Arizona Silver Belt
The Arizona Republic reported last week that the town of Goodyear will do whatever is necessary to stop a proposed private prison. Goodyear’s Mayor and Council unanimously said NO to the private prison industry. They are willing to sue the State of Arizona if that’s what it takes. Interesting.
Inspiring! The town of Goodyear has a group of elected officials who have conducted due diligence and understand that another big prison in their community would not be a positive development. Goodyear is host to the Perryville Prison, a large state-run facility. Town leaders declared that Perryville was originally supposed to be just one-third its current size. Promises were broken, and the facility has grown to house nearly 3,500 inmates. As with Globe, the town of Goodyear can be thankful that “their prison” is operated by the State of Arizona, instead of a for-profit corporation.
Fortunately for the residents of Goodyear, they do not have to battle their local elected officials. Efforts to stop a proposed prison project are actually being led by the folks elected to represent the people of Goodyear. How refreshing! And, Goodyear can learn a thing or two from the citizens of Globe. If state authority seems too much for Goodyear’s Mayor and Council to deal with — the citizens of Goodyear should take the private prison bull by the horns and subdue the beast. The voice of the majority must prevail in our democracy.
Unfortunately, several Arizona towns are rolling out the red carpet for the private prison promoters. Just like Globe, their elected leaders have been seduced by the empty promises of easy money. There is no free lunch with private prisons. The 2010 Arizona Auditor General Report actually dispelled the myth that private prisons save taxpayer money. One sobering statistic is that 30 percent of Arizona’s 41,000 inmates are doing hard time for a “non-violent” offense. Such offenders could and should be in alternative programs that cost taxpayers far, far less.
Building more prisons in Arizona is very bad public policy. More tax dollars allocated to corrections means less money for education and other vital programs that Arizona citizens need for an improved quality of life. Building more prisons (especially for-profit prisons) is socially indefensible, morally reprehensible, and fiscally irresponsible.
Good luck to Goodyear. Good riddance to private prison promoters.
Globe Resident and