Arizona: Prison Inc.

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Public hearings on four private, for-profit prisons continue tonight. The Arizona Department of Corrections is moving forward on four facilities. Corrections Corporations of America wants to build two prisons in Eloy; GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut) wants to build a prison in Goodyear; LaSalle/Southwest Corrections wants to build a facility in Winslow; Management and Training Corporation and GEO Group each want to build places in San Luis; and Management Training Group wants to build another in Coolidge.

The next public hearing is in Winslow, tonight, 6-8 pm at the Winslow High School Performing Arts Center, 600 E. Cherry St. The San Luis public hearing includes both proposals and it will be Tuesday, Aug., 6-10 pm at the San Luis City Council Chambers, 1090 East Union St. The last hearing is Thursday, Aug. 18th, 6-8 pm at the Coolidge City Council Chambers, 911 S. Arizona Blvd.

American Friends Services Committee has been organizing carpools to each hearing and getting the information out there that private prisons, well, just aren't the best choice despite the fact that Gov. Jan Brewer and company are all about privatization.

Besides getting in touch with AFSC about carpooling, which you can do here, a must read website that offers some of the most comprehensive information on Arizona's private prison industry is Cell-Out Arizona, a Tucson Citizen blog the AFSC maintains and includes detailed investigations the group has done lately and over the years on issues surrounding private prison corporations.

The latest is on the growing connections between the governor's office and the private prison industry that you can read here.

From Cell-Out:

But Brewer is hardly the only powerful politician in Arizona with ties to this influential industry. A Cell-Out Arizona investigation has revealed that John Kavanagh (R-8), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has accepted numerous campaign contributions from lobbyists and others associated with Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison company and one of the bidders for a contract to build and manage 5,000 new prison beds in Arizona.

Now we know why Kavanagh is such a staunch supporter of private prisons. He appeared last week on Phoenix Channel 8’s public affairs program, Horizon, debating the issue with Rep. Cecil Ash.

In the 2010 election cycle, Kavanagh accepted at least 6 donations from lobbyists associated with Geo Group. According to Beau Hodai’s investigation for In These Times ...

AFSC's Caroline Isaacs will be on All Things Political with Steve Leal today at 12 Noon on 1330 AM The Jolt. Yes, I'll be joining them to discuss how the public hearings are going and why this growing industry is a disaster. You'll learn something.

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