Friday, March 2, 2012

AZ Finds Private Prisons Don't Save Money, Are More Dangerous

I apologize for being so late on this; there are actually a few stories I'm behind on and I'll try to catch up as much as possible.

A report was just released by the American Friends Service Committee in Arizona that found private prisons actually cost the state more to operate than their government-run counterparts.  In just three years (2008-2010), the state spent $10 million more on private prison beds than it would have cost them to just operate the prisons itself.  The state for some reason loves private prisons, having previously tried to privatize its entire correctional system.  The state was also the first place that an iteration of the "Breathing While Brown" law (that ALEC-written handout to private prison companies) was introduced  It is currently seeking 2,000 additional private prison beds, which would cost $6 million more than beds the government could operate.  And this comes at a time when the state's prison population is actually decreasing.  It is also looking to outsource medical and mental health care to private, for-profit providers, for as many as 34,000 prisoners; that segment of the private prison industry suffers from all the problems inherent to the profit-driven world of incarceration.

The report was conducted because the state has consistently failed to conduct analyses of private prisons, even though there is a state law mandating that it do so. After years of ignoring calls to produce such a report, the state finally finished one in January of this year, which, surprise surprise, found private prisons to be more expensive

This new report by the AFSC also found that private prisons are more dangerous, and experience higher levels of "disturbances" (prison parlance for riots/violent incidents), many of which were never reported to the public.  In fact, the state exempts private prison companies from reporting such information that is required of government-operated prisons, shielding them from accountability for all the terrible things they let happen.  The report by AFSC noted that these instances were likely under-reported, and that the public has very little access to vital information concerning the operation of prisons in Arizona.

So you would think with all this information; that private prisons cost considerably more to taxpayers, that they consistently fail to operate prisons safely and securely, that the state's political system would bring the hammer down and start to hold private prison operators more accountable for the millions in taxpayer dollars they benefit from, if not abolish the industry altogether.  But, this is Arizona.  The state legislature released a budget bill that still provides funding for private prisons, and actually eliminates the requirement for cost-comparison studies of public vs. private prisons that brought about the first report (by the state).  Talk about burying your head in the sand.


  1. WOW! This wasn't a surprise... To think that AZ was HOODWINKED like this and FLORIDA was almost as well...

  2. yeah arizona wasn't the first, and i'm sure they won't be the last, to find out that the promises of cost-savings offered by private prisons rarely if ever materialize

  3. The recent riot in CCA's Miss prison involved 300 inmates who murdered an officer and injured scores of inmates before outside agencies had to go in and asst the prison sort team to put down the riot and take back the prison were 25 people were taken hostage. Officers were forced to work OT, and turn-over was another factor. Inmates told the federal authorities that there was small food portions served, and the food sucked. They stated that officers were rude,ignorant, and not trained porperly. There was staff shortages and turn-over which is an old story but the same story with many of the private prisons CCA manages. Their immigation contract is sad because CCA officers treat the illegal immigrants badly especially if they are Islamic, and mind you these illegals had not committed any crimes, they were just here illegally. Again CCA has been putting millions in the hands of some federal connected people who get CCA these contracts. CCA is profiting from the illegal immigrant situation in the US which is made out to be worst then it is, just to justify awarding billions in contracts to these private prison whores! This is the reason for the gov of Arizona to try and pass laws targeting Hispanics that the state cannot legally do, because the FEDS are the only ones empowered to deal with immigation. Brewer als replaced some Parole board members who have granted clemency to some inmates which means less incarcerated inmates for the private sector she whole heartly supports. There is a saying WHEN YOU SEE THE DEED, LOOK FOR THE MOTIVE and I found one here in Arizona...