The Israeli high court found last year that prison privatization inherently set up conditions for the violation of human rights by pitting human need against the profit margin with involuntarily institutionalized people. Thus, private prisons are banned from Israel now.
What is taking us so long to get this right?
Americans incarcerate more of our citizens than anyone else; Arizona is particularly bad. That's deeply disturbing, when you think about it. Are that many of us really all that dangerous, or is some lobby benefiting from others' misery here?
I just don't understand it: no informed representative of the people should contribute to more crime and punishment - that just means more victimization, not less. They should be looking to build something of beauty that heals the community, not something that helps rip us apart.
By Sean Higgins
Casa Grande Dispatch
Published: Friday, June 18, 2010 11:01 AM MST
COOLIDGE — After approval of a special use permit, city officials are waiting hopefully to see if a minimum- and medium-security private prison will be located in town, bringing jobs and revenue.
The permit was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission May 26 and the City Council on Monday.
“I think it’s been without question that the council has fully supported this from the moment we heard about the project, and the fact that we could be a player in the game,” Mayor Tom Shope said. “I’d like to thank all those involved that have helped get us to this point.”
The bid, along with others, is in the hands of state officials, submitted by Utah-based Management & Training Corporation and Hale-Mills Construction.
The state has no time line to adhere to before awarding the contract for the facility to house state inmates. According to Growth Management Director Alton Bruce, the decision likely won’t be made before the first of August.
There are currently no provisions within the city’s zoning ordinance to allow a prison, and to get around that hurdle, city and zoning officials have opted for a special use permit for the prison.
“They’re [special use permits] for projects you don’t necessarily want to allow by right,” Bruce said. “You want to have the ability to have input on a specific proposal that comes to you.”
The rules involved will allow for adequate protection of the surrounding area, according to city officials.
“The special use permit itself is a new provision in the zoning ordinance that allows us to permit, through a legislative action, correctional facilities in agricultural/industrial zones,” Bruce said. “It’s not a rezoning.”
During the council meeting, Chamber of Commerce board members declared the chamber’s official backing, which also included overwhelming support from chamber members, according to Co-Director Lynn Parsons.
“The traffic that a project of this type will produce during the course of construction and permanent employment, once completed, would be an economic shot in the arm for our existing local businesses and could also be a catalyst to stimulate new business growth in our community,” said Tom Bagnall, a member of the chamber board, during the council’s call to the public.
The overall project would be an economic blessing for Coolidge in a stagnant economy, while prison officials have made it clear that they buy locally as much as possible. Up to 800 jobs would be involved.
If construction moves forward, the project will contribute road improvements on Randolph Road and Arizona 87 in addition to the production of a wastewater treatment facility, which would allow for further infrastructure in the area.
If the Arizona Department of Corrections accepts the submitted proposal, a major site plan review process will occur in collaboration with the planning commission, according to city officials.