The bids for 5,000 new for-profit prison beds in AZ are on hold, thanks to YOUR action. But we need to make sure that action is taken immediately to prevent another private prison disaster.
SAY “NO!” TO FOR-PROFIT INCARCERATION!
The Arizona Silver Belt newspaper reported yesterday:
“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.” (“One bidder owns Kingman prison where breakout occurred; Globe prison and others on hold,” Arizona Silver Belt, 8/25/10)
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who contacted the Governor and Director Ryan! Your voices made a difference!
But we cannot let up the pressure until all our demands are met. Please contact the Governor again and make sure she and the state legislature take immediate action to protect us from this irresponsible industry.
What YOU can do….
Contact Governor Brewer:
- Tell her that you are glad that the Department of Corrections has called an immediate halt to all bidding processes involving private prison operators
- Ask that she go a step further and institute a moratorium on new private prison beds until the issue has been thoroughly studied and legislative action taken
- Request that the Legislature immediately hold public hearings to address the problems with for-profit prisons in Arizona
- Suggest that the Legislature also enact other cost-cutting measures that not only save money but enhance public safety, like earned release credits, amending truth in sentencing, and restoring judicial discretion
Governor Jan Brewer
602.542.4331 or 800.253.0883 ph,
Make a comment online at: http://azgovernor.gov/Contact.
**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is. If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.
Why Arizona should SAY NO to for-profit prisons:
1. For-profit prisons have histories of escapes, disturbances, prisoner abuses, financial mismanagement, and other scandals.
The Kingman escapes come on the heels of a riot at the same facility in June in which eight prisoners were injured. A prison run by Corrections Corporation of America in Eloy was recently on lockdown after prisoners from Hawaii rioted over an Xbox video game. When a staff member attempted to intervene, he was severely beaten, suffering a broken nose, broken cheekbones and damage to his eye sockets. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) found a significantly higher rate of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in private prisons (66% more) than in public prisons. Inmate-on-staff assaults were 49% higher in the for-profits.
For specific information on these major problems, please see the attached “Rap Sheets”or go to: http://www.privateci.org/.
2. You get what you pay for.
For-profit prison corporations are primarily concerned about the bottom line and making money for their CEO’s and shareholders. The companies cut corners everywhere they can, but primarily on staff pay and training.
The result is a facility with high turnover rates, where the staff is inexperienced and the prisoners have nothing productive to do. Such a prison is unsafe for the inmates, the guards, and the surrounding community.
Finally, there’s no evidence that private prisons can do it cheaper. Maximus, an independent, reputable research firm, compared cost savings in Arizona's public and private prisons in 2006. It determined taxpayers were spending an estimated $1,526,289 MORE annually on two privately run prisons.
3. Less Transparency and Accountability.
For-profit prison companies are corporations doing the job of government without any of the checks and balances that keep government accountable to the people. In the case of the Kingman escapes, which occurred at 9:00 pm, MTC waited until 10:20 pm to notify The Mojave County’s Sheriff’s Office. Another 80 minutes elapsed before MTC notified state officials with the Arizona Department of Corrections. The media wasn’t alerted until mid-morning the next day, and thus the public was not informed about the dangerous escapees until that time.
There is an inherent threat to democracy when an institution with so much power over the lives of so many individuals is immune to any public accountability.
American Friends Service Committee
Arizona Area Program
103 N. Park Ave., Suite 111
Tucson, AZ 85719
520.623.9141 p/520.623.5901 f