Florida Atlantic University’s new 30,000 seat football stadium will bear the name of its sponsor, GEO Group, the second-largest private prison operator in the U.S.
The decision comes as the result of a $6 million donation from the company’s charitable foundation. GEO, which runs 101 prison facilities with roughly 73,00 beds, manages incarceration facilities on behalf of federal, state and local governments. It employs more than 18,000 people and has seen its revenue almost triple in the last 10 years.
The university had sought a sponsor for more than two years after spending $70 million building the stadium in Boca Raton, where GEO Group is based.
The company’s contribution is the “largest one-time gift in the history of FAU athletics,” the university said, and will be paid out over the course of 12 years.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Critics of the private prison industry argue that the company is trying to win favour with public officials who hand out contracts.
Bob Libal, from Grassroots Leadership, a criminal justice advocacy group, said GEO Group relied on public dollars for all its profits.
He said: ‘When you look at other things that GEO gives to, it’s generally in communities where they either have contracts or are seeking contracts, and certainly Florida is a state where GEO has tremendous interest.’
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