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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: 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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Dennis DeConcini - Resign from CCA Now

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.

Today's Humpday Hall of Shame inductee is former Democratic Arizona Senator Dennis DeConcini.  DeConcini, who served in the Senate from 1977 until 1995, sits on the board of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

DeConcini's membership on the CCA board makes him complicit in the anti-immigrant actions of CCA.   See what the Fuerza Coalition has to say after the jump.

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Who's pushing private prisons in New Hampshire?

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 go back to New Hampshire to look at who is being paid to push private prisons in the "Live Free or Die State."  They include the current mayor of Concord and several well-connected lobbyists.

According the New Hampshire Business Review, the current Request for Proposals to privatize the state's entire prison system would reach historic proportions:

"Will New Hampshire become the first state in the nation to hand over its entire prison population to a corporation based out of state? And is it in the middle of doing so right now?  The New Hampshire Department of Corrections has put out a request for proposal that would essentially hand over the keys to a future penitentiary to an outside contractor for 20 years. Though the RFP still has to clear several hurdles, four companies have responded with plans to build, and probably run, a new prison for all of New Hampshire's male (and perhaps female) inmates."  ("Proposal under review would put all New Hampshire prisoners in private, for-profit facilities -- the first state to do so," April 6) Read more about Who's pushing private prisons in New Hampshire?

Corrections Corp. of America Pours Money into Idaho Republican Coffers

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 is the second in a two-part piece on the history of the State of Idaho’s contracting with private prison corporations.

Last week 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 the reputation so violent that it has earned the nickname “Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

This week, we will explore a possible explanation for Idaho's continued contracts with private prison corporations in Idaho - campaign contributions to influential politicians in the state.  According to data from InfluenceExplorer.comCorrections Corporation of America has donated more than $119,000 in campaign contributions to Idaho politicians since 2002.   GEO Group donated another $14,400 in just two election cycles - 2006 and 2008.  See who has profitted the most from this lobbying money after the jump. Read more about Corrections Corp. of America Pours Money into Idaho Republican Coffers

All Eyes on Crete, Illinois, As Senate Takes Steps Against Privatization of All Prisons and Detention Centers

Grassroots Leadership applauds the passage of Illinois SB 1064, which would prohibit the state from contracting “…with a private contractor or private vendor for the provision of services relating to the operation of a correctional or detention facility." The bill passed in 34-17 vote, and now  goes to the Illinois House.

In 1990, the State of Illinois banned most privately run detention centers and prisons through its Moratorium Act, which passed with bipartisan support.  The law has kept private prison giants like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group out of the Land of Lincoln ever since.

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Idaho's "Gladiator School" problems & history of private prison abuses

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 is the first in a two-part piece on the history of the State of Idaho's contracting with private prison corporations.

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.  Here's the latest story:

"Guards at a private prison instigated - and watched - a gang fight that left him brutally beaten and unconscious, says a man who claims that Corrections Corporation of America guards "foster" brutality between inmates, and conceal injuries in the prison's "in-house" medical center. Jacob Clevenger sued Corrections Corporation of America, CCA Western Properties, and Philip Valdez, warden of the CCA's Idaho Correctional Center, in Federal Court." ("Brutality alleged at private prison," Courthouse News, March 26)

As we reported in November, Clevenger's accusations are not the first at the Idaho Correctional Center.  In fact, the facility has a reputation as being one of the most violent correctional facilities in the nation, earning its nickname “The Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

Read more about Idaho's "Gladiator School" problems & history of private prison abuses

An Eye on Crete

Just a few years ago, as Illinois folks scratched their heads about a privatized Chicago Skyway, for-profit parking meters, parking lots and more, there was real confidence that even though the move towards privatization was strong, prisons and detention centers would be safe because of the Private Correctional Facility Moratorium Act.

In 1990, the State of Illinois, with bi-partisan support, banned most privately run detention centers and prisons through the Moratorium Act.  The law has kept private prison giants Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group out of the Land of Lincoln.  Read some of the text of that bill (730 ILCS 140/2) (from Ch. 38, par. 1582) after the jump.

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Bi-partisan support kills prison privatization sweetheart deal in Florida

On Valentine's Day the Florida state Senate killed Senate Bill 2038: Privatization of Correctional Facilities, which would have instigated the largest mass privatization of prisons in the nation's history. Private corrections corporations gave Florida lawmakers almost $900,000 in the last campaign cycle. Florida lawmakers pulled out all the stops - trying to bypass both public and media scrutiny - to get it passed. In an extraordinary move, nine Republicans broke ranks, defied their leadership and joined with their Democratic colleagues to stop the bill.

SB 2038 was fast tracked through the Senate. Despite powerful testimony against the bill in the Rules Committee, it was rushed through to the Budget Committee - circumventing the committees that would ask the hard questions about this legislation.  Senate President Mike Haridopolos thought he had the votes he needed.  But a second reading saw a handful from his own party questioning the bill.  And it all fell apart.

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Which Republican Candidates Do Private Prison Corporations Support?

Welcome to the Humpday 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.

With the political world buzzing with Iowa caucus results, we thought we'd explore which Republican presidential candidates had received campaign contributions from private prison corporations.  See what we found after the jump, via data obtained at TransparancyData.com.

Read more about Which Republican Candidates Do Private Prison Corporations Support?

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