No New Private Prisons in Coolidge!
  • Petitioned Frank Pratt

This petition was delivered to:

Representative
Frank Pratt
Representative
John Fillmore
Pinal County Supervisor
Pete Rios
Pinal County Supervisor
Bryan Martyn
Pinal County Supervisor
David Snider
Senator
Steve Smith
Coolidge Officials
Vice-Mayor
Gilbert Lopez
Councilmember
Steve Hudson
Councilmember
Judy Rotz-Lopez
Councilmember
Les Curry
Councilmember
Jon Thompson
Councilmember
Richard Lister
Mayor
Thomas Shope

No New Private Prisons in Coolidge!

    1. Petition by

      American Friends Service Committee, Arizona

The Arizona Department of Corrections has issued a Request for Proposal to private prison corporations to build 5,000 new for-profit private prison beds in Arizona. Private, for-profit prison corporation Management and Training Corporation (MTC)--the company responsible for the escapes from the Kingman prison last summer--wants to build a new, 3,000 to 5,000 bed prison in Coolidge.

Private prisons are bad for public safety, bad for the economy, and bad for the communities in which they are based.

Private prisons are unsafe. If the Kingman escapes did not prove this point sufficiently, there is a host of federal research data and published media accounts to verify it. US Department of Justice, which found that “Privately operated facilities have a significantly lower staffing level than publicly operated prisons and lack MIS support.” They also report a significantly higher rate of assaults on staff and inmates.

While private prisons enrich shareholders and top prison corporation executives, they do not save taxpayers money or result in economic development. Private prisons are not saving money in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Corrections has done a cost comparison analysis every year since 2005, and the results are consistent. The most recent of these, from 2009, shows that the State paid private prisons $55.89 for each medium-custody inmate per day compared to a daily cost of $48.13 per medium-custody inmate in state facilities.

Despite the claims of private prison corporations, prisons do not encourage economic growth for small rural communities. A study by researchers at Washington State University showed that prisons actually hurt long-term economic growth in small rural communities. And a new report (not yet published) by the same researchers at the Washington argues that privatization places downward pressure on staffing, pay and benefits for all prisons in the state. As a consequence, prisons not only fail to help but appear to harm host communities.

Management and Training Corporation, the company proposing the prison in Coolidge, has long and troubled history. At MTC’s Kingman prison in Arizona, three prisoners escaped in 2010 when they snuck past locked doors, avoided surveillance cameras and sensors, and went unnoticed by guard towers and ground patrol while they cut a hole in some perimeter fencing. A 61 year old couple from Oklahoma who were found dead and badly burned in their camper in New Mexico are thought to have been murdered by two of the fugitives from MTC’s prison while on the run from police. A guard at MTC’s Willacy County Processing Center was recently indicted for sexual assaulting a female detainee. Local media reported detainee complaints that rotten food was allegedly served at that facility. As many as 150 inmates were involved in a disturbance at MTC’s Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility. The fight lasted about an hour before a 20 member tactical unit helped to break it up. 12 inmates and an MTC employee were injured.

The solution to Coolidge’s economic future and well as our state's prison system and our astronomical recidivism rate is not more incarceration, but less. Sentencing reforms have been proven to work in many other states. They save millions of taxpayer dollars and improve public safety by helping to address the issues that lead to illegal behavior--mental illness, substance abuse, and economic insecurity.

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    1. Reached 50 signatures

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    Reasons for signing

    • Maneesh Pangasa YUMA, AZ
      • about 3 years ago

      The Arizona Department of Corrections has issued a Request for Proposal to private prison corporations to build 5,000 new for-profit private prison beds in Arizona. Private, for-profit prison corporation Management and Training Corporation (MTC)--the company responsible for the escapes from the Kingman prison last summer--wants to build a new, 3,000 to 5,000 bed prison in Coolidge. I am writing to oppose allowing new private prisons in Arizona. In fact I think private prisons should be banned nationwide and it be required the cost of running private prisons be publicly disclosed.

      Private prisons are bad for public safety, bad for the economy, and bad for the communities in which they are based.

      Private prisons are unsafe. If the Kingman escapes did not prove this point sufficiently, there is a host of federal research data and published media accounts to verify it. US Department of Justice, which found that “Privately operated facilities have a significantly lower staffing level than publicly operated prisons and lack MIS support.” They also report a significantly higher rate of assaults on staff and inmates.

      While private prisons enrich shareholders and top prison corporation executives, they do not save taxpayers money or result in economic development. Private prisons are not saving money in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Corrections has done a cost comparison analysis every year since 2005, and the results are consistent. The most recent of these, from 2009, shows that the State paid private prisons $55.89 for each medium-custody inmate per day compared to a daily cost of $48.13 per medium-custody inmate in state facilities.

      Despite the claims of private prison corporations, prisons do not encourage economic growth for small rural communities. A study by researchers at Washington State University showed that prisons actually hurt long-term economic growth in small rural communities. And a new report (not yet published) by the same researchers at the Washington argues that privatization places downward pressure on staffing, pay and benefits for all prisons in the state. As a consequence, prisons not only fail to help but appear to harm host communities.

      Management and Training Corporation, the company proposing the prison in Coolidge, has long and troubled history. At MTC’s Kingman prison in Arizona, three prisoners escaped in 2010 when they snuck past locked doors, avoided surveillance cameras and sensors, and went unnoticed by guard towers and ground patrol while they cut a hole in some perimeter fencing. A 61 year old couple from Oklahoma who were found dead and badly burned in their camper in New Mexico are thought to have been murdered by two of the fugitives from MTC’s prison while on the run from police. A guard at MTC’s Willacy County Processing Center was recently indicted for sexual assaulting a female detainee. Local media reported detainee complaints that rotten food was allegedly served at that facility. As many as 150 inmates were involved in a disturbance at MTC’s Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility. The fight lasted about an hour before a 20 member tactical unit helped to break it up. 12 inmates and an MTC employee were injured.

      The solution to Coolidge’s economic future and well as our state's prison system and our astronomical recidivism rate is not more incarceration, but less. Sentencing reforms have been proven to work in many other states. They save millions of taxpayer dollars and improve public safety by helping to address the issues that lead to illegal behavior--mental illness, substance abuse, and economic insecurity.

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    • William Cutts COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
      • about 3 years ago

      Tucson snowbird frequently in your area. Are private prisons are healthy growth industry or a bubble caused by Homeland Security trying to extend itself? Beware! Construction, tax considerations, lowpaying jobs will be moot. Watch what you privatize!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • roma thomas SUNCITYWEST, AZ
      • about 3 years ago

      Private prisons do NOT save money! Their corporate leaders lobby legislators and help write new harsh and nonsensical laws that will insure that their for-profit prisons are kept full. This is a new kind of slavery in America!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Paul Barby TUCSON, AZ
      • about 3 years ago

      This proposal is not only a financial atrocity but a huge humanitarian disaster.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alison Nylund TUCSON, AZ
      • about 3 years ago

      The escapee killing spree last year should have taught us!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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