Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Margaret Jean Plews

This site is to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. If you're unfamiliar with prison abolition, check out Critical Resistance. I'm just a freelance writer and human rights activist, and have no legal training.


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Friday, February 10, 2012



Tell Reps. Weiers and Mesnard to Hear Private Prison Bills!

FACT:  Private prisons in Arizona are not saving the state money

FACT:  Private prisons are not safer or providing better quality than state prisons

FACT:  Private prisons are unaccountable to Arizona taxpayers

Unfortunately, the attitude of state lawmakers is, “don’t bother me with the facts.”

There are 6 private prisons, all operated by Corrections Corporation of America, that are located in Arizona that do not contract with the state.  They take prisoners from other states, like California and Hawaii, and immigrant detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  There is practically no state oversight over these prisons.  Rep. Chad Campbell (D-14) has introduced 6 bills that would impose transparency, accountability, and state regulation onto private prisons in Arizona.

Despite the horrific escapes from the Kingman prison in 2010, recommendations by the Auditor General, and testimony heard by legislative committees, these bills face serious obstacles to passage.  The House Speaker has assigned them to two committees, plus Rules.  The bills must pass out of their first committee by February 17th or they are effectively dead.

The first committee is Commerce.  The Chair is Rep. Jim Weiers and the Vice Chair is Rep. JD Mesnard.  So far, they have refused to put these bills on the agenda for a hearing.

Why wouldn’t they want private prisons to be required to notify the state if there is an incident that threatens public health or safety (HB2204)?
Why wouldn’t they want Arizona to prohibit transfer of serious or violent offenders from other states (HB2204)?
Why wouldn’t they want state monitoring and oversight of private prisons (HB2205 & HB2299)?
Why wouldn’t they want private prison’s records made public (HB 2203)?

Take Action!  Tell Reps. Weiers and Mesnard to HEAR THE PRIVATE PRISON BILLS!

The deadline for bills to be heard in their first committee is February 17th.  CALL TODAY!

Please call, email, or fax the Chair of the House Commerce Committee, Rep. Jim Weiers,;  Phone Number: (602) 926-4173

And the Vice Chair, Rep. JD Mesnard, ; Phone Number: (602) 926-4481

Ask them to put these bills on the agenda for Commerce Committee:

HB 2202 Private prisons; prisoner; facility; limits
HB 2203 Private prison contractors; public records
HB 2204 Private prisons; regulation
HB 2205 Auditor General; private prison monitoring
HB 2206 Private prisons; prisoner transfer; prohibition
HB 2299 Private prison study committee

Private Prisons in Arizona Need Oversight and Accountability Because:

Arizona should have the right to tell private prison companies like CCA that they can’t import dangerous or violent offenders from other states.
Arizona taxpayers are shelling out millions for private prisons every year.  We deserve to know what kind of return we’re getting on our investment.
Prisons are fundamentally about public safety.  
Our communities should be assured that these facilities are safe,
and the public should be notified when there are incidents like escapes or riots.

**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.

Caroline Isaacs,
Program Director,
American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Area Program
103 N. Park Ave., Ste. 111
Tucson, AZ  85719

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