Welcome to The Humpday Hall of Shame – every Wednesday we’ll highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.
This week’s Hall of Shame inductee is Charles Ryan, current Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) director. Ryan is currently charged with deciding which for-profit prison corporation will win the State of Arizona’s RFP for 5,000 additional for-profit prison beds.
Ryan is also the former Deputy Director of Corrections under former Arizona DOC head Terry Stewart who headed the agency in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Stewart is currently acting as a consultant for Management and Training Corporation, one of four private prison corporations attempting to secure a contract under the bid for the new private prisons. In fact, Stewart has reportedly been at all five community hearings debating bids on the State of Arizona’s RFP over the past month. (Stewart himself was our Humpday Hall of Shame inductee last week.) During their time together at the DOC, dissatisfied correctional officers referred to Stewart as “The Emperor” and Ryan as “Darth Vader,” according to an article in the Phoenix New Times (“The Vampire Strikes Back,” August 8, 2002).
And, Ryan's connections to Management and Training Corporation don't stop there. MTC’s former Director of Correction Business Development, Lane McCotter recruited Ryan for a consulting job in Iraq. There Ryan helped set up that country's prison system after the American invasion. His duties included visiting facilities like the infamous Abu Ghraib where Ryan consulted several times in 2003 and 2004.
So, Ryan is now in a position to award a lucrative (and largely unneeded) for-profit prison contract to a company represented by his former boss Terry Stewart and whose former executive recruited you to your previous job. Who exactly is watching the henhouse again?