From Our “Put On Your Feathers, Ese…” Desk

Remember back in 2010 when two escapees from a private prison near Kingman murdered a couple in New Mexico? Our State’s leaders are hoping you don’t.

To recap, the incident at a prison run by Management and Training Corporation (who re-enter our story later) highlighed connections between the private prison industry and the governor’s office and legislative leaders like Andy Tobin and John Kavanagh. It also caused the Department of Corrections to cancel an RFP for a state private prison contract.

Well, it’s back, and tomorrow they announce who will get the contract.

Here’s the funny part: not only does the DOC admit that the number of medium security prisoners is not expected to grow over the next few years, but it actually is more expensive to have private companies house prisoners.

The folks over at the American Friends Service Committee have been tracking this nonsense, and have two posts on it (here and here) over at their blog called Cell Out Arizona.

So, we don’t need the beds, contracting to private industry doesn’t save money, and, as the 2010 incident demonstrated, private prisons are a public hazard. It goes to show how injecting the profit motive into criminal justice can warp priorities.

Five companies are vying for the contract including private prison behemoth Corrections Corporation of America, a company known as La Salle Corrections that runs escape-prone prisons in Texas and Louisiana and…wait for it…Management and Training Corporation, the company that ran the prison that had that infamous 2010 breakout.

It’s hard to see where the public good fits into any of this.

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