(FYI: McCluskey and Welch arrested in AZ 8/19/10 post. All escapees back in custody.)
The private prison links in the release below were embedded by me for your reference, not by the AFSC. Contact Caroline Isaacs as listed below for more information from the AFSC-Tuscon office. She knows what she's talking about.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2010
Contact: Caroline Isaacs, (520) 623-9141, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phoenix: The escape of three prisoners from the Kingman prison on Friday July 30, 2010, highlights continuing concerns about the management of state prison facilities by for-profit corporations, according to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
The Kingman facility is run by Management and Training Corporation of Ogden, Utah. MTC also runs the Marana Community Correctional Center, and is one of four prison corporations that have submitted bids to the Arizona Department of Corrections to build and operate up to 5,000 new state prison beds.
This incident comes on the heels of a riot at the Kingman facility in June in which eight prisoners were injured.
The escapes are being blamed on lax security and a failure to follow proper protocol. The prisoners reportedly were able to sneak out of their dormitory and cut through a perimeter fence without being detected.
"You get what you pay for," said Caroline Isaacs, Director of the AFSC's Arizona office. "These for-profit prison corporations are primarily concerned about the bottom line and making money for their CEO's and shareholders." Isaacs charges that 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.
This is not the only Arizona private prison scandal to make headlines recently. 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 incident was the latest episode in a history of violence that has plagued the facility. Two prisoners are facing a possible death sentence inthe fatal beating of another inmate there last February.
These types of incidents are "alarmingly common" in privately operated prisons, Isaacs says, citing patterns of mismanagement, financial impropriety, abuse, and medical negligence. Further privatization of Arizona's prisons will be a financial boondoggle for a cash-strapped state and a nightmare for the host communities, she warns.
"Arizona's legislature needs to take a good look at the track record of these companies before they spend any more of the taxpayers' money on this failed experiment."
The American Friends Service Committee is a non-profit organization that works for peace and justice both nationally and internationally. The Arizona office, based in Tucson, advocates for criminal justice reform.
Background documents available on request:
"Prison Privatization in Arizona," details the number of private facilities in the state and those in other states housing Arizona prisoners. Also provides budget information on the state's expenditures on privatization of prisons.
"Rap Sheets" on the major for-profit prison corporations operating in Arizona, detailing incidents and scandals in their facilities in Arizona and nationwide.