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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ADC still eager to build those private prisons!

Heads up from the Private Corrections Working Group. Considering the allegations at Saguaro Correctional Center and the Gladiator School that CCA has been running in Idaho all this time, I'd hope more stringent requirements are put into place for protecting those prisoners, including mechanisms assuring transparency so the community can accurately gauge how their prison is performing on all counts.**God only knows what happened at Red Rock in Eloy- there's been a news blackout due to the investigation there.

Just a reminder to those of you still thinking about collectively adopting a prison - the ADC doesn't even tell the public when there's been an escape attempt from a state facility (Christmas Day 2010) or a homicide in one of the prisons. What makes you think CCA/MTC/GEO/et al will tell you what they really do with and to their prisoners, since they have even less accountability to the rest of us - even though those may soon be YOUR prisoners.

The ADC can't basically be trusted to take care of their own prisoners' health and safety needs - or even the plant security - how are they going to do so once they farm the poorest of our prisoners out to profiteers just looking to make a buck off of warehousing incarcerated bodies until they die or grow too old to pose anyone a threat?

Oops? We've had someone locked in here for 35 years who is innocent? Not a fluke, I'm afraid Bill Macumber isn't the only one - there are too many wrongfully convicted people in prison. The ones who are most innocent seem to get the worst sentences, too - for the crime of challenging their case in court, that is. Prisoners are a pretty diverse group, not at all what you think they are from out here. By and large, they are ordinary people who did bad or desperate things. A handful are serious sociopaths, It's really not that hard to tell the difference.
They should never be lumped in together as they are.

You just can't go into this business and keep your hands clean, folks - not even if you just live in town and turn away from all signs of human suffering. It just isn't possible. You will benefit with school books and roads and maybe even an extra legislative seat by propping up the status quo. Meanwhile, many mothers and fathers waste their lives away doing dead time that far exceeds what may have been reasonable for their actual crime. You have to dehumanize them all a bit in order to justify your job of keeping them confined. You have to beleive that the justice system is infallible, too. Pretty soon you'll be believing that anyone who has been criminalized (you won't even care what for) "deserves whatever they have coming to them", no matter how brutal or extra-judiciary that particular penalty is doled out.

It's not the big, bad thugs who get abused in prison, by the way - it's the weaker, more vulnerable prisoner who are extorted, threatened, raped, forced into sex slavery and gang's your 19 year old boy, or 22 year old girl, or 66 year old mother who just couldn't beat her pill addiction after the surgery. And the one who kill themselves tend to be seriously mentally ill already - they should have been sent to a hospital, not a prison where they would be traumatized further.

Think about whether or not that's something you want to pass on to younger generations as the legacy your town has to offer. Will you - they- really be able offer the care necessary for those in your custody? It's more than doing counts and locking doors. The prisoners are at risk these days, by the way, for many of the same reason the staff is. Overcrowding, short-staffing, crumbling facilities, poor policy directives, neglect of the mentally ill, and so on...


Arizona to Re-issue 5,000-bed RFP

Correctional News

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Corrections plans to re-issue a Request for Proposals for the construction and management of 5,000 prison beds in the near future, but it is not yet known when.

“There is no date, but it will be soon,” said the agency’s director of communications Barrett Marson. “We are still trying to figure it out, but we are hopeful that it will be soon.”

The DOC cancelled the original RFP last September in the wake of an investigation into security issues raised by the July escape of three inmates from the privately operated Arizona State Prison-Kingman — a 3,508-bed minimum-to medium-security complex operated by Utah-based firm Management and Training Corp.

The original Arizona RFP resulted in bids from four firms. In addition to MTC, private prison firms Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn.; Emerald Correctional Management Co., based in Lafayette, La.; and GEO Group, based in Boca Raton, Fla., submitted proposals.

The RFP cancellation and overhaul of provisions is designed “to ensure that private prison contractors can meet security and operational requirements and to eliminate or reduce unfavorable occurrences within Arizona’s contracted private prisons,” according to the findings of the investigation. The DOC has four other in-state private prisons under its jurisdiction — ASP-Central Arizona Correctional Facility, ASP-Florence-West, ASP-Marana, and ASP-Phoenix-West.

Future contracts, which will include additional monetary offset provisions and sanctions, will also stipulate enhanced contract performance auditing guidelines, and stringent performance outcome and measurement and reporting requirements. **

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