Hi. My name is John Fabricius and I’m the Executive Director of Arizona for Transparency and Accountability in Corrections or ATAC. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit working in Arizona to create independent oversight of the Arizona Department of Corrections. It’s two these in that I’ve come to you today and ask you to pay attention to a very important issue that’s happening presently with our state government. Currently, there is a request for proposal or RFP out for 2,700 more private prison beds to be established here in the state of Arizona.
The population of the Arizona Department of Corrections over the last two years has decreased by about 10% or about five-thousand individuals have left the Arizona Department of Corrections that have not been back filled with new commitments. That means that we’ve had the lowest prison rate in Arizona that we’ve had in quite a long time. These private prison beds are not necessary. The state does not need them. There is no housing crisis.
There is ample bed space currently and for the near term future. What this is is nothing more than a crony capitalist payback for donations and support in political campaigns. There’s a long storied history between the private prison industry and the upper echelons of our state government. There have been a number of private prison executives who have gone to work in the state government. Currently, our Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is a former Corrections Corporation of America executive.
There have been other very high place private prison executives that have reached the upper echelons of our state government. There is no doubt that the private prison industry drives public policy to creating new contracts for private prisons. This is not based on a societal need. This is not based on a departmental need in the Arizona Department Corrections. This is based solely on paybacks for support in political campaigns.
We have the option right now to stop this. There is hearing at the Arizona Department of Administration on this Thursday regarding this request for proposal, and you need to make your voice known. You’re paying for these beds. These beds come out of premium and they do not render greater public safety. Arizona does not need more private prison bets.
Arizona needs comprehensive reform in the Arizona Department of Corrections. We need investments in programming and rehabilitation and reentry services, and we need to ensure that the public writ large is made safer by our Department of Corrections. The last thing we need to do is give another 25,000,000 dollars of our hard earned tax payer money to corporate interests. In order for a politician or a group of politicians to pay back for campaign support in the past. We need you to reach out today to the Arizona Department Administration and make it known that you do not support the creation of more private prison bets.
Thank you so much for taking this time to watch this video. We look forward to seeing you in the Fight for A Smarter, Safer, more Just Arizona.