Phoenix: A Quaker group that has been following the issue of prison privatization in Arizona will gather supporters at the state capitol to present concrete evidence that private prisons operated by for-profit corporations do not save the state money, are less safe, and are not accountable to taxpayers.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is holding a press conference on Tuesday, February 15th at 11:00am at the State Capitol House Lawn to call on state leaders to cancel their plans to build 5,000 more private prison beds and enact strict oversight and reporting requirements for all private prisons located in or contracted with the state of Arizona.
AFSC Program Director Caroline Isaacs says it is irresponsible for the state to go ahead with its plans to expand privatization of prisons in light of everything that has transpired.
“In the same week that one of the Kingman escapees went to New Mexico to face murder charges, the state of Arizona re-issued an RFP for 5,000 more private prison beds. In the midst of a crippling budget crisis, Arizona is poised to award more multi-million dollar contracts to these corporations with absolutely no guarantee that they save money or are safe for our communities,” says Issacs
The press conference will also feature Maria Vera-Martin, Executive President of Correctional Professional Officers Association/AZCOPS, and Susan Maurer, retired Commissioner of Corrections for the state of New Jersey.
AFSC held a public hearing on October 27th 2010 to gather testimony and research on the issue in an effort to do the “due diligence” they say state leaders have refused to do, in spite of the tragic escapes from the Kingman prison last summer and the resulting murder of a New Mexico couple. Prior to the press conference, AFSC staff and volunteers will deliver copies of the testimonies, with a video clip of the event and background materials, to key legislators and the Governor.
At the press conference, the AFSC will present its findings and report on its meetings with the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s offices in pursuit of their call for investigation into private prison companies’ influence-peddling in state politics.