Despite desperate overcrowding and the threat of class action suits for gross medical negligence and the abuse of mentally ill prisoners, Brewer would never have allowed that kind of state prison population decrease to happen in the first place , so this isn't really news - it's propaganda. How could she justify financing 5000 more private prison beds for state prisoners otherwise?
The ones who would have been transferred to local jails would most likely have been from private prisons, which only tend to accept lower risk/custody level prisoners to begin with (the same kind that county jails would be more likely to hold onto, leaving the violent, ill, and other high risk prisoners to the state to deal with). Due to contractual obligations, the state would have then ended up paying for a lot of empty beds (at our expense, of course). The AZ state Regents on the Board of CCA wouldn't stand for that. The legislature would also figure out pretty quick that they could fill them with warm bodies by prosecuting as many of us as they could for felonies over our resistance activities, so be careful out there if those beds start opening up - many of us are already near the front of the line to be auctioned off next.
Anyway, the contract should be awarded any day now, unless it's pulled from the table at the last minute. I frankly don't think the people of this state will allow them all to be built in the end, though - thanks to the work of journalists like Beau Hodai at In These Times, Paul Rubin and Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times, Bob Ortega and Mary K. Reinhart at the Arizona Republic, and Wendy Halloran at KPNX. Thanks also to the ACLU of Arizona for taking them on over detention abuses - and especially to the American Friends Service Committee's staff and legal team for trying to block prison privatization all along the way. Finally, blessings to all the ALEC resisters, especially those who risked being prosecuted to help expose corporate and political collusion at it's finest. It's more clear every day the state is in on a big scam with the for-profit prison industry, and that it's taking its toll on us all, in more ways than one.
----from the Associated Press, as posted at Deseret News---
Brewer seeks end to 2 big cost shifts to counties
Dec. 15, 2011 4:39 PM ET
PAUL DAVENPORT, Associated Pres
PHOENIX (AP) — With Arizona's fiscal picture improving, Gov. Jan Brewer wants to cancel a plan to shift thousands of prison inmates to counties and end another raid on counties' treasuries.
The governor's proposed next state budget would eliminate a planned shift of thousands of prison inmates to counties, Brewer budget director John Arnold said Thursday.
The shift of prisoners sentenced to a year or less in prison would have cost counties tens of millions of dollars beginning with implementation in mid-2012, and county officials said their still-struggling budgets could not absorb the added costs.
Arnold said Brewer also will propose ending cash payments that the state has required the most populous counties to make to help balance the state budget.
The counties' payments total $38 million in the current budget, with the money coming from Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai counties.
Arizona is regaining its fiscal feet after struggling to emerge from a budget crisis that began in 2008 due to the collapse of the homebuilding industry and other job losses. The state has slashed spending for health care, education and other services while resorting to borrowing and raids on special state funds and local governments' money.
"When we see things turning around, it was very rewarding to me to come here to share some good news," said Brewer, a former county supervisor herself.