February 12, 2010
Private prison interested in Camp Verde
By Steve Ayers
CAMP VERDE - Mayor Bob Burnside has confirmed that the Corrections Corporation of America has made a preliminary inquiry regarding the construction of a private prison in Camp Verde.
Burnside said he and Town Manger Mike Scannell met on Monday with CCA representative Bill Feldmeier to discuss issues related to zoning and permitting.
"It's an interesting concept that I have begun researching," Burnside said. "At face value it has a massive economic potential, but we will have to see how the public feels about the idea."
CCA had previously proposed a private prison in Prescott Valley. However, those talks did not get past the early discussion stage, according to Feldmeier.
"Right now we are simply asking questions and seeing if the Town is interested in having a discussion," he said.
CCA is one of several companies that operated private prisons making inquiries statewide in response to a request from the State of Arizona to build a 5,000-bed prison.
"The State is doing an RFP [request for proposals] to bring back Arizona prisoners being held in other states and house them in a facility in Arizona, which they believe will be a lot less expensive than transporting them out of state," Feldmeier said.
He said the company has a particular interest in Yavapai County, for several reasons.
"They like Yavapai County. They just like it. They feel it meets their needs of an employment base, employee satisfaction and what I would call 'livability,'" he said.
Burnside said CCA has expressed an interest in property near the county jail facility off Cherry Road and State Route 260.
Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...
This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor 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. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.
Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.
Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.
I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.
In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.
I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.
I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281. firstname.lastname@example.org
until all are free -
MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
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