Grassroots Leadership Blog

Hump Day Hall of Shame: As Arizona faces firestorm of criticism over private prison contract, ADC moves to privatize re-entry

Co-Authored by Caroline Isaacs, director of the AFSC's Arizona Program in Tucson 

You may have seen a lot of press recently about the announcement that Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) will make this Friday, awarding a contract for construction and management of up to 2,000 prison beds to one of five private, for-profit prison corporations.

Arizona advocates have engaged the support of state and national organizations to oppose Arizona’s planned expansion of its for-profit prison beds.  This week Grassroots Leadership added its name to a letter addressed to Arizona governor Jan Brewer, along with over 50 other organizations, faith leaders, and elected officials in an effort to block the award of a new private prison contract.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Group aims for take-over of Texas state hospital

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

In Texas, where both incarceration and immigrant detention rates soar, we’re accustomed to scrutinizing the state’s privatization efforts of these facilities.  However, there’s a new trend afoot in our state; privatizing state mental health facilities under the guise of cost savings to taxpayers, and Texas is turning over control of these facilities to companies that run for-profit prisons to provide care and safety to our state’s mentally ill population.

The state is currently considering a bid to privatize a state-run psychiatric facility by GEO Care, who promises to save the state millions of dollars a year.  

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Arizona Guarantees Occupancy at More Expensive Private Prisons

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we 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, we return to Arizona, familiar territory for our Humpday Hall of Shame.   Not only did private prison corporations reportedly play a role in driving that's state's harsh anti-immigrant law, now comes a two-part expose on the Arizona Departement of Corrections-contracted private prisons from the American Friends Service Committee.

In Part I of their series, they show that not only do for-profit prisons not save money, but that state officials have known that fact for quite some time.  However state law had mandated that-profit prison corporations show cost savings during the competitive bidding process before a contract is awarded.

In Part II, AFSC shows private prison contracts in Arizona have been amended to  promise 100% occupancy of private facilities.  See excerpts from the report after the jump.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Idaho set to send prisoners out-of-state again?

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we 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 we return to Idaho, a familiar location for the Humpday Hall of Shame.  Back in April, we reported that Idaho, despite a long run of horror stories and lawsuits involving private prison corporations, continues to contract with private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).   CCA operates the Idaho Correctional Center, a facility with a reputation so violent that it has earned the nickname “Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

Now, Idaho is looking to export prisoners to a CCA prison in Colorado.  See more from an AP article after the jump.

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New Leader for Grassroots Leadership

 

Beginning July 1st,  Bob Libal will be Grassroots Leadership’s new Interim Executive Director.

Bob, currently our Senior Organizer, brings with him more than a decade of work around the issues of prison and immigrant detention privatization.  He has worked in leadership positions with Grassroots Leadership for almost ten years, managing some of our most successful program.  Please direct all Grassroots Leadership communication to him at blibal@grassrootsleadership.org.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: NJ Governor Chris Christie & Community Education Centers

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

For today's Humpday Hall of Shame we induct both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and private prison corporation Community Education Centers (CEC). CEC was subject to a three-part expose in the New York Times this week on its half-way houses in New Jersey.

The reports detail a stunningly flawed half-way house system with little-to-no security, prisoners subject to sexual assaults, theft, and murder, and more than 5,000 prisoners who simply walked away from the facility.

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The for-profit corrections corporations' loss is society's gain

"It makes no sense to expel talented young persons who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."
  And with that message, President Barack Obama announced a policy that gives legal status to nearly a million young immigrants who meet the DREAM Act requirements, and, for the moment, stops their deportation and grants work authorization.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Private prison "insanity" in Arizona

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we 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, we return to familiar territory - Arizona.  Earlier this week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a "compromise" budget agreement.  Included in that budget were 500 maximum security state-run prison beds and 1,000 private prison beds.  In fact, Arizona doesn't need more prison beds due to the state's declining prison population.

What's more the budget includes a provision that would remove a requirement to study the quality and cost of public vs. private prisons.  That provision is convenient for the private prison industry after a front-page NY Times report found that private prisons in Arizona were actually costing the state more than public facilities.

If this situation makes you think Arizona is going insane, you're not alone.  See what Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said of the new provision after the jump.

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