Hawaii, Nevada, California (and maybe soon Puerto Rico) send inmates to Arizona

August 25, 2018
AZ Central

As some states scale back on sending prisoners out of state, Puerto Rico explores contracting with Arizona.

About 40 percent of the private prison beds in Arizona are reserved for inmates brought here from as far as 2,500 miles away.

The nation’s largest private-prison company, CoreCivic, contracts with California, Hawaii and Nevada to house prisoners at two Eloy facilities. In total, 3,559 out-of-state prisoners are currently housed in Arizona.

The situation — which academics have criticized because it limits prisoners' contact with family and friends that can help them re-enter society — was highlighted Wednesday in a viral tweet.

Eric Tong, a Ph.D. student, tweeted that a "majority of Hawaii's incarcerated males" are "locked up at the Saguaro Correctional Center, a for-profit private prison in Arizona."

As of July 31, Hawaii had 1,347 individuals detained in Eloy, and contracts to send about 1,500 to the facility.

Arizona private prisons house even more Californians, a total of 2,014. Nevada contracts for 200 beds at the Saguaro correctional center.

Tong, who described himself as a student and an activist, wrote his series of tweets attempting to connect Hawaiians with a national prison strike. “I wanted to draw a link, a personal connection to the larger social movements to the country,” Tong said.