Tuesday, July 7, 2015
In 2013, the state legislature repealed a statute that previously required the Department of Corrections to conduct cost and quality comparisons of public and private prisons. This and other oversight measures might have prevented this latest tragedy.Arizona House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer issued this statement. He really wonders whether Ducey will fix any glitches there are in the system, since his campaign "received more than $10,000 in contribution from lobbyists and political committees with ties to the private prison industry."
The riots in the MTC prison represent more than a costly blunder—they are a betrayal of the public’s trust. Our state leaders have handed over control of this critical public safety function to corporations that put their shareholder’s interests ahead of ours. We cannot afford to make this mistake again.
In 2012, Republicans repealed a state law requiring a comparison of state and private prisons every two years to ensure that private prisons provide the same quality of services as state prisons at a lower cost. Although this official comparison is no longer available, the multitude of security breaches paints a dire picture. Despite these public safety issues, Republicans passed a budget this year that will spend millions of tax dollars on 1,000 new private-prison beds in 2016 and potentially 1,000 more in 2017.The state Legislature/Ducey budget butchered funding for education, but gave the Arizona Department of Corrections an additional $39 million.
The for-profit, private prison system is not working, and I question the governor’s ability to reform this system when his campaign received more than $10,000 in contributions from lobbyists and political committees with ties to the private prison industry. This seems like a conflict of interest and presents some serious concerns about both safety and responsible use of taxpayer money.