Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The campaign to pressure former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini to resign from the board of directors of Corrections Corporations of America looks like it's heating up again. We first wrote about the campaign in March when local immigrant rights groups were challenging the lawyer-politician to get rid of his ties to the private prison industry.
Yesterday, a few hundred folks out there in Facebook land woke up to a special treat — an invitation to become FB besties with the CCA board member. Turns out the page is a great resource for folks interested in learning more about Arizona and our state government's love affair with the private prison industry folks. And wow, looky there, the senator has something to say about his own love affair with the industry:
12 hours ago.
Just another long, hard day in the life of a wealthy ex-Senator. Juggling my law firm, real estate company, lobbying firm and position on the Board of Directors of the nation's largest prison company sure is tough. But at the end of the day, if I can look back and know my wallet's a little thicker than the day before, it's all worth it.
I say you better friend the guy, before he gets all shy and this page goes down.
The Facebook page, while all fun and good for you, isn't the only thing happening to continue to pressure the senator to leave CCA. Not only is DeConcini a former U.S. Senator, he's also a member of the Arizona Board of Regents that governs the three state universities. This week, Thursday, Dec. 6, Fuerza, the group organizing the pressure campaign, is asking folks to attend the Board of Regents meeting at the UA at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center.
You can read our story on DeConcini's connection to CCA — Morals Before Profit, but here's a bit of what DeConcini had to say at the time:
"I've been involved in prison reform a long time, and as I explained to the coalition group ... government has failed to provide humane and constitutional standards for prisoners," DeConcini said, adding that private prisons are needed to help states with strapped resources, similar to how the federal government uses contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Last month, the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee issued a report on financial and security issues surrounding private prisons in Arizona (See "No Disclosure," Feb. 23), including CCA. The report also mentions the fact that private prisons do not have to operate transparently and comply with public-records requests.
DeConcini said he hasn't read the report, but he knew that CCA reps reviewed it. "I've been told we have much information that disputes (the report)—not that atrocities have not occurred. When they do, (people) are held responsible."
Regarding transparency issues, DeConcini said: "I'm concerned only that CCA, as any corporation, complies with all of the laws that are required. I'm satisfied from my review that they do. ... We are not a public entity."
Here's more. If you really want to do more than just show up for an action, you know, get your teeth into the issues, connect with the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee. Folks there have dedicated their work to taking on Arizona's private prison industry. Here's a story we did in February on their must-read report.