Grassroots Leadership Blog

Humpday Hall of Shame: Arizona's John Kavanagh

Welcome to The Humpday Hall of Shame - every Wednesday we'll be high-lighting  the private prison industry's influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

Our inaugural Hall of Shame inductee is Arizona State Representative John Kavanagh.  Kavanagh is the Chair of the powerful Arizona House Appropriations Committee and outgoing Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which earlier this year approved an RFP for 5,000 new private prison beds in Arizona.  Kavanagh also appeared on Arizona Public Television recently debating in favor of privatization.

And, guess what?  Kavanagh has deep ties to the private prison industry!  Some of those ties are to private prison corporation GEO Group, according to a story at the Tuscon Citizen ("Arizona’s Private Prison Pay-To-Play Scandal Widens: Chair of House Appropriations Committee Appropriated by Geo Group," July 20).  Read an excerpt from the article after the jump.


Video of Notorious Texas Private Prison Auction

SOLD: Five one-story air-conditioned buildings constructed of concrete block with a brick veneer and pitch seamed metal roofs with a capacity of 383 inmates in 5 housing pods, complete with dayrooms and other amenities. The buildings are contained behind a strengthened perimeter of double fences with an electronic shaker detection system and eight video surveillance cameras. Approximately 10 acres are contained within the fence. The facility also has a freestanding gymnasium, maintenance shed, armory and parking lot.

The Billy Clayton Detention Center was sold last week for $6 million to an anonymous buyer in an auction conducted by Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auction.


Op. Streamline swells Latino representation in federal prison system

More Latinos are going to prison, and not because they are committing more crimes than they did in the past.

That’s the analysis behind an Associated Press (“More Hispanics go to federal prison,” June 4) article last month.  The reason appears to be precisely the subject of this blog: Operation Streamline is driving more Latino immigrants into the criminal justice system and ultimately into federal prisons: [node:read-more:link]

TRAC numbers confirm shift towards immigration prosecutions

A newly released report from TRAC shows what this blog has documented since its inception – a massive increase in the use of federal criminal prosecutions for border-crossers in districts along the border.  Previous to Operation Streamline, most border-crossers would have been deported, but not criminally prosecuted.

Now, we are seeing record prosecutions for immigration violations while national prosecutions of other felonies have actually declined.  According to the report from TRAC: [node:read-more:link]