I have such a hard time believing that some communities actually want these private prisons in their backyards. They dehumanize staff as much as they do the prisoners. That's got to have an effect on the ethos of a town...
What do the people of Eloy say about all this anyway? They welcomed CCA with dollar signs in their own eyes: Are they ethical business men and women willing to take responsibility for the consequences of their investment? Do they have a human rights committee overseeing prisons in their town, holding these people accountable? Or do they just rant when articles come out about these things, then quietly wash their hands of the blood spilled in their presence?
What do the people of Eloy have to say to the people of Hawaii and - more pointedly - to this man's family? Why has your prison not been able to keep those in its custody and care safe from harm?
Snubbed By Arizona Prisons Officials
POSTED: 11:44 pm HST June 18, 2010
UPDATED: 3:15 pm HST June 19, 2010HONOLULU -- Clifford Medina, 23, died in his prison cell at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., June 8.
Eloy police said Medina's cellmate, 21 year-old, Mahinauli Silva admitted to strangling Medina.
Loke Medeiros, Clifford Medina's aunt, and his sister, Roseanna Medeiros, flew to Arizona from their Puna, Hawaii, home Wednesday, hoping to find out what happened. They said felt they needed to travel to Arizona after receiving no information from Hawaii prisons officials.Clifford Medina was among 1900 Hawaii inmates in Saguaro. Hawaii has been sending inmates to the privately run Arizona prison since 2007 to ease prison overcrowding here.
Roseanna Medina said she and her aunt went to Saguaro Correctional Center Friday to ask for an appointment with prison warden Todd Thomas. They were told the warden was too busy to see them. Then, they said another official brought them a box of Clifford Medina's personal belongings, asked them to sign for it, and then turned on his heels without saying another word to them.
"It was very disappointing," said Roseanna Medeiros. "There are so many questions we hoped to have answered, and so much we wanted to find out that only the prison staff could have told us."
"They were just rude," said Loke Medeiros. "I couldn't believe they wouldn't talk to us.Medina was serving time for burglary, theft, jumping bail and assaulting a law enforcement officer."Even though he was in prison, he should have been safe. It's very sad," said Roseanna Medeiros.
A team of investigators from Hawaii has been at Arizona prison since Tuesday to investigate Medina's death.
Medina is the second Hawaii inmate to be killed at Saguaro Correctional Center in less than four months. Bronson Nunuha of Maui died of multiple stab wounds in the neck February 18. Two Hawaii inmates, Miti Maugaotega and Micah Kanahele, were indicted May 20 on first degree- murder and gang related charges in Nunuha's killing. A spokesman with the Pinal County attorney's office prosecuting the Nunuha case said the prosecutor is reviewing a possible death penalty sentence if the two defendants are convicted.
Clifford Medina's aunt and sister said they will remain in Arizona next week still hoping to get a better sense of why he died, and why more was not done to protect him and to supervise the inmate police say killed him.
They said they don't want it to happen to anyone else.