Dear SedonaEye.com Editor,
I believe Arizona has private prisons because of large campaign contributions from prison corporations like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America. Then through ALEC, these corporations help write legislation like SB 1070 and three strikes that keeps Arizona’s prison population soaring at an unsustainable rate.
How are private prisons doing compared to the state-run prisons? A recent report by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) showed we overpaid for services between 2008 and 2010 by $10 million.
It took a lawsuit to produce the quality comparison and the results showed more staff turnover, lower staff qualifications and more cases of violence than the state prisons. The main measure of quality is the rate of recidivism, and low and behold, none of the corporations running the private prisons measure this.
The Republican led legislature is now trying to insure that there is no comparison at all having proposed a bill eliminating all future cost and quality reviews for private prisons. According to the AFSC, “The move would ensure that the public would have no way of knowing whether the state’s private prisons are saving money, rehabilitating prisoners, or ensuring public safety.” In addition, the Republican led legislature has killed 10 bills to either bring the private prisons under state standards or to provide oversight where there is none.
The current Arizona legislature will never increase the tax base to support the rising incarceration rates. Beholding to the prison corporations, they will push for more privatization while cutting corporate taxes and claim that the private prisons are good for Arizona. It’s not too hard to guess what they will cut to support these prison corporations… education and healthcare?Bob Lynne Prescott, AZ 928-778-5881