Advocacy Groups Call For A Stop To Building Private Prisons In Arizona

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - 5:02pm
Updated: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - 5:05pm
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin - KJZZ)
Demonstrators advocating money allocated for Arizona prisons be spent on education.

Advocacy groups are calling for Arizona lawmakers to divert money for private prison expansions to education and other social services. Private prisons currently hold nearly a quarter of the state’s prison beds.

Earlier this year, lawmakers allocated about $50 million to increase private-prison capacity to accommodate 2,000 new medium security inmates. There are six private prison facilities throughout the state operated by three different companies.

Samuel Richard is with the social services advocacy group Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition.  

“We will never incarcerate our way to a thriving economy, safe neighborhoods, to healthy families," Richard said. "The governor and legislative leadership think that recklessly spending millions of dollars on new private prisons beds is Arizonans want, but they are wrong.”

The Arizona Department of Corrections has not responded to requests for comment, but said earlier this year that it is anticipating a growing prison population.

Department of Corrections is still in the process of finding the contractor to build or expand a current facility.

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