I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wickenburg/Forepaugh Escape 3,000 Bed Private Prison!

Decision on prison is ‘No’

A $170 million proposed prison project in the Forepaugh area was recently turned down by the Wickenburg Economic Development Partnership.

The partnership includes a number of private businesses that advocate economic growth in the area.

The project, brought to the attention of the partnership by the Arizona Department of Commerce (ADOC), had the potential to employ more than 450 individuals with pay ranging from $30,000 to $40,000.

A private prison company had spoken with the ADOC regarding a 120-acre prison facility that would house 3,000 minimum security inmates. The Forepaugh area was one of the areas pre-selected by the company.

There are a number of private prison companies that act as contractors for various state correctional departments. They build prisons to help states ease overcrowding.

It is not known which company had shown interest in the area. Calls to the ADOC were not immediately returned.

Former Mayor Ron Badowski, who sits as chairman of the partnership, was not happy with the partnership’s decision and wished its members would have at least engaged in a conversation with the ADOC and the prison company.

“We were looking at a $172 million investment and possibly much needed help in infrastructure in that area,” Badowski said. “We are looking at developing an industrial area in Forepaugh and this project would have been compatible with the railroad project we have been working on.”

Badowski said the town would have seen revenues from housing and additional sales taxes. The Wickenburg school district would have even seen an increase in revenues through county property taxes as employees of the prison purchased homes.

Badowski, partnership board member Rome Glover and partnership President/CEO Tim Kanavel were in favor of proceeding with the project.

The remaining board members expressed concerns about having a prison located so close to Wickenburg. A vote was taken, and the partnership told the ADOC to take Forepaugh out of the running.

“The department of commerce only gave us about six days to give them an answer as to whether we wanted to move forward on this project or not,” Glover said. “I was in favor of the project. I am sorry we did not have more time as a group to discuss this issue.”

Some of the concerns included added traffic through the community, communicable diseases being brought into the community, an increase in illegal drugs in the community, and the impact on the image and character of the town.

Glover said he did not see how a prison in Forepaugh would create any hardship for the Town of Wickenburg. He cited the Perryville prison in Goodyear as an example, where the Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa is located just a few miles from the prison.

“Obviously, the Goodyear area has not been hurt by the presence of a prison.”

Apparently the deadline to meet with ADOC on this project has expired and Forepaugh will no longer be in the running for the prison.


I hope every citizen in that area realizes how close they came to becoming a Prison Town (Real Cost of Prisons Comic here), and thanks those members of the Wickenburg Economic Development Partnership who voted the whole idea down.

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