The Arizona state legislature recently approved a compromise budget negotiated with Gov. Jan Brewer. The budget will:
• Fund 500 state-run maximum security prison beds the state does not need.
• Fund 1,000 private prison beds the state does not need.
• Pay for these prison beds by using $50 million from a mortgage settlement that was intended to provide relief for victims of the foreclosure crisis.
• Block future studies on the quality and cost of public vs. private prisons in Arizona.
Private prisons in Arizona cost millions more than equivalent state-operated prison units. And prison privatization efforts are happening nationwide because the companies getting rich off of these institutions are falsely claiming that states can save money by privatizing their prisons. In fact, there is no evidence that private prisons save money or improve outcomes, but there are many reasons they are a big step in the wrong direction.
Arizona is only special because we have a chance to turn back a major attempt by private prison companies to expand their reach.
Take action now. Tell Gov. Brewer you want Arizona to become a positive example for the country, not another example of unaccountable corporate greed.
Please cancel the Request for Proposals for 1,000 new private prison beds for your state, refuse the offer of the Corrections Corporation of America to privatize state prisons, and hold accountable the current private prisons in Arizona – including those contracted with other states or the federal government – for their failure to protect the lives, and tax dollars, of Arizonians and others.
Arizona is not saving money on prison privatization; in fact it is overpaying an average of $4.7 million dollars a year. In all, private prisons are wasteful government spending.
By taking these steps, you can help make Arizona be a positive example for the country.