MARGARET J PLEWS
PO BOX 980404
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com

480-580-6807

Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Peggy 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 a freelance writer and human rights activist, and have no legal training, FYI.




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PRISONER RIGHTS LITIGATION

Stacy Scheff, a friend of mine and colleague for several years now, specializes in prisoner rights litigation, and just opened her own office in Tucson. If you are battling with the DOC over health care/safety, or otherwise need to sue them over civil rights violations, ask her for a consult. She's reasonable, cares about prisoners, and knows her stuff.

Law Office of Stacy Scheff
P.O. Box 40611
Tucson, AZ 85717-0611
(520) 471-8333

All I get for posting this, by the way (which Stacy didn't put me up to) is the knowledge that you're in good hands - that's enough for me.
AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Monday, June 21, 2010

Brewer, the Legs, SB 1070 and the Private Prison Lobby.

Don't miss this:

------------From "In These Times"------------


Ties That Bind: Arizona Politicians and the Private Prison Industry

A revolving cast of lobbyists and legislators blur the line between public service and corporate profits.

By Beau Hodai

In These Times

June 21, 2010

Over the past several years private-prison companies Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo Group, through their work as members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and through their ties to the Arizona Legislature and the office of Gov. Jan Brewer, have had ample opportunity--and obvious intent--to ensure the passage of S.B. 1070.

According to Sen. Russell Pearce and Brewer's spokesman Paul Senseman, the S.B. 1070 went through a lengthy edit and review process that took place predominantly within the Arizona Legislature and the offices of the Maricopa County Attorney and Gov. Brewer.

A little over a week after Pearce introduced S.B. 1070 on the floor of the Arizona Senate, CCA enlisted Highground Consulting, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Phoenix, to represent its interests in the state. Lobby disclosure forms filed with the Arizona Secretary of State indicate that Maricopa County also employed Highground during the time of the bill's formation. Highground's owner and principal, Charles "Chuck" Coughlin, is a top advisor and the current campaign manager of Gov. Brewer.

State lobby reports show that Brewer's current spokesman, Senseman, previously worked as CCA's chief lobbyist in Arizona as an employee of Policy Development Group, another influential Phoenix consulting firm. His wife, Kathryn Senseman, is still employed by Policy Development Group and still lobbies the legislature on behalf of CCA.

In other words, in 2005 and 2006, as Arizona legislators--many of them ALEC members--were drafting provisions of what would eventually become the "Breathing While Brown" law, Brewer's director of communications, Senseman, was lobbying them on behalf of CCA.

Brewer's "chief policy advisor," Richard Bark--a man Senseman and Pearce both say was directly involved in the drafting of S.B. 1070--remains listed with the Office of the Secretary of State as an active lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). CCA is a "board level" member of the ACCI and is the top employer in Pinal County, located just south of Maricopa County, where it operates five detention facilities for both state prisoners and immigrant detainees.

Geo Group employs consulting firm Public Policy Partners, which, like Highground, also provides consultation and lobbying services to Maricopa County.

While Public Policy Partners (PPP), an Arizona-based firm, has more than 30 Arizona clients, it only has two clients at the federal level: Geo Group (based in Florida) and Ron Sachs Communications, a Florida-based public-relations firm that, promotes prison privatization. PPP, as a firm, also appears to be an advocate for expanded use of private prisons. Federal lobbying records show PPP owner, John Kaites, lobbying on behalf of the firm on issues of "private correctional detention management."

CCA has also shown special interest in Arizona through recent hiring decisions. In 2007, CCA hired on Brad Regens as "Vice President of State Partnership Relations" for the purpose of cultivating new contracts in Arizona and California. In the two years immediately prior to his employment at CCA, Regens had worked in the Arizona House as director of fiscal policy. Before his appointment as director of fiscal policy, Regens had spent nine years working in the state legislature in various roles, including assistant director of the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Following its hiring of Regens, CCA elected former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) to its board of directors.

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Beau Hodai is a Red Lodge, Mont.-based freelance writer. He can be reached at mo_idaho@yahoo.com.





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