id=D000022003 (contributions); www.vox.com/2021/1/6/22218058/republicans-objections-election-results (election objectors). 
7 See www.nytimes.com/2021/01/15/us/politics/lankford-apology-election-biden.html; www.marketwatch.com/story/business-leaders-call-for-action-on-trump-after-mob-siege-at-capitol-11609976655 
8 https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?id=D000022003
9 www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=1096 10 https://www.geogroup.com/Portals/0/GEO_2022_Political_Activity_and_Lobbying_Report.pdf, at 1."

DISCLAIMER: By including a shareholder resolution or management proposal in this database, neither the PRI nor the sponsor of the resolution or proposal is seeking authority to act as proxy for any shareholder; shareholders should vote their proxies in accordance with their own policies and requirements.

Any voting recommendations set forth in the descriptions of the resolutions and management proposals included in this database are made by the sponsors of those resolutions and proposals, and do not represent the views of the PRI.

Information on the shareholder resolutions, management proposals and votes in this database have been obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable, but the PRI does not represent that it is accurate, complete, or up-to-date, including information relating to resolutions and management proposals, other signatories’ vote pre-declarations (including voting rationales), or the current status of a resolution or proposal. You should consult companies’ proxy statements for complete information on all matters to be voted on at a meeting.