In case you didn’t know, Arizona has plenty of proof that it is CHEAPER to operate state-owned prisons than private prisons–we know because there USED to be a law demanding the Department of Corrections regularly compare private and public prison costs.
But the 2012 Republican-controlled Legislature REPEALED that law so that we couldn’t see the comparisons anymore. Why? Because the DOC reports showed it is less costly to house inmates in state-run facilities.
But you see, there’s this Republican push to get rid of government and so they ignore these things–or are dishonest and underhanded–so they can shovel public money to their private sector buddies. They’re doing it with private prisons and they’re doing it with private schools posing as “public” charter schools.
We need to stop them and for everyone in Arizona to get wise to what’s going on–especially since Gov. Ducey wants to give DOC a $52 million raise this year, while he slashes education funding for universities and cuts in-classroom funds for real public schools.
If this isn’t fuel on the fire, the Republic is reporting that two of the three private prison companies operating in Arizona–the two that are publicly traded and must report their incomes and expenses–are making record profits. Corrections Corporation of America nearly doubled its profits to $300 million in 2013, while paying its CEO $3.3 million. GEO Group in 2013 made $115 million in profits and paid its chief exec $4.6 million. Management & Training Corp. is privately held and doesn’t have to disclose its earnings, but you wanna bet they’re raking it in, too!
I hope the Arizona Republic publishes the results of the DOC studies on private prisons that were so helpful before the Republicans in the Statehouse couldn’t stand the light of day on their corporate welfare payments to private prison companies. And I hope the Legislature says NO to Governor Ducey’s reckless and costly budget request for DOC.