Jul 20, 2015
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Activists Urge Arizona Governor To Cancel Private Prison Expansion

“What works is getting to the root causes of crime," Isaacs said "You can’t punish your way out of addiction. You can’t punish your way out mental illness. You can’t punish your way out of poverty.”

Other states such as Texas have began to reduce their prison population. Bob Libal, director of the justice advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, points to Texas closing two privately operated prisons in 2013.

Social Justice Hero: Caroline Isaacs

Welcome to our Social Justice Hall of Heroes: once a month we’ll be highlighting someone in the field fighting to end for-profit incarceration and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.

Our Social Justice Superhero for November is Caroline Isaacs, the program director for the American Friends Service Committee office in Tucson, Arizona.  Isaacs began her work with the Quaker organization in 1995, when she was hired on for a one-year internship; she became the Criminal Justice Program Coordinator six years later, and in 2004 moved into her current position.  I had an opportunity to talk with Isaacs last week about her life as an activist and Tucsonian. 


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.


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.


AFSC files suit to postpone Arizona private prison contract


We’ve been following Arizona’s request for proposals (RFP) from private corporations to build 5,000 new private prison beds. We've also documented the cozy ties between many Arizona legislators and prison officials with the private prison industry and its lobbyists.

So, it was welcome news yesterday to see that the American Friends Service Committee, who has been leading a charge against prison privatization in Arizona, has filed suit to postpone the RFP.  Read the AFSC's rationale from their press release after the jump.


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