Posted: Wednesday, Aug 25th, 2010
BY: Ted Lake/Staff Writer
Arizona Silver Belt
The Arizona Department of Corrections has confirmed that any decisions over bids submitted by four companies to build private prisons here in our state have been delayed because of security issues raised about a privately operated prison in Kingman last month where the breakout of three violent convicts occurred on July 30.
Barrett Marson, Director of Communications for the state agency, told the Arizona Silver Belt, efforts to add an additional 5,000 private prison beds has been stalled because of concerns which have developed on how the medium-security private prison was being operated in Kingman. He said representatives of each of the four companies that submitted proposals to build and operate private prison complexes housing ADC inmates will be called in for more questioning about their proposals.
When asked, does this mean these proposals will have to be re advertised and go out for bids again? Marson said that decision has not been made at this time.
The companies submitting proposals to the Arizona Department of Corrections, which have been under review since May 28th, were Management and Training Corporation ( which owns and operates the private prison at Kingman along with another facility in Marana and 24 Job Corps Centers in the U.S), GEO Group Corrections, Corrections Corporation of America and Emerald Correctional Management Company. Emerald, in its proposal , submitted plans to build a 1,000 bed medium prison in the city of Globe between the Gila County Fairgrounds and the San Carlos Reservation line. The controversial Emerald project has been endorsed by the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation but is now actively being opposed by a group of merchants and local citizens.
All top officials of Utah based Management and Training Corporation who were operating the company’s medium security prison at Kingman either were terminated or removed to other job assignments as a result of a report released by the Arizona Department of Corrections on Thursday citing numerous security flaws at the correctional facility.
Among the flaws was the private prison’s alarm system. Some 89 false alarms reported at the correctional facility on July 30th, the day the three convicts walked out. Ryan’s agency claims there was no maintenance on these prison alarms for the past two years and responding to these alerts was not a priority with prison workers who had become “desensitized” to false alarms..
Too, turnover of employees at the Kingman private prison had been high resulting in a lack of training. One official of Management and Training Corporation indicated she was working with a staff that was basically 80 percent new due to the turnover problem It was further reported that an excessive delay occurred in discovering the escape of the three convicts ( two convicted of murder, one a double homicide) and notifying law enforcement. In addition, it was found that operational practices at the prison ofter led to a gap of 15 minutes or longer during shift changes along the outside perimeter fence.