December 10: International Human Rights Day.
December 15: Begin 5th Special legislative Session.
December 17: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (Tucson Memorial).
December 18: Sex Workers Outreach Project Protest at the AZ DOC in Phoenix.
The remark near the end about how most communities that house prisons don't even know one is there - that's the reason such horrendous abuse goes on in prisons and other state institutions - they're just set out in the country and ignored by the few people who stand to benefit from their presence: the townspeople, many of whom can't honestly claim ignorance once they start working there.
Those jobs take a toll for a reason - it's not all because the prisoners are so bad. It's the nature of what one has to do - lording the threat of violence over others all day to keep them in a horrible place away from their loved ones. Those are human beings they're talking about storing in their backyard as if it was a toxic waste site...That could be my family member - or even me. I sure hope that if Wickenburg takes on this prison, they do a better job than most towns do. At least they better not plan to pretend it isn't there. That's how people die.
This is where the insidious nature of being a prison town really begins to manifest - when people are deciding what reasons they have for and against it. If they aren't against it already on ethical grounds, they'll be suckered by the pitch they get once CCA comes to town: they have a pretty package all ready to sell. Only solid values and deep roots can withstand the promise of their hard cash in a recession...
December 9, 2009
By Janet DelTufo, Assistant Editor
At least 40 individuals from the Forepaugh area attended a Town Council meeting earlier this week to express their concerns regarding a proposed prison project in their neighborhood.
Three people were chosen by the group to speak to the council about its opposition during the call to the public portion of the meeting, including Elbert Bicknell, Jane Nash and Frank Smith of Private Corrections Institute, an out-of-state organization that works against the private prison industry.
Bicknell spoke about his concerns regarding overall prison safety, rate of pay private prison guards receive, lack of background checks on private prison employees, drugs coming through town and abuse and violence at the prison.
Nash told the council that she has lived in the Wickenburg area for the past 30 years and through most of those years she has promoted tourism in Wickenburg.
“One point I would like to make is that I think tourism would be adversely affected by a prison in our community,” Nash said. “Every city with a prison becomes known as a prison town.”
Nash also said she wanted to address the problem with resources in the area, such as water and fire protection.
“We implore you to listen to us,” Nash said “This is not a complete representation here this evening, and there are many more people concerned about these problems, and we hope at some point to have a hearing with you folks and the CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) people.”
Smith, who referred to himself as the “outside agitator” from Kansas, said he has been studying private prisons for years and that he comes to communities who ask for his help.
“Rather than being an asset to communities, these prisons end up a serious economic drain,” Smith said. “This prison will hurt the community of Forepaugh and adjoining communities. It won’t hurt Wickenburg so much, but it won’t do much for Wickenburg either.”
Then speaking in favor of the prison project was Alan Abare and Rome Glover of the Wickenburg Economic Development Partnership.
“I work in Wickenburg and live in Congress, and the economic partnership believes it is important to note that it is appropriate for people to have concerns,” Abare said. “Anytime there is a new large employer, especially a prison, there is a concern. We are concerned too, and we don’t want to bring anything into the community that will hurt it.”
Abare said most communities that house prisons don’t even know the prisons are there, and that CCA would be starting its prison guards at $15-$16 an hour.
Mayor Kelly Blunt was not in attendance at the meeting, but Vice Mayor John Cook told the contingent that it would get an opportunity to have a meeting with the council at the Community Center at a later date.
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