Grassroots Leadership Blog

Humpday Hall of Shame: Arizona State Representative Debbie Lesko

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.

This week’s inductee is Arizona State Representative Debbie Lesko.  Lesko, (R), District 9, not only serves the State of Arizona and her constituents as Vice Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and as a member of the Rules Committee, she is the Arizona public sector chairwoman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  For those of you who are unfamiliar with ALEC, it helped author of Arizona’s SB1070, Arizona's tough new immigration law (read more at NPR).

ALEC’s Board boasts members from Bayer, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Reynolds
, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, Energy Future Holdings, PhRMA, Kraft Foods
, American Bail Coalition, Pfizer, Reed-Elsevier, DIAGEO, AT&T, Peabody Energy, Koch Brothers, Altria Client Services, Exxon Mobil
, Salt River Project, Amoco, Chevron, Coors Brewing Company, Shell, Texaco, Chlorine Chemistry Council, Union Pacific Railroad, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Waste Management, Philip Morris Management Corporation and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.  Koch Industries has been a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council for more than twenty years.

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Texas Groups Deliver Letter Opposing "Secure Communities" Immigration Enforcement Program to DHS Task Force

Contact:  Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership, (512) 971-0487, blibal@grassrootsleadership.org

For Immediate Release: August 9th, 2011

Travis County Groups Deliver Letter Opposing Controversial Immigration Enforcement Program

Coalition Calls for Halt to Secure Communities Program at Dallas Task Force Hearings

Austin, Texas - A coalition of 18 Travis County civil and human rights groups today will deliver a letter to a Department of Homeland Security Task Force meeting calling for the termination of the controversial immigration enforcement program "Secure Communities."  A PDF of the letter is available here. Read more about Texas Groups Deliver Letter Opposing "Secure Communities" Immigration Enforcement Program to DHS Task Force

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.

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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.

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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: Read more about Op. Streamline swells Latino representation in federal prison system

Judge Bernardo P. Velasco criticizes Operation Streamline, calls policy “maddening” and ineffective

Last week, the National Catholic Reporter ran an insightful and critical article on the impact of Operation Streamline (“A ‘maddening’ system, from courtrooms to shelters,” July 1st) in Tuscon, Arizona.  The article starts with a typical description of the kind of “justice” provided under Streamline: Read more about Judge Bernardo P. Velasco criticizes Operation Streamline, calls policy “maddening” and ineffective

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