Arizona has enthusiastically embraced prison privatization, with 13% of the state prison population housed in private facilities (the 11th highest percentage in the nation). Motivated by a belief that private enterprise could build and manage prisons safely and at lower cost than the state, the legislature has mandated construction of thousands of private prison beds. Little was done over the years to test actual performance of private prisons or to determine their cost effectiveness.
On October 27, 2011, Judge Arthur T. Anderson ruled in favor of the State of Arizona, and denied AFSC's request the no new private prison contracts be signed before the completion of the required evaluation of the existing system.
Since AFSC filed for an injunction in Arizona to prevent the state from signing contracts for 5,000 additional for-profit prison beds before a legally mandated review is complete, media outlets throughout the state have run stories on the issue.
Arizona Department of Corrections, ASP- Kingman Security Assessment, August 4-6, 2010. Reviews security lapses that led to the escape of three prisoners. Reports that the alarm system “is not functioning properly, is not maintained properly, it is not monitored correctly, and it is not tested properly.” Also refers to the inexperience and lack of training of staff: “Finding staff with 2 or more years of service is rare.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Victoria worked in private practice focusing on removal defense and detention matters. She was formerly an Equal Justice Works Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project where she provided legal representation, pro se assistance and advocated for changes in the conditions of confinement for immigrant men and women detained in Florence and Eloy, Arizona. She served as the executive director of the Florence Project from 2005-2007. Victoria received her J.D.
In the wake of the escapes of three prisoners from a privately-operated prison in August of 2010 and the murder of a New Mexico couple by one escapee and an accomplice, Arizona legislators called for hearings to investigate what went wrong. But no legislative hearings were ever held. In response, through public hearings and exhaustive research, AFSC has done the “due diligence” on prison privatization that the state legislature has refused to do.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.