Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Margaret Jean Plews

This site is to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. If you're unfamiliar with prison abolition, check out Critical Resistance. I'm just a freelance writer and human rights activist, and have no legal training.


Molly Crabapple's brilliant art essay on solitary confinement

Free 17yo Jessica Burlew!

Free 17yo Jessica Burlew!
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Friday, September 18, 2009

One Roadblack to Prisoner Release

This is such a a tragedy when the perceived and actual health of a community becomes so dependent on the prolonged imprisonment and suffering of thousands of people - most kept far from home. The industry of incarceration has more than just criminals in chains.

Prison cutbacks face opposition

Bent, Crowley and Huerfano officials ask governor to reconsider early release program.

Published: September 17, 2009

Officials in three Southern Colorado counties said Wednesday that Gov. Bill Ritter's decision to release more than 6,000 inmates from state Department of Corrections custody will be devastating to small communities that house private prisons.

Commissioners in Bent, Crowley and Huerfano counties all have private prisons owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America.

Ritter announced the Accelerated Transition Pilot program in August. By June 30, an estimated 2,720 inmates out of 3,400 eligible for parole will be on the streets, saving the state $19 million in prison housing costs. The next year, another 3,000-plus inmates could be released.

But Bent County Commissioner Bill Long said that the lion's share of the proposed reduction would come from the private prisons in Crowley, Bent and Huerfano counties.

Long said the proposed releases will impact the private facilities which were built at the request of the state. "If they do what they have been talking about in the last few days, which is 5,000 to 6,000 inmates possibly being up for parole, that will empty virtually every private prison in Colorado that has Colorado inmates," Long said.

"I guarantee that this will be an absolute disaster for Bent County and Crowley County. No question about it."

The Crowley County Correctional Facility in Olney Springs and the Bent County Correctional Facility in Las Animas are key parts of their local economies with more than 200 employees at each facility, Long said.

"We receive property tax, telephone revenue and other benefits from the

facilities," Long said.

Long explained that the Huerfano County Correctional Facility in Walsenburg and the Kit Carson Correctional Facility in Burlington also will be hurt if the reduction occurs.

Currently the Huerfano facility is full of inmates from Arizona, but Long said that when Arizona gets its inmate situation straightened out, the inmates will be taken back to that state.

"That would be another facility that was built primarily for Colorado inmates that would also be emptied," Long said.

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