Unless more people like this Elias fellow run for office. He's given this some thought and done his research.
Posted: Jun 15, 2010 7:36 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 15, 2010 11:22 PM EDT
By Barbara Grijalva
Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - The state and federal prisons southeast of Tucson soon will have some company.
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to build and run a private prison on private land just south of the Arizona State Prison Complex which is at 10000 South Wilmot Road.
The difference will be that the private prison will pay property taxes.
The Southside Neighborhood Association is all for that, and a representative told the Pima County Supervisors so.
Yolanda Herrera explained the group's support.
"Primarily because we understand this prison is going to be built someplace in Arizona, so why not in Pima County where we have the opportunity to create another additional 900 jobs and to have a better tax base for the Sunnyside Unified School District," she said.
A CCA representative told the supervisors the prison would pay about $3.9 million in taxes every year.
He said the Sunnyside Unified School District would get about two million dollars of that.
On a four-to-one vote, the supervisors approved rezoning 391 acres for the prison.
The "one" is Richard Elias who says he philosophically opposes private prisons.
But he says he also has reservations about CCA's record running prisons in the U.S., including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Eloy, north of Tucson.
He read statistics on deaths in CCA-operated prisons, and cited other issues.
"I understand that specific incidents take place, but when you look at them in an aggregate form, I think you're talking about a situation that does not serve our community well. Those are jobs that are very important to us, but they may not be the best kind of jobs for our citizens to have," Elias said.
CCA told KOLD News 13 that the next step is to contract with the state or the federal government, or both, to house up to 5,000 prisoners at the new facility.
No word yet on when the prison would be built.