ARIZONA
 HALL OF SHAME


If you find our website useful, please consider sending us a contribution!!!

PCWG, 1114 Brandt Drive, Tallahassee FL 32308

 


A. B. S. R. A.  Kid's Boot Camp 
Maricopa, Arizona
America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association
October 11, 2007 Arizona Republic
A Phoenix man and other parents whose children died at boot camps for troubled youths gave wrenching testimony before Congress on Wednesday, urging other families to avoid enrolling teens in such programs until there is more oversight of them. Bob Bacon of Phoenix recounted how his 16-year-old son, Aaron, died at a wilderness camp in Utah in the 1990s. "We were conned by their (the camp's) fraudulent claims and will go to our graves regretting our gullibility," Bacon told members of a House committee. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, also announced it has identified thousands of allegations of abuse, some involving death, at boot camps since the early 1990s. It cataloged 1,619 incidents of abuse in 33 states in 2005. "Buyer, beware," said Greg Kutz, who led the GAO investigation. "You really don't know what you're getting." Kutz said the GAO closely examined 10 closed cases where juveniles died at residential treatment camps. In half of those cases, the teens died of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Other factors were untrained staff, inadequate food or reckless operations, the GAO said. Five of the 10 camps are still operating, some in different locations or under new names. "Ineffective program management played a key role in most of these deaths," Kutz testified before the House Education and Labor Committee. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who chairs the committee and requested the investigation, has sponsored a bill designed to encourage states to enact regulations. "This nightmare has remained an open secret for years," Miller said in a statement. "Congress must act, and it must act swiftly." The death of Bacon's son was one of the 10 cases studied by the GAO, but not the only one with an Arizona connection. The sample cases did not include names, but some were identifiable through news reports. One was the death of Anthony Haynes, 14, at the American Buffalo Soldiers boot camp in Arizona in 2001. One of the state's most high-profile camp deaths was that of Nicholas Contreraz, a 16-year-old Sacramento youth who died in 1998 while being subjected to discipline at the Arizona Boys Ranch near Queen Creek. Bob Bacon's account was among those Wednesday that outraged House committee members. Bacon said Aaron was sent to the camp because of minor drug use and poor grades. The father said he was fooled by the owners of the Utah facility into believing his son would be well cared for. Instead, Aaron was forced to hike eight to 10 miles a day with inadequate nutrition and was not given protective gear to withstand freezing temperatures, Bacon said. When Aaron complained of severe stomach pains and asked for a doctor, his pleas were ignored even though he had dramatically lost weight and suffered from other serious symptoms, Bacon testified. According to court documents, the boy's condition was ignored for 20 days, until he collapsed. The autopsy showed he died of an acute infection related to a perforated ulcer. Five camp employees pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, and another was convicted of child abuse. All were sentenced to probation and community service. Kutz testified that camp employees studied by the GAO were often poorly trained. He said kids weren't properly fed and were exposed to dangerous conditions, their cries for medical assistance ignored. He said that in only one of the 10 sample cases was anyone found criminally liable and sentenced to prison. The residential programs, designed to instill discipline and character, can be privately run or state-sponsored programs and sometimes include an educational or school-like component. They are loosely regulated by states. There are no federal laws that define and regulate them. The programs are marketed to parents who are at a loss as to how to help emotionally troubled teens, Kutz said. Jan Moss, executive director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, a trade group, said many kids have been helped by the treatment programs. She said the industry is taking steps to improve, but she added, "Clearly we still have a very long way to go." Kutz said there is no comprehensive nationwide data on deaths and injuries in residential treatment programs. Auditors found thousands of allegations in lawsuits, Web sites and state records. "Examples of abuse include youth being forced to eat their own vomit, denied adequate food, being forced to lie in urine or feces, being kicked, beaten and thrown to the ground," Kutz said, adding that one teen was reportedly "forced to use a toothbrush to clean a toilet, then forced to use that toothbrush on their own teeth." At the boot camp where Anthony Haynes died, children were fed an apple for breakfast, a carrot for lunch and a bowl of beans for dinner, the GAO said. Haynes became dehydrated in 113-degree heat and vomited dirt, according to witnesses. The program closed, and the director, Charles Long, was sentenced in 2005 to six years in prison for manslaughter. The autopsy on Nicholas Contreraz showed that after Boys Ranch staffers punished and humiliated the teen for days, he suffered from a severe infection in the lining of his lungs. Five employees were charged criminally, but all counts were dropped. The ranch now operates under the name Canyon State Academy. Julie Vega, Contreraz's mother, recently told The Arizona Republic, "I feel like he was sacrificed, and some good things changed for the better because of him. But nobody really paid a price for his death."

May 24, 2005 AP
The director of a boot camp where a teenage boy died in 2001 was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison. Charles Long, director of the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association boot camp, could have been sentenced to up to 27 years in prison, but Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Ronald Reinstein sentenced him to six years. During the hearing Tuesday, Long apologized to the family members of Anthony Haynes, the youth who died at the "tough love" camp in July 2001. Prosecutors accused Long of abusing his power.

January 4, 2005 Arizona Republic
Charles Long, who operated a tough-love boot camp in the desert near Buckeye, was convicted Monday of reckless manslaughter in the 2001 death of a 14-year-old camper. Long also was found guilty of aggravated assault for threatening another youth with a knife. The jury deadlocked on eight counts of child abuse related to other campers who were reportedly forced to sit in the sun without adequate water as discipline. Melanie Hudson, the mother of Anthony Haynes, who died while in Long's care at the camp, broke down in tears when the verdicts were read. Afterward, Hudson said she was pleased with the jury's verdict. "It's a difficult thing to do," she said. "It won't bring Tony back." Long wore the military-style uniform of the organization he founded, America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association, as he anxiously awaited the verdict in the hallway of Maricopa County Superior Court. "There was never any doubt as to the guilt on count one," said Myrna Lee, the only juror who would comment. "It was the level of guilt." The jury believed testimony that Long held a knife to the chest of a camper named Nicholas Conner and threatened to "gut him like a fish."

November 5, 2004 Arizona Republic
A distraught mother told a Maricopa County Superior Court jury Thursday how her son's emotional problems drove her to seek help from a tough-love boot camp where he later died.
Melanie Hudson testified in the trial of Charles Long, who is charged with second-degree murder in the 2001 death of Hudson's 14-year-old son, Anthony Haynes. "With the medicines he was taking, he needed water," Hudson said, "lots of water."

October 20, 2004 Arizona Republic
An adult who attended the tough-love boot camp where a teen died in 2001, painted a grim picture of the boy's death for the jury in the murder trial of Charles Long. Long, 59, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Anthony Haynes, 14, a camper attending Long's America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactor's Association "summer endurance camp" near Buckeye in June and July 2001.
Troy Hutty pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in Haynes' death, and was promised a sentence of probation if he testified in Long's trial. On July 1, 2001, Hutty said, Haynes began acting erratic while sitting in the sun in a "drop on request" or DOR line, because he wanted to leave the camp. Hutty claimed that Haynes ate dirt and refused to drink or wash out his mouth with water. "He had dirt in his mouth and dirt in his teeth," Hutty said. "I tried to give him water to rinse it out." Then Haynes ran around the campsite "screaming and making a bunch of crazy sounds" and doing what Hutty called "Three Stooges antics," striking others, hitting himself in the face and smearing dirt on himself. When Haynes later appeared to go into convulsions, Hutty claimed he went to put a pen in the child's mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue. According to Hutty, Long then told Hutty to take Haynes and four other boys to a nearby hotel to shower. They carried Haynes to a pickup truck and placed him in the bed, then carried him up to the room. He was now unresponsive and started vomiting dirt and stones in the room. Hutty and the boys undressed him and placed him in the shower. When Hutty checked on him, the shower drain had clogged with the vomit, though he claimed that Haynes' face was above water. Then he said he used his foot to put pressure on the boy's stomach to force out more dirt and stones. Hutty said that he didn't call police because, as a Black man from Philadelphia, he didn't trust them. Instead he called Long, who told him to bring the boy back to camp. When he got there, Haynes' pupils were dilated, and Hutty and Long began performing CPR, but Haynes died.

October 9, 2004 Arizona Republic
For breakfast, campers got an apple. For lunch, a carrot, and for dinner, a bowl of beans. In between, they were put through "physical training" in the desert scrub southwest of Buckeye. On the fifth day, some - those who wanted to leave - were forced to sit in the sun, maybe for hours. Did I mention it was July? Did I mention that they were wearing black sweat suits?  Did I mention that these campers were kids and that one of them died? What went on at the summer endurance camp run by Chuck Long during the summer of 2001 was an outrage. It's shocking that Long had those kids out there in the desert in July - and that parents allowed it. It's a full-out tragedy that a 14-year-old boy died. But was it really murder?
Anthony Haynes had troubles, as kids sometimes do. His mother was looking for help. Unfortunately, she found Chuck Long. The ex-Marine ran boot camps. On July 1, nine kids, kids who wanted out, were forced to sit in the sun. Anthony was one of them. No one really knows how long they endured it. There were reports that Anthony was denied water. Eventually, he collapsed and was taken to a motel to cool off, at Long's direction. The staffer who drove him, caring soul that he was, dumped the boy in the tub and proceeded to watch TV. By the time he checked on Anthony, the boy was drowning. The staffer, Troy Hutty, called Long to complain that Anthony was faking and Long ordered them to return. By the time they arrived, Anthony Haynes was dead. Now, Long is on trial, charged with second-degree murder and child abuse. And who wouldn't want to see this guy punished? Maybe even dressed in black sweats and dumped out there in the desert. But I've got to ask: Was it really murder? Negligence, sure. Manslaughter, maybe. But murder? Hutty - the man who put the boy in a tub and left him - was allowed to plead guilty to negligent homicide in exchange for testifying against Long. As a reward, he'll get probation.

October 8, 2004 Arizona Republic
Charles Long went on trial Thursday in the 2001 death of a 14-year-old boy at the tough-love boot camp he ran in the desert west of Buckeye. Long, who said he has been to court 47 times over the case to date, said during a break in the trial that "my bottom line right now is I'm ready for the truth to be told." Long, 59, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Anthony Haynes. He also faces eight counts of child abuse and one count of aggravated assault stemming from the weeklong, military-style boot camp run by Long's America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association. Deputy County Attorney Mark Barry detailed the events of July 1, 2001. Haynes was among several kids who stood on a "Drop on Request" line in 112-degree heat to get permission to leave the program. Barry could not say how long they were in the line - 30 minutes or several hours. According to Barry, Long had said, "Kids who slash their mothers' tires don't deserve any water," a reference to some of the trouble the youth had gotten into before being placed in Long's care. Haynes, who weighed 205 pounds, reportedly started acting erratically, eating dirt, refusing to drink water and eventually collapsing in convulsions. According to Barry's account, Long ordered that the boy be taken to a nearby hotel, where he had rented a room so that the campers could bathe. Troy Hutty, the father of two campers who also was acting as a camp staff member, took Haynes and other youths to the hotel. They carried Haynes to the second floor, allowing his head to strike the steps, undressed him, placed him in the bathtub, turned on the shower and left him there unsupervised, Barry said.
Some time later, they discovered the boy facedown in the water; the tub drain was plugged with dirt or other debris. They then took the lifeless boy back to camp and called 911.

March 27, 2002
Lawmakers are moving closer to a crackdown on unregulated boot camps that dish out "tough-love" discipline to wayward teens.   The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would force boot camp owners to get state certification.   Calls for regulation started last summer after 14-year-old Tony Haynes died while participating in an unregulated boot camp run by the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association.   Rep. Deb Gullett, who sponsored House Bill 2610, said boot camps and wilderness programs have become a multibillion-dollar industry around the nation, with quality and price varying wildly.   "Some of these programs are wonderful," said Gullett, R-Phoenix. "But many are outright frauds. We want to make sure our state doesn't become a haven for unscrupulous operators who are preying on desperate parents."   Gullett said one camp that has been kicked out of Ohio and California has relocated to Arizona and charges $25,000 to treat a troubled teen.  (The Arizona Republic)

February 23, 2002
An innocent plea was entered Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court for the director of a tough-love boot camp who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of a 14-year-old boy.   Charles Long, who was arrested last week and also is accused of child abuse and aggravated assault, said he couldn't afford a lawyer and requested a public defender. The request was granted.   Tony Haynes died July 1 at a Buffalo Soldiers summer camp after being forced to stand for hours in 111-degree heat in the desert camp near Buckeye and nearly drowning in a motel bathtub 10 miles away, according to Maricopa County sheriff's detectives.   Two other supervisors at the same camp were arrested and accused of abusing children. One has pleaded guilty.  (azcentral)

February 21, 2002
A former corporal at a tough-love boot camp pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of negligent homicide in the death of a 14-year-old Phoenix boy last summer.   Troy A. Hutty, 29, also agreed to cooperate with authorities in the prosecution of other camp leaders, including Charles Long II, the director of the Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association.   Long was arrested last week on second-degree murder and other charges relating to his administration of the boot-camp program.  (azcentral)

July 15, 2001
The boot camp near Buckeye where 14-year-old Anthony Haynes died July 1 is Arizona's fourth such program to be shut down in three years, the second following the death of a child.  Across the country, at least 18 children in such programs have died.  Five of those deaths occurred in Arizona.  Boot camps in at least eight other states have been closed or overhauled after allegations of abuse.  Oregon lawmakers have ordered regulations for youth programs, following the death last year of Eddie Lee, 15, at a privately run boot camp.  The boot camp where Anthony Haynes ate dirt and stood in the sun for hours was not licensed by the state.  The Arizona Department of Economic Security, which regulates some rehabilitation programs for children, does not license boot camps or any program that uses corporal punishment.  Anthony was in a program run by Charles Long of the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association.  Its handout calls the boot camp "A NO NON-SENSE - IN YOUR FACE - TOUGH LOVE operation."  The California Department of Corrections closed its boot camp in 1997.  Georgia overhauled its boot camp after a 1998 investigation found it overcrowded and dangerous.  In December 1999, Maryland closed two boot camps after reports of staff members punching teens.  Also in 1999, Alabama briefly closed a boot camp after reports of abuse.  In Arizona, the boot camp where Haynes died has been closed, through perhaps only temporarily.  The Arizona Boys Ranch in Oracle was closed in 1998 after Nicholaus Contreraz, 16, died of a lung infection there after being forced to exercise.  Another boy drowned while trying to escape in 1994.  "If you don't monitor them closely, it is easy for an abusive situation to occur," said Steve Meissner, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.  In 1998, after two years, his agency shut its boot camp at the Black Canyon Detention Center north of Phoenix.   (The Arizona Republic)

Aire Filter Products, Arizona
Aramark

September 1, 2004
Federal agents arrested nine Mexican nationals Tuesday and accused them of working illegally at a Mesa plant that manufactures military helicopters.  The workers, whose names were not released, were contract employees of Aramark and Aire Filter Products, subcontractors at the Boeing plant.  (The Arizona Republic)

Arizona Department of Corrections
Cell-Out Arizona Exclusive: Documents Show Arizona Officials Knew Private Prisons Weren’t Saving Money: Cell-Out, July 24, 2012. Must read on how corrupt the system is. Documents recently obtained by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) show that the state of Arizona deliberately circumvented and ultimately repealed a state law requiring private for-profit prison corporations to demonstrate cost savings in their bids on new prison contracts.
Arizona's Private Prisons: A Bad Bargain: April 4, 2012, Sasha Abramsky. This article appeared in the April 23, 2012 edition of The Nation. Expose on the cost games played by the state.
Arizona prisons in health-care quandary: February 16, 2012, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on for-profit health providers
Top Ten Industry Lies: Cell Out Arizona, August 22, 2011
2010 escape at Kingman an issue for MTC’s bid: August 11, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on MTC
La. firm says prison escapes led to changes: August 10, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on LaSalle
Prison firm optimistic about Arizona bid despite incidents: August 8, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Exposé on CCA
Nov 5, 2013 The American Friends Service Committee

Sep 10, 2014 acluaz.org

PHOENIX – Nearly two dozen expert reports that detail widespread problems with the Arizona Department of Corrections’ healthcare system, as well as its use of solitary confinement, were made public late Monday. “I observed locked, dark and empty rooms that I was told were exam rooms, but lacked basic medical equipment,” wrote Dr. Robert Cohen, an expert in correctional medicine, in one of his reports (11/8/13 report, page 5). “Medical equipment was broken, covered in dust, and in some cases based on logs attached to them, had not been repaired or checked in more than a decade.” Dr. Cohen found that almost half of people who died “natural deaths” while in ADC’s care over a six-month period received “grossly deficient” medical care (2/24/14 report, pages 1-2). Every week, on average, a patient who has been neglected or mistreated dies in the Arizona prison system, according to these expert reports. “In some of these cases, the poor care clearly caused or hastened their death,” Dr. Cohen wrote (2/24/14 report, page 1-2). “It is alarming that almost half of the natural deaths occurring during the brief half year period under review would reveal such significant problems with delivery of basic medical services.” Dr. Cohen uncovered shocking delays in treatment including the case of a 38-year-old prisoner whose death from cancer was avoidable according to ADC’s own documents (2/24/14 report, pages 19-25). Another prisoner died of untreated lung cancer after being accused by nurses of lying about his medical condition; they said in his medical records that he was “playing games” and “seeking attention” (2/24/14 report, pages 25-32). A 24-year-old man died of AIDS-related pneumonia after his AIDS went undiagnosed and untreated for a year, despite his pleas for HIV tests and treatment, Dr. Cohen found (2/24/14 report, page 52). These are not isolated cases. Dr. Cohen’s findings, and the findings of the plaintiffs’ other experts, point to systemic deficiencies in ADC’s healthcare. “[T]here were multiple cases in which the lapses were so shocking and dangerous that I felt ethically obligated as a medical professional to bring them to the immediate attention of the ADC and Corizon staff,” Dr. Cohen said (11/8/13 report, page 4). Corizon is the company contracted by the state to provide healthcare to prisoners. The other experts made equally damning discoveries. The 23 expert reports, which were previously confidential, were made public yesterday pursuant to a court order in anticipation of an October trial relating to ADC’s failure to provide more than 33,000 prisoners in 10 prisons healthcare and conditions of confinement that meet constitutional standards. “[T]he chronic shortage of mental health staff, delays in providing or outright failure to provide mental health treatment, the gross inadequacies in the provision of psychiatric medications, and the other deficiencies identified in this report are statewide systemic problems, and prisoners who need mental health care have already experienced, and will experience, a serious risk of injury to their health if these problems are not addressed,” wrote Dr. Pablo Stewart, another expert hired by plaintiffs’ counsel to tour ADC’s prisons and review prisoners’ medical records, in one of his reports (11/8/13 report, page 10). Dr. Stewart, a psychiatry professor with expertise in prison mental health care, uncovered numerous preventable suicides by prisoners, lengthy and serious delays in care, insufficient and unlicensed staff and inadequate medication protocols. One prisoner hanged himself after ADC neglected to give him his prescribed mood stabilizing drugs for more than three weeks, Dr. Stewart found (11/8/13 report, pages 21-23). The reports also detail significant, dangerous problems with ADC’s use of solitary confinement. Some people, for instance, are put in isolation simply because other beds are full (Vail 11/8/13 report, page 9). Mentally ill prisoners are often isolated because ADC does not have treatment alternatives, according to one expert (Vail 11/9/13 report, page 13). “[T]he ADC health care delivery system is fundamentally broken and is among the worst prison health care systems I have encountered,” Dr. Cohen wrote (11/8/13 report, page 3). “[U]nless ADC dramatically reverses its course, it will continue to operate in a way that harms patients by denying them necessary care for serious medical conditions.” Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, Parsons v. Ryan, are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, the ACLU of Arizona, the Prison Law Office, Jones Day, Perkins Coie LLP and the Arizona Center for Disability Law. A trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 21. More expert reports will be made public prior to the trial. The complete reports now available can be found here. Reporters can email the ACLU of Arizona to request report summaries.


Jun 4, 2014 kjzz.org

An inmate who escaped an Arizona prison and murdered a couple from Oklahoma was sentenced to prison Tuesday. Two of his accomplices were also sentenced this week. John McCluskey, 49, and two others escaped from a private prison near Kingman in 2010. McCluskey was charged by federal prosecutors in the carjacking and murder of Gary and Linda Haas in New Mexico after his escape. A U.S. District Judge in Albuquerque sentenced McCluskey to life in prison plus a consecutive term of 235 years. On Monday, fellow escapee Tracy Province was given five consecutive life terms without a chance for release. Casslyn Welch, 44, McCluskey’s girlfriend and cousin, was charged with aiding in the escape. She was sentenced to 40 years behind bars, though local news media report her lawyers say she deserves a shorter term because she pleaded guilty.


Jun 4, 2014 abqjournal.com

Cassie Welch’s testimony for the government didn’t earn her much real world benefit when she was sentenced Monday for her role in the carjacking and murder of the vacationing Oklahoma couple Gary and Linda Haas on Aug. 2, 2010. Despite a defense request for a 20-year sentence and a prosecution acknowledgement that she had provided “substantial assistance” against co-defendants in the case, U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera found a sentence of 40 years to be appropriate. Herrera calculated that Welch, 48 years old next month, would have faced life plus 85 years in prison had she not provided assistance. But Mark Fleming, the San Diego attorney for Welch in what began as a death penalty case against three defendants, told the court that 40 years was a de facto life sentence for his client. He said it amounted to the same as the life sentence for John Charles McCluskey, the explosive prison escapee who was calling the shots when the Haases were abducted from a rest stop in eastern New Mexico, and the one who shot them and burned their bodies. Welch’s de facto sentence was also the same as Tracy Province, who had a prior murder conviction from Arizona. Province was sentenced on Monday to a life sentence, as expected. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty against McCluskey at trial, but when jurors were unable to reach unanimity on the punishment, his sentence automatically became life in prison. His sentence is to be imposed officially today. At Welch’s hearing, statements were made by the victims’ families, including Linda Haas’ sister Sandra Morgan, who sat through most of the three-month trial. Morgan said although Welch may not have pulled the trigger on her sister and brother-in-law, she is as responsible as the others by arranging for the prison escape of McCluskey and Province, and taking other actions related to the carjacking. “She is evil. It’s plain and simple,” Morgan said. Linda Rook, Gary Haas’ sister, called Welch “the enabler” whose actions helped cause the tragedy and who, soon after her arrest, made mocking comments about the murdered couple. But Casslyn Mae Choat Welch came from generations of alcoholism and domestic violence, according to testimony from defense mitigation specialist Laurie Knight and forensic psychologist Eliot Rapoport. Welch was sexually abused by a stepfather when she was in the eighth grade, raped by another family friend and constantly endured isolation, domination or physical abuse. Rapoport diagnosed her with “abandoned person syndrome,” formerly called Stockholm syndrome, in which the abused person comes to identify with his or her tormentor. Welch’s attorneys also played squirm-inducing recorded phone calls from McCluskey in prison to Welch, working for minimum wage at his mother’s store, to underscore the point that he was manipulating, berating and threatening her even while behind bars – and making her apologize for perceived transgressions. McCluskey apparently put out a contract to have the small trailer she lived in next to his mother’s store burned. PROVINCE: Sentenced to life, as expected: Province was sentenced minutes after Welch’s hearing ended to five consecutive life sentences – to be served in a witness protection program for federal prisoners – for his role in the slayings. “I’d like to apologize to the friends and family of the Haases for all the pain I put them through, that’s all I have to say,” Province said in remarks similar to those offered by Welch. In his plea agreement, Province waived his right to apply for compassionate release, so he is guaranteed to spend the rest of his life in prison, said Richard Winterbottom, Province’s attorney. Journal staff writer Ryan Boetel contributed to this report.


May 13, 2014 Caroline Isaacs

Tucson, AZ:  In early 2012, several Tucson-based student, immigrant rights, advocacy, and criminal justice groups came together to form the FUERZA! coalition, targeting Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) with a campaign to build public opposition to private prisons by pressuring former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini to resign from the CCA Board of Directors. At that time, Senator DeConcini was not only on the Board of Directors of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), but was also a member of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), and his law firm represented the Tucson Unified School District. Today he does none of these things, following a campaign to expose his affiliation with the private prison industry. On April 3, 2014, CCA filed a notification with the Securities Exchange Commission indicating that DeConcini is not on the company’s slate of nominees for Board of Directors for the coming year. The Board meets this Thursday, May 15th. On December 9, 2013, Tucson Unified School District announced it was parting ways with the DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy law firm despite a 39 year-relationship. And earlier this year, the Board of Regents replaced DeConcini with a new Regent. The private prison industry is one of the driving forces behind the criminalization of migrants in this country. With its voracious appetite for profits, the private prison industry maximizes its profits by increasing the number of detainees while lowering costs, i.e., spending on detention—cheaper food, less highly skilled staff, fewer services. The private prison industry heavily lobbies federal and state decision-makers. A 2012 Associated Press investigation found that the three major private prison corporations spent roughly $45 million over the past decade to influence state and federal government. This money buys them not only contracts, but influence over policy at the state and national levels. CCA was closely linked to the passage of anti-immigrant legislation SB 1070 in Arizona. In addition, the for-profit prison industry operates a “revolving door” between the public and private sectors, hiring former legislators as lobbyists (or, in the case of DeConcini, board members) and placing its lobbyists (current or former) in positions of power in state and federal government. Until the launch of the FUERZA! campaign, DeConcini’s involvement with the private prison industry was relatively unknown. Since then, his name has frequently been linked with news coverage and discussion of the private prison industry. The FUERZA! Coalition used a range of creative tactics to expose Senator DeConcini’s role in the industry behind criminalizing migrant families. Community members attended meetings of the Board of Regents, drawing attention to the heavy influence of the private prison sector on Arizona’s system of public universities. They utilized traditional and social media, public protests, and even a flashmob. FUERZA! members and parents attended a meeting of the Tucson Unified School District and called upon them to investigate the potential conflict caused by the DeConcini, Yetwin & Lacy law firm representing TUSD for over twenty years. Since funds for incarceration directly compete with funds for k-12 education from both the state and federal government, schools essentially have to “compete” with private prison companies for public dollars. The NAACP of Maricopa County filed an ethics complaint against the former Senator alleging a conflict of interest between his profiteering on incarceration and his representation of the interests of Arizona’s students as a member of ABOR. Over 1,000 community members and neighbors of Senator DeConcini mailed postcards asking him to resign. Senator DeConcini’s stepping down from the CCA Board remains a largely symbolic win, since he retains 17,105 shares valued at approximately $545,000, ensuring he continues to profit from the incarceration of family members from our community. Yet the message to elected officials and other community leaders is clear: affiliation with the for-profit prison and immigrant detention industry is deeply unpopular with the public and will not go unchallenged. This is particularly salient point for DeConcini, a Democrat who claims a track record on support for human rights and immigration reform. The community was particularly outraged to see a politician who would testify in congress against SB1070 one day and cash in on dividends generated by immigrant detention the next. DeConcini became the posterchild for politicians cashing in on this destructive industry. By highlighting his hypocrisy, FUERZA! exposed the crass profiteering on human misery that is the business model of not just CCA, but a host of other corporations, large and small. It revealed a local connection to a global industry, allowing immigrants and the community at large to connect the dots and see how their lives are directly impacted by the political and economic decisions being made and influenced by these companies and their political supporters.

Mar 29, 2014 azcentral.com

The Republican-crafted state budget now includes $900,000 in additional funding to pay for private prison beds operated by GEO Group Inc., even though the state Department of Corrections doesn't think the increase is needed. Private-prison lobbyists succeeded in getting state lawmakers to include nearly $1 million in extra funding in the state budget even though the Arizona Department of Corrections says the money isn't needed. The eleventh-hour funding was placed into the budget by House Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who said GEO Group Inc. lobbyists informed him the company wasn't making enough money from the emergency beds it provides Arizona at prisons in Phoenix and Florence. The request came even though GEO bid for its contracts and had agreed to previously negotiated rates with the Corrections Department, which guarantees the company nearly 100 percent occupancy at its prisons. House Minority Leader Chad Campbell of Phoenix was incensed by the additional money for GEO. Related: Arizona sheriffs assail costs of private prisons Previously: Arizona faces growing cost of private prisons He voiced disappointment on the House floor late Thursday during the budget debate and again Friday, telling The Arizona Republic that the request "came out of nowhere." Some lawmakers, he said, learned of the addition to the House budget hours before members began voting on it. Campbell said Kavanagh is responsible for pushing the proposal through the House with support from all but one Republican: Rep. Ethan Orr of Tucson. "This is somebody getting a handout," Campbell said. "It's unnecessary. This came out of nowhere — I mean that. No one said a word about it. It wasn't in the Senate budget, it didn't come as a request from DOC. There's something really shady here." Doug Nick, a state Corrections spokesman, confirmed his agency did not seek additional money for GEO. "We did not request it," Nick said. "We had nothing to do with it." The state this fiscal year is projected to pay GEO $45 million to house minimum- and medium-security inmates in the company's 2,530 beds, according to Corrections records. Guaranteed rate: Arizona guarantees GEO an occupancy rate of 95 to 100 percent at those facilities. GEO, based in Boca Raton, Fla., posted $115 million in profits on $1.52 billion in revenue in 2013. The company, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, is worth $2.3 billion, and it paid Chairman and Chief Executive George Zoley $4.62 million in total compensation last year. The additional money for GEO comes as lawmakers debate a $9.2 billion budget passed by the House late Thursday night. The $900,000 for GEO was one of many additions made to get the support of some holdout Republicans. Democratic lawmakers criticized the spending proposal, saying private prisons are being prioritized over education. Caroline Isaacs, a watchdog on prison spending and the program director for the American Friends Service Committee, called the additional funding "outrageous." "Why this corporation feels it's entitled to bypass the contract process with a state agency it is serving and go directly to the money man (Kavanagh) is incredible," Isaacs said. "This indicates a level of coziness that should make taxpayers nervous." Isaacs said lawmakers appear more concerned about padding GEO's bottom line instead of looking out for public education and abused children who have fallen through the cracks at Child Protective Services. Kavanagh said GEO had been giving the state a "cut rate" for emergency beds during the recession and, "now that the economy has come back, they want to get more money." He said if GEO didn't take the inmates, it would cost the state more to house them at overcrowded facilities. GEO, however, is not at full capacity, records show. The company as of Friday was housing 2,466 inmates in its 2,530 beds. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and sheriff's offices in Apache, Pinal, Cochise, Navajo and Santa Cruz counties have said they would be willing to take Department of Corrections inmates to ease the state's overcrowding burden and make some additional money. Beds available: The six sheriffs have said they could provide at least 1,750 beds. Kavanagh declined to identify the lobbyists who asked him for additional money for GEO. State lobbying records show that Pivotal Policy Consulting represents GEO. Neither Pivotal Policy Consulting nor GEO Group could be reached Friday. The state Senate will hold a hearing on the budget Monday. Senate Appropriations Chairman Don Shooter, R-Yuma, declined to speculate on whether the additional funding for GEO will remain. "We can't talk anything about the budget process,'' Shooter said. "It would be bad form."


Jan 19, 2014 azcentral.com

A spate of articles and opinions in The Arizona Republic has revived the debate over whether private, for-profit prisons are saving Arizona taxpayers money. In a recent opinion, Rep. John Kavanagh argues that the biannual cost comparison study that he helped to remove from statute is unnecessary due to new figures from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (“Private prisons are keeping money in taxpayers’ pockets,” Viewpoints Saturday). Building upon this new information, we would like to invite Rep. Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, and his fiscally conservative colleagues to draft and support new legislation requiring an independent and objective cost and quality comparison review. Building upon the Department of Corrections cost comparison formula, this new bill would include all the specific factors that the representatives believes make private prisons cheaper —construction costs and pensions for guards. It would also factor in the costs that are absorbed by the state — medical care for prisoners, monitoring and enforcement of the contracts, and costs associated with defending against and settling lawsuits for mistreatment. Finally, it would look at the total costs over the life of the contract, in many cases lasting 20 years. These reviews should take place regularly —at least every two years— since the private prison contracts allow them to raise their per diem rates annually. If all the stakeholders are able to ensure that their concerns are addressed and the comparison is conducted by an independent third party, then lawmakers would have factual data on which to base their policy decisions and Arizona taxpayers would be assured that their money is well spent.

— Tom Jenney, Phoenix

— Dianne Post, Phoenix

— Caroline Isaacs, Tucson

Tom Jenney is Arizona director of Americans for Prosperity. Dianne Post is legal redress chair of the Maricopa County chapter of the NAACP. Caroline Isaacs is program director of the American Friends Service Committee in Arizona.


Jan 9, 2014 The Republic

An inexperienced nurse for Corizon Inc., the private health-care provider for the Arizona Department of Corrections, is being blamed for a hepatitis scare at three of the seven units at the Lewis Prison Complex near Buckeye. “Every indication is that the incident is the result of the failure by one individual nurse to follow specific, standard and well-established nursing protocols when dispensing injected insulin to 24 inmates,” Corrections Director Charles Ryan said in a statement released Thursday. Ryan said that Corizon, which has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the incident, suspended the nurse and access to any Corrections facility was revoked. The State Board of Nursing said a complaint was filed Thursday against the nurse, who was identified as Patricia Talboy of Surprise. The licensing agency said she is under investigation. Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful. A Corrections spokesman told The Arizona Republic that Talboy became a licensed practical nurse in August 2012 and a registered nurse in June. Corizon hired her in September. Nurses with limited experience typically are paid less than veteran nurses. Corizon, like other companies, can contain expenses and increase profits by hiring employees at a lower hourly rate. Doug Nick, a Corrections spokesman, said an investigation will determine whether the state will fine or take disciplinary action against the company, which last year was awarded a three-year, $372 million contract to provide inmate health care. Corizon spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern would not answer questions, but the company issued a statement with the Department of Corrections that provided more details on the incident. The company said the nurse used a needle to stick the fingers of inmate patients and check blood-sugar levels at the Eagle Point unit, a minimum-security facility. Corizon said that after the nurse cleaned the needle with alcohol, she used the same needle to draw insulin from the vials to administer the medicine. That potentially contaminated the remaining insulin. Each patient was treated with a new needle, which was then discarded. The company said the nurse committed the same protocol error with five patients Sunday night at Eagle Point and then put the vials in the main medical hub. On Monday, the nursing staff used the same potentially contaminated insulin vials on inmates in the Morey and Rast units, which house close-custody, or violent, prisoners. As a result, 24 inmates were potentially exposed to “blood borne pathogens that may include hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV,” the company said. However, Corizon said that “there is no indication that anyone was definitely exposed to the pathogens.” The company said that on Monday, a different nurse who was making insulin rounds at Eagle Point, learned about the breach from an inmate. The company removed all previously opened vials and notified the Department of Corrections and state Department of Health Services. A Department of Health Services official on Wednesday first disclosed to The Arizona Republic that inmates were exposed to hepatitis B and C, after Corizon and Corrections refused to provide specific details of the incident or disclose the seriousness. Following public criticism, Corrections and Corizon provided new details Thursday and a full account of what occurred. The company said it has “moved as quickly as possible to share the facts as they are confirmed with all concerned.” This incident is similar to one that occurred in August 2012, when a nurse with a different private health-care provider, Wexford Health Sources Inc., contaminated the insulin supply at the same prison. Corrections, in Thursday’s statement, said none of the 112 inmates potentially exposed 17 months ago tested positive for any blood-borne pathogens. That figure includes 10 inmates who also were exposed this week. It may take up to six months to determine if those exposed this week test positive. Ryan also said that Corizon has been directed to develop a comprehensive plan that will provide training and competency testing, nurse-peer reporting education and awareness education on injection protocols.


Jan 9, 2014 azcentral.com

A nurse working for Corizon Inc., the private health care provider for Arizona’s Department of Corrections, improperly injected and exposed at least 24 inmates to a “blood-born pathogen.” The company and the state have declined to provide specific details about the incident. Corizon disclosed Wednesday morning in a press release that one if its nurses on Sunday evening was involved in “inproper procedures for injections” for at least two dozen inmates at three units at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye. This is the second time in about 18 months that a private prison contractor has improperly injected inmates at Buckeye. A nurse for Wexford Health Sources Inc., the prior health care provider, caused a hepatitis C scare in August 2012 by contaminating the prison's insulin supply. Susan Morgenstern, a Corizon spokeswoman, declined to say why the company waited three days to notify the public. Doug Nick, a Department of Corrections spokesman, also declined to answer questions about the incident, referring questions to Corizon. “It’s a medical issue. They are the doctors and nurses,” Nick said. “We are not aware of any correctional officers at risk.” Blood-borne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration’s website. Corrections last year hired Corizon after it agreed to terminate the medical-services contract to provide health care for inmates statewide with Wexford. That decision came amid accusations that Wexford improperly dispensed medicine to inmates and wasted state resources. To replace Wexford, the state agreed to a more expensive contract with Corizon of Brentwood, Tenn., to become the health-care provider at all Arizona-run prisons. Corizon, the country's largest provider of correctional medical care, took over March 4. Corizon, like Wexford, has a history of problems providing health care in other states. The three-year deal with Corizon cost taxpayers at least $372million, but Corizon has the option to seek additional funds in the final year. That contract is at least 6 percent higher than Wexford's $349 million, three-year deal.

 

Jan 2, 2014 azcentral.com

Facts, not philosophy, should be the foundation of state policy. Tell the Legislature. Tell Gov. Jan Brewer. After years of studies showed that private prisons cost more than state prisons, conservative supporters of privatization repealed a statutory requirement to compare costs. Convenient for those who like private prisons. Not helpful to those who want policy based on solid information. Arizona is putting increasing numbers of inmates into private prisons — even guaranteeing high occupancy rates at those private facilities. This represents the triumph of an ideological bent toward privatization. We don’t know whether it represents the taxpayers’ best interests. Arizona agreed to contracts that guarantee 90 to 100 percent occupancy to the three private-prison companies operating in the state, according to reporting by The Arizona Republic’s Craig Harris. These are Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group Inc. and Management & Training Corp. There is more to prison than costs and profit — or taxpayers’ deep pockets. Society locks up criminals to protect others, to punish wrongdoing and, if possible, to rehabilitate lawbreakers. Because most prisoners will return to our streets, the public is best served when those convicted of crimes emerge from the criminal-justice system able to abide by the law and function in society. A focus on filling prison beds discourages alternatives to prison that might be more cost-effective and more likely to reduce recidivism by achieving real rehabilitation. A bill passed in 2012 eliminated the statutory requirement for the Department of Corrections to do a cost comparison between public and private prisons. It was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer, who has long been a supporter of private prisons. It also eliminated the previous statutory requirement for regular comparisons of the services provided by private and public prisons, including a hard look at such things as security, prisoner health and the safety of facilities. This is particularly odd when you consider how questionable security practices at a private Kingman prison became painfully obvious after the 2010 escape of three prisoners, two of whom killed an Oklahoma couple while on the lam. Statutes still require cost savings and equitable performance. But the comparisons are not the same. Surveys by Department of Corrections in 2008, 2009 and 2010 found that it was more expensive to incarcerate inmates in privately run medium-security prisons than it was in similar state facilities. These studies factored in the differences in inmate costs, including that private prisons house only healthy inmates, while state prisons incarcerate those with expensive medical or mental-health problems. A comparison in fiscal 2013 that did not adjust for these differences found a lower cost at private prisons. How convenient. It might make sense to reduce the state’s capital expenses by contracting with private prisons rather than building new facilities. But we need to consider all the facts when making that determination. What’s more, guaranteeing occupancy to private operators creates a profit motive for locking people up that should be unsettling to all who treasure civil liberties. Arizona needs to take a harder look at whether private prisons make sense.


tucsoncitizen.com Nov 15, 2013

AFSC has just learned that one of the prisoners profiled in our recently released report on correctional medical care in Arizona has died. The Department of Corrections has not yet publicly reported on his death. Benny Joe Roseland, who was 59 years old, wrote to a prisoner advocate about the failure of prison medical providers to properly diagnose what turned out to be terminal cancer. He had been experiencing chest pain for over a year and was told by a doctor that he was scheduled for an EKG, which he never received. In a letter, Mr. Roseland recounted the rest of the story: Two weeks later I started throwing up… the guards took me up to the main medical center on complex. They put me on an EKG, told me that my heart was good for someone my age, but that I had acid reflux and that’s why my chest was hurting… I continued to throw up and the pain got worse… the following Wednesday after breakfast, I returned to the housing unit and threw up six times… They sent me to the outside hospital. The first thing they did was take blood from me. They came back in less than an hour and said they had bad news for me. I had a tumor (softball sized) in my left upper chest. After more x-rays and a CAT scan, they took a biopsy… They told me I have terminal cancer, with 2-6 months to live.” Benny Joe Roseland died sometime last night or the night before, according to his family. Many thanks to Peggy Plews at Arizona Prison Watch for notifying us. The report, Death Yards: Continuing Problems with Arizona’s Correctional Health Care, cited 50 deaths in Arizona’s prisons in the first eight months of 2013. However, there were thirteen more deaths in the month of October and five so far in November, including Mr. Roseland. That brings the total to 68 as of this writing.

 

Nov 5, 2013 The American Friends Service Committee
PHOENIX, ARIZONA — On Wednesday, November 6th, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSCAZ) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUAZ) will hold a press conference in front of the Arizona Department of Corrections Building to coincide with the release of a new report which documents that the same problems—delays and denials of care, lack of timely emergency treatment, failure to provide medication and medical devices, low staffing levels, failure to provide care and protection from infectious disease, denial of specialty care and referrals, and insufficient mental health treatment—have continued and, arguably, worsened under the current for-profit healthcare contractor, Corizon. WHO:  Caroline Isaacs (Report Author, AFSC Director), Daniel Pochoda (Legal Director, ACLUAZ), Eleanor Grant (wife of an Arizona prisoner with chronic health issues) WHAT:  Press Conference and Report Release - Prison Healthcare in AZ Worsens Under Corizon. WHEN:  Wednesday, November 6th.  11:30am LOCAL TIME WHERE:  Arizona Department of Corrections Building.  1601 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ   The American Friends Service Committee (AFSCAZ) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUAZ) are decrying the continued deterioration of the quality of medical care in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). In March of 2012, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against ADC, charging that prisoners in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections receive such grossly inadequate medical, mental health and dental care that they are in grave danger of suffering serious and preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and even death. AFSC reports that there have been 50 deaths in Arizona Department of Corrections custody in just the first eight months of 2013. That is a dramatic increase from previous years. The Arizona Republic reported 37 deaths in 2011 and 2012 combined. The report charges that the deficiencies in quality of care are not isolated to one or two locations or individual “bad actors,” but clearly represent system-wide dysfunction. The report contains 14 specific case studies to illustrate these issues, as well as extensive documentation of the administrative, organizational, economic and political factors that are contributing to the problem. This includes the process of privatization of medical care. Delays and a reissue of the Request for Proposals (RFP) made the privatization process drag out for over two years. In the meantime, medical staffing levels plummeted and health care spending in prisons dropped by nearly $30 million. The departure of Wexford, followed by the award of the contract to Corizon created additional upheaval, delays, and changes in staff, procedures, and medications. The report concludes that contracting out the medical care at ADC has resulted in more bureaucracy, less communication, and increased healthcare risks for prisoners. “The Arizona Department of Corrections needs to get its own house in order,” says report author Caroline Isaacs. “Arizona needs to stop wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars on cancelled contracts and wrongful death lawsuits and take responsibility for correcting these problems.” For more information, or for a copy of the report in advance, please contact Caroline Isaacs at 520.623.9141 or by email at cisaacs@afsc.org.


Aug 22, 2013 The Washington Post

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The pile of ash and twisted metal looked like what was left of a travel trailer, but a New Mexico sheriff testified Wednesday he had no idea when he first saw the crime scene that the case was a homicide that investigators would later link to two Arizona fugitives and their accomplice. “What was really bad was within about a 100-foot radius of the burned out frame, the trees were completely charred, even parts of the corrals,” Guadalupe County Sheriff Michael Lucero told jurors. “It was a mess.” The sheriff was among several law enforcement agents who took the stand in the capital murder trial of John McCluskey, the last of three defendants to be tried on federal carjacking and murder charges in the 2010 deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla. The retired couple, on their way to an annual camping trip in Colorado, had been targeted for their pickup truck and travel trailer after they stopped at a rest area near the Texas-New Mexico state line on Aug. 2, 2010. Prosecutors say the couple was forced at gunpoint to drive west along Interstate 40 before being ordered to pull onto a lonely two-lane road. They were shot and then the trailer was taken to a remote ranch in eastern New Mexico, where it was unhitched and burned. Prosecutor Greg Fouratt showed jurors photographs of everything from the trailer to the dirt road that led to the ranch. He also played clips from surveillance video taken from a convenience store near a highway exit that showed the truck and trailer headed toward the ranch that afternoon. Less than 40 minutes later, the video shows the truck heading back toward the interstate with no trailer. A ranch hand testified he discovered the trailer along with three small dogs. Two of the pets were rounded up and their tags led the sheriff to the Haases’ daughter. Lucero testified that he thought he was dealing with a kidnapping. The case changed when James Butterfield, a criminal investigator with New Mexico State Police, got closer to the wreckage. “When I arrived at the wheels of the trailer, I started looking down straight in front of me. Through my training and experience, I recognized a skull and a femur bone,” he testified. Other agents testified about finding the Haases stolen truck hours away in Albuquerque. It was unlocked, the keys were in one cup holder and a bottle of brake fluid was in another. Prosecutors planned to call more investigators to the stand Wednesday afternoon. McCluskey’s accomplices — his cousin and fiance Casslyn Welch and fellow inmate Tracy Province — are expected to testify next week. Both face life sentences after pleading guilty last year to charges stemming from the Haases’ deaths.


Jul 24, 2013 tucsonweekly.com

Yesterday, House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called for the immediate resignation of Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan. Today, the American Friends Service Committee has asked Gov. Jan Brewer to create an oversight committee over the ADOC. The Phoenix Democrat has been a vocal advocate for prison reform and private prison issues alongside AFSC. His call for Ryan's resignation follows a recent Buckeye prison inmate death. “Director Ryan has exhibited a pattern of mismanagement and a lack of leadership resulting in an unsafe corrections system in our state,” Campbell said in a press release. “Under his direction, our corrections system has wasted tax dollars, jeopardized people’s lives and damaged the state’s credibility.” Campbell said he's seen reports that Arizona's prison suicide rate was 60 percent higher than the national average between the years of 2010 and 2012. “In addition to this, the attempt to cover up what happened to an inmate allowed to bleed to death in front of prison guards is a gruesome consequence of Ryan’s negligence," Campbell said, adding that he believes Ryan has failed to properly supervise private prison contracts, such as a private facility in Kingman, where three inmates escaped in 2010 and committed murder and armed robbery. “Following this incident, Ryan admitted that the DOC didn’t properly monitor this facility. This is a community safety issue." Campbell also said that private prisons cost more than state-run prisons and the DOC has failed to hold the private prison companies accountable for the terms of their contracts with the state. He complained that the state awards contracts in a manner that is not transparent and seems indicative of cronyism. An example of this occurred earlier this year, when the DOC terminated a contract with Wexford Health Sources, a private company that provided healthcare for inmates statewide. “The (DOC) contracted with a company that has a controversial record of service. In fact, one of Wexford’s employees exposed more than 100 people to hepatitis C in a prison in Buckeye,” Campbell said. “The DOC terminates that contract and replaces Wexford with Corizon, another company surrounded by controversy that also happens to have ties to people who are close to the governor. This situation reeks of patronage.” And Campbell used the taxpayer argument—specifically, that for-profit, private prisons are misusing taxpayer money. According to Campbell, last year, Republicans repealed a state law in the budget requiring a comparison of state and private prisons every two years to ensure that private prisons were providing the same quality of services as state prisons at a lower cost. DOC Per Capita Cost Reports compiled over five years consistently show that the state is losing money on private prisons, and security audits show serious safety flaws in all of Arizona’s for-profit prisons, including malfunctioning cameras and alarm systems. In a letter to Brewer, the AFSC asked the governor that the oversight committee they are asking for be meaningful and independent. “Such an oversight committee would allow for better institutional transparency and substantial responses to grievances of inadequate medical and mental health care within the ADC facilities,” says AFSC Program Director Caroline Isaacs. AFSC also asked that Brewer investigate the charges against Ryan and determine whether he is fit to serve. Isaacs points out that while it is important to hold ADC Directors accountable for the gross failings of their tenure, “putting a new Director into an old and failed system won’t change the outcome.” She added, “Ryan’s failures reveal a total lack of public oversight over our prisons.” The oversight committee that AFSC Arizona proposes in the letter to Brewer must have the ability to hold the ADC accountable in a meaningful way, and must include individuals outside of the framework of political influence. In the letter, AFSC cites overuse of solitary confinement in maximum-security units, a reliance on private for-profit prison companies, and lack of adequate medical and mental health care as prime examples of the need for such oversight. It reads, “[T]he numerous issues raised in Rep. Campbell’s letter are extremely serious, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and undermining public safety as well as the safety and health of prisoners and corrections staff.”

 

July 23, 2013, azcentral.com

A key lawmaker is calling on the state’s prison chief to resign, citing a high prison suicide rate, security failures, inadequate medical care and inappropriate ties to the private-prison industry. House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, a longtime critic of the Department of Corrections and private prisons, said his call for director Charles Ryan’s resignation was prompted by the suspected homicide last month of an inmate at the Lewis state prison complex in Buckeye. “Director Ryan has exhibited a pattern of mismanagement and a lack of leadership resulting in an unsafe corrections system in our state,” Campbell said in a statement. “Under his direction, our corrections system has wasted tax dollars, jeopardized people’s lives and damaged the state’s credibility.” Campbell, who is considering a run for governor in 2014, said Ryan has failed to plug holes in prison security, stem criminal behavior by corrections employees, properly manage private-prison contracts and ensure adequate health care for inmates. Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman for the corrections department, said Ryan and other agency officials have responded to Campbell’s concerns and provided “detailed information on ADC’s operations.” “Earlier this year he was even invited to tour ADC correctional facilities so that he could gain a firsthand understanding of the Department, its employees and operations,” Lamoreaux said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Representative Campbell did not respond to ADC’s offer.” Gov. Jan Brewer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Brewer appointed Ryan to lead the agency in 2009. Under his tenure, the state has privatized inmate health care and now faces a class-action lawsuit alleging that the department provides inadequate medical, dental and mental-health care to inmates. Also under Ryan, two murderers escaped from a private prison near Kingman in 2010, leading to a nationwide manhunt and the deaths of two people. An internal investigation blamed human error and lax monitoring of the private-prison contract.

 

Apr 07, 2013 kpho.com

New questions are being raised about a contract state officials signed with a private company to provide healthcare to Arizona inmates. Corizon was recently awarded a three-year, $369 million deal to provide healthcare to Arizona prison inmates. CBS 5 News has learned one of the men on Corizon's payroll is former Arizona ADC Director Terry Stewart, who's been doing consulting work for Corizon since 2010. Current director Charles Ryan used to work for Stewart, raising questions about a possible conflict of interest. "With money of this sort and the amount of responsibility over people's lives, it should be looked into," said ACLU attorney Dan Pochoda. CBS 5 News asked Ryan directly if there was any conflict with the contract they signed with Corizon. "Of course there was not. Our process has been above board," Ryan said. "Terry Stewart had nothing to do with the RFP process. He was not involved, period." Ryan said that Wexford, the company the state hired last year to provide health services to inmates, suddenly wanted out of the deal, leaving the state with few options. Ryan said they could either start the request for bid process over again, which could take six to 12 months, or use one of the other two companies that submitted bids last year. Corizon was one of the other companies. "Of the two remaining vendors, they had the most reasonable proposal to consider," said Ryan. "The bottom line is that we had to maintain the continuity of inmate healthcare." Ryan also told CBS 5 News that the other company bidding for the contract made an offer far beyond what the state had allocated, leaving Corizon as the only realistic option. "It is a process that was endorsed and reviewed by the attorney general's office and state procurement office," said Ryan. "We followed the law to the letter." Another problem facing the ADC is a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates, claiming they are not receiving adequate healthcare. A spokesperson for Corizon said that state officials were in no position to delay getting a company in to provide inmates with health services.


March 25, 2013 azcapitoltimes.com

A trial is set for next month in a sexual harassment lawsuit pitting the state against one of its private prison contractors in a battle that promises to shine a harsh light on private prisons and the Arizona Department of Corrections. The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division alleges that male workers with GEO Group, which operates three prisons for the state, sexually harassed female co-workers for several years while supervisors and managers for the company looked the other way. Although the state is the plaintiff in the case, the lawsuit has uncovered information that a civil rights attorney, a lawmaker and critics of the Department of Corrections say is damning to the Department of Corrections. The allegations in the lawsuit took place before Charles Ryan became director of DOC, but the critics say problems have continued under his leadership. “It’s not just private prisons,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, a steadfast opponent of private prisons. “There’s blatant mismanagement in our public prisons, too.” Campbell said he is working with community groups to call for Ryan’s firing as high-profile problems mount. In recent weeks, Ryan disclosed that employees are arrested at a rate of 11 per month, mostly for drunken driving and domestic violence. A federal judge gave class status to 33,000 prisoners and all future prisoners in a lawsuit alleging substandard health care. And a local television station aired video of inmate Tony Lester’s suicide in which correctional officers stood around the bleeding man without providing emergency care. After Ryan took over in 2009, the agency was rocked when a July 30, 2010, escape from a Kingman private prison led to the deaths of an Oklahoma couple. The company that won the $349 million contract to provide health care for prisoners parted ways with the state after just 6 months. Gov. Jan Brewer’s spokesman, Matt Benson, said she still stands behind Ryan. “He performs a very difficult job under difficult circumstances,” Benson said. Prisoner advocate Donna Hamm, of Middle Ground Prison Reform, also defended Ryan, saying Arizona’s prison system has been dysfunctional for the 30 years she has been an advocate and Ryan is more responsive to problems than the other five directors over that time. “He does not ignore or make excuses,” Hamm said. Bill Lamoreaux, a department spokesman, said Ryan was out of town and unavailable for comment. Lamoreaux also said the department has been advised by lawyers not to discuss pending litigation. History of mistreatment: Court documents in the GEO suit paint a picture of female correctional officers having to deal with raunchy statements directed at them and fondling by their male co-workers. Attorney Stephen Montoya, whose client, Alice Hancock, is a former GEO correctional officer and an intervener in the case, said the sexual harassment at GEO is an extension of the DOC culture. In February 2012, DOC agreed to pay a former female officer $182,000 to settle a sexual harassment complaint brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. Montoya has won jury awards of $200,000 and $600,000 for women who used to work for DOC, and he said many of the correctional officers with GEO worked previously for the department. The $600,000 award was reduced to $300,000 due to limitations on compensatory damages. In one of the cases, U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone said DOC was reckless in its management by “allowing bestial people to run unsupervised throughout the process and employing ineffective and incompetent supervisory staff that knew about things and failed to do anything about it in a timely way.” Lamoreaux pointed out, however, that the allegations in the GEO suit and the actions against DOC occurred before Ryan took over as an appointee of Brewer in January 2009. Dora Schriro, appointed by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, was in charge. Part of the DOJ settlement required DOC to improve its sexual harassment policies, and Ryan has said in written statements that the bad behavior wouldn’t be tolerated under his watch. Hamm said the recent problems plaguing DOC have existed under every administration she has seen in 30 years, but they are just getting more exposure today. “Those problems are not unique to Charles Ryan’s administration,” Hamm said. However, Montoya said Ryan tolerates women being “treated like trash,” and he points to the promotion of Carson McWilliams as proof. McWilliams was the warden of the prison where Montoya’s client, Michelle Barfield, was sexually harassed. Ryan promoted McWilliams in April 2011 to be the department’s Northern Regional operations director a little more than a year after the $600,000 verdict. “In the government workplace, if there is pervasive illegality, it’s because it is tolerated from the top to the bottom,” Montoya said. A pattern of problems: The lawsuit is a compilation of suits filed by the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Montoya, and when the witnesses begin taking the stand on April 9, their testimony is sure to become fodder for opponents of private prisons. Probably the harshest critic of private prisons is the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that generally advocates for the rights of prisoners. Caroline Isaacs, Friends’ executive director in Arizona, said the lawsuit is one more damning piece of information that confirms there is a consistent pattern of problems with private prisons. Isaacs has spent thousands of hours documenting misconduct in private prisons. “These problems are found in all for-profit prisons, and you simply can’t dismiss them as ‘bad apples,’” Isaacs said. The lawsuit alleges that male workers regularly grabbed their female co-workers’ genitals and breasts and made obscene gestures toward them. The suit says that in some instances, males exposed themselves to the women. Montoya said the prisoners showed more respect to the women than the male officers did. GEO is trying to keep out of the trial evidence that one of the most prolific alleged perpetrators was fired twice by other private prisons, once while he was being investigated for sexual harassment before GEO hired him in 2007. Sherri Haahr, a GEO human resources official, testified in deposition that the company didn’t know about Robert Kroen’s background because the contract with DOC doesn’t require employment reference checks. Haahr testified that DOC does criminal background checks itself and approves anyone who is hired by GEO. GEO lawyers argue that Kroen’s employment history isn’t relevant because the decision to hire him was DOC’s. Pablo Paez, a GEO spokesman, declined comment. “We cannot comment on litigation related matters. We can however confirm that our company vigorously disagrees with these allegations and intends to defend its position,” Paez said. And while DOC has onsite monitors at its private prisons, their job is to make sure the company maintains appropriate staffing levels of “qualified personnel” required by contract, Lamoreaux said. He said the contractors are responsible for their own human resource systems. Campbell, the state representative who regularly introduces legislation to regulate private prisons more, said he isn’t surprised there are no routine reference checks in hiring. “At the end of the day, the buck stops at DOC,” Campbell said.

 

February 01, 2013 Courthouse News

PHOENIX (CN) - The Arizona Department of Corrections said it will replace its for-profit prison health care company with another profit-seeking firm, after a federal class action that claimed the state provides "grossly inadequate" medical care to prisoners. Corizon Inc., of Brentwood, Tenn., "will be responsible for the provision of health care to inmates at the Arizona Department of Corrections' ('ADC') state-run facilities" beginning March 4, according to a filing in the pending court case. Corizon will replace Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources. The ACLU, which filed the class action nearly a year ago, was not impressed. "Merely replacing one for-profit prison contractor with another will only prolong the crisis in Arizona's prisons. There is no reason to think that anything will change under Corizon Inc.," ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Dan Pochoda said in a statement. The ACLU of Arizona filed the class action with the Prison Law Office of Berkeley, Calif., attorneys with Perkins Coie of Phoenix and Jones Day of San Francisco, and Jennifer Alewelt, with the Arizona Center for Disability Law. According to the lawsuit: "For years, the health care provided by defendants in Arizona's prisons has fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements and failed to meet prisoners' basic health needs." Named as defendants were Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan and the state's Interim Director of Health Services Richard Pratt. "Critically ill prisoners have begged prison officials for treatment, only to be told 'be patient,' 'it's all in your head,' or 'pray' to be cured," the complaint stated. "Despite warnings from their own employees, prisoners and their family members, and advocates about the risk of serious injury and death to prisoners, defendants are deliberately indifferent to the substantial risk of pain and suffering to prisoners, including deaths, which occur due to defendants' failure to provide minimally adequate health care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment."

Dec 19, 2012 KPHO
CASA GRANDE, AZ (CBS5) - Drug sweeps on high school campuses happen, but a recent sweep in the halls of a Casa Grande High School has some people concerned - all because of who was called in to help out. Employees with a for-profit private prison company that runs several prisons right here in Arizona went with police on this sweep. They're not peace officer certified, which is where some take issue. "I think there are liability issues, I think there are safety concerns," said Caroline Isaacs with the American Friends Service Committee. Rewind to October, when the principal of Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande said the school was in lockdown for one hour while dogs searched the classrooms one by one. The people handling those dogs were employees of the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, a for-profit prison company. "Your company's profits are based on putting more and more people in prison, it creates a perverse incentive to continue to expand that market," Isaacs said. She believes there's a conflict of interest with the non-peace officer certified CCA employees assisting officers with peace officer work. The principal of Vista Grande tells us: "I don't know anything about CCA or who they are.  When I asked Casa Grande Police about this situation I was informed they used a variety of agencies from across Pinal County." And a spokesman from CCA sent us a statement said: "Local CCA staff provided specially trained dogs in response to a specific request from local law enforcement officials. These dogs were accompanied by their trained handlers for the sole purpose of ensuring they behaved appropriately. These handlers did not perform peace officer duties, so POST is not applicable. We encourage you to contact the POST executive director for further clarification. "Our company strives to be a good community partner, and it was in that spirit that local staff responded to the request. Decisions like this are usually made at the facility level. CCA has since reviewed this practice and decided that facilities can no longer provide this type of assistance, for reasons such as liability. Unfortunately, many of the communities where we operate lack these types of resources, but we think this is the appropriate corporate level policy. We'll continue to support our communities in many other ways." After the sweep, three kids were arrested; two students had marijuana with them and one had it in her car. A parent we talked to said if the sweeps get drugs off campus, it doesn't matter to her who's conducting them. "I think if you're not supposed to do something, you're not supposed to do it, and if you're doing it, it doesn't matter who catches you," said Penny Casey. We reached out to the school district as well as Casa Grande police but have yet to hear back from them.

September 28, 2012 Arizona Republic
The Arizona Department of Corrections has levied a $10,000 fine against Wexford Health Sources Inc., a new private medical-care provider for inmates that is accused of improperly dispensing medicine and wasting state resources. The DOC called on Wexford to fix staffing problems, properly distribute and document medication for inmates, show a sense of urgency and communicate better with the state when problems occur. Wexford was fined over the actions of a nurse who caused a hepatitis C scare in August at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye, and for failing to properly report the problem to authorities. Corrections Director Charles Ryan in a statement said the state's demands, called a cure notification, give the state and Wexford an opportunity to "improve communications and ensure the health care needs of the inmates incarcerated by the State of Arizona are being met." Ryan was not available to answer questions. Bill Lamoreaux, a DOC spokesman, declined to answer specific questions about the matter. Wexford was hired after the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature pushed to privatize inmate health care to save money. The DOC in strongly worded letters to Wexford alleges the company forced the state to use public employees to fix its deficiencies. The amount of wasted tax dollars was not disclosed. Arizona houses close to 40,000 inmates. Lamoreaux declined to answer if taxpayers were still saving money with Wexford's services.

September 4, 2012 Arizona Republic
A nurse for the new medical provider for Arizona prisons may have exposed 103 inmates at the Buckeye state prison to hepatitis C by contaminating the prison's insulin supply, and state and local health officials were not alerted for more than a week. Officials with the state and Maricopa County health departments, who confirmed to The Arizona Republic on Tuesday that they had not been informed by Wexford Health Sources Inc. of the problem, said they will launch investigations into the incident. Official notification of the Aug. 27 error only came late Tuesday afternoon, hours after an inmate's family member had told 12 News of the potential health risk. State rules require health-care providers and correctional facilities to notify health departments within five business days of a hepatitis C diagnosis, treatment or detection. Wexford said it suspended the nurse on Aug. 27, immediately after learning the person "had violated basic infection-control protocols while administering medication that day." "In talking with the Department of Health Services, they believe it should have been reported first to the county," Corrections Director Charles Ryan said late Tuesday. "That is a question we will have of Wexford -- as to the lack of notification or an explanation as to why that did not occur. "The department has concerns about this issue, and we will be having further discussions with Wexford in terms of this requirement and some other issues as well." Ryan said the incident occurred when a diabetic inmate who also has hepatitis C was administered a routine dose of insulin by the nurse on Aug. 27. The needle used on that inmate was inserted into another vial to draw more insulin for the same inmate. Ryan said the contaminated needle was inserted into a vial which was then put back among other vials in the prison's medication refrigerator. It got mixed up with other vials used throughout that day to administer insulin injections to more than 100 other diabetic inmates. Later that day, Ryan said, officials realized that the vial that potentially had been tainted with hepatitis C may have been used to dose other inmates. At that point, the nurse in question was suspended and prison officials sought to determine how many inmates may have been exposed. All the vials of medicine were destroyed after the discovery. Wexford spokesman Larry Pike on Tuesday minimized the potential exposure of other inmates. He said that the company acted "expeditiously" to identify those who were potentially affected and that the company believes the potential for their exposure was small. Though corrections officials and Wexford declined to name the nurse, the Arizona State Board of Nursing identified her as Nwadiuto Jane Nwaohia. She has been under state investigation since June 2012 for unsafe practice or substandard care, but the board would not provide additional information on the nature of the previous problem. Corrections officials first acknowledged the matter Tuesday morning after 12 News asked about the incident at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, which houses 5,382 inmates in minimum- to maximum-security facilities. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants and causes liver cancer. Seventy-five to 85 percent of people with hepatitis C develop a chronic infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shoana Anderson, head of the state Office of Infectious Disease Services, said one of the biggest dangers for those infected with hepatitis C is "it sits in the liver quietly, and 20 years later, a person can develop severe liver disease." Anderson and Jeanene Fowler, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said Wexford should have notified them of the issue. "It's extremely disturbing that something like this could happen. It calls for a thorough investigation to determine all of the surrounding causes of the mistake or the negligence," said Don Specter of the Prison Law Office, a prison watchdog group based in Berkeley, Calif. Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Working Group in Tallahassee, Fla., called the incident "scary" and said it shows a lack of oversight by corrections officials. "This is a problem with privatization," Kopczynski said. "They are just accepting who Wexford will hire." Wexford, which has previously lost contracts for poor service in other jurisdictions, this spring won a $349 million, three-year contract to provide health care for Arizona inmates. The company began providing services for nearly 40,000 Arizona inmates on July 1. In a written statement, the Pittsburgh-based company said it suspended the nurse immediately upon learning she "may have compromised a vial of medication by placing it in contact with a previously used syringe." Wexford, in its statement, said a local staffing agency assigned the nurse to the prison complex. The company said that at no time was the same syringe and needle used on more than one patient and that no staff members were exposed. Wexford said it reported the nurse to the state nursing board for investigation, but that did not occur until late Tuesday afternoon, after the news had been reported. The company also banned the nurse from working under any of its contracts in the future. Wexford provides health-care services nationwide to roughly 124,000 inmates and other residents at more than 100 institutions. The state said inmates exposed were notified and are being screened for infectious diseases. An independent laboratory under contract with Wexford will provide continuing medical monitoring and testing of the potentially exposed inmates over the next several months, the state said. All patients will be informed of their results, though Ryan noted that some inmates may previously have been exposed to hepatitis C.

August 31, 2012 Arizona Republic
The state Department of Corrections on Friday evening awarded a multimillion-dollar private-prison contract to Corrections Corporation of America, which has employed lobbyists close to Gov Jan. Brewer in its effort to win the bid. CCA, of Nashville, will operate a 1,000-bed medium-security private prison in Eloy, with the option to run another 1,000 beds if the inmate population for serious offenders increases. CCA, a publicly held company that reported $162.5million in profits last year, was one of five bidders for the contract. The firm is politically connected to Brewer, who has pushed for the prison expansion. Until mid-July, CCA employed Chuck Coughlin, an influential lobbyist who is a close friend and an adviser to Brewer. And, state lobbying records show CCA also employs Policy Development Group, a lobbying firm that includes Paul Senseman, Brewer's former spokesman. "If you place two of your lobbyists at the right and left hand of the governor of the state and she has the final say and oversight of the Department of Corrections, I would say that's a pretty smart business strategy," said Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group and opponent of Arizona's private-prison expansion. Steve Owen, a CCA spokesman, said the company won the bid through a rigorous procurement process, and he credited the support of Eloy and others in Pinal County for helping CCA win.

August 28, 2012 Arizona Republic
In a last-ditch effort, private-prison opponents called on Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to scuttle a contract that is expected to be awarded Friday for 1,000 medium-security beds for men. A coalition of elected officials, educators and faith leaders sent an open letter to Brewer, saying the beds are costly and unnecessary. They also contend the five out-of-state companies bidding to run a new prison facility have histories of questionable management practices and safety problems. "We know this is an uphill battle, but it's still well worth fighting," said Caroline Isaacs, program director for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group and watchdog organization. "I know we are the underdog." Brewer, who was at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, could not be reached for comment. But Matthew Benson, her spokesman, said sufficient correctional facilities are a critical component of public safety. "Gov. Brewer supported these additional prison facilities because she recognizes the state faces a shortage of medium- and high-security beds in the near-term, a situation that would place the safety of both inmates and correctional staff in jeopardy," Benson wrote in an e-mail to The Arizona Republic. At the end of this week, the Arizona Department of Corrections is slated to award the bid. The contract calls for up to 2,000 medium-security beds if the prison population increases. The first 500 beds would come online in 2014, while 500 more would be added the following year. There's no timetable for the potential 1,000 remaining beds. Sites being considered are in Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, San Luis and Winslow. The contract comes even though the state's overall prison population is expected to remain flat the next two years and increase only slightly thereafter. State records also show it's more costly for taxpayers to have private businesses run prisons. State Corrections Director Charles Ryan has acknowledged that the state has an overall surplus of roughly 2,000 beds. But he also has said that Arizona has a shortage of permanent medium-security beds and that the problem is expected to get worse in 2016. The Department of Corrections on Tuesday declined to comment on the letter. The letter sent to Brewer has more than 50 signatures, including current and former state legislators as well as a Pima County supervisor, Tucson's mayor and a few Tucson City Council members. Nearly all the officials are Democrats. Other private-prison opponents include the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, clergy and religious groups. In addition to questioning the cost of new private-prison beds, the letter says state records show all five of Arizona's privately managed facilities had higher staff turnover and lower scores for guards on core competency tests compared with public-prison correctional officers. "There is ample evidence to suggest that for-profit corporations are not accountable to the citizens and taxpayers of Arizona," the letter states. "As private companies, they are not subject to the same transparency requirements or checks and balances as the Department of Corrections, despite the fact that they are performing the same functions and are paid with taxpayer dollars."

August 9, 2012 KPHO
Arizona's House minority leader is calling on Attorney General Tom Horne to investigate for-profit, private prison operators for possible legal and contract violations. Chad Campbell said there's evidence that for-profit, private prisons are not saving the state money. "If that is the case, then there is no reason the Republicans should be funding private prison expansion," Campbell said in a statement. "It shows a lack of judgment, especially when they are financing the expansions by doing things like raiding $50 million from the mortgage settlement fund, which was supposed to help people save their homes from foreclosure." Campbell sent a letter to the Arizona Attorney General's Office last month calling for an investigation and the immediate suspension of the Arizona Department of Corrections' solicitation for up to 2,000 new private prison beds. Campbell said he is renewing his call for the investigation, as the state is poised to sign a contract with a for-profit, private prison operator by Sept. 1. In the letter, Campbell cites alleged violations of: •State law and individual contract provisions requiring proposed private prisons to demonstrate cost savings to the state. •State law requiring private prisons to provide the same or better quality than state prisons. •Contract provisions requiring private prisons to maintain safety standards and rehabilitate prisoners. •State uniform contract provisions requiring private prisons to provide adequate staffing levels. There is enough money set aside in the 2013 budget for 1,000 new private prison beds, but the state has the option to add another 1,000 beds, for a total of 2,000 new beds in the next few years, Campbell said. The American Friends Service Committee issued a report indicating that if Arizona were to add the 2,000 private prison beds, the state could be losing more than $10 million a year, he said.

August 3, 2012 Cell-Out
In Part I, we revealed that state officials have known for some time that proposed for-profit prisons will not save the state money. We referred to a state law, now partially repealed, that requires for-profit prison corporations to demonstrate cost savings during the competitive bidding process before a contract is awarded. But once they’re built, the law does not provide any penalty for failure to actually save the state money. So in essence, the for-profit prison corporations can promise us the moon, but there’s nothing to ensure that they will deliver on those promises. And indeed, they haven’t. Cost comparison studies have consistently shown that Arizona is losing money on private prisons—an average of $3.5 million per year, according to an AFSC analysis. The cost of a private prison contract is calculated through the “per-diem payment.” This is the amount that Arizona agrees to pay the corporation to house one prisoner for one day. But contracts with for-profit prison operators are renegotiated or amended regularly, often annually. And those per-diem rates invariably increase. An analysis of the state’s three oldest private prison contracts, (1) With GEO Group for Florence West, (2) With GEO Group for Phoenix West, and (3) with Management and Training Corporation (MTC) for Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility, shows that the per diem rates for regular (non-emergency) beds in these facilities increased an average of 13.9% since the contracts were awarded, as demonstrated in the chart below. Facility/Unit Initial Per Diem Current Per Diem Increase, in Dollars Percent Increase Phoenix West $43.77 $49.28 $7.49 17.9% Florence West, DUI $49.55 $55.79 $6.24 12.6% Florence West, RTC $39.95 $44.98 $5.03 12.5% Marana $43.54 $49.03 $5.49 12.6% AVERAGE INCREASE $6.06 13.9% These records, obtained through a public records request, also show that these contracts were more recently amended to promise 100% occupancy of these private prisons. Beginning in 2008 with Phoenix West, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) began working out new agreements in which the corporations agreed to a lower per-diem payment for ‘emergency beds’ (intended to temporarily absorb system overflow), from an average of $30.46 to $10.00 for Florence West and Phoenix West and from $25.10 to $12.60 for Marana. In exchange for this concession, Arizona agreed to a guaranteed 100% occupancy for all the beds in all three facilities, including the much more expensive “rated beds.” The average per diem rate for these beds is $49.07. In the cases of the two GEO prisons (Phoenix and Florence West), a 2010 amendment later lowered the guaranteed occupancy for the emergency beds to 95%, but left in place the 100% occupancy rate for the more expensive rated beds. Amendment 14 for Marana (signed on June 6, 2011) has an additional, more interesting provision. The documents refer to a “dispute” between the Department of Corrections and for-profit operator MTC as to whether or not the 5-year contract renewal was done in a timely manner (ADC says yes, MTC apparently said no). The negotiated settlement of this dispute consolidates 450 rated beds with 50 emergency beds into a total of 500 rated beds. These 500 beds will carry a guaranteed occupancy of 100% at a rate of $49.03 per prisoner, per day. What’s more, this agreement was applied retroactively to October 6, 2010, effectively erasing all but three months of the reduced emergency bed per diem in the previous amendment (from July 2010). It also guaranteed that Arizona would continue to pay about three times as much for the emergency beds. In essence, ADC is handing over four years’ worth of extra money to keep MTC happy. How much money? In the July 2010 contract amendment for the facility, the state had bargained the emergency beds down to a $12.60 per diem. Now they will be paying $49.03 per diem for the same beds. Which means that MTC is raking in an extra $36.43 per prisoner, per day. Multiply by 50 such beds, and MTC will make additional profits of $664,847.50 per year– a total of $2,659,390 through the remainder of the contract, which expires in October of 2013. Not bad! Allow us to pause here to remember that MTC is the corporation whose negligence led to the horrific escapes from the Kingman prison in the summer of 2010, resulting in the murder of a couple vacationing in New Mexico. Yeah, that MTC. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it appears that Arizona is looking to cut MTC loose, at least from managing the Marana prison (they still manage two units at Kingman, for which they have a guaranteed occupancy rate of 97%). The final component of this contract amendment is an agreement that Arizona will buy the Marana prison back from MTC in October of 2013 for the tidy sum of $150,000. You can insert your own jokes about ‘short sales’ here.

June 5, 2012 AZPM
Arizona’s 2012 state budget directs $50 million in the next two years toward construction of 1,000 private prison beds and 500 new state-run maximum-security beds. But there is disagreement over the need to spend the money, especially in private prisons. Caroline Isaacs, program director of the American Friends Service Committee Arizona Office, contends the funding is unnecessary because statistics indicate crime is down. Gov. Jan Brewer and other state officials have argued that while overall crime is down and the number of state prisoners has fallen, the number of those needing maximum-security housing has gone up. That, they have said, defines the need for the funding and the construction, which they have said will be for maximum-security inmates. “Our prison population is declining,” Isaacs says. “We have had negative growth, and we have actually had a decrease in the number of people that are in our state prisons.” Isaacs points to statistics provided by the Department of Corrections and the governor’s budget report that indicate crime is down and at an “all-time low.” State officials say private prisons cost less, something Isaacs disputes. The Department of Corrections itself reports that there is no savings from privatization. “The DOC has been doing these cost assessments since 2005,” Isaacs says. “We looked at their numbers and basically calculated that from 2008 to 2010 we overspent by $10 million on the private prisons that we have in this state.” Isaacs questions whether corporations that are operating for-profit should operate the penal system. “The profit motive is basically at odds with what we think of as the purpose of a correctional institution, which is to correct behavior – ‘correct’ meaning correct crime, reduce recidivism and ensure that people do not return.”

May 12, 2012 KPHO
It's supposed to save taxpayers money and reduce the likelihood of lawsuits. However, there is growing concern that when a private company takes over the inmate health care program for Arizona's Department of Corrections this summer, there could be a new set of problems. The Corrections Department is already under fire for how it treats inmates, based on an ongoing lawsuit that accuses the state of widespread abuse and mistreatment of thousands of inmates. The lawsuit calls the current prison health system "grossly inadequate." The Corrections Department is about to a change, bringing in an out-of state company to privatize health care for prison inmates. Daniel Pochoda is legal director of the ACLU of Phoenix one of the groups that filed the complaint against the state. He's told CBS 5 News that the company coming in, Wexford Health, will do nothing to improve the treatment of inmates, and actually cost taxpayers more money. "It's profit motive when you talk about private companies," Pochoda said. "The bottom line is making a buck and if that means reducing their costs and not having sufficient number of doctors or specialists, it occurs all too frequently. CBS 5 News checked into Wexford Health and found a number of past problems. In 2009, Clark County, NV, declined to renew a contract with Wexford at its county jail after complaints that Wexford wasn't dispensing medication to inmates in a timely fashion. In 2007, New Mexico terminated a statewide contract after an audit found shortages of physicians and dentists. Wexford was also tied to a payoff scandal in Illinois, where the state director of corrections, Donald Snyder, served two years in federal prison after accepting a $30,000 bribe from a Wexford lobbyist. No Wexford officials were charged in the case.

March 6, 2012 The Republic
A Tucson prison-watchdog group and the NAACP have filed a formal protest with Arizona's State Procurement Office seeking to block the Department of Corrections from contracting for 2,000 new private-prison beds. Next Tuesday is the deadline for bids on the contract. A Corrections spokesman said the department is reviewing the protest letter and will respond to it in accordance with the requirements in the state procurement code. Neither Corrections nor the State Procurement Office commented on whether the bid award would be delayed. The NAACP and the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group advocating criminal-justice reform, are asking the State Procurement Office to cancel the bidding, and, at a minimum, halt the process while it considers the protest. Among other claims, the groups argue that the state doesn't need additional beds because the prison population is declining and that existing contracts violate state laws that require private prisons to cost less and provide the same or better level of services as state prisons. The Friends committee has been critical of Corrections' efforts to expand private prisons. Last year, when officials were considering bids for up to 5,000 private-prison beds, The Republic reported that Corrections had failed to conduct biennial quality comparisons of private and state-run prisons, as required by state law. The committee filed suit in state court to block any contract until the state completed such a study.

February 15, 2012 Arizona Republic
Arizona's private prisons are not cost-effective for taxpayers and are more difficult to monitor than state prisons, according to a new report by a prison watchdog group that is calling for a moratorium on any new private prisons in the state. The report examined the five prisons that have contracts to house Arizona prisoners and six private prisons that house federal detainees or inmates from other states, including California and Hawaii. Based on public-information requests and other data, the report by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group that works on criminal-justice reform, concluded that: Arizona paid $10 million more for private prison beds between 2008 and 2010 than it would have for equivalent state beds. Arizona's pending plan to contract for another 2,000 private-prison beds would cost taxpayers at least $38.7 million a year, at least $6 million a year more than incarcerating those inmates in state prisons. Plans to add 500 more maximum-security beds in state prisons would add almost $10 million a year to the bill. The report questioned whether those beds are needed, since the state's prison population has declined over the past two years by more than 900 inmates, to 39,854 as of Wednesday. In the past three years, private prisons in Arizona have experienced at least 28 riots and more than 200 other "disturbances" involving as many as 50 prisoners. Many of these incidents had not previously been reported to the public. State law doesn't require the six private prisons that hold federal detainees and prisoners from other states to inform state or local authorities in the event of an escape, a riot or other disturbance, or a death in custody. The American Friends Service Committee called for requiring all private prisons to disclose the same information as state prisons. The report criticized a recent biennial study by the Arizona Department of Corrections that found that the quality and cost of private prisons compared favorably with those of state prisons. The committee noted that the Corrections Department study didn't include data about scores of security flaws found at some prisons after three inmates escaped in 2010 from the private Kingman prison; that the study didn't look at recidivism rates, deaths in custody, suicides or homicides; and that it downplayed the fact that private prisons had consistently higher turnover and staff vacancy rates and higher levels of inmate disciplinary reports. Corrections officials previously had said inexperienced staff may have been a factor in the escapes from Kingman and in the inability of staff there to control the prison yard during a riot in May 2010. Dante Gordon, a former inmate at Kingman, said that guards there stood by and did nothing as more than 80 White inmates attacked and beat 25 Black inmates during that riot. The report pointed out that reports every year since 2005 by the Corrections Department, along with others by the state's auditor general, concluded that private-prison beds on average have been more expensive; but that the most recent Corrections Department study changed the way it calculated expenses to include a "range" that it termed comparable. The report also noted that lawmakers exempted two private prisons -- the Central Arizona Correctional Facility, run by GEO Group Inc., and the Cerbat unit at the Kingman prison, operated by Management and Training Corp. -- from state laws requiring private prisons to provide an equivalent or higher level of quality than the state. "The state has deliberately obscured information that would cast private prisons in a negative light," wrote Caroline Isaacs, the author of the report and the Friends Committee program director in Tucson. Corrections Department spokesman Bill Lamoreaux said the director, Charles Ryan, had not had sufficient time to review the report to reply to the issues raised. "This is stale information peddled by familiar critics," said Steve Owen, spokesman for Corrections Corp. of America, which operates the six private prisons that are not under state jurisdiction. Many of the riots and disturbances took place at those six prisons, according to data the Friends Committee reported it had been provided by correctional officials from California, Washington and Hawaii. The committee also gleaned information from lawsuits filed against CCA by Hawaiian inmates. Without responding to specific issues raised by the report, Owen said, "the safety and security of our facilities is of critical importance to us, and we take seriously the lives of the inmates and detainees entrusted to our care." In response to questions during a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Isaacs said it had been difficult to obtain information about prison operations. "The fact that this information is so difficult to obtain should give Arizona taxpayers pause about the lack of transparency and lack of accountability of private prisons," she said. Her group is calling for legislation to require stricter state oversight and reporting requirements for private prisons operating in Arizona. House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said he has introduced six bills calling for better oversight and reporting, though he doesn't expect any of his bills to get a hearing.

December 23, 2011 Arizona Daily Sun
Saying crime rates are dropping, the state Department of Corrections on Thursday cancelled plans to contract for 5,000 new private prison beds. Agency director Charles Ryan said the plans, first approved in 2009, came at a time when the number of people being locked up was increasing. Based on that, he said, the department came up with some projections of what it would need long term. But the big increase never materialized. In fact, during the 12 months ending on June 30, 2010, the total prison population increased by just 65. And in the last budget year, the tally actually slipped by 296. Ryan said that made it "prudent to reassess" the plans and its forecast that it would need 8,500 new beds by 2017. But Ryan said his agency still believes more beds will be necessary. So it is now asking private companies to submit bids for just 2,000 minimum and medium security beds, to be completed something before the middle of 2014. And the department will ask the Legislature for permission to build a new maximum security unit, to be operated by the state beginning the following year, which can house up to 500 inmates. The decision to start a new bid process also likely undercuts any new legal effort to block the state from awarding a contract to a private firm to house inmates. In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, the American Friends Service Committee said a 1987 state law requires that agency to first conduct a study to determine if a private firm can provide at least the same quality as the state at a lower cost. Factors that must be studied range from security and inmate programs to health services and food services. The state had never completed such a study. But a trial judge refused to block the state from awarding a contract to the five firms which had previously submitted bids. Now, with that study completed just this week and those original bids discarded, the state is free to start the bidding process all over again without that legal impediment.

December 15, 2011 In These Times
The Arizona Bureau of Planning, Budget and Research notes a whopping savings of three cents per head among the relatively low-maintenance minimum security crowd held in private pens: $46.56 per diem for a private bed, versus $46.59 at state-run institutions. The recent dismissal of a lawsuit filed against both Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Director Charles Ryan and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) is the latest step in the state’s hell-bent plan to roughly double its number of privately managed prison “beds.” The suit, filed in an Arizona Superior Court by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) on September 12, sought an injunction against ADC and the governor’s pending award of 5,000 new prison beds to be operated by a for-profit vendor. The state currently contracts out more than 6,500 minimum- and medium-security beds at seven facilities with Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison operator, and Management and Training Corporation (MTC). AFSC argued that ADC is negligent in its statutorily required duty to conduct biennial cost and quality assessments of the state’s private prisons. The purpose of these assessments is to determine whether the state is receiving the same quality of service from private prison operators as provided by public facilities. Nevertheless, ADC has not completed a single survey. While the law defines a clear list of specific items to be assessed (such as security standards and personnel training), and a set time frame for assessments to be performed (every two years), it does not say that these assessments are the sole bar that must be used to measure standards of private penitentiaries. Without the existence of these biennial reports, it’s anyone’s guess what cost comparison model is used by ADC, the legislature and the governor’s office. When asked what criteria the department uses to determine if the private correctional beds managed in Arizona are operating with the same level of security and care as state-run facilities, and whether those facilities are providing any savings to the public, ADC spokesman Barrett Marson directed In These Times to the ADC’s “Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Per Capita Cost Report.” The most recent FY 2010 per capita report available–published by the Arizona Bureau of Planning, Budget and Research on April 13, 2011–offers nothing to suggest the state should continue its rush toward the privatization of correctional services. The report states that the total adjusted per diem (per prisoner, per day) cost for state-run medium security facilities was $48.42. The per diem for medium security prisoners held by private contractors amounted to $53.02. The bureau did note a whopping savings of three cents per head among the relatively low-maintenance minimum security crowd held in private pens–at $46.56 per diem for a private bed, versus $46.59 at state-run institutions. But the report goes on to quickly deflate the standing of that $0.03 margin, stating: “[There are several] inmate management functions that are provided and paid for by the state but are not provided by the private contractors. This inequity increases the state per capita cost which, in comparison, artificially lowers the private bed cost.” Nevertheless, AFSC’s suit was dismissed on October 27 by Arizona Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson. The basis for the dismissal, however, was not based on the merits of the suit, but rather in Anderson’s concurrence with Assistant Attorney General Rex Nowlan. Nowlan had argued that AFSC and other plaintiffs did not have standing to seek relief for a violation of the law requiring assessment. AFSC is appealing the dismissal. “We will vigorously fight the state’s effort to dismiss the case on procedural standing grounds,” said Vince Rabago, a former state prosecutor who is representing AFSC in the case. “Given the obvious public safety issues and impact on taxpayers, the parties should have a hearing on the merits of the state violating its own laws for more than two decades.”

December 1, 2011 AP
Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan says the state won't act on proposals for additional private prisons until his department completes a report comparing private prisons and publicly operated ones. Ryan told a legislative oversight committee recently that the report is nearly complete and will be submitted to the Legislature before January The comparison study has long been required by state law but has never been done before. Several private prison companies have submitted proposals for 5,000 additional beds authorized under a 2009 state law. The project was delayed and revamped after security at a privately-operated state prison near Kingman was found to be deficient following an escape.

November 19, 2011 Arizona Republic
The Arizona Department of Correction's long-delayed plans to contract for 5,000 additional private-prison beds are again under fire. A Quaker prison-watchdog group, whose lawsuit seeking to block any contract was dismissed in Maricopa County Superior Court last month, Friday filed an appeal and a fresh request for an injunction. That injunction would block any contract until Corrections completes required studies comparing the performance of its existing private-prison contracts to state prisons. Judge Arthur Anderson dismissed the initial suit on the ground that the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee lacked standing to sue the state. The committee noted the dismissal didn't address substantive issues raised by the suit, which alleges that the state is in violation of its own laws, which require that any private-prison contracts save the state money and that the state conduct biannual studies comparing the operations of private and state prisons. The department has never conducted these studies, which are supposed to analyze costs, the security and safety of each prison, how inmates are managed, inmate discipline, programs, staff training, administration, and other factors. The suit and the appeal charge that without these studies, the state can't say whether private prisons are more cost-effective than state facilities. The department didn't immediately reply to requests for comment. Bids on contracts were halted last year to beef up security requirements after three inmates escaped from a private prison in Kingman. The department had expected to award contracts as early as Sept. 12, but that process has been repeatedly delayed. This week, the department asked the four bidders to extend their bids to Dec. 22.

October 28, 2011 AP
A judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by a Quaker group that had been a potential roadblock to the state's plan to add 5,000 more private prison beds. Judge Arthur Anderson of Maricopa County Superior Court said the American Friends Service Committee lacked a legal right to request an injunction to block the state from awarding new private prison contracts before the state satisfies a long-ignored law requiring periodic studies comparing costs and services of private and publicly run prisons. The Quaker group cited a 2010 escape from a privately operated state prison near Kingman, and concerns about public safety and tax dollars, in its lawsuit. The state requested dismissal of the suit and is now conducting a comparison study while reviewing proposals for new or expanded private prisons in communities around the state. The proposals under evaluation are from four finalists chosen from companies that responded to the Department of Corrections under a 2009 law. Caroline Issacs, Arizona program director for the Quaker group, noted that Anderson's ruling was based only on the issue of legal standing. The group remains concerned about the safety and effectiveness of private prisons and is considering the possibility of an appeal or other legal action, she said. Arizona's use of private prisons and its 2009 decision to increase that reliance have come under increased scrutiny because of a 2010 escape from the Kingman prison, a facility later found to have been plagued by security flaws. Two of the three inmates who escaped have been charged with murdering an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico. Arizona now uses private prisons to house about 6,000 of its 40,000 inmates. An attorney for the Quaker group argued that the comparison study would provide the state with "a baseline set of knowledge" needed to help protect the public's safety and tax dollars. If the state had done the studies in the past, the Kingman escape might not have happened and the public might have questioned whether private prisons have provided cost savings for the state, the attorney told Anderson during an Oct. 7 hearing. A lawyer for the state said the state's ongoing evaluation of the four companies' contract proposals involves comparing costs and that the proposals are scored on whether they meet the state's performance standards.

October 14, 2011 East Valley Tribune
A Quaker group asked a judge on Friday to block the state from putting more inmates in private prisons, saying the Department of Corrections has never shown it is safe or even cost effective. Vince Rabago, representing the American Friends Service Committee, told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson that the law requires the state to make a comparison every two years between the services and safety of state-run facilities and those operated by private companies. But there has never been such a study even though that law has been on the books for more than 20 years. Without the study, Rabago argued, there is no basis to know whether it makes sense for the state to go ahead with its plans to contract for another 5,000 private prison beds. So he wants Anderson to block that contract from being awarded until the first study, which the Department of Corrections is finally doing this year, is completed. “The state has an obligation to follow its laws,” Rabago told the judge. The 1987 law dealing with awarding of contracts for private prisons requires the director of the Department of Corrections to look at the job contractors are doing every two years, considering everything from the programs and services offered to inmates to food service and security. Rabago told Anderson the state needs the study as a baseline to compare to what bidders for the new contract are offering. Assistant Attorney General Rex Nowlan conceded that the state never had performed the study. But he said that is legally irrelevant, arguing that the Department of Corrections is effectively looking at all those issues. He also pointed out that same law already prohibits the state from contracting for private prison beds “unless the proposal offers cost savings to this state.” Anyway, Nowlan questioned how the Quaker group — or the other plaintiffs who are the parents of an adult inmate in a private prison — has any right to sue simply because the Department of Corrections has not complied with the law requiring a study. He said the only people who would have a right to complain are the lawmakers who are supposed to get the report. Rabago disagreed. “Taxpayers have a right to prevent the illegal expenditure of taxpayer monies,” he told the judge. Nowlan responded that the Legislature specifically directed the Department of Corrections to contract for another 5,000 beds at privately run prisons. That is on top of the 6,400 inmates already housed in private facilities. With that direction, Nowlan said, what the agency is doing cannot be called illegal. Rabago said this is more than a question of a missing report. “Maybe had the state done its job, maybe had it been doing these studies properly ... maybe we would not be in a position where we would have had Kingman (private prison) escapees murdering innocent people,” he said. “Maybe we wouldn’t have riots and unsafe conditions which we know exist.” That murder reference is to an incident last year when three violent criminals escaped from a private prison run by Management and Training Corp. after an accomplice threw a wire cutter over the fence. All eventually were recaptured, but not before an Oklahoma couple, kidnapped at a New Mexico rest area, was murdered; several of those involved have been charged in that incident. A study following that incident found various failures with the operation of the facility, including a perimeter alarm system that malfunctioned so often that corrections officers routinely ignored it. The study also concluded the state itself had done a poor job of oversight. State officials have not said when they will finally award the new contract. But Barrett Marson, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said his agency asked all the bidders to extend the expiration date on their offers until Nov. 22 to provide more time to review the proposals. Anderson gave no indication of when he will rule.

October 12, 2011 Coolidge Examiner
D-Day has been extended. The “D” stands for decision as in whether a prison is built in Coolidge. Regardless of what side Coolidge citizens are on they want an answer. The answer to whether Coolidge gets a private prison apparently will come later rather than sooner. A decision that could have come as early as Sept. 16 has now been extended to Nov. 22, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. The DOC has apparently asked Management and Training Corporation (MTC) and the other companies that bid on a private prison “to extend its bid through November 22, 2011, while they continue to evaluate the proposals.” Though no DOC officials were available for comment, Coolidge Mayor Tom Shope has a few ideas of the hold up. “There is a lot of political play about the need for prisons,” Shope said. “With the question about jail time that has been raised as well as the private vs. state debate, there is a lot going on. That is probably what is responsible more than anything for holding this up.” What Shope referred to was an expose that appeared in the Sunday Arizona Republic that examined how Arizona has some of the harshest sentences of any state in the country and the huge price tag incurred. Also, there is the ongoing battle between the private and federal prison advocates. Shope said he had hoped a decision would have been made by now, but that he understands that there are external factors at work as well. “Obviously, I was hoping for a decision sooner,” Shope said. “This just prolongs the wait process. I am not losing sleep over it. It’s not the end of the world. Every company that made a bid has to wait. Every city has to wait. We’re all in the same boat. And I don’t have any hint of who is in the lead.” There has been some talk that Eloy is in the lead because it would be most cost effective. One undocumented report said that beds are already being cleared in one of the city’s facilities. But Eloy Mayor Byron Jackson said he hasn’t heard anything either from Corrections Corporation of America or the DOC. Jackson still believes his city would make the most sense because it is most cost-effective. “It only makes sense,” Jackson said. “It’s not like they would have to build a new prison. They would just move people (from California) out and move new people in. It’s not that big of a deal. We already have or could provide the bed space. I haven’t heard that a final decision has been made.”

September 24, 2011 Arizona Republic
Arizona's Department of Corrections needs to do more to improve security at private-contract and state-run prisons, a report released Friday by the state's auditor general concludes. The report credits the department with making many significant improvements since the July 2010 escapes of three prisoners from the Kingman prison. These improvements include revamping the state's monitoring and inspection programs, which had failed to detect obvious security flaws at Kingman before the escapes; new, tougher annual audits of each prison; better security and reporting requirements in new contracts; and stiffer requirements and better training for state monitors who oversee private prisons.The audit called for further steps to address ongoing security problems.

September 15, 2011 Arizona Daily Sun
A judge refused Wednesday to block the state from awarding new contracts to put inmates in private prisons. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson said members of the Quaker organization who filed suit earlier this week had not shown their interests would be "irreparably harmed" if he refused to issue an emergency order. That made the challengers legally ineligible for immediate relief. But the ruling does not end the dispute. Anderson scheduled a hearing for next week when he wants to hear from both the American Friends Service Committee as well as the Department of Corrections. He could at that time, after hearing evidence, then bar the state from proceeding with the additional private prisons. That presumes, however, it is not too late. The law directing the Department of Corrections to contract out for 5,000 private prison beds allows the agency to award the bid as early as this Friday. And agency spokesman Barrett Marson would not commit to holding off until after next week's hearing. About 6,500 of the state's approximately 40,000 inmates already are in private prisons. The lawsuit is based on the contention by the group that privately run prisons are both more costly and less secure than those operated by the state. What gives the group ammunition is that a 1987 state law requires a study to determine whether private companies can not only do the job at a lower cost but that the private companies meet the same standards on everything from security to food. That law was ignored until Gov. Jan Brewer directed a study be done. That study, however, will not be completed before the end of the year. The group wants Anderson to preclude new contracts until that happens. Anderson, however, said he cannot act now -- before the Department of Corrections gets a chance to respond -- absent some showing of irreparable harm. Carolyn Isaacs, the group's Arizona program manager, said there is such proof. "Certainly, the taxpayers are harmed by wasting $650 million," she said. Isaacs also noted that other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include a couple whose son in locked up in a private prison in Kingman. They allege that guards in that facility have allowed attacks to occur on African-American inmates. "There is irreparable harm happening daily in these facilities, or at least the potential for it," Isaacs said. She also pointed to the review done by the state of the operation of that Kingman facility after three dangerous inmates escaped last year. One of the escapees and an accomplice have been charged in connection with the murder of an Oklahoma couple. "At any minute, another Kingman (incident) could possibly happen," Isaacs said.

September 15, 2011 Arizona Republic
A prison watchdog group's effort to block state plans for more private-prison beds fell short Wednesday. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson denied a request by the American Friends Service Committee for a temporary restraining order against the Department of Corrections, pending a hearing Tuesday on an injunction filed by the committee. That injunction seeks to block Corrections from contracting for more private-prison beds until the department completes a comprehensive cost-benefit study of private vs. state-run prisons, due to be completed by January. Corrections officials have said they may announce as early as Friday the award of one or more contracts for up to 5,000 new private-prison beds. The committee had requested the restraining order to stop Corrections from awarding any contracts before its injunction is considered. The committee's Arizona program director, Caroline Isaacs, called on Corrections to voluntarily hold off on any award until after the hearing. Corrections declined to comment on the injunction.

September 13, 2011 Arizona Republic
A group opposed to privatizing prisons filed suit Monday seeking to block, at least temporarily, state plans to contract for 5,000 new private-prison beds as early as Friday. The state "should not be allowed to hand over another cent of taxpayers' money until the Department (of Corrections) can prove to us that these prisons are safe, that the corporations are doing the job we're paying them to do, and that the state is capable of holding them accountable," said Caroline Isaacs, director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group that monitors prisons. Besides requesting a temporary restraining order, the suit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court accuses Arizona's Department of Corrections of failing to follow two state statutes: - State law requires that any private-prison contract either save money or provide better services for the same cost as state-run prisons. Cost comparisons done by Corrections every year since 2005 consistently show that private prisons are more expensive, the suit noted. - Corrections has failed for decades to carry out biannual studies, required by law, comparing the performance of private vs. state prisons on security, safety, how inmates are managed, programs and services, and many other issues. The Corrections Department declined to comment on the suit. Corrections officials previously have admitted that the biannual studies have not been done. Corrections Director Charles Ryan has said the department expects to complete its first such study by January. The department had said it would announce the award of one or more contracts on or after Friday. Four companies are finalists to build or provide prisons at five possible sites. The committee was joined in the suit by Oralee and Joyce Clayton, parents of an inmate at the privately run Kingman state prison who say they're concerned for their son's safety. The group asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping Corrections from awarding any contract, at least until it completes its first biannual cost-benefit comparison study. The suit also asks the court to force the department to disclose the details of all of its current contracts with private-prison operators.

September 12, 2011 Blog for Arizona
The state of Arizona is poised to award a lucrative private prison contract on September 16, despite the Department of Corrections failure to comply with Arizona law. (Arizona law requires the department to conduct a cost-benefit analysis comparing state and private prisons every two years, which has never been done). The American Friends Service Committee is going to do something about it. Quakers threaten lawsuit over private prisons - Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required): A Quaker organization and a West Valley advocacy group are making last-minute efforts to stop the state from building private prisons. American Friends Service Committee, a social action arm of the Quaker faith, notified the Attorney General’s Office today it intends to sue to keep the Department of Corrections from awarding contracts to build private prisons to house 5,000 inmates. The contract award is scheduled for Sept. 16. Four companies have bid to build prisons at five possible sites. Stacy Scheff, a Tucson attorney representing the group, said she is going to ask a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to prevent the state from awarding the contracts until the completion of a required cost-benefit analysis comparing state and private prisons. [Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said the department is working on the study and it should be complete no later than January.] The group has scheduled a press conference for Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the House of Representatives.

August 17, 2011 ABC 15
Family members of a couple allegedly murdered by two Arizona prison escapees are speaking out against a proposed prison. The Haas family is on a mission that they never wanted, but feel they need pursue. “It’s something you think about everyday,” said Linda Haas Rook. Rook’s brother Gary Haas and his wife Linda were murdered last year. Investigators believe the killers are two men who escaped from a prison in Kingman just days earlier. The Kingman prison is operated by the Management and Training Corporation, which now has hopes to build prisons in San Luis and Coolidge. The Haas family hopes to prevent the company from doing so. Linda Rook planned to travel more than 1,400 miles with her husband and her mother to the public hearing Tuesday night in San Luis to voice her concerns. “[MTC] needs to right their wrongs,” she told ABC15 from her stopover in Scottsdale. MTC has made several security upgrades to their facility in Kingman, and a spokesperson said the company has a great track record with the state. If MTC is approved to build the new prison, the company stated it plans to bring about 500 jobs to the San Luis area.

August 17, 2011 Arizona Republic
Rep. Chad Campbell, the Arizona House minority leader, asked Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to temporarily halt a proposed 5,000-bed expansion of private prisons in Arizona. Public hearings on the expansion continue this week, with one held Tuesday in San Luis. It is among five communities where four companies are bidding to provide the beds. The Arizona Department of Corrections is expected to issue one or more contracts in late September. But, as The Arizona Republic recently reported, the department has never completed the biannual, cost-benefit analyses required by law to compare private and public prisons. Corrections Director Charles Ryan said he expects the first such analysis to be completed in January. In a letter to Brewer, Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat, asked her to hold off on any new contract until the analysis is ready and "after enhanced security, training and monitoring policies are in place and shown to be effective at all existing private facilities." Brewer could not immediately be reached. At Tuesday's public hearing, the two companies bidding to build prisons near San Luis - Management and Training Corp. and Geo Group Inc. - tried to fight back against criticism of their records in Arizona and elsewhere. MTC, in particular, was criticized for the escapes of three prisoners from its Kingman prison last year. Two of those prisoners are accused of kidnapping and murdering an Oklahoma couple, Gary and Linda Haas. Vivian Haas, Gary's mother, has said little in public in the year since the murders. But at the San Luis hearing, she spoke out. "I've been through a lot of painful times in 81 years, even surviving the terrible tornado that hit Joplin recently. But nothing compares to the pain of having my kids brutally murdered because MTC couldn't do its job of keeping criminals locked up," Haas said. MTC Vice President Mike Murphy, who spoke before Haas, emphasized the 500 jobs and the tax benefits he said the proposed prison would bring, and promised good security. Geo Group similarly focused on jobs and security in its presentation.

August 11, 2011 Arizona Republic
Geo Group Inc.’s proposal to build a 2,000- to 5,000-bed private prison in Goodyear ran into fierce public opposition Wednesday, with much of the anger at a public hearing coming from residents who said the state has broken a promise made at the time the nearby Perryville state prison was built. Geo tried to head off criticism, saying its prison would be built to far higher security standards than the state requires, with several extra layers of fencing and security devices and with more staff. Company CEO George Zoley also stressed the economic benefits of adding up to 1,000 construction jobs and up to 1,100 permanent jobs if the largest alternative were selected. But despite giving a far more detailed presentation than rival bidder Corrections Corp. of America provided at a hearing in Eloy one night before, Geo Group ran into a buzz saw. Litchfield Park Mayor Thomas Schoaf, in a statement read by City Manager Darryl Crossman, called the proposal “a slap in the face to our residents,” a direct threat to the public safety of the area “and a threat to the public welfare of our communities.” Schoaf, in an argument echoed by others, said that when the state built the Perryville prison in 1980, the Legislature overcame local opposition by promising to limit the facility to 1,400 minimum-security women prisoners. But by 1989, the state began sending male, higher-security inmates there. Perryville now houses just under 3,500 inmates. Schoaf called a further prison expansion preposterous. “I’m the guy who founded this company in 1984 . . . and I’m accountable to you,” Zoley promised at the hearing. But when he declined to answer a question about the ratio of correctional officers to prisoners, Dianne Post, the NAACP’s Maricopa County representative, argued, “He says, ‘I’m accountable to you.’ How? He won’t tell us his staff ratio. They’re not accountable.” Other speakers alternated between those in construction – “We all need jobs, we need jobs in this area,” said John Coffman – and those peppering the company with questions, criticizing its record and political donations, or arguing, as Goodyear resident Barb Julien said, “If this area had a Scottsdale ZIP code, we wouldn’t be holding this meeting tonight.”

August 10, 2011 Arizona Republic
Private prisons are already a familiar sight in Eloy. Residents, many of them employees of Corrections Corporation of America, expressed their support for the company at a public hearing Tuesday night. "This is what CCA does to the community," said Eloy resident and CCA employee Lt. Charlie Payne in front of the crowd. "We become winners." "We truly, truly need this," said resident Linda Gibson, also a CCA employee, when it was her turn to speak. Residents at the hearing wanted the state to award CCA an agreement to manage 4500 Arizona inmates. The inmates would be housed at Red Rock and La Palma correctional facilities. "We're certainly very proud of the fact we already employ 2700 people in Pinal County alone and to the extent that the state needs to additional services, the scope of the services will determine how many more jobs that might entail," said Steven Owen, director of public affairs for CCA. "You can see that there are a lot of folks here that currently work in these facilities," said American Friends Service Committee program director Caroline Isaacs as she stood outside of the public hearing at Curiel Annex School. "I think the jobs argument is one they've been selling to small, economically-strapped rural towns for decades." Opponents ranging from American Friends Service Committee to the American Civil Liberties Union said that private prisons don't really offer savings and are not accountable to taxpayers like the state department of corrections. They questioned whether the new contract would bring more jobs since current facilities will be used and suggested that if current inmates are transported from state facilities to private ones, state corrections jobs could be at stake. "Which current Arizona facilities will be affected?" asked private prison critic Susan Maurer as she stood in front of the hearing audience. "Will there be closures there and how many jobs from those facilities would be lost?" "I cannot discuss informational content in relationship to a vendor's proposal until we complete the public hearing process at five sites," answered Charles Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.

August 10, 2011 Arizona Republic
Corrections Corp. of America is proposing to use two of its existing prisons in Eloy to provide new private-prison beds for Arizona. Nashville-based CCA, the country's largest operator of private prisons, would empty its Red Rock and La Palma facilities of the inmates from Hawaii and California they now house to create space for 4,500 Arizona inmates. CCA is one of four companies bidding to contract with Arizona's Department of Corrections for up to 5,000 private prison beds. It provided details of its plans at a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday evening in Eloy. Under the proposal, CCA wouldn't expand either private prison; rather, the Hawaiian and Californian inmates would move to one of the more than 60 other prisons elsewhere in the CCA system, likely in other states.

May 18, 2011 New York Times
The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates. The state’s experience has particular relevance now, as many politicians have promised to ease budget problems by trimming state agencies. Florida and Ohio are planning major shifts toward private prisons, and Arizona is expected to sign deals doubling its private-inmate population. The measures would be a shot in the arm for an industry that has struggled, in some places, to fill prison beds as the number of inmates nationwide has leveled off. But hopes of big taxpayer benefits might end in disappointment, independent experts say. “There’s a perception that the private sector is always going to do it more efficiently and less costly,” said Russ Van Vleet, a former co-director of the University of Utah Criminal Justice Center. “But there really isn’t much out there that says that’s correct.” Such has been the case lately in Arizona. Despite a state law stipulating that private prisons must create “cost savings,” the state’s own data indicate that inmates in private prisons can cost as much as $1,600 more per year, while many cost about the same as they do in state-run prisons. The research, by the Arizona Department of Corrections, also reveals a murky aspect of private prisons that helps them appear less expensive: They often house only relatively healthy inmates. “It’s cherry-picking,” said State Representative Chad Campbell, leader of the House Democrats. “They leave the most expensive prisoners with taxpayers and take the easy prisoners.” In the 1980s, soaring violent crime, tougher sentencing and overcrowding led lawmakers to use private prisons to expand. Then, as now, privatization advocates argued that corporations were more efficient. Over time, most states signed contracts, one of the largest transfers of state functions to private industry. Nationally, the number of state inmates in private prisons grew by a third over the past decade to more than 90,000, but it has stagnated, and some states have reduced total prison populations — shifting nonviolent offenders to treatment programs while bolstering probation. Now, Ohio lawmakers want to privatize prisons with 6,000 inmates, and Florida will transfer institutions with 15,000 inmates to private management. The Arizona plan would add 5,000 private prison beds. Matthew Benson, spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, a Republican, did not dispute the state research. But he said officials had a “pretty wide lens” to interpret the cost-savings mandate, like taking into account the ability of private companies to recoup hundreds of millions in construction costs over the life of contracts. “It is a significant advantage to have a private firm be able to come in and front the costs,” he said. Privatization advocates play down the data. Leonard Gilroy, director of government reform for the Reason Foundation, a libertarian research organization, questioned whether all costs were included and said the figures were too narrowly drawn, particularly on medium-security prisons, to prompt conclusions. “It is looking at a limited slice,” Mr. Gilroy said. Competing studies — some financed by the prison industry — have argued over claims of savings. But when a University of Utah team including Mr. Van Vleet reviewed years of research, it concluded in 2007 that “cost savings from privatizing prisons are not guaranteed and appear minimal.” Steve Owen, spokesman for the largest operator, Corrections Corporation of America, said: “There is a mixed bag of research out there. It’s not as black and white and cut and dried as we would like.” A number of states mandate that contracts save money. But Arizona is one of the few — if not only — places to measure the outcome so rigorously. While private prisons collect a daily rate per inmate, some expenses disproportionately borne by states are not counted. The most significant are terms limiting sicker inmates. Five of eight private prisons serving Arizona did not accept inmates with “limited physical capacity and stamina” or severe physical illness or chronic conditions, according to the state’s analysis, issued last month. None took inmates with “high need” mental health conditions. Some inmates who became sick were “returned to state prisons due to an increase of their medical scores that exceeds contractual exclusions.” “Unlike the private contractors,” the analysis said, the state “is required to provide medical and mental health services to inmates regardless of the severity of their condition.” Medical costs averaged up to $2.44 a day more for state inmates, a third higher than private prisons. That gap can be wider. In Florida, officials found that two private prisons spent only about half as much on health care per inmate as comparable state prisons, a difference of $9 million over two years. Florida officials say that the new plan will better balance costs, and that private prisons comply with a 7-percent-savings law. But skeptics like State Senator Mike Fasano, a Republican, fear cherry-picking may be the only way they can do that. In Arizona, minimum-security state inmates cost 2.6 percent — or $1.39 per day — more than those in private prisons, before accounting for extra costs borne by the state. But after eliminating these, state prisoners cost only three cents more per day, the analysis found. And state medium-security inmates cost 4.4 percent less before adjustments and 8.7 percent less afterward. That is more than $2 million annually at one prison, or $1,679 per inmate. Using 2009 corrections data, state auditors calculated the difference at up to $2,834 per inmate. Charles L. Ryan, the Arizona corrections director, said private prisons “often negotiate restrictions on the type of inmates” and limit “inmates with medical conditions to a specific cost level.” The new contracts seek to reduce this practice. Mr. Owen did not dispute the Arizona research, but said the industry saved money. He pointed to a study — partly financed by the industry — that found states with private prisons had lower growth in public prison costs. “We do provide value to our government partners,” he said. However, Mr. Owen acknowledged that most contracts had cost caps, and that terms barring the sickest prisoners were not unusual. He said his company never voiced a preference for such terms. “The myth is that we are somehow hand-selecting” inmates. According to Arizona officials, the data account for costs as varied as guards’ pensions and inmate food. They track past results publicized in the state, but those have not prompted any privatization rethinking: contracts on the state’s expansion could be awarded by the summer.

November 9, 2010 Arizona Republic
A criminal-justice watchdog group has called on state leaders to cancel a contract for 5,000 private-prison beds and launch an investigation into the private-prison industry's "lack of accountability" and influence on state politics. The Arizona office of the American Friends Service Committee, a national Quaker non-profit group that focuses on human rights, held a news conference Monday announcing their concerns. The group said it wants the Attorney General's Office and Secretary of State's Office to investigate issues including the private-prison industry's campaign contributions to state legislators, lobbyists' efforts to push legislation that boosts incarceration rates, and the need for private prisons in Arizona. "We're just asking for basic transparencies in an industry that has a stake in making money off incarcerating people," said Caroline Isaacs, a committee spokeswoman.

November 3, 2010 KPHO
A state audit of the Arizona Department of Corrections found private prisons cost taxpayers more money per inmate. The audit report says housing a medium-custody inmate at a private prison costs $55.89 per day. The daily cost of housing the same inmate at a state facility was calculated at $48.13 a day. State auditor Dale Chapman said there more extensive research is needed on the costs of private prisons. Chapman has examined Arizona's Department of Corrections budget and recommended state lawmakers invest money examining private prisons' price tag. "We think there would be a value in determining and spending time and resources on determining the costs of housing an inmate in a state facility versus a private facility," said Chapman.

September 27, 2010 Havasu News-Herald
A Golden Valley prison will get a new prison administrator within a few weeks, the facility’s officials said Monday. Management & Training Corp. staff members were informed Friday via e-mail that Jerry Sternes would be appointed as complex administrator, and Neil Turner as warden at the Hualapai unit. Al Murphy, MTC’s corrections vice-president, sent the e-mail. Sternes has more than 25 years experience in corrections and recently retired as complex administrator at the Arizona State Prison in Yuma, which is a 5,000-bed prison, according to the e-mail. Turner is a returning MTC employee who worked at a correctional facility in Grafton, Ohio. He has 20 years experience, according to the e-mail. Turner will replace former unit warden Lori Lieder, who resigned following the escape of three prisoners, Daniel Renwick, John McCluskey and Tracy Province, from the prison July 30. Carl Stuart, MTC communication director, wrote Monday in an e-mail that Darla Elliott, former MTC/Arizona State Prison — Kingman complex administrator, “was placed on administrative leave by MTC sometime in mid-August … Ms. Elliot remains an employee with MTC. She has not yet been reassigned. She will not be returning to the Kingman facility.” Sternes will take her position. Charles Ryan, Arizona Department of Corrections director, presented Mohave County Supervisors with an overview of it internal investigation into the prison break Sept. 20 in Kingman. Although the investigation continues, it has exposed factors contributing to the escape including human error, a faulty perimeter security system and opportunistic inmates, according to earlier reports. After the escape, an investigation showed that prison officials neglected to inform state legislators, Mohave County Board of Supervisors and Mohave County Sheriff’s Office about facility changes. This neglect violated state law and the prison’s contract. In 2005, the prison failed to notify authorities when it changed status from a minimum-custody DUI prison to a minimum/medium-custody prison, which means it could house more dangerous criminals. MTC failed to notify authorities again in 2006 and in 2008 about prisoner movement and contract status amendments linked to the prison’s addition of a 2,000-bed complex. In 2007, the first murderers were transferred to the prison near Kingman, according to earlier reports. Local authorities did not know. “It was almost unbelievable these people (murderers) had been out there,” said Mohave County Sheriff Sheahan recently. “I was surprised at the amount of high-risk criminals.” Tracy Province is currently in custody at the county jail in Kingman, Sheahan said. “(Province’s) comments were something to the effect that he was somewhat surprised he was transferred to this type of prison,” Sheahan said. Province came to ADC in January 1993, and was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery in Pima County at the time of his escape, according to earlier reports. On the night of the escape, by the time prison officials had reported the incident to law enforcement authorities the prisoners were “long gone,” Sheahan said. According to ADC information, MTC determined the three inmates missing around 9 p.m. but didn’t alert MCSO until 10:19 p.m. “At that time, (MCSO) dispatchers were trying to fill out the information for statewide and national dispatch,” Sheahan said. “(MTC) didn’t event know (the inmates’) names after the individuals had been missing an hour-and-a-half.” When dispatchers asked MTC officials to describe the escaped prisoners, all MTC conveyed was that they were wearing orange. The prison also gave sheriff’s deputies photographs of the escapees that were nearly 20 years out of day, Sheahan said, adding this added to his agency’s frustration with the facility.

September 21, 2010 The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Department of Corrections employee assigned to ensure a privately run prison near Kingman was operated according to state standards was overwhelmed by paperwork and admitted he screwed up, according to an internal review released Monday of a prison escape that led to a nationwide manhunt. David Lee, who was associate deputy warden at the facility when the escape took place July 30, told the state's internal investigators that he had not read the contract between the state and prison operator Management & Training Corp. in his 14 months on the job and that he was unaware of the persistent issues with false alarms that plagued the complex. A lieutenant told investigators that the alarm system could go off 200 or 300 times a shift. The report also indicates that the alarm system hadn't been serviced in two years after a contract expired with a maintenance provider. Neither Lee nor any of his superiors knew anything about the alarm problems, according to the report. Lee was fired and his supervisor resigned following the escape. Daniel Renwick, 36, Tracy Province, 43, and John McCluskey, 45, broke out of the prison July 30 after McCluskey's fiancée, Casslyn Welch, 44, allegedly threw cutting tools and weapons into the prison yard. An officer initially said the perimeter was clear after the escape and authorities worked under the assumption that the inmates were still inside the compound until the officer returned a second time and noticed a hole in the perimeter fence.

September 15, 2010 Arizona Silver Belt
The Arizona Department of Corrections has made it official. Four bids to build new private prison complexes in the state for up to 5,000 beds for DOC inmates, including a 1,000 inmate prison in Globe, all have been formally rejected. The state agency has been sitting on the proposals for a 20-year contract from these prison operators since the May 28 deadline for submission. However, after some three months and two weeks of deliberations, and coping with a major July prison escape at Kingman, the Arizona Department of Corrections made its decision last Friday and sent separate letters to the four firms. They were Emerald Correctional Management, Management and Training Corporation, GEO Group Corrections and Corrections Corporation of America. Denel Pickering, Chief Procurement Officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections told the firms the state agency had decided to cancel the solicitation for building the private prisons in its entirely and no contracts would be awarded. According to Pickering, the corrections department cancelled the solicitation for bids, all which had been opened, because it was determined the requirements for new prisons have changed . The state official indicated a new request for proposals for building private correctional centers in the state would be made again and when that happens each of these firms would be sent a copy. In the meantime, DOC said the current solicitation file will remain closed and not open for public review until a new contract is secured.

September 3, 2010 Arizona Republic
The first legal action in the Arizona prison breakout that led to the killing of two campers has been filed against the state and the operator of the private prison. Vivian Haas, the mother of murder victim Gary Haas, filed a $10 million claim against Arizona and a wrongful death lawsuit against Management Training Corp., the company that operates the private prison near Kingman where three fugitives escaped on July 30. The notice of claim is a required precursor to a lawsuit. Police believe one of those escaped inmates, John McCluskey, murdered Gary Haas and his wife, Linda, near Santa Rosa, N.M. in the days following the escape as the fugitives grew weary of traveling in a car and targeted the Haas' for their camping trailer. The escape led to a nationwide manhunt that stretched from Arizona to the Canada border. The claim against Arizona notes the state's failure to maintain custody of the inmates, to properly train and supervise personnel at the prison and to promptly notify law enforcement officials in the area after the escape. "I have conveyed my condolences to the Haas family and friends, however, I cannot comment on pending litigation," Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said in a statement. Management Training Corp. could not be immediately reached for comment. Reviews of the July 30 incident have painted the picture of a prison where detention officers became lackadaisical and predictable in their movements and where equipment failures- including false alarms- were so common that they were frequently ignored. Detention officers failed to check an alarm that sounded when McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick cut through one of two security fences ringing the privately run prison near Kingman. Investigators have said McCluskey's fiancée, Casslyn Welch, threw cutting tools over the fence to the men who snipped through chain link and barbed wire to flee into the desert. It was more than two hours before staff at the private prison notified the state corrections officials of the escape. By then, Renwick was making his way north to Colorado while McCluskey, Province and Welch were on their way to hijacking a truck near Kingman and forced the drivers to take them to Flagstaff. Renwick was captured two days after the escape after he exchanged gunfire with police in Colorado. After allegedly receiving help from relatives in Arizona, McCluskey, Province and Welch made their way east, ultimately ending up at a rest stop in New Mexico where, according to statements Province gave investigators, they saw 61-year-old Gary and Linda Haas, an Oklahoma couple taking an annual camping trip. After days on the road in a cramped sedan, the fugitives decided to target travelers with a camping trailer and the Haas' fit the bill. Province told investigators that he and McCluskey forced the couple into their truck at gunpoint while Welch followed behind. They all ended up in a remote area near Santa Rosa where McCluskey shot the Haas' in their trailer, according to court documents. The fugitives set fire to the trailer in an effort to hide the evidence. A rancher discovered the burned trailer on Aug. 4.

August 25, 2010 Private Corrections Working Group
Today, the Private Corrections Working Group (PCWG), a not-for-profit organization that exposes the problems of and educates the public about for-profit private corrections, called for overhaul of the Arizona Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) oversight of the for-profit prison industry, including: • An immediate halt to all bidding processes involving private prison operators and a moratorium on new private prison beds • Hold public hearings during the special session to address the problems with for-profit prisons in Arizona • Enact other cost-cutting measures that not only save money but enhance public safety, like earned release credits, amending truth in sentencing, and restoring judicial discretion. This action came about after the ADOC released a security audit on August 19th concerning the July 30 escape of three dangerous prisoners from a private prison in Kingman operated by Management and Training Corp. (MTC) (Coincidentally, that same day the last escapee and an accomplice, John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch, were captured without incident at a campground in eastern Arizona. The other two escaped prisoners, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick, had been caught previously in Wyoming and Colorado). Ken Kopczynski, executive director of PCWG, condemned MTC for the numerous security failures that led to the July 30 escape. “If MTC had properly staffed the facility, properly trained their employees and properly maintained security at the Kingman prison, this escape would not have occurred. But because MTC is a private company that needs to generate profit, and therefore cut costs related to staffing, training and security, three dangerous inmates were able to escape and at least two innocent victims are dead as a result,” Kopczynski observed. “That is part of the cost of prison privatization that MTC and other private prison firms don’t want to talk about.” The murders of an Oklahoma couple, Gary and Linda Hass, whose burned bodies were found in New Mexico on August 4, were tied to McCluskey, Welch and Province. While MTC said it took responsibility for the escape, vice-president Odie Washington acknowledged the company could not prevent future escapes. “Escapes occur at both public and private” prisons, he stated, ignoring the fact that most secure facilities do not experience any escapes – particularly escapes as preventable as the one at MTC’s Kingman prison. According to the ADOC security audit, the prison’s perimeter fence registered 89 alarms over a 16-hour period on the day the escape occurred, most of them false. MTC staff failed to promptly check the alarms – sometimes taking over an hour to respond – and light bulbs on a control panel that showed the status of the perimeter fence were burned out. “The system was not maintained or calibrated,” said ADOC Director Charles Ryan. Further, a perimeter patrol post was not staffed by MTC, and according to a news report from the Arizona Daily Star, “a door to a dormitory that was supposed to be locked had been propped open with a rock, helping the inmates escape.” Additionally, MTC officials did not promptly notify state corrections officials following the escape and high staff turnover at the facility had resulted in inexperienced employees who were ill-equipped to detect and prevent the break-out. According to MTC warden Lori Lieder, 80 percent of staff at the Kingman prison were new or newly promoted. Although the ADOC was supposed to be monitoring its contract with MTC to house state prisoners, the security flaws cited in the audit went undetected for years. Ryan faulted human error and “serious security lapses” at the private prison. Arizona corrections officials removed 148 state prisoners from the MTC facility after the escape due to security concerns. “I lacked confidence in this company’s ability,” said ADOC Director Ryan. Although it’s a small corporation, since 1995 over a dozen prisoners have escaped from MTC facilities in Utah, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Eagle Mountain, California –where two inmates were murdered during a riot in 2003.

August 23, 2010 Arizona Republic
After three violent criminals escaped from a private prison last month in Kingman, state officials began asking why they had been assigned to a medium-security facility. John McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick escaped July 30 after an embarrassing series of security lapses at the prison, operated by Utah-based Management and Training Corp. All three have been captured, but their escape is likely to spur further discussion on how to classify inmates' security risks and decide where to house them. Both public and private prisons use the state's classification system, but the Arizona Department of Corrections already has pulled some inmates from the Kingman facility as it rethinks how it assigns risk. Arizona assigns inmates a number from one to five, with five representing the highest risk, based on their crimes. Depending on their score, inmates are assigned to one of four custody levels: minimum, medium, close and maximum. Over time, an inmate's classification can be adjusted up or down based on the inmate's behavior in custody. The system works when used properly, said Tom Rosazza, a consultant and former state corrections director. But the system can also mean that more violent offenders can wind up in less-secure facilities depending on their behavior. Although they were in a medium-security facility at a private prison, McCluskey, Province and Renwick qualified as dangerous offenders. Renwick was a convicted murderer. Province killed a man in 1991 by stabbing him 51 times. McCluskey was sentenced in Arizona for attempted murder and had a previous armed-robbery conviction in Pennsylvania. "My first thought was, 'What the hell were those guys doing at that (Kingman) place?' " Rosazza said. Their cases are not unique. There are more than 1,400 inmates serving time for murder in medium-security settings in Arizona, including 796 with life sentences. More than 100 were housed at the prison near Kingman, the only private facility in Arizona to house murderers. Province entered the prison system with a maximum "five" rating when he reported to serve his life sentence in 1993 but was moved down to a "three," or medium security, by 1997. Renwick followed a similar path through the system, while McCluskey entered custody as a medium-security inmate for firing a shotgun into a Mesa home in 2009. Authorities allege the trio escaped with help from Casslyn Welch, McCluskey's cousin and fiancee. The escapees are believed to have cut their way through a fence. Alarms were ignored because, according to state officials, prison guards thought they were false. Renwick was recaptured Aug. 1 in Colorado after a shootout with police. Province was caught Aug. 9 in Wyoming. McCluskey and Welch were caught Thursday evening in Apache County and are suspected along with Province of being involved in the murder of an elderly couple in New Mexico shortly after the escape. Because of the three inmates' possible post-escape crimes, the classification issue likely will come up in any future lawsuits against the state or a prison operator, Rosazza said. "That would be the first thing I'd look at," he said. Arizona officials control what factors are used in determining prisoner classifications and, based on those classifications, decide which facilities prisoners are held in. Although the former fugitives escaped from a private facility, the state will bear some liability in any court action because it is responsible for prisoners sentenced in Arizona. "The state doesn't contract away its responsibility," Rosazza said.

August 22, 2010 Arizona Republic
Arizona puts more of its inmates into privately run prisons every year, even though the prisons may not be as secure as state-run facilities and may not save taxpayers money. Lawmakers began using private prisons to ease overcrowding and have supported their use so aggressively that today, one in five Arizona inmates is housed in a private facility. Many inmates from other states also are housed in private prisons in Arizona, but the state has little information about who they are and limited oversight of how they are secured. The state has 11 privately operated prisons. A high-profile escape of three Arizona inmates last month from a Kingman-area private prison, which spurred a nationwide manhunt and is believed to have resulted in two murders, raises questions about the industry's growth and the degree of state oversight. The last fugitives in that escape were caught Thursday, and the state's prison director has promised changes to the private sites that house Arizona inmates. State leaders in recent years have pushed for more privatization and have blocked efforts to regulate the industry, which has invested heavily in local lobbying and contributed to political campaigns. Last year, officials approved a plan to hand over the operation of nearly every state prison to private companies. The plan was repealed only after no credible bidder came forward. This year, lawmakers approved 5,000 new private-prison beds for Arizona prisoners. Data suggest that the facilities are less cost-effective than they claim to be. A cost study by the Arizona Department of Corrections this year found that it can often be more expensive to house inmates in private prisons than in their state-run counterparts. A growing industry -- Arizona's use of private prisons dates back to the early 1990s, when lawmakers, grappling with overcrowding in state facilities, authorized the construction of a 450-bed minimum-security prison in Marana to house drug and alcohol abusers. The prison is owned and operated by Management & Training Corp., the Utah-based company that also operates the Kingman facility where the three inmates escaped. Since then, Arizona has increasingly relied on for-profit operators to manage its own inmates. It also has allowed private companies to import prisoners from other states. Rapid growth began in 2003 and the years immediately following, when Arizona was again wrestling with prison overcrowding. To ease the shortage, Republican lawmakers agreed to build 2,000 new prison beds, compromising with a reluctant Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, to make half of them private. Around the same time, nearly a dozen other states grappling with the same issues began shipping their inmates to private facilities elsewhere in the country. Arizona, with cheap land and a receptive political climate, became a go-to destination for private-prison operators, who began accepting inmates from as far as Washington and Hawaii. Today, Arizona houses 20.1 percent of its prisoners in private facilities, according to state data from July. Exactly how many inmates are here from other states is unclear. Last year, lawmakers took the unprecedented step of exploring the privatization of almost the entire Arizona correctional system, passing a bill that would have turned over the state's prisons to private operators for an up-front payment of $100 million. The payment would have helped the state close a billion-dollar budget gap. The bill, which also included a host of changes related to the state's budget, was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, but the language relating to prison privatization was repealed in a later special session. The state now has an open contract for the construction and operation of 5,000 new private-prison beds. Arizona's reliance on private facilities coincides with operators' increasing national political activity in hiring lobbyists and donating to political campaigns. The ties between the companies and Arizona elected officials - which go back nearly a decade - have become a campaign issue in this year's gubernatorial race. Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of private prisons, runs six in Arizona, three of which house inmates for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Brewer's critics have suggested that she signed Senate Bill 1070, and has advocated for privatization of some prisons, in part to benefit CCA's bottom line. Democrats have called on Brewer, a Republican, to fire "aides" associated with the prison company. That includes HighGround, a Phoenix consulting and lobbying firm managing Brewer's gubernatorial campaign. The firm counts CCA among its clients. Brewer's official spokesman, Paul Senseman, also used to lobby for CCA. Campaign finance reports filed earlier this year show that eight executives with CCA contributed $1,080 of the $51,193 in seed money Brewer received for her gubernatorial campaign. CCA also gave $10,000 to the "Yes on 100" campaign, which backed a temporary, 1-cent-on-the-dollar increase in the state's sales tax. Brewer was the chief advocate for the tax, which was approved by voters in May. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Brewer said those connections have not influenced her policy decisions. She said she never felt pressured by any of her advisers. "It's absolutely political posturing and rhetoric," Brewer said. "I find it very disappointing. We have a bed shortage here in Arizona, and we have to come up with some way to incarcerate (criminals). The best way, the least expensive way, is to do it with private prisons." The industry's political connections have extended to other Arizona politicians. According to a 2006 report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the private-prison industry gave to the campaigns of 29 of 42 Arizona lawmakers who heard a 2003 proposal to increase state private-prison beds. Between 2001 and 2004, the industry contributed $77,267 to Arizona's legislative and gubernatorial candidates, the vast majority through lobbyists paid to represent their interests at the Legislature. In most cases, donations ranged from a couple of hundred dollars to as much as $2,500. Lax oversight -- The state Department of Corrections has varying levels of oversight of Arizona's private-prison network. Some prisons house criminals convicted in Arizona. The Corrections Department regulates those facilities, though private-prison critics question whether those facilities maintain the same safety standards as their state-run counterparts. Other private prisons house inmates from other states or on behalf of the federal government. Arizona does not dictate what kinds of inmates they may accept, nor the manner in which they are secured. In those situations, private-prison operators work with their outside-government partners on training specifications and other operational details. They report to Arizona only the names, security classifications and number of inmates housed at their facilities. State stat- utes do not require private operators to provide Arizona officials details about the crimes the prisoners committed or escape data. In 2007, two convicted killers sent from another state stole ladders from a maintenance building and climbed onto a roof at a private prison outside Florence. Brandishing a fake gun, they climbed over the prison walls and escaped to freedom. One was caught within hours, but it was almost a month before the other was caught hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. As with the Kingman breakout, the 2007 escape drew attention to the largely unregulated growth of private prisons in the state, particularly prisons that house other states' inmates. To address security concerns, a bipartisan bill drafted by Napolitano's office in 2008 and introduced by Republican state Sen. Robert Blendu would have required private prisons to be built to the state's construction standards. The proposal also would have ended the practice of private prisons importing murderers, rapists and other dangerous felons to Arizona. And it would have required the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. After an initial flurry of activity, the bill died. "The private-prison industry lobbied heavily against that bill, and they were successful," said Michael Haener, Napolitano's lobbyist at the time. Blendu later left the Legislature, and the bill was not reintroduced. What little regulation private prisons have in Arizona stems from a series of escapes in the late 1990s. In response, the Legislature passed a law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs from private-prison operators in the event of an escape. Arizona laws also require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, to notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and to return out-of-state prisoners to their home states to be released. But there are no penalties if the companies don't comply. Costs questioned -- Notwithstanding lawmakers' concerns about security, private prisons gained favor in part because of the promised savings they could deliver to a cash-strapped and overcrowded prison system. Yet studies have questioned whether those savings are real. In making their pitches, private-prison companies played on the desire of many lawmakers to shift more state services to the private sector. Direct cost comparisons between for-profit and public prisons can be difficult, however. According to the National Institute of Justice, private prisons tend to make much lower estimates of their overhead costs to the state for oversight, inmate health care and staff background checks. Officials at public prisons often argue that the state winds up paying a higher cost for those services than is advertised, mitigating savings that private prisons are built to deliver. A study this year by the Arizona Department of Corrections found that when various costs are factored in, it can be more expensive to house an inmate in a private prison than it is to house one in a state-run prison. The cost of housing a medium-security inmate is $3 to $8 more per day in a private prison, depending on what assumptions are made about overhead costs to the state, the study found. Travis Pratt, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University, said there is no evidence that private prisons save government agencies money, even though they typically promise up-front savings. To maintain profit margins, Pratt said, companies often cut back on staff training, wages and inmate services. "Cost savings like that don't come without consequences," Pratt said. "And that can present a security risk that's elevated." Odie Washington, a senior vice president at Management & Training Corp., acknowledged Thursday that the Kingman prison employed an inexperienced staff. "We have a lot of very young staff that have not integrated into very strong security practices," Washington said. Private-prison operators disagree with Pratt's assessment, contending that they can deliver services efficiently and safely. "That's one of the more frustrating misconceptions out there for us that we have to repeatedly respond to," said Steve Owen, director of public affairs for Corrections Corporation of America. Owen said it is CCA's "general experience" that private prisons can save states and the federal government 5 to 15 percent on operational costs. The company also can build facilities more cheaply, he said. CCA is contractually required to meet or exceed training requirements that states they work for set for themselves, Owen said. In addition, the company has made sure its prisons in Arizona comply with accreditation standards put in place by the American Correctional Association, a Virginia-based trade group. Many communities, meanwhile, eagerly welcome private prisons because the facilities generate jobs and economic activity. CCA prisons in Florence and Eloy, for example, employ 2,700 people. Last year, the company paid $26 million in property taxes, Owen said. What's next -- Lawmakers from both parties have called for hearings into what went wrong in Kingman. Presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry Goddard has said he would push to bring back the 2008 private-prison bill. Goddard also is calling for an immediate re-evaluation of the system used to classify and place inmates in facilities. The five-tiered system, which allows some violent criminals to migrate to lower-security facilities for good behavior, met with bipartisan criticism in the wake of the escapes. Two of the three inmates who escaped from the medium-security Kingman prison had been convicted of murder. Goddard said the three recent escapees never should have been in a medium-security prison. Charles Ryan, director of the Department of Corrections, announced Thursday that the state would slow its bidding process for the 5,000 new private-prison beds pending additional review. Brewer has said little publicly about the escape but told The Republic last week that she is committed to holding prison operators responsible for mistakes they made. She said she has ordered Ryan to conduct a "complete review to make sure that inmates are appropriately secured and in the right kinds of facilities." While Brewer remains confident that private prisons are well suited to house less-violent offenders, she said: "What has happened is unacceptable, and I am absolutely pushing for more accountability."

August 18, 2010 AP
Past audits of the Arizona state prison where three inmates escaped last month gave the facility high marks and revealed few issues with security or staff training, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The escape on July 30 has put corrections officials and the operator of the privately run prison under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. But if there was an indication of any widespread security problems at the facility that houses minimum- and medium-security inmates, it doesn't show in the internal audits. On security issues, the audits showed overall compliance rates of 98.8 percent in 2007, 99.9 percent in 2009 and 99.5 percent in 2010. Nearly 2,870 areas of security were audited over the three years and 37 were marked as noncompliant. One security issue was tagged in 2006. No audits were done in 2005 or 2008 because of fiscal constraints, said Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson. No independent audits of the Kingman prison have been done. The audits instead are conducted by a team of about 15 made up of staff at the corrections department and the prison who are considered subject matter experts. The audit team evaluates areas of the prison that include security, training, medical, food service and business for compliance with the state contract and other orders. A yearly schedule of audits is available in July, giving prisons advance notice, Marson said. Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Working Group, said it's difficult to tell whether the audits are a true reflection of the operations at the prison without attached documentation to support the findings. The group advocates against private prisons he said typically overwork, underpay and don't properly train the staff. "Audits are used a lot of times to make things look like they're OK," he said. "Maybe they are OK. I doubt it." Corrections Director Charles Ryan has said the prison operator would correct the security deficiencies that contributed to the escape of John McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick. Criminal and administrative investigations into the escape are ongoing. McCluskey's fiancee and cousin, Casslyn Welch, is accused of throwing wire cutters over a perimeter fence that the men used to slice their way out and flee. Welch's visitation privileges at the prison were terminated after a random search in June during a visit to McCluskey turned up what was believed to be heroin. Welch told investigators that she was paid by members or associates of a white supremacist group to smuggle the drug into the prison but didn't say who it was intended for. State legislators have urged corrections officials and Gov. Jan Brewer's office to release the results of a security review done following the escape. Corrections officials said the report still is being written and should be released this week.

June 30, 2010 Arizona Silver Belt
Members of the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (SGCEDC) hosted an invitation-only luncheon banquet at the Dream Manor Inn on Thursday, June 24, to further promote and rally support in favor of having a 1,000-bed prison built on state land out by the County Fair Grounds within Globe City limits. The luncheon cast the prison project in a very positive light, stressing the economic impact it will have for the communities of Southern Gila County. Opponents of the prison were not invited to attend, however. The press was also excluded, but was given admittance at the door with the request that no pictures be taken and no questions be asked. Special guests included Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen and Arizona State Representative Bill Konopnicki, Gila Community College Senior Dean Dr. Stephen Cullen and Dean Patricia Burke, Globe Vice-Mayor Thea Wilshire, City Manager Kane Graves, county supervisors Mike Pastor and Shirley Dawson, County Manager Don McDaniel, Sheriff John Armer, and Emerald Companies Director of Business Development Mike Moore, F.C. Cuny Corporation President Chris Cuny, and Corplan Corrections President James Parkey. The meeting reiterated many of the same points made in previous presentations at Globe City Council. The main objective this time was to ask Allen and Konopnicki to make their support of a private prison to be built in Southern Gila County known at the state level. Allen was very receptive of the proposal after watching a DVD put together by the EDC and hearing from the EDC board members and city and county officials. Konopnicki was eager to hear how the project would benefit the local economy and said he supported the state building the prisons in rural areas throughout the state of Arizona. He did ask for more information about qualified workforce numbers as well as the exact per diem number. Konopnicki further requested more information on the expansion possibility that was touched on, with the option of increasing the facilities from a 1,000 to a 2,000-bed prison. He asked to have information sent to him in a summary form. Thea Wilshire gave a presentation about the need to diversify the local economy. Pastor commented on the need for expanded services to the region. Finally, Mickie Nye spoke of how the prison will benefit local families and businesses. Melissa Woodall concluded the presentation part of the luncheon saying “We are only asking for 1,000 beds, only 20 percent of the total amount. That is not too much.” The three gentlemen from the companies who build and operate the private prison ended with a plea “Is there anything our team can do to help this project? Is that a fair question?” On June 29, 2010, the Arizona Department of Corrections media relations office reported that the decision regarding the private prisons is still pending legal review and review of the technical logistics suggested in each proposal. There is currently no set date for the announcement.

June 9, 2010 Arizona Silver Belt
At two consecutive city council meetings in April, the Globe council members heard from a group of men representing three corporations: Emerald Correctional Management, Corplan and Cuny Corporation. These men addressed the council regarding their desire to put in a bid with the Arizona Department of Corrections to construct a private, 1,000-bed prison in the City of Globe. The men presented estimates of economic growth that sounded almost too good to be true. According to Mike Moore of Emerald Corrections, “the city could get a monthly revenue check per inmate per month but it would depend on the monthly per diem that the state pays. It does pay and it’s a sizable number.” The group of business men went on to say the entire project would be $60 to $100 million in construction, and the goal would be to hire local workforce for 70 percent of the construction. They also promised to help the city with expansion of the sewer infrastructure. The city council took two hours to reach a decision, but in the end, a 4-2 vote in favor of supporting Emerald Corrections’ bid to build the prison was approved. A deal too good to be true? Well, there might be more than meets the eye. Case Study: Hardin, Mon. In 2004, Mr. James Parkey of Corplan - the same James Parkey who spoke to the Globe city council - proposed the construction of a private prison in Hardin, Mon., a small rural city suffering from economic stalemate. A team of experts spoke to the city officials, selling them hope of economic prosperity through the private prison business. The 450-bed prison was supposed to generate 150 secure jobs and at least $100,000 in annual per-prisoner revenue. The companies involved, Corplan as the developer, Cuny Corporation as the civil engineer of the project, and Civigenics as the prison operators, promised to realize the project from start to finish. To pay for the prison, the city of Hardin would have to conduct a bond sale. Prior to the construction, Parkey promised the city officials an economic feasibility study, which was carried out by Howard Geisler, a consultant specializing in prisons, and who had worked together with Parkey in a number of other cities. The study presented facts and figures that a Montana state auditor later described as providing “little methodology” and lacking “historical data to support anticipated prisoner counts.” The auditor went on the say the report made “a number of assumptions made related to financial viability that appear to be unfounded.” The prison was built, and the three companies involved received their payments and Hardin prepared itself for its first prisoners. In this case, however, they built it, but no one came. Hardin became so desperate to get prisoners in their prison, that they requested taking sex-offenders and later even Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Since the prison had been built for less high profile inmates, with 24-bed cells, Hardin’s requests were turned down. Hardin’s detention center never received the expected prisoners and the city has been in bond default for the last two years. A post on the detention center’s website reads, “any person or parties interested in operating or leasing space in the Hardin Detention Facility should contact...” “Do a lot of research” -- The pain is still throbbing in Hardin, Mon. After contacting the executive director of economic development and the mayor, the only comment given was “do a lot of research.” Hardin, Mon. is one of the most prominent cases, where Corplan and its partners have left a city with an empty prison. Corplan’s website lists a number of sample prisons that they have built that are surviving. However, it does not list Hardin. Neither are a number of other cases, where things ‘went wrong,’ including facilities in LaSalle County, Texas, Pioche, Nev., Lindsay, Okla., McLennan County, Texas, Las Cruses, N.M., and St. Luis, Ariz. In Willacy County, three county commissioners who were working very closely together with Corplan were indicted on bribery charges. Parkey’s and Corplan’s actions have caught attention in the media. Dan Rather reported on a few cases, especially the prison in LaSalle, Texas. Frank Smith, of the non-profit organization Private Corrections Working Group, has been following Parkey and Corplan over the years. Smith warned that the economic feasibility report must be read very closely and to expect that there may be exaggerations or left out aspects. The economic feasibility study “sells” the project more than examines it in some cases. When asked why nothing has been done legally against Corplan, Smith named a number of small factors that may be reasons why is some cases nothing was done. In Globe’s case, Corplan, Emerald Corrections, and Cuny Corporation have asked for support for a bid in response to a request for proposals put out by the Arizona DOC. In Hardin, the three partner corporations told the city that the prison operator, Civigenics, would provide the service of having prisoners housed in the facility. This could be a major difference in the success or failure of the proposed Globe project. The Arizona DOC will be awarding the contracts for the prisons by June 30, 2010.

March 7, 2010 Pueblo Chieftain
With the closure of the town's second-largest employer approaching, town officials are preparing to deal with the loss of almost 200 jobs in an already struggling economy. Corrections Corporation of America, which owns and operates the Huerfano County Correctional Center, announced in January that it will close the prison in April. Officials at the private prison company said this week that the prison officially will close April 2. The upcoming closure has cast a pall over the town. Citizens in this community of more than 4,000 already are feeling the pain. The impending prison closure and a prior budget shortfall have forced the town to lay off 10 people with another four layoffs possibly to come. "The prison closing and the (loss of) revenue derived from it has added to the burden of an already stressed budget," said Mayor Bruce Quintana. "All departments have been affected. I believe that this (town) council is acting to right the ship. It's a difficult job, laying off people in a small community, because many of these people are our friends," Quintana said. City Administrator Alan Hein said the town could lose between $250,000 and $300,000 from lost utility sales to the prison, concessions and sales taxes. Hein said the budget already was short $300,000 before the closure was announced. "We have to restructure our operations to try and accommodate this loss. It's pretty serious when you drop that much on your revenue side in a budget the size that we have," Hein said. Hein said he hopes the layoffs will help take care of the original shortfall. "I am just not sure. There are a lot of variables here. "The worst-case scenario is that we would have to lay off four more people," Hein said. Hein said there will be minimal cuts to the police department. "We are actually restructuring the whole department and trying to make it more efficient. We are reevaluating the way the department does business and trying to save money," Hein said. The town had been in discussions to merge the police department with the Huerfano County Sheriff's Department, but the issue was tabled by the town council last month, Hein said. "The council has decided not to discard the proposal, but to put it on the back burner and see if we can do some adjustments within our organization," Hein said. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and other state officials are phasing out all out-of-state beds, including the use of the Huerfano County prison, where 700 Arizona inmates are housed. The contract with CCA is set to expire Tuesday. Allan Cramer, a spokesman for the Huerfano County prison, said inmates will begin leaving Colorado next week by bus and plane. "The last ones will be gone by March 22," Cramer said. Cramer said CCA is continuing to actively seek a new client for the prison, but that as of Thursday, none had come forward. The Walsenburg prison employs 188. Approximately 75 of the employees commute from Pueblo. Of the remaining workers, about 90 reside in Walsenburg and Huerfano County, with others commuting from Trinidad and Colorado City. Cramer said several employees are transferring to CCA’s other prisons in Colorado, and some are obtaining employment in other areas. "The mood here is pretty upbeat and optimistic. Everyone wants to give it their usual 100-percent effort until the last inmates are gone," Cramer said. The sluggish economy also is having an impact on Main Street here. The historic Fox Theater, 715 Main St., will take a direct hit from the prison closure. Huerfano County Administrator John Galusha said the county has been paying for utilities for the theater out of what is called the Prison Authority Fund. "The county contracted with the correctional center when it opened to form this fund. In that agreement, the county receives 50 cents per prisoner per day which goes directly into the Prison Authority Fund," Galusha said. Galusha said the revenue generated from the fund is about $130,000 a year. "Without that revenue coming in, some of the things from the prison authority will take a hit next year," Galusha said. The prison fund also helps pay for new sheriff's department vehicles and youth programs. Galusha said the Fox was receiving about $400 a month to pay for utilities. "The county will use the reserves from the prison to fund the Fox Theater through the end of the year. If CCA doesn't have a new contract, then we are going to have to evaluate if we can help the theater through other funds or if we are going to have to ask them to become self-sufficient," Galusha said. The county has budgeted $7,500 this year for the theater.

March 4, 2010 Enid News and Eagle
Diamondback Correction Facility in Watonga is closing within the next 60 days, due to Arizona ending its private prison contract. Corrections Corporation of America, owner of Diamondback, issued 60-day termination notices to all employees at Diamondback this week in anticipation of closing the facility, which is timed with the departure of the Arizona inmates housed there. Diamondback has more than 300 employees. The payroll of the facility is around $11 million annually. The facility has a capacity of 2,160. The contract is set to expire April 30. Diamondback has been operating in Watonga since November 1998.

November 7, 2009 AP
Arizona’s plan to turn over its prisons to private companies in exchange for a $100 million upfront payment is having trouble getting off the drawing board, with the plan behind schedule and private prison operators showing little, if any, interest. The privatization effort is required under a law enacted last summer as lawmakers struggled to close a huge budget shortfall. It directs the state to award a contract to one or more private companies to run an unspecified number of prisons for $100 million. It emerged as Republican lawmakers cast about for alternatives to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to increase the sales tax to avoid deep cuts to state program. An official who worked on the law told The Associated Press that the $100 million figure was based on hope, not certainty. The prison concession provision doesn’t specify which or how many of the state’s 10 prison complexes would be included, what would happen to current state employees or the length of a contract. An early version specified a term of 50 years and identified three prisons with approximately 11,000 beds. The Yuma prison complex was excluded from the law at the insistence of a Yuma legislator. State officials were supposed to provide an initial batch of information to potential bidders on Oct. 1, but missed the deadline. But even without that, there appears to be little interest among private-prison companies. Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s largest private prison company, “is not focused on that,” said Louise Grant, a CCA vice president. Grant said CCA is interested in pursuing traditional private-prison deals with states and would review any Arizona request. However, “it’s very questionable whether or not we would participate,” she said. Another operator, Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group, declined to comment, citing corporate policy. A third, Management & Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, issued a noncommittal response. Arizona is among many states that contract with private companies to house state inmates, but officials and industry observers say the large upfront payment request may be unprecedented. “That is such a new idea. The model hasn’t been done,” said Leonard Gilroy, a Reason Foundation official who champions privatization of government services. Gilroy questioned whether Arizona’s plan would be attractive enough for potential bidders in the industry. “It’s sort of like ’we want you to do an operational contract and loan us $100 million,”’ Gilroy said. “I don’t know if there’s enough there to sweeten the pot for the private sector.” Democratic legislators have questioned whether the state should turn control of violent maximum-security offenders, including murderers on death row, to private operators. Little is known about how the plan would be implemented, including whether it would include the Eyman prison complex in Florence that includes death row. Citing procurement confidentiality, state officials declined to release a draft of the document they plan to send to bidders. Corrections Director Chuck Ryan declined multiple requests for an interview in recent weeks. But he told legislators during a May hearing that it was “very concerning” to consider privatizing a major prison complex that houses nearly all death row inmates and 1,000 other dangerous inmates. Privatizing death row involves taking a chance, Ryan said. “It won’t stand the headline test in my opinion.” A leader of a union representing prison guards criticized the plan and suggested that public safety could be at risk. “They’re trying to replace us with lower-paid guards, to handle sex offenders, murders, rapists, inmates with very volatile gang connections,” said J. “J-Rod” Rodriguez, vice president of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. Senate Appropriations Chairman Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said during the May hearing that the prisons concession had been proposed by House Republicans during budget negotiations and was based on “very good numbers” from an investment firm. However, a top House Republican aide said lawmakers and legislative aides came up with the idea as a way “to monetize state assets,” such as Indiana and Chicago have done with toll highways. “Well, Arizona doesn’t have toll roads and there aren’t a lot of assets that can be monetized. That was sort of the genesis of the idea,” said Grant Nulle, House director of fiscal policy. There was no research by an investment firm or anybody else, Nulle said. And the $100 million payment appears unlikely. “Based on preliminary feedback, we may find it difficult to generate an upfront payment of this magnitude,” legislative budget director Richard Stavneak wrote in an Oct. 22 memo. Even if the state does receive good bids, it will take most of the fiscal year to try to implement the idea, so lawmakers shouldn’t count on getting the money in time to help close the current budget’s shortfall, Stavneak said in a recent interview.

October 23, 2009 New York Times
One of the newest residents on Arizona’s death row, a convicted serial killer named Dale Hausner, poked his head up from his television to look at several visitors strolling by, each of whom wore face masks and vests to protect against the sharp homemade objects that often are propelled from the cells of the condemned. It is a dangerous place to patrol, and Arizona spends $4.7 million each year to house inmates like Mr. Hausner in a super-maximum-security prison. But in a first in the criminal justice world, the state’s death row inmates could become the responsibility of a private company. State officials will soon seek bids from private companies for 9 of the state’s 10 prison complexes that house roughly 40,000 inmates, including the 127 here on death row. It is the first effort by a state to put its entire prison system under private control. The privatization effort, both in its breadth and its financial goals, demonstrates what states around the country — broke, desperate and often overburdened with prisoners and their associated costs — are willing to do to balance the books. Arizona officials hope the effort will put a $100 million dent in the state’s roughly $2 billion budget shortfall. “Let’s not kid ourselves,” said State Representative Andy Biggs, a Republican who supports private prisons. “If we were not in this economic environment, I don’t think we’d be talking about this with the same sense of urgency.” Private prison companies generally build facilities for a state, then charge them per prisoner to run them. But under the Arizona legislation, a vendor would pay $100 million up front to operate one or more prison complexes. Assuming the company could operate the prisons more cheaply or efficiently than the state, any savings would be equally divided between the state and the private firm. The privatization move has raised questions — including among some people who work for private prison companies — about the private sector’s ability to handle the state’s most hardened criminals. While executions would still be performed by the state, officials said, the Department of Corrections would relinquish all other day-to-day operations to the private operator and pay a per-diem fee for each prisoner. “I would not want to be the warden of death row,” said Todd Thomas, the warden of a prison in Eloy, Ariz., run by the Corrections Corporation of America. The company, the country’s largest private prison operator, has six prisons in Arizona with inmates from other states. “That’s not to say we couldn’t,” Mr. Thomas said. “But the liability is too great. I don’t think any private entity would ever want to do that.” James Austin, a co-author of a Department of Justice study in 2001 on prison privatization and president of the JFA Institute, a corrections consulting firm, said private companies tended to oversee minimum- and medium-security inmates and had little experience with the most dangerous prisoners. “As for death row,” Mr. Austin said, “it is a very visible entity, and if something bad happens there, you will have a pretty big news story for the Legislature and governor to explain.” Arizona is no stranger to private prisons or, for that matter, aggressive privatization efforts (recently, the state put up for sale several government buildings housing executive branch offices in Phoenix). Nearly 30 percent of the state’s prisoners are being held in prisons operated by private companies outside the state’s 10 complexes. In addition, other states, including Alaska and Hawaii, have contracts with private companies like Corrections Corporation of America to house their prisoners in Arizona. For advocates of prison privatization, the push here breathes a bit of life into a movement that has been on the decline across the country as cost savings from prison privatizations have often failed to materialize, corrections officers unions have resisted the efforts and high-profile problems in privately run facilities have drawn unwanted publicity. “We have private prisons in Arizona already, and we are very happy with the performance and the savings we get from them,” said Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and an architect of the new legislation authorizing the privatization. “I think that they are the future of corrections in Arizona.” Under the legislation, any bidder would have to take an entire complex — many of them mazes of multiple levels of security risks and complexity — and would not be permitted to pick off the cheapest or easiest buildings and inmates. The state also wants to privatize prisoners’ medical care. Louise Grant, a spokeswoman for Corrections Corporation of America, said the high-security prisoners would be well within the company’s management capabilities. “We expect we will be there to make a proposal to the state” for at least some of its complexes up for bid, Ms. Grant said. In pure financial terms, it is not clear how well the state would make out with the privatization. The 2001 study for the Department of Justice found that private prisons saved most states little money (there has been no equivalent study since). Indeed, many states, struggling to keep up with the cost of corrections, have closed prisons when possible, and sought changes in sentencing to reduce crowding in the last two years. As tough sentencing laws and the ensuing increase in prisoners began to press on state resources in the 1980s, private prison companies attracted some states with promises of lower costs. The private prison boom lasted into the 1990s. Throughout the years, there have been high-profile riots, escapes and other violent incidents. The companies also do not generally provide the same wages and benefits as states, which has resulted in resistance from unions and concerns that the private prisons attract less-qualified workers. Then the federal government stepped in, with a surge of new immigrant prisoners, and began to contract with the private companies. The number of federal prisoners in private prisons in the United States has more than doubled, to 32,712 in 2008 from 15,524 in 2000. The number of state prisoners in privately run prisons has increased to 93,500 from 75,000 in that time. With bad economic times again driving many decisions about state resources, other states are sure to watch Arizona’s experiment closely. “There simply isn’t the money to keep these people incarcerated, and the alternative is to free many of them or lower cost,” said Ron Utt, a senior research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group whose work for privatization was cited by one Arizona lawmaker.

August 21, 2007 Indianapolis Star
One-third of the Arizona inmates transferred to serve their sentences in an Indiana prison are violent criminals, including 25 who were convicted of murder, according to new data from state prison officials. Prison officials said inmates were chosen based on their behavior in prison, not their criminal records. But an advocate for prisoners' rights was surprised by the news, saying officials had left the impression with the public that violent offenders would not be included among those moved to the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group. "That's not what they said they were going to send," said Celia Sweet, former president of the Indiana chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. "You know, live up to your word. Don't go trying to hoodwink the public just to make some money off the backs of these prisoners. That's not right. It's immoral." The state never misled anyone, said Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue. Indiana's deal with Arizona allows medium-security prisoners and bans only sex offenders, prisoners with discipline problems and recognized gang members, he said. Medium security, Donahue said, does not preclude those convicted of violent crimes. The majority of inmates in Indiana prisons are housed in medium-security areas, he said. In all, 203 of the 611 Arizona inmates are serving terms for violent crimes, including men convicted of assault, kidnapping and attempted homicide.

March 16, 2007 Business Week
Efforts to relieve Arizona's shortage of prison space were dealt a setback when procurement officials canceled a competition between the state Department of Corrections and three private prison companies to provide up to 3,000 new beds. None of the proposals met a requirement to open 1,000 of the beds by April, 2008, the State Procurement Office said in a formal notice canceling the state's request for proposals. The notice was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday. The three companies submitting proposals were GEO Group Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla.; Management & Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, and Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America. It's now up to the Legislature to decide what to do about the 2006 law that directed the Department of Administration to seek proposals and set the deadline for opening 1,000 beds, department spokesman Alan Ecker said. Corrections Department spokeswoman Katie Decker said the prison agency was beginning to consider its options. "We're regrouping," she said. Decker also said the Corrections Department was prepared to meet the required timeline. "I don't know if there was confusion ... but our understanding was that we would have been able to do that."

July 15, 2005 Tucson Citizen
Arizona legislators have made their philosophical point. And it is costing you $11,000 a day.  It was in 2003, when Arizona prisons were badly crowded, that the Legislature decided to act.  Called into a special session to appropriate money for building cells for 4,200 inmates, the Legislature said it would do so only if at least 1,000 of the new beds were in private prisons.  Gov. Janet Napolitano and Corrections Director Dora Schriro objected, saying there was no proof it would be cheaper to send inmates to private facilities.  But state Sen. Bob Burns, R-Peoria and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, couldn't resist the private prison siren song: "To pass up the opportunity of the private upfront money for construction to me is not responsible fiscal management," he said back in 2003.  Well, now it's 2005 and that siren song has gone flat.  Under legislative mandate, the Department of Corrections contracted with Correctional Services Corp. to build a 1,000-bed prison in Florence for sex offenders.  But here's the kicker: CSC will charge the state $61 a day to house each inmate. The state could do it for $50 a day in a state facility. The CSC bill works out to an extra $11,000 a day for Arizona taxpayers - and an extra $4.1 million a year. So where is the "responsible fiscal management" of which legislators boasted? CSC explains its higher cost by saying it will have an "innovative rehabilitation program." We'll see.  Because the vast majority of inmates eventually are released back into society, rehabilitation is an important part of operating a prison. Paying more for effective rehabilitation may be worth it in the long run. But sex offenders are among the most challenging inmates to rehabilitate. So CSC faces a substantial challenge.  Protecting the public from harm is one of the major responsibilities of government. But have legislators done that when they turn over the responsibility of incarcerating dangerous inmates to a private, profit-driven company?  Private prisons make money by hiring fewer correctional officers and paying lower wages. Private prisons also can fail to adequately meet inmates' needs, setting the stage for escapes or disturbances inside prisons, while leaving the state with little authority to correct mismanagement. At a CSC facility in Texas, inmates rioted in January 2003 because, they said, they were underfed.  Arizona has a responsibility not only to its law-abiding citizens, but also to its inmates to ensure they are properly, safely and humanely cared for. And it has a responsibility to do so at the most reasonable price.  Instead of dictating the use of private prisons, legislators should leave those decisions to the corrections professionals.

July 8, 2005 The Arizona Republic
The state Department of Corrections will contract with Correctional Services Corp. to build a 1,000-bed private prison facility for sex offenders in Florence.  But instead of saving taxpayers money, officials say, the new facility actually will cost about $11,000 per day more to operate.  In CSC's winning bid, the company said it could operate the new prison for $61 a day per inmate, said Bart Graves, spokesman for the Corrections Department. The average cost to house an Arizona sex offender in a state-run prison is about $50 a day.  Even though Corrections Director Dora Schriro repeatedly warned the Legislature that the per diem rates of both bidders were "excessively high," her hands were tied by legislation, passed during a special session in 2003, that required the state to contract out 1,000 new prison beds to ease overcrowding, Graves said. Bids could be considered from only the three private prison companies already operating in Arizona, and the Legislature waived a state law requiring corrections officials to pick the lowest bidder.  Private prisons have been hotly contested in Arizona, with supporters saying they save money and detractors arguing that state-run prisons are more reliable and cost-effective. Many private prison firms have faced allegations about problems in their facilities, including abuses of inmates and improper care. In January 2003, inmates at CSC's Newton facility rioted because they said they were underfed.  Nearly 4,400 Arizona inmates are housed in seven private prisons in Arizona and out-of-state, according to the Department of Corrections. When the new facility is opened in late 2006, CSC will be able to house 2,800 Arizona inmates.  The contract with CSC is for 20 years, which includes an initial base period of 10 years, with two five-year renewal options. CSC officials estimate the contract will generate about $22 million in revenues during its first year of operation.  The new prison will provide specialized programs for medium-risk male sex offenders, including treatment, behavioral modification, education and institutional work programs.

October 27, 2004 KTOK
The company which runs a private prison in Watonga is slapped with more than a dozen lawsuits stemming from a riot at the prison earlier this year.

May 26, 2004
Despite several large fights and riots at two out-of-state private prisons in the last several weeks, state officials say they have no plans to reverse course and bring home any of the 2,000 inmates in Texas and Oklahoma. On Saturday, more than 40 inmates in a Pecos, Texas, prison owned by the Geo Group created a disturbance, damaging the prison. Earlier this month, about 70 inmates were injured in a fracas at Corrections Corporation of America's Watonga, Okla., prison.  The two recent events are in addition to a hunger strike and large fight  in the Pecos prison and problems in 2002 at another private Texas prison, which included several inmate escapes while a state review found an unacceptable quality of service from the company.  About 240 inmates participated in a fight in the Watonga prison yard, with at least 70 suffering injuries.  (AP)

May 2, 2004
Groups of Arizona prisoners transferred to a Texas private prison staged fights and hunger strikes to either improve conditions or earn transfers back to Arizona.  The incident report from Wackenhut Corp.'s Pecos, Texas, prison officials recommends eight inmates be sent back to Arizona because they are security problems.  The report details a fight between two groups of prisoners, with at least 14 taking part in the late-night April 10 fight. The subsequent investigation showed that some inmates from each group were conspiring to get back to Arizona.  The decision last year by the Arizona Legislature to ship about 2,000 inmates to out-of-state prisons angered some inmate family members, mainly because contact with inmates will be limited by the financial ability to travel to either Texas or another prison in Oklahoma.  (Arizona Daily Star)

April 29, 2004
A Corrections employee lost his job last week, more than a month after he sent 8,000 e-mails to prison officials around the country  eliciting support for Terry Stewart's bid to lead a private, national correctional organization.  Stewart, who led the state prison system from 1995 to 2002, is running for president-elect of the American Correctional Association.  (Arizona Daily Star)

December 8, 2003
Key elements of the new prison proposal include: -- Providing $12.8 million of federal and state dollars for 2,100 new temporary beds, probably at private prisons outside Arizona, for the rest of the current fiscal year. Arizona already houses approximately 600 inmates in a Texas private prison and about 1,700 inmates in three private prisons in Arizona. -- Having the administration try to negotiate a new deal with a private prison company previously picked to build and operate a 1,400-bed facility near Kingman in Mohave County. That project stalled because of financing problems and, according to legislators, stalling by the administration. -- Providing $5 million to maintain recruitment and retention bonuses for correction officers at prisons in Perryville and Florence. -- Requiring that an existing legislative oversight committee review both the state's request for proposals for new or expanded prisons - public or private - and the competing proposals that come back. However, a decision on which proposal to accept would still be made by the executive branch, though by the Department of Administration instead of the Corrections Department.  (Zwire)

November 26, 2003
NEWTON, Texas - Cleveland Palmer, 54, formerly of Casa Grande, who died Nov. 19 in a private prison, had entered a plea with his wife in the killing of a child they were adopting.  No cause of death has been released pending an investigation, said Jim Robideau, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Palmer had been sent to the private prison under contract with DOC to "adjust the prison population in Arizona." DOC has been short of prison space.  (Casa Grande Dispatch)

November 20, 2003
A private Mainland prison company that houses hundreds of Hawai'i inmates has proposed to build and operate a new prison for Hawai'i in Arizona, Gov. Linda Lingle's staff confirmed yesterday. The facility would be constructed in Eloy, a community of about 10,000 residents in Pinal County where Corrections Corporation of America runs a 1,500-bed prison that houses federal prisoners and immigration detainees.  Such a deal could also guarantee CCA a steady income stream and alleviate the risk that Hawai'i will build space for all its inmates and stop sending them to the Mainland. But Hawai'i prisoner advocates have opposed using Mainland facilities because inmates are cut off from their families and exposed to the Mainland prison gang culture.  (Advertiser)

October 21, 2003
Kingman's state legislator predicted Friday that a private prison 17 miles southwest of the city will not be finished.  Republican Rep. Joe Hart said he bases his belief upon what he and other legislators were told by Dora Schriro, the new director of the state Department of Corrections, during a recent meeting at the Capitol.  "The new director flat said there will be no new contracts awarded" for prisons, Hart said.  Jim Hunter, executive vice president of Dominion Venture Group L.L.C. of Oklahoma, which owns the land upon which the prison is being built, recently told the Miner that four of 10 planned buildings at the company's 200-acre site are nearly complete.  The original plan was for the prison to house 450 DUI prisoners after the first phase of is complete. Dominion would then have another eight months in which to build an additional six buildings to serve an additional 950 inmates, for a total inmate population of 1,400.  The prison would then be managed by a Utah company under contract with the Department of Corrections.  "I don't think this prison is going to fly," Hart said. "I think there's going to be lawsuits. The state will just say, 'Sue us.' They don’t care.  "If they (Dominion) want to build on speculation, that's their business," said Hart, who added that he's no fan of privatizing the state's prisons.  "The governor wants to do away with private prisons unless the contract has already been signed," he said. Hart said he's "sort of read between the lines" and believes Napolitano is "bowing to labor unions."  (Kingman Daily Miner)

October 8, 2003
Gov. Janet Napolitano's call for a special session of the Arizona Legislature Oct. 20 to address the state's prison crisis will have significant implications for the Marana area, where the Arizona Department of Corrections was considering placing the nation's largest privatized women's prison.  Proponents of building the 3,200-bed prison pointed to the more than 500 jobs the project could potentially bring to the Marana area and the millions of dollars that would be pumped into the local economy.  Opponents called the scheme dangerous, profit-driven and beneficial only to whichever of the three private prison contractors prevailed in the bidding for the prison, which was expected to cost more than $150 million to build and operate.  Napolitano's opposition to further privatization of the state's prison system as a remedy to overcrowding has left the future of the project uncertain and may also cause complications for Marana's only existing prison.  The special session is expected to consider sentencing reforms proposed by a group of 10 legislators which could affect the existing private prison in Marana, which houses only DUI and low-level drug offenders.  Members of the governor's staff and corrections officials say the privately operated women's prison is a dead issue, but some legislators and representatives of the companies looking to build the facility say plans for the prison may still prevail in the political give and take expected during the session.  "The private women's prison is pretty much dead," said Pati Urias, a spokeswoman for the governor. "It's a situation where the governor would be the one to move the project forward in terms of funding and direction" for issuing the bid for the prison. The governor is instead proposing to expand existing facilities and programs.  In calling for the special session during a speech Oct. 1, Napolitano proposed spending $700 million, primarily funded by public bond sales, to add 9,134 beds to seven existing state prisons.  The governor's plan would expand the existing women's prison in Perryville by 1,500 beds rather than create a new private prison for the state's female offenders.  Corrections officials say they have a shortage of 4,150 beds statewide. The overcrowding is expected to mushroom and the prison system could be as much as 11,661 beds short by 2007 if nothing is done.  Jim Robideau, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections, also said the prison which was to be placed in either two locations north of Marana or at a site south of Phoenix, more than likely will not be built.  "In light of the governor's statements, yes, it seems to be a dead issue," Robideau said.  The Department of Corrections was expected to announce last month which of the three companies had won the bid to construct the prison.  Contacted by the Northwest EXPLORER last month, Robideau said the department had asked for changes in the bids by the three companies hoping to operate the private prison - Utah-based Management & Training Corporation, Correctional Services Corporation, which is headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., and Cornell Companies of Houston.  Robideau declined to detail the changes in the bid, but a spokesman for Cornell said last week the private sector prison contractors had been asked to guarantee their prices for the project until late November when the special session is expected to wrap up.  "They asked us to confirm the costs submitted on the bid until Thanksgiving, so there may still be some hope that things get worked out in the Legislature. The Legislature has been very supportive of the 3,200-bed prison and we and our competitors have already spent a significant amount of money and time on the proposal," said Paul Doucette, communications director for Cornell.  Carl Stuart, a spokesman for Management & Training which operates the 450-bed Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility, 12610 W. Silverbell Road, said his company was also pinning its hopes on the special session.  "We already operate a prison in Marana and we're very proud of our reputation there, so we hope that there is some way that we can continue to serve the state. But after the governor's statements, we're kind of in a reassessment of our position," Stuart said. "We hope it may still move forward in the legislative process."  Representatives from Correctional Services Corporation did not return calls seeking comment.  Rep. Jennifer Burns, a Republican whose District 25 includes Marana, said she was unsure if the women's prison would survive the special session. She also expressed concern that Napolitano, who said during the regular session that all options would be considered to try and balance the state's budget, now seemed reluctant to look at privatization as a viable approach to controlling the state's spending.  "It's interesting that when the governor discussed the budget she said everything was on the table, but now that we're dealing with prisons, prisons are off the table. I think we need to look at all options and not just throw more money at the problem. There may be some potential that a private prison could save money," Burns said.  Rep. Ted Downing, a Democrat from Tucson and one of the most vocal critics of the women's prison, said he believed the privatization issue will be raised during the special session, but doubted it would get far.  "By the governor not having it as a priority, it certainly makes it a great deal more difficult to pass it in the Legislature. My hope is that it's finished. My feeling is that it wasn't bringing the kind of high paying jobs to Marana and Tucson as was being represented," said Downing, who is advocating sentencing reform as a way to reduce the prison population.  During a public hearing held in Marana in July, Management and Training estimated the prison would generate 500 to 600 corrections jobs that would on average pay a starting wage of more than $24,000 a year plus benefits.  Some legislators and lobbyists said they expected the privatization issue to become a political dog fight during the special session, but asked for anonymity out of fear of angering the governor or the house leadership.  "The Legislature may still try and compel the governor to do a private prison," said one Phoenix insider familiar with the debate over privatization. "They could refuse to fund any other beds in any other manner. While they can't force her to do it, they can put her in a position that makes it hard for her not to do it. But then the question becomes - who loses the most politically if they try that kind of strong arm tactic?" House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert, a proponent of privatization who will more than likely lead the Republicans who favor the 3,200 bed prison, did not return calls seeking comment.  A sentencing reform proposal being pushed by 10 members of the House could also reverberate in Marana, where the private minimum security prison is required by agreements with the state to house only DUIs and low risk drug offenders.  Rep. Bill Konopnicki, a Republican from Safford who chairs the sentencing reform group, said changes such as replacing jail time with higher fines for DUI convictions, changing felony classifications for some crimes deemed to be victimless and revising the state's mandatory sentencing would help reduce the prison population.  "What's driving the proposal is the alarmingly increasing rate of incarceration in Arizona. We're incarcerating 513 people per 100,000 of our population, the highest rate in the western United States. We have to look at what's causing the problem, we have to look at sentencing.  "I know that, economically, it's a significant thing to Marana, and I wish I could say absolutely that it would affect the population of the prison, but the fact of the matter is, we haven't been able to put even a dent in the number of DUIs or drug offenses so far. We're just trying to find a way to slow them down," Konopnicki said.  Gil Lewis, warden of the Marana facility, said only a small percent of the inmates in Marana are serving time for DUIs, and it's unclear how the proposed sentencing reform would affect the other minimum security inmates in his prison or the future of his company's contract with the state.  "We've been here a long time and are proud of our role in Marana. I believe any change in classifications or sentence structure would hurt the Marana community," Lewis said.  Napolitano, who served as the state's attorney general before becoming governor, may also oppose some of the sentencing reform being proposed by Konopnicki's group.  "I just don't believe you balance the budget by changing your criminal code. Should sentencing be examined from time to time? Absolutely, but it should be in the context of what's the right thing to do, not balancing your budget," Napolitano said in an interview with the Associated Press on Oct. 1.  Marana Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat said the town is taking a "wait and see attitude" and did not plan to lobby the Legislature - either for or against the women's prison.  "Our position throughout has been to just sit back and see what shakes out, and that's the same thing we'll do during the special session," Reuwsaat said.  Caroline Isaacs, a spokeswoman for the Tucson Chapter of the American Friends Service Committee which has been at the forefront of grassroots opposition to the women's prison, said she doubts the private facility will make much headway in the special session.  "I think the prison is dead," Isaacs said. "Nothing is a done deal, but I think the governor's statements certainly indicated that she was not in favor of privatization and that the state can do it better. There's going to be some support for the prison in the Legislature among the die-hards, but the very vocal public opposition makes it such a political hot potato that I can't really seeing anyone taking it too far."  (Northwest Explorer)

August 14, 2003
Petite and soft-spoken, Dora Schriro brings a thoughtful approach to the crisis in Arizona prisons. Now, she faces an even bigger challenge: dealing with the prisons in Arizona, where the shortage of beds grows every month, where costs rise by the millions each year, and where hundreds of inmates have been shipped off to Texas to avoid even more overcrowding.  Arizona has 4,130 more prisoners than it has prison beds.  In a move of last resort, Arizona sent 624 inmates to a private county jail in Texas.  That initially backfired after underfed inmates rioted in January, flooding dormitories, tearing up mattresses and breaking windows.  Corrections officials gave the jail a clean bill of health in June.  But just last week, two prisoners briefly escaped from the jail.  The overcrowding has thrown Schriro another curveball.  She will have to decide whether to build the largest private women's prison in the nation.  The 3,200-bed facility, which would probably be built in Pima County, has stirred protests because the three bidders have less-than-stellar track records, critics say.  (AZ Central)

July 25, 2003
An Oklahoma company is going ahead with construction of a 1,400-bed prison in Arizona even though that state's Department of Corrections has not given its official approval.  Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Mike Arra said the lack of a formal "notice to proceed" is because Dora Schriro has only recently been appointed to head the department.  Schriro has been traveling across Arizona to see the prisons she is to manage, he said.  "She just has not gotten around to signing the notice to proceed yet," Arra said. "At this point it does not mean that anything (being built) was stopped."  Although the notice may be a paperwork issue, it is preventing companies involved in the project from issuing about $60 million in bonds to pay for construction, said Jim Hunter, a vice president with The Dominion.  Dominion Correctional Services LLC is building the jail. Its parent company is The Dominion, of Edmond.  Despite the financial complication, Hunter said construction is going forward and the prison should be ready to accept the first group of inmates in November.  The prison is being built on 196 acres near Interstate 40.  Once finished, it will be managed by Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah.  It will eventually house about 1,400 male inmates convicted of felony driving under the influence.  (AP)

June 5, 2003
Missouri is considering but has no immediate plans to accept prisoners from Arizona to relieve prison crowding there, a Missouri Corrections Department official said.  Last week, an adviser for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano suggested that Missouri is one of the states being considered for a potential prisoner transfer. Arizona has 30,700 prisoners - about 4,000 more than the prison system's capacity.  Dennis Burke, a senior adviser to Napolitano who mentioned Missouri as possible destination for Arizona prisoners, agreed that the plans were preliminary.  "Our governor would rather have inmates in a public facility as opposed to a private prison," Burke said. "We said Missouri looks like an option. That's how preliminary it is."  (AP)

May 31, 2003
Arizona may try to house more prisoners in other states, using both public and private facilities, to cope with the burgeoning inmate population, a state official said.  At least two other states, Missouri and Michigan, reportedly have 1,000 or more beds available in their prisons that Arizona might be able to use, said Dennis Burke, Gov. Janet Napolitano's chief of staff for policy.  While some legislators have been pushing to increase the state's use of private prisons, Napolitano has said she would prefer to house prisoners in public facilities.  Arizona will get 1,400 new beds in the next year as a private facility for male DUI offenders in Mohave County south of Kingman. The state also is seeking proposals for a 3,200-bed private prison in Pinal County for female inmates.  (AP)

May 29, 2003
The operator of a county jail in Texas housing 600 Arizona inmates said Wednesday that his privately run company eventually will save the state nearly $800,000.  But Arizona prison officials disputed that figure and called the strategy of sending inmates to Texas a "troubled experiment."  Jim Slattery, president of the Florida-based Correctional Services Corp., conceded that putting Arizona inmates in a Texas jail has been challenging. But he said CSC has made "extraordinary efforts" to help ease prison overcrowding in Arizona by housing those prisoners.  On Tuesday, George Weisz, a special assistant for corrections to Gov. Janet Napolitano, had called the Texas experiment "a financial disaster." State Department of Corrections documents pointed to a number of problems at the Texas facility, including a prison disturbance in January.  DOC officials said the Newton County Jail has improved only after constant prodding. And they maintain that the experiment has ended up costing the state money because of soaring costs for monitoring.  "There is a list of about 20 things that they are still fixing," Weisz said. "It's not what we expected. It took constant prodding from our monitors to get things done. Why did we have to complain about all this to get it done?"  (The Arizona Republic)

May 29, 2003
A move to ease prison overcrowding in Arizona by sending hundreds of inmates to a private county jail in Texas has backfired, angering Department of Corrections officials and adding to the state's budget crisis.  The state had counted on saving $400,000 by shipping inmates to the Newton County Jail in eastern Texas. But the potential savings evaporated when costs soared.  Meanwhile, underfed inmates rioted in January, flooding dormitories, tearing up mattresses and breaking windows, according to documents from the DOC.  "This proved to be a financial disaster," said George Weisz, a special assistant for corrections to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.  The Texas facility houses about 600 Arizona prisoners. In a letter to Arizona prison officials, administrators at the Newton County Jail said they have fixed problems at the facility. The letter lists 17 areas of concern that have been addressed, including repairs to a broken fence and disciplinary actions for negligent staff members.  The state had thought it would save money by going with a private contractor, which promised to house and feed inmates at a lower cost than a public facility. But corrections officials said that additional monitoring costs and other inefficiencies ended up costing more money.  (Tucson Citizen)

May 9, 2003
A cost-overrun in sending prisoners out of state has Arizona leaders wondering whether contracting with private operations will save the state money and solve prison overcrowding.  A jail uprising by Arizona prisoners at Texas' Newton County Corrections Center earlier this year delayed busing of additional inmates and cost taxpayers $415,939, according to an analysis of state records by The East Valley Tribune.  It has also raised red flags among state leaders, who question whether the push toward privatization will solve the worst prison-bed shortage in state history, said George Weisz, Gov. Janet Napolitano's special assistant for corrections.  "That (contract in Newton County) has been a financial disaster. It's tough, and the governor has definite concerns about privatization," Weisz told the paper for Thursday's editions.  Arizona prisons now exceed their capacity by 4,200 inmates and some lawmakers say hiring private companies will solve the problem.  "We have some alternatives with private prisons. They are successful," said Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.  Members of the Arizona Department of Corrections investigated the Jan. 2 jail uprising which happened less than a month after the first 96 prisoners arrived in Texas.  Investigators said that the jail and its staff were ill-prepared to accept the new arrivals and gave the company a month to correct problems.  The deadline resulted in a terse response from its leaders, in correspondence obtained by the Tribune.  "We have gone over and above compliance for this short-term, seven-month contract," wrote Thomas Rapone, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer.  Attempts to reach company officials on Wednesday were unsuccessful.  Although busing resumed in February, Arizona prisoners continued to rebel.  Incidents included escapes, peaceful protests, group demonstrations and hunger strikes.  A state monitor wrote to his supervisor that the inmates wanted to return to Arizona so their families could visit them.  More than 600 Arizona prisoners are now at the Texas jail. On June 30, the state will determine whether to renew its contract with Correctional Services Corp.  Officials said the deficiencies found by monitors are a concern, but with prison space likely to run out this fall, the state may be forced to renew it.  "The problem is our back is against the wall," Weisz said. "Whether it's private or public, we just have to find places to put these inmates."  (AP)

April 11, 2003
The state spends too much money to send Hispanics to prison and not enough to help them get a college diploma, according to a study released Wednesday by an education advocacy group.  "Borrowing Against the Future: The Impact of Prison Expansion on Arizona Families, Schools and Communities" argues against two proposed state prisons the group says could cost the state up to $100 million a year.  Funding for prisons has continued to increase in the past two decades, while the percentage of the state budget spent on higher education is going down.  "Arizona now spends more money to incarcerate its Latino population than it does to educate them," Foster said.  The state has put out a request for proposals for two private prisons, one that would house 1,400 males and another for 3,200 females, said Department of Corrections spokesman Jim Robideau.  (Tribune)

January 5, 2003
The Arizona Department of corrections has suspended transfers of inmates to a Texas private prison after 82 prisoners already transferred were involved in a disturbance last week.  Prison staff fired pepper gas into the dormitories to quell the disturbance Thursday night at the Newton County Correctional Facility, but no inmates were injured, the department said.  The inmates flooded dormitories, tore up mattresses, destroyed television sets and broken windows and light textures, with damage estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, the department said.  Transfers will be halted until the completion of an investigation by the department and Correctional Services Corp., the Sarasota, Fla.-based company which runs the facility, into the cause of the disturbance, the department said.  The department had transferred 346 inmates since November under a contract to house 636 inmates at the Newton County Facility.  (AP)

December 19, 2002
A legislative oversight committee on Thursday gave the Department of Corrections the go-ahead to add more space by seeking a private prison to house nearly all of the state's female inmates.  Under the plan endorsed by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the state is seeking proposals for a new prison that would be privately built and operated.  (AP)

September 25, 2002
If the Arizona Department of Corrections awards a contract to Dominion Correctional Facilities, Inc., Mohave County could have a prison near Kingman by next year.  According to Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Public Information Officer Jim Robideau, requests for proposals are currently open for four new private prisons in the state with a filing deadline of Sept. 30.  To have their ducks in a row, should they get a nod from ADC, Dominion sought and received support from the Mohave County's Industrial Department Authority (IDA) Tuesday in the way of a "preliminary resolution" for $60 million in bonds to finance the project.  "Mohave County holds no liability for this project whether it goes or not," said IDA Chairman Dan Hargrove.  "This gives them (Dominion) the opportunity to go forward."  With IDA approval, the Oklahoma-based developer can now have their tax-free municipal bonds rated and prepared for sale. Hargrove said.  If ADC accepts their proposal, the next step will be a "final resolution" from IDA which must then be approved by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors.  "They will have people standing by ready to buy the bonds," he said.  The prison will be managed by Management and Training Corporation (MTC) and offer 230 jobs, Hunter said, ranging from entry-level correctional facility officers, for which training would be provided by MTC, and teaching and counseling positions requiring college degrees.  The financial impact on local law enforcement, in the event they are called out to the facility to assist prison staff with hostile inmates or an escape, Hunter said, should be minimal as they would be "fully reimbursed by the state" for their services.  Dominion had sought a contract for a federal facility, he said, but that project was later canceled.  "If we don't get this one, we'll keep trying," Hunter said.  (Tri-State Online)

Arizona Legislature
Cell-Out Arizona Exclusive: Documents Show Arizona Officials Knew Private Prisons Weren’t Saving Money: Cell-Out, July 24, 2012. Must read on how corrupt the system is. Documents recently obtained by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) show that the state of Arizona deliberately circumvented and ultimately repealed a state law requiring private for-profit prison corporations to demonstrate cost savings in their bids on new prison contracts.
Arizona's Private Prisons: A Bad Bargain: April 4, 2012, Sasha Abramsky. This article appeared in the April 23, 2012 edition of The Nation. Expose on the cost games played by the state.
Arizona prison businesses are big political contributors: Bob Ortega - September 4, 2011, The Arizona Republic. Ortega connects the dots between the for-profits, the money, and legislators.
Top Ten Industry Lies: Cell Out Arizona, August 22, 2011
2010 escape at Kingman an issue for MTC’s bid: August 11, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on MTC
La. firm says prison escapes led to changes: August 10, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on LaSalle
Record an issue for company bidding on Ariz. prisons contract:  August 9, 2011, Bob Ortega, Arizona Republic. Expose on GEO Group
Prison firm optimistic about Arizona bid despite incidents: August 8, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Exposé on CCA
Arizona prison oversight lacking for private facilities: August 7, 2011, by Bob Ortega, Arizona Republic
Part 2: NPR expose on for-profits and immigration law Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny
Part 1: NPR expose on for-profits and immigration law
Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law
More from Rachel Maddow http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#38965161
Rachel Maddow stay on it http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#38700092
Rachel Maddow kicks butt http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/38685023#38685023
AZ Gov Brewer avoids questions about CCA and her administration: July 23, 2010, 5:01 min: Very funny watching

Nov 7, 2013 abc15

A 32-page report released by the American Friends Service Committee in Arizona, claims that the current private prison healthcare system is inadequate. “This includes delays in denials of care, lack of timely and emergency treatment and failure to provide medication,” said Caroline Isaacs, the author of the report." In addition, there's a case study of someone who was diagnosed with cancer, with completely no follow-up. The report points to the company in charge of the state’s private prison healthcare system, Corizon. Since March of 2012, the report claims that six of the fourteen inmate deaths that they investigated could have been prevented if given correct treatment.

Eleanor Grant’s 70-year-old husband is currently serving five-life sentences in Tucson for armed robbery. She claims the prison will not provide him with adequate treatment, even though he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in July. "Why would they want to continue to supply him with leg bags and catheters and fight infections when all they have to give him is one pill so he can urinate on his own again?" said Grant. Rep. John Kavanaugh, an Arizona representative who helped pass the bill to privatize prison healthcare, says it’s unfair to blame Corizon for these findings since they’ve only been in charge of it since the start of the year. Corizon issued the following statement to ABC15 Wednesday afternoon: On any given day, Corizon provides for the healthcare needs of more than 410,000 inmate patients across 500 facilities nationwide. As with any large healthcare provider, litigation does arise from time to time. However, the vast majority of lawsuits filed against Corizon are without merit and are dismissed or settled with no findings of wrongdoing.  AFSCAZ is now calling for the Arizona Auditor General to look into the report’s findings.

August 31, 2012 Arizona Republic
The state Department of Corrections on Friday evening awarded a multimillion-dollar private-prison contract to Corrections Corporation of America, which has employed lobbyists close to Gov Jan. Brewer in its effort to win the bid. CCA, of Nashville, will operate a 1,000-bed medium-security private prison in Eloy, with the option to run another 1,000 beds if the inmate population for serious offenders increases. CCA, a publicly held company that reported $162.5million in profits last year, was one of five bidders for the contract. The firm is politically connected to Brewer, who has pushed for the prison expansion. Until mid-July, CCA employed Chuck Coughlin, an influential lobbyist who is a close friend and an adviser to Brewer. And, state lobbying records show CCA also employs Policy Development Group, a lobbying firm that includes Paul Senseman, Brewer's former spokesman. "If you place two of your lobbyists at the right and left hand of the governor of the state and she has the final say and oversight of the Department of Corrections, I would say that's a pretty smart business strategy," said Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group and opponent of Arizona's private-prison expansion. Steve Owen, a CCA spokesman, said the company won the bid through a rigorous procurement process, and he credited the support of Eloy and others in Pinal County for helping CCA win.

August 28, 2012 Arizona Republic
In a last-ditch effort, private-prison opponents called on Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to scuttle a contract that is expected to be awarded Friday for 1,000 medium-security beds for men. A coalition of elected officials, educators and faith leaders sent an open letter to Brewer, saying the beds are costly and unnecessary. They also contend the five out-of-state companies bidding to run a new prison facility have histories of questionable management practices and safety problems. "We know this is an uphill battle, but it's still well worth fighting," said Caroline Isaacs, program director for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group and watchdog organization. "I know we are the underdog." Brewer, who was at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, could not be reached for comment. But Matthew Benson, her spokesman, said sufficient correctional facilities are a critical component of public safety. "Gov. Brewer supported these additional prison facilities because she recognizes the state faces a shortage of medium- and high-security beds in the near-term, a situation that would place the safety of both inmates and correctional staff in jeopardy," Benson wrote in an e-mail to The Arizona Republic. At the end of this week, the Arizona Department of Corrections is slated to award the bid. The contract calls for up to 2,000 medium-security beds if the prison population increases. The first 500 beds would come online in 2014, while 500 more would be added the following year. There's no timetable for the potential 1,000 remaining beds. Sites being considered are in Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, San Luis and Winslow. The contract comes even though the state's overall prison population is expected to remain flat the next two years and increase only slightly thereafter. State records also show it's more costly for taxpayers to have private businesses run prisons. State Corrections Director Charles Ryan has acknowledged that the state has an overall surplus of roughly 2,000 beds. But he also has said that Arizona has a shortage of permanent medium-security beds and that the problem is expected to get worse in 2016. The Department of Corrections on Tuesday declined to comment on the letter. The letter sent to Brewer has more than 50 signatures, including current and former state legislators as well as a Pima County supervisor, Tucson's mayor and a few Tucson City Council members. Nearly all the officials are Democrats. Other private-prison opponents include the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, clergy and religious groups. In addition to questioning the cost of new private-prison beds, the letter says state records show all five of Arizona's privately managed facilities had higher staff turnover and lower scores for guards on core competency tests compared with public-prison correctional officers. "There is ample evidence to suggest that for-profit corporations are not accountable to the citizens and taxpayers of Arizona," the letter states. "As private companies, they are not subject to the same transparency requirements or checks and balances as the Department of Corrections, despite the fact that they are performing the same functions and are paid with taxpayer dollars."

August 9, 2012 KPHO
Arizona's House minority leader is calling on Attorney General Tom Horne to investigate for-profit, private prison operators for possible legal and contract violations. Chad Campbell said there's evidence that for-profit, private prisons are not saving the state money. "If that is the case, then there is no reason the Republicans should be funding private prison expansion," Campbell said in a statement. "It shows a lack of judgment, especially when they are financing the expansions by doing things like raiding $50 million from the mortgage settlement fund, which was supposed to help people save their homes from foreclosure." Campbell sent a letter to the Arizona Attorney General's Office last month calling for an investigation and the immediate suspension of the Arizona Department of Corrections' solicitation for up to 2,000 new private prison beds. Campbell said he is renewing his call for the investigation, as the state is poised to sign a contract with a for-profit, private prison operator by Sept. 1. In the letter, Campbell cites alleged violations of: •State law and individual contract provisions requiring proposed private prisons to demonstrate cost savings to the state. •State law requiring private prisons to provide the same or better quality than state prisons. •Contract provisions requiring private prisons to maintain safety standards and rehabilitate prisoners. •State uniform contract provisions requiring private prisons to provide adequate staffing levels. There is enough money set aside in the 2013 budget for 1,000 new private prison beds, but the state has the option to add another 1,000 beds, for a total of 2,000 new beds in the next few years, Campbell said. The American Friends Service Committee issued a report indicating that if Arizona were to add the 2,000 private prison beds, the state could be losing more than $10 million a year, he said.

August 3, 2012 Cell-Out
In Part I, we revealed that state officials have known for some time that proposed for-profit prisons will not save the state money. We referred to a state law, now partially repealed, that requires for-profit prison corporations to demonstrate cost savings during the competitive bidding process before a contract is awarded. But once they’re built, the law does not provide any penalty for failure to actually save the state money. So in essence, the for-profit prison corporations can promise us the moon, but there’s nothing to ensure that they will deliver on those promises. And indeed, they haven’t. Cost comparison studies have consistently shown that Arizona is losing money on private prisons—an average of $3.5 million per year, according to an AFSC analysis. The cost of a private prison contract is calculated through the “per-diem payment.” This is the amount that Arizona agrees to pay the corporation to house one prisoner for one day. But contracts with for-profit prison operators are renegotiated or amended regularly, often annually. And those per-diem rates invariably increase. An analysis of the state’s three oldest private prison contracts, (1) With GEO Group for Florence West, (2) With GEO Group for Phoenix West, and (3) with Management and Training Corporation (MTC) for Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility, shows that the per diem rates for regular (non-emergency) beds in these facilities increased an average of 13.9% since the contracts were awarded, as demonstrated in the chart below. Facility/Unit Initial Per Diem Current Per Diem Increase, in Dollars Percent Increase Phoenix West $43.77 $49.28 $7.49 17.9% Florence West, DUI $49.55 $55.79 $6.24 12.6% Florence West, RTC $39.95 $44.98 $5.03 12.5% Marana $43.54 $49.03 $5.49 12.6% AVERAGE INCREASE $6.06 13.9% These records, obtained through a public records request, also show that these contracts were more recently amended to promise 100% occupancy of these private prisons. Beginning in 2008 with Phoenix West, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) began working out new agreements in which the corporations agreed to a lower per-diem payment for ‘emergency beds’ (intended to temporarily absorb system overflow), from an average of $30.46 to $10.00 for Florence West and Phoenix West and from $25.10 to $12.60 for Marana. In exchange for this concession, Arizona agreed to a guaranteed 100% occupancy for all the beds in all three facilities, including the much more expensive “rated beds.” The average per diem rate for these beds is $49.07. In the cases of the two GEO prisons (Phoenix and Florence West), a 2010 amendment later lowered the guaranteed occupancy for the emergency beds to 95%, but left in place the 100% occupancy rate for the more expensive rated beds. Amendment 14 for Marana (signed on June 6, 2011) has an additional, more interesting provision. The documents refer to a “dispute” between the Department of Corrections and for-profit operator MTC as to whether or not the 5-year contract renewal was done in a timely manner (ADC says yes, MTC apparently said no). The negotiated settlement of this dispute consolidates 450 rated beds with 50 emergency beds into a total of 500 rated beds. These 500 beds will carry a guaranteed occupancy of 100% at a rate of $49.03 per prisoner, per day. What’s more, this agreement was applied retroactively to October 6, 2010, effectively erasing all but three months of the reduced emergency bed per diem in the previous amendment (from July 2010). It also guaranteed that Arizona would continue to pay about three times as much for the emergency beds. In essence, ADC is handing over four years’ worth of extra money to keep MTC happy. How much money? In the July 2010 contract amendment for the facility, the state had bargained the emergency beds down to a $12.60 per diem. Now they will be paying $49.03 per diem for the same beds. Which means that MTC is raking in an extra $36.43 per prisoner, per day. Multiply by 50 such beds, and MTC will make additional profits of $664,847.50 per year– a total of $2,659,390 through the remainder of the contract, which expires in October of 2013. Not bad! Allow us to pause here to remember that MTC is the corporation whose negligence led to the horrific escapes from the Kingman prison in the summer of 2010, resulting in the murder of a couple vacationing in New Mexico. Yeah, that MTC. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it appears that Arizona is looking to cut MTC loose, at least from managing the Marana prison (they still manage two units at Kingman, for which they have a guaranteed occupancy rate of 97%). The final component of this contract amendment is an agreement that Arizona will buy the Marana prison back from MTC in October of 2013 for the tidy sum of $150,000. You can insert your own jokes about ‘short sales’ here.

June 5, 2012 AZPM
Arizona’s 2012 state budget directs $50 million in the next two years toward construction of 1,000 private prison beds and 500 new state-run maximum-security beds. But there is disagreement over the need to spend the money, especially in private prisons. Caroline Isaacs, program director of the American Friends Service Committee Arizona Office, contends the funding is unnecessary because statistics indicate crime is down. Gov. Jan Brewer and other state officials have argued that while overall crime is down and the number of state prisoners has fallen, the number of those needing maximum-security housing has gone up. That, they have said, defines the need for the funding and the construction, which they have said will be for maximum-security inmates. “Our prison population is declining,” Isaacs says. “We have had negative growth, and we have actually had a decrease in the number of people that are in our state prisons.” Isaacs points to statistics provided by the Department of Corrections and the governor’s budget report that indicate crime is down and at an “all-time low.” State officials say private prisons cost less, something Isaacs disputes. The Department of Corrections itself reports that there is no savings from privatization. “The DOC has been doing these cost assessments since 2005,” Isaacs says. “We looked at their numbers and basically calculated that from 2008 to 2010 we overspent by $10 million on the private prisons that we have in this state.” Isaacs questions whether corporations that are operating for-profit should operate the penal system. “The profit motive is basically at odds with what we think of as the purpose of a correctional institution, which is to correct behavior – ‘correct’ meaning correct crime, reduce recidivism and ensure that people do not return.”

May 4, 2012 KPHO
It was a prison break that made national news. Two convicted killers and a third dangerous criminal broke out of a medium security private prison facility in Kingman Arizona in July 2010. The escapees were eventually caught after a nationwide manhunt, but not before an Oklahoma couple was killed. The escape and murders that followed raised some serious questions about private prison safety standards and whether new policies should be put in place to prevent prison breaks from happening again. Two years later, Arizona lawmakers have decided to go in a different direction. Buried in the $8.6 billion budget proposal passed at the state Capitol this week is a plan to "eliminate the requirement for a quality and cost review of private prison contracts." It means there would no longer be an annual review of how private prisons operate. House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, voted against the new provision. "It's insanity, that's the only way to describe this, removing the ability for the state to do a cost and quality analysis of the private prison contracts that are being funded by taxpayer dollars makes absolutely no sense whatever," said Campbell. Arizona currently has about a dozen privately operated prisons. State Rep. John Kavanaugh, R- Fountain Hills, is the lawmaker who proposed the plan to remove the review process. CBS5 asked Kavanaugh why the change is good for Arizona. "Because it's a study that was bias from the beginning and never used," said Kavanaugh."So rather than have a report that is biased and nobody listens to and costs money to produce. We simply eliminated it." According to Kavanaugh, the recent reports on private prisons have been put together by state prison officials, skewing the data.

March 6, 2012 The Republic
A Tucson prison-watchdog group and the NAACP have filed a formal protest with Arizona's State Procurement Office seeking to block the Department of Corrections from contracting for 2,000 new private-prison beds. Next Tuesday is the deadline for bids on the contract. A Corrections spokesman said the department is reviewing the protest letter and will respond to it in accordance with the requirements in the state procurement code. Neither Corrections nor the State Procurement Office commented on whether the bid award would be delayed. The NAACP and the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group advocating criminal-justice reform, are asking the State Procurement Office to cancel the bidding, and, at a minimum, halt the process while it considers the protest. Among other claims, the groups argue that the state doesn't need additional beds because the prison population is declining and that existing contracts violate state laws that require private prisons to cost less and provide the same or better level of services as state prisons. The Friends committee has been critical of Corrections' efforts to expand private prisons. Last year, when officials were considering bids for up to 5,000 private-prison beds, The Republic reported that Corrections had failed to conduct biennial quality comparisons of private and state-run prisons, as required by state law. The committee filed suit in state court to block any contract until the state completed such a study.

February 15, 2012 Arizona Republic
Arizona's private prisons are not cost-effective for taxpayers and are more difficult to monitor than state prisons, according to a new report by a prison watchdog group that is calling for a moratorium on any new private prisons in the state. The report examined the five prisons that have contracts to house Arizona prisoners and six private prisons that house federal detainees or inmates from other states, including California and Hawaii. Based on public-information requests and other data, the report by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group that works on criminal-justice reform, concluded that: Arizona paid $10 million more for private prison beds between 2008 and 2010 than it would have for equivalent state beds. Arizona's pending plan to contract for another 2,000 private-prison beds would cost taxpayers at least $38.7 million a year, at least $6 million a year more than incarcerating those inmates in state prisons. Plans to add 500 more maximum-security beds in state prisons would add almost $10 million a year to the bill. The report questioned whether those beds are needed, since the state's prison population has declined over the past two years by more than 900 inmates, to 39,854 as of Wednesday. In the past three years, private prisons in Arizona have experienced at least 28 riots and more than 200 other "disturbances" involving as many as 50 prisoners. Many of these incidents had not previously been reported to the public. State law doesn't require the six private prisons that hold federal detainees and prisoners from other states to inform state or local authorities in the event of an escape, a riot or other disturbance, or a death in custody. The American Friends Service Committee called for requiring all private prisons to disclose the same information as state prisons. The report criticized a recent biennial study by the Arizona Department of Corrections that found that the quality and cost of private prisons compared favorably with those of state prisons. The committee noted that the Corrections Department study didn't include data about scores of security flaws found at some prisons after three inmates escaped in 2010 from the private Kingman prison; that the study didn't look at recidivism rates, deaths in custody, suicides or homicides; and that it downplayed the fact that private prisons had consistently higher turnover and staff vacancy rates and higher levels of inmate disciplinary reports. Corrections officials previously had said inexperienced staff may have been a factor in the escapes from Kingman and in the inability of staff there to control the prison yard during a riot in May 2010. Dante Gordon, a former inmate at Kingman, said that guards there stood by and did nothing as more than 80 White inmates attacked and beat 25 Black inmates during that riot. The report pointed out that reports every year since 2005 by the Corrections Department, along with others by the state's auditor general, concluded that private-prison beds on average have been more expensive; but that the most recent Corrections Department study changed the way it calculated expenses to include a "range" that it termed comparable. The report also noted that lawmakers exempted two private prisons -- the Central Arizona Correctional Facility, run by GEO Group Inc., and the Cerbat unit at the Kingman prison, operated by Management and Training Corp. -- from state laws requiring private prisons to provide an equivalent or higher level of quality than the state. "The state has deliberately obscured information that would cast private prisons in a negative light," wrote Caroline Isaacs, the author of the report and the Friends Committee program director in Tucson. Corrections Department spokesman Bill Lamoreaux said the director, Charles Ryan, had not had sufficient time to review the report to reply to the issues raised. "This is stale information peddled by familiar critics," said Steve Owen, spokesman for Corrections Corp. of America, which operates the six private prisons that are not under state jurisdiction. Many of the riots and disturbances took place at those six prisons, according to data the Friends Committee reported it had been provided by correctional officials from California, Washington and Hawaii. The committee also gleaned information from lawsuits filed against CCA by Hawaiian inmates. Without responding to specific issues raised by the report, Owen said, "the safety and security of our facilities is of critical importance to us, and we take seriously the lives of the inmates and detainees entrusted to our care." In response to questions during a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Isaacs said it had been difficult to obtain information about prison operations. "The fact that this information is so difficult to obtain should give Arizona taxpayers pause about the lack of transparency and lack of accountability of private prisons," she said. Her group is calling for legislation to require stricter state oversight and reporting requirements for private prisons operating in Arizona. House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said he has introduced six bills calling for better oversight and reporting, though he doesn't expect any of his bills to get a hearing.

December 23, 2011 Arizona Daily Sun
Saying crime rates are dropping, the state Department of Corrections on Thursday cancelled plans to contract for 5,000 new private prison beds. Agency director Charles Ryan said the plans, first approved in 2009, came at a time when the number of people being locked up was increasing. Based on that, he said, the department came up with some projections of what it would need long term. But the big increase never materialized. In fact, during the 12 months ending on June 30, 2010, the total prison population increased by just 65. And in the last budget year, the tally actually slipped by 296. Ryan said that made it "prudent to reassess" the plans and its forecast that it would need 8,500 new beds by 2017. But Ryan said his agency still believes more beds will be necessary. So it is now asking private companies to submit bids for just 2,000 minimum and medium security beds, to be completed something before the middle of 2014. And the department will ask the Legislature for permission to build a new maximum security unit, to be operated by the state beginning the following year, which can house up to 500 inmates. The decision to start a new bid process also likely undercuts any new legal effort to block the state from awarding a contract to a private firm to house inmates. In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, the American Friends Service Committee said a 1987 state law requires that agency to first conduct a study to determine if a private firm can provide at least the same quality as the state at a lower cost. Factors that must be studied range from security and inmate programs to health services and food services. The state had never completed such a study. But a trial judge refused to block the state from awarding a contract to the five firms which had previously submitted bids. Now, with that study completed just this week and those original bids discarded, the state is free to start the bidding process all over again without that legal impediment.

December 15, 2011 In These Times
The Arizona Bureau of Planning, Budget and Research notes a whopping savings of three cents per head among the relatively low-maintenance minimum security crowd held in private pens: $46.56 per diem for a private bed, versus $46.59 at state-run institutions. The recent dismissal of a lawsuit filed against both Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Director Charles Ryan and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) is the latest step in the state’s hell-bent plan to roughly double its number of privately managed prison “beds.” The suit, filed in an Arizona Superior Court by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) on September 12, sought an injunction against ADC and the governor’s pending award of 5,000 new prison beds to be operated by a for-profit vendor. The state currently contracts out more than 6,500 minimum- and medium-security beds at seven facilities with Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison operator, and Management and Training Corporation (MTC). AFSC argued that ADC is negligent in its statutorily required duty to conduct biennial cost and quality assessments of the state’s private prisons. The purpose of these assessments is to determine whether the state is receiving the same quality of service from private prison operators as provided by public facilities. Nevertheless, ADC has not completed a single survey. While the law defines a clear list of specific items to be assessed (such as security standards and personnel training), and a set time frame for assessments to be performed (every two years), it does not say that these assessments are the sole bar that must be used to measure standards of private penitentiaries. Without the existence of these biennial reports, it’s anyone’s guess what cost comparison model is used by ADC, the legislature and the governor’s office. When asked what criteria the department uses to determine if the private correctional beds managed in Arizona are operating with the same level of security and care as state-run facilities, and whether those facilities are providing any savings to the public, ADC spokesman Barrett Marson directed In These Times to the ADC’s “Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Per Capita Cost Report.” The most recent FY 2010 per capita report available–published by the Arizona Bureau of Planning, Budget and Research on April 13, 2011–offers nothing to suggest the state should continue its rush toward the privatization of correctional services. The report states that the total adjusted per diem (per prisoner, per day) cost for state-run medium security facilities was $48.42. The per diem for medium security prisoners held by private contractors amounted to $53.02. The bureau did note a whopping savings of three cents per head among the relatively low-maintenance minimum security crowd held in private pens–at $46.56 per diem for a private bed, versus $46.59 at state-run institutions. But the report goes on to quickly deflate the standing of that $0.03 margin, stating: “[There are several] inmate management functions that are provided and paid for by the state but are not provided by the private contractors. This inequity increases the state per capita cost which, in comparison, artificially lowers the private bed cost.” Nevertheless, AFSC’s suit was dismissed on October 27 by Arizona Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson. The basis for the dismissal, however, was not based on the merits of the suit, but rather in Anderson’s concurrence with Assistant Attorney General Rex Nowlan. Nowlan had argued that AFSC and other plaintiffs did not have standing to seek relief for a violation of the law requiring assessment. AFSC is appealing the dismissal. “We will vigorously fight the state’s effort to dismiss the case on procedural standing grounds,” said Vince Rabago, a former state prosecutor who is representing AFSC in the case. “Given the obvious public safety issues and impact on taxpayers, the parties should have a hearing on the merits of the state violating its own laws for more than two decades.”

December 1, 2011 AP
Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan says the state won't act on proposals for additional private prisons until his department completes a report comparing private prisons and publicly operated ones. Ryan told a legislative oversight committee recently that the report is nearly complete and will be submitted to the Legislature before January The comparison study has long been required by state law but has never been done before. Several private prison companies have submitted proposals for 5,000 additional beds authorized under a 2009 state law. The project was delayed and revamped after security at a privately-operated state prison near Kingman was found to be deficient following an escape.

November 28, 2011 Arizona Republic
Arizona's state lawmakers are especially receptive to corporate money and influence, according to a new report from two liberal-leaning advocacy groups. The 100-page report strives to show how the American Legislative Exchange Council uses "its resources to shepherd legislation from the corporate boardroom to the governor's desk," said Marge Baker, executive vice president at the Washington D.C,-based People for the American Way Foundation. ALEC describes itself as a nonpartisan national association of state legislators. Critics, however, say it is a conservative-based partisan organization that brings together about 300 large corporations and 2,000 predominately Republican legislators on task forces to produce model bills. Lawmakers then take those bills back to their state legislatures in hopes of passing them into law. The groups released the report, "ALEC in Arizona: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in the Halls of Arizona's Legislature," as ALEC prepares to hold its "States and Nation Policy Summit" in Scottsdale, beginning Wednesday. More than 50 Arizona lawmakers are members of the group. Arizona corporations that provide financial support to ALEC include the Salt River Project, Taser International, and Pinnacle West Capital Corp., the parent company of Arizona Public Services Co., the state's largest utility company. "There's no way ordinary citizens can match the level of access and influence that ALEC provides to these corporations," Baker said. "So Arizonans are subjected to laws that serve the interests of the rich and powerful." But Kaitlyn Buss, an ALEC spokeswoman, said the organization is merely a "resource" for lawmakers. "Our main goal and focus is to promote free market, limited government and federalism (ideals)," Buss said. "We do have model legislation. It's a main part of what we do, but that doesn't give it priority over anything else that might be introduced at the Legislature." The report includes side-by-side comparisons of dozens of "model bills" generated at ALEC conferences, and those introduced at the Arizona Legislature. In Arizona, lawmakers passed 19 of the 36 model bills introduced in 2010, ALEC officials said. Typically, ALEC model legislation -- including those highlighted in the report -- focus on anti-immigration, anti-union, and anti-federal health-care reform initiatives.

November 19, 2011 Arizona Republic
The Arizona Department of Correction's long-delayed plans to contract for 5,000 additional private-prison beds are again under fire. A Quaker prison-watchdog group, whose lawsuit seeking to block any contract was dismissed in Maricopa County Superior Court last month, Friday filed an appeal and a fresh request for an injunction. That injunction would block any contract until Corrections completes required studies comparing the performance of its existing private-prison contracts to state prisons. Judge Arthur Anderson dismissed the initial suit on the ground that the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee lacked standing to sue the state. The committee noted the dismissal didn't address substantive issues raised by the suit, which alleges that the state is in violation of its own laws, which require that any private-prison contracts save the state money and that the state conduct biannual studies comparing the operations of private and state prisons. The department has never conducted these studies, which are supposed to analyze costs, the security and safety of each prison, how inmates are managed, inmate discipline, programs, staff training, administration, and other factors. The suit and the appeal charge that without these studies, the state can't say whether private prisons are more cost-effective than state facilities. The department didn't immediately reply to requests for comment. Bids on contracts were halted last year to beef up security requirements after three inmates escaped from a private prison in Kingman. The department had expected to award contracts as early as Sept. 12, but that process has been repeatedly delayed. This week, the department asked the four bidders to extend their bids to Dec. 22.

November 9, 2011 Colorado Independent
The times they are a changin’. It seems like only yesterday, Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce was considered the most powerful politician in Arizona and a man whose counsel was sought by legislators in Colorado and around the country. The author of Arizona’s anti-immigration law, SB-1070, Pearce was considered the father of state-level immigration reform. Tuesday, he became the first Arizona legislator ever to lose a recall election, the first state senate president in the country to ever face such a fate. He conceded late last night on his way to a 53-45 defeat to fellow conservative Republican Jerry Lewis. “This is huge,” said DeeDee Garcia Blase, national president of the Tequila Party and immediate past president of Somos Republicans. She likened the successful recall to the civil rights movement of the 60s and said it may mark a turning point in the American debate over immigration. “This is like a miracle,” she said. She said Arizona’s passage of SB-1070 was a watershed event in that it awakened Latino voters in America to the fact that they had to get involved. “I’m an American citizen. I’m a veteran, but with this law people could ask for my papers based on how I look. Latinos came out to vote after 1070 passed.” She said is still working with Somos Republicans, but is shifting her efforts to the non-partisan Tequila Party because the Republican Party does not seem open to Latino concerns. “The GOP better wake up, but I am not doing their dirty work anymore,” she said. Victor Jerry Lewis, a conservative Republican and a Mormon, who agreed with Pearce on almost every issue except immigration, where he said all parties needed to work together to find solutions without demonizing large groups of people. Garcia Blase was the first person to initiate the recall of Sen. Russell Pearce but later joined with other groups working toward the same end. She said enlisting the Mormon community was huge and that as Mormons in Mesa became more familiar with The Utah Compact and efforts by Mormons in Utah to craft humane immigration policies, the tide began to turn. “Last night’s win consisted of the LDS community, conservatives, libertarians, independents and Democrats uniting and ousting one of the most anti-immigrant, anti-Latino politicians in American history,” Garcia Blase said. “The defeat of Russell Pearce means the tide is turning back toward the United States maintaining its reputation as that Shining City on a Hill. The nation is now set to reverse the evil deeds of anti-immigrant crusaders John Tanton, Kris Kobach, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, and so forth,” she said. Pearce’s ties to the private prison industry, which worked with him to craft a law that would benefit private prisons by providing a steady stream of new inmates, has been widely documented.

October 28, 2011 AP
A judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by a Quaker group that had been a potential roadblock to the state's plan to add 5,000 more private prison beds. Judge Arthur Anderson of Maricopa County Superior Court said the American Friends Service Committee lacked a legal right to request an injunction to block the state from awarding new private prison contracts before the state satisfies a long-ignored law requiring periodic studies comparing costs and services of private and publicly run prisons. The Quaker group cited a 2010 escape from a privately operated state prison near Kingman, and concerns about public safety and tax dollars, in its lawsuit. The state requested dismissal of the suit and is now conducting a comparison study while reviewing proposals for new or expanded private prisons in communities around the state. The proposals under evaluation are from four finalists chosen from companies that responded to the Department of Corrections under a 2009 law. Caroline Issacs, Arizona program director for the Quaker group, noted that Anderson's ruling was based only on the issue of legal standing. The group remains concerned about the safety and effectiveness of private prisons and is considering the possibility of an appeal or other legal action, she said. Arizona's use of private prisons and its 2009 decision to increase that reliance have come under increased scrutiny because of a 2010 escape from the Kingman prison, a facility later found to have been plagued by security flaws. Two of the three inmates who escaped have been charged with murdering an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico. Arizona now uses private prisons to house about 6,000 of its 40,000 inmates. An attorney for the Quaker group argued that the comparison study would provide the state with "a baseline set of knowledge" needed to help protect the public's safety and tax dollars. If the state had done the studies in the past, the Kingman escape might not have happened and the public might have questioned whether private prisons have provided cost savings for the state, the attorney told Anderson during an Oct. 7 hearing. A lawyer for the state said the state's ongoing evaluation of the four companies' contract proposals involves comparing costs and that the proposals are scored on whether they meet the state's performance standards.

October 14, 2011 East Valley Tribune
A Quaker group asked a judge on Friday to block the state from putting more inmates in private prisons, saying the Department of Corrections has never shown it is safe or even cost effective. Vince Rabago, representing the American Friends Service Committee, told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson that the law requires the state to make a comparison every two years between the services and safety of state-run facilities and those operated by private companies. But there has never been such a study even though that law has been on the books for more than 20 years. Without the study, Rabago argued, there is no basis to know whether it makes sense for the state to go ahead with its plans to contract for another 5,000 private prison beds. So he wants Anderson to block that contract from being awarded until the first study, which the Department of Corrections is finally doing this year, is completed. “The state has an obligation to follow its laws,” Rabago told the judge. The 1987 law dealing with awarding of contracts for private prisons requires the director of the Department of Corrections to look at the job contractors are doing every two years, considering everything from the programs and services offered to inmates to food service and security. Rabago told Anderson the state needs the study as a baseline to compare to what bidders for the new contract are offering. Assistant Attorney General Rex Nowlan conceded that the state never had performed the study. But he said that is legally irrelevant, arguing that the Department of Corrections is effectively looking at all those issues. He also pointed out that same law already prohibits the state from contracting for private prison beds “unless the proposal offers cost savings to this state.” Anyway, Nowlan questioned how the Quaker group — or the other plaintiffs who are the parents of an adult inmate in a private prison — has any right to sue simply because the Department of Corrections has not complied with the law requiring a study. He said the only people who would have a right to complain are the lawmakers who are supposed to get the report. Rabago disagreed. “Taxpayers have a right to prevent the illegal expenditure of taxpayer monies,” he told the judge. Nowlan responded that the Legislature specifically directed the Department of Corrections to contract for another 5,000 beds at privately run prisons. That is on top of the 6,400 inmates already housed in private facilities. With that direction, Nowlan said, what the agency is doing cannot be called illegal. Rabago said this is more than a question of a missing report. “Maybe had the state done its job, maybe had it been doing these studies properly ... maybe we would not be in a position where we would have had Kingman (private prison) escapees murdering innocent people,” he said. “Maybe we wouldn’t have riots and unsafe conditions which we know exist.” That murder reference is to an incident last year when three violent criminals escaped from a private prison run by Management and Training Corp. after an accomplice threw a wire cutter over the fence. All eventually were recaptured, but not before an Oklahoma couple, kidnapped at a New Mexico rest area, was murdered; several of those involved have been charged in that incident. A study following that incident found various failures with the operation of the facility, including a perimeter alarm system that malfunctioned so often that corrections officers routinely ignored it. The study also concluded the state itself had done a poor job of oversight. State officials have not said when they will finally award the new contract. But Barrett Marson, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said his agency asked all the bidders to extend the expiration date on their offers until Nov. 22 to provide more time to review the proposals. Anderson gave no indication of when he will rule.

October 12, 2011 Coolidge Examiner
D-Day has been extended. The “D” stands for decision as in whether a prison is built in Coolidge. Regardless of what side Coolidge citizens are on they want an answer. The answer to whether Coolidge gets a private prison apparently will come later rather than sooner. A decision that could have come as early as Sept. 16 has now been extended to Nov. 22, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. The DOC has apparently asked Management and Training Corporation (MTC) and the other companies that bid on a private prison “to extend its bid through November 22, 2011, while they continue to evaluate the proposals.” Though no DOC officials were available for comment, Coolidge Mayor Tom Shope has a few ideas of the hold up. “There is a lot of political play about the need for prisons,” Shope said. “With the question about jail time that has been raised as well as the private vs. state debate, there is a lot going on. That is probably what is responsible more than anything for holding this up.” What Shope referred to was an expose that appeared in the Sunday Arizona Republic that examined how Arizona has some of the harshest sentences of any state in the country and the huge price tag incurred. Also, there is the ongoing battle between the private and federal prison advocates. Shope said he had hoped a decision would have been made by now, but that he understands that there are external factors at work as well. “Obviously, I was hoping for a decision sooner,” Shope said. “This just prolongs the wait process. I am not losing sleep over it. It’s not the end of the world. Every company that made a bid has to wait. Every city has to wait. We’re all in the same boat. And I don’t have any hint of who is in the lead.” There has been some talk that Eloy is in the lead because it would be most cost effective. One undocumented report said that beds are already being cleared in one of the city’s facilities. But Eloy Mayor Byron Jackson said he hasn’t heard anything either from Corrections Corporation of America or the DOC. Jackson still believes his city would make the most sense because it is most cost-effective. “It only makes sense,” Jackson said. “It’s not like they would have to build a new prison. They would just move people (from California) out and move new people in. It’s not that big of a deal. We already have or could provide the bed space. I haven’t heard that a final decision has been made.”

September 24, 2011 Arizona Republic
Arizona's Department of Corrections needs to do more to improve security at private-contract and state-run prisons, a report released Friday by the state's auditor general concludes. The report credits the department with making many significant improvements since the July 2010 escapes of three prisoners from the Kingman prison. These improvements include revamping the state's monitoring and inspection programs, which had failed to detect obvious security flaws at Kingman before the escapes; new, tougher annual audits of each prison; better security and reporting requirements in new contracts; and stiffer requirements and better training for state monitors who oversee private prisons.The audit called for further steps to address ongoing security problems.

September 15, 2011 Arizona Daily Sun
A judge refused Wednesday to block the state from awarding new contracts to put inmates in private prisons. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson said members of the Quaker organization who filed suit earlier this week had not shown their interests would be "irreparably harmed" if he refused to issue an emergency order. That made the challengers legally ineligible for immediate relief. But the ruling does not end the dispute. Anderson scheduled a hearing for next week when he wants to hear from both the American Friends Service Committee as well as the Department of Corrections. He could at that time, after hearing evidence, then bar the state from proceeding with the additional private prisons. That presumes, however, it is not too late. The law directing the Department of Corrections to contract out for 5,000 private prison beds allows the agency to award the bid as early as this Friday. And agency spokesman Barrett Marson would not commit to holding off until after next week's hearing. About 6,500 of the state's approximately 40,000 inmates already are in private prisons. The lawsuit is based on the contention by the group that privately run prisons are both more costly and less secure than those operated by the state. What gives the group ammunition is that a 1987 state law requires a study to determine whether private companies can not only do the job at a lower cost but that the private companies meet the same standards on everything from security to food. That law was ignored until Gov. Jan Brewer directed a study be done. That study, however, will not be completed before the end of the year. The group wants Anderson to preclude new contracts until that happens. Anderson, however, said he cannot act now -- before the Department of Corrections gets a chance to respond -- absent some showing of irreparable harm. Carolyn Isaacs, the group's Arizona program manager, said there is such proof. "Certainly, the taxpayers are harmed by wasting $650 million," she said. Isaacs also noted that other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include a couple whose son in locked up in a private prison in Kingman. They allege that guards in that facility have allowed attacks to occur on African-American inmates. "There is irreparable harm happening daily in these facilities, or at least the potential for it," Isaacs said. She also pointed to the review done by the state of the operation of that Kingman facility after three dangerous inmates escaped last year. One of the escapees and an accomplice have been charged in connection with the murder of an Oklahoma couple. "At any minute, another Kingman (incident) could possibly happen," Isaacs said.

September 15, 2011 Arizona Republic
A prison watchdog group's effort to block state plans for more private-prison beds fell short Wednesday. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson denied a request by the American Friends Service Committee for a temporary restraining order against the Department of Corrections, pending a hearing Tuesday on an injunction filed by the committee. That injunction seeks to block Corrections from contracting for more private-prison beds until the department completes a comprehensive cost-benefit study of private vs. state-run prisons, due to be completed by January. Corrections officials have said they may announce as early as Friday the award of one or more contracts for up to 5,000 new private-prison beds. The committee had requested the restraining order to stop Corrections from awarding any contracts before its injunction is considered. The committee's Arizona program director, Caroline Isaacs, called on Corrections to voluntarily hold off on any award until after the hearing. Corrections declined to comment on the injunction.

September 13, 2011 Arizona Republic
A group opposed to privatizing prisons filed suit Monday seeking to block, at least temporarily, state plans to contract for 5,000 new private-prison beds as early as Friday. The state "should not be allowed to hand over another cent of taxpayers' money until the Department (of Corrections) can prove to us that these prisons are safe, that the corporations are doing the job we're paying them to do, and that the state is capable of holding them accountable," said Caroline Isaacs, director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group that monitors prisons. Besides requesting a temporary restraining order, the suit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court accuses Arizona's Department of Corrections of failing to follow two state statutes: - State law requires that any private-prison contract either save money or provide better services for the same cost as state-run prisons. Cost comparisons done by Corrections every year since 2005 consistently show that private prisons are more expensive, the suit noted. - Corrections has failed for decades to carry out biannual studies, required by law, comparing the performance of private vs. state prisons on security, safety, how inmates are managed, programs and services, and many other issues. The Corrections Department declined to comment on the suit. Corrections officials previously have admitted that the biannual studies have not been done. Corrections Director Charles Ryan has said the department expects to complete its first such study by January. The department had said it would announce the award of one or more contracts on or after Friday. Four companies are finalists to build or provide prisons at five possible sites. The committee was joined in the suit by Oralee and Joyce Clayton, parents of an inmate at the privately run Kingman state prison who say they're concerned for their son's safety. The group asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping Corrections from awarding any contract, at least until it completes its first biannual cost-benefit comparison study. The suit also asks the court to force the department to disclose the details of all of its current contracts with private-prison operators.

September 12, 2011 Blog for Arizona
The state of Arizona is poised to award a lucrative private prison contract on September 16, despite the Department of Corrections failure to comply with Arizona law. (Arizona law requires the department to conduct a cost-benefit analysis comparing state and private prisons every two years, which has never been done). The American Friends Service Committee is going to do something about it. Quakers threaten lawsuit over private prisons - Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required): A Quaker organization and a West Valley advocacy group are making last-minute efforts to stop the state from building private prisons. American Friends Service Committee, a social action arm of the Quaker faith, notified the Attorney General’s Office today it intends to sue to keep the Department of Corrections from awarding contracts to build private prisons to house 5,000 inmates. The contract award is scheduled for Sept. 16. Four companies have bid to build prisons at five possible sites. Stacy Scheff, a Tucson attorney representing the group, said she is going to ask a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to prevent the state from awarding the contracts until the completion of a required cost-benefit analysis comparing state and private prisons. [Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said the department is working on the study and it should be complete no later than January.] The group has scheduled a press conference for Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the House of Representatives.

August 17, 2011 ABC 15
Family members of a couple allegedly murdered by two Arizona prison escapees are speaking out against a proposed prison. The Haas family is on a mission that they never wanted, but feel they need pursue. “It’s something you think about everyday,” said Linda Haas Rook. Rook’s brother Gary Haas and his wife Linda were murdered last year. Investigators believe the killers are two men who escaped from a prison in Kingman just days earlier. The Kingman prison is operated by the Management and Training Corporation, which now has hopes to build prisons in San Luis and Coolidge. The Haas family hopes to prevent the company from doing so. Linda Rook planned to travel more than 1,400 miles with her husband and her mother to the public hearing Tuesday night in San Luis to voice her concerns. “[MTC] needs to right their wrongs,” she told ABC15 from her stopover in Scottsdale. MTC has made several security upgrades to their facility in Kingman, and a spokesperson said the company has a great track record with the state. If MTC is approved to build the new prison, the company stated it plans to bring about 500 jobs to the San Luis area.

August 17, 2011 Arizona Republic
Rep. Chad Campbell, the Arizona House minority leader, asked Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to temporarily halt a proposed 5,000-bed expansion of private prisons in Arizona. Public hearings on the expansion continue this week, with one held Tuesday in San Luis. It is among five communities where four companies are bidding to provide the beds. The Arizona Department of Corrections is expected to issue one or more contracts in late September. But, as The Arizona Republic recently reported, the department has never completed the biannual, cost-benefit analyses required by law to compare private and public prisons. Corrections Director Charles Ryan said he expects the first such analysis to be completed in January. In a letter to Brewer, Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat, asked her to hold off on any new contract until the analysis is ready and "after enhanced security, training and monitoring policies are in place and shown to be effective at all existing private facilities." Brewer could not immediately be reached. At Tuesday's public hearing, the two companies bidding to build prisons near San Luis - Management and Training Corp. and Geo Group Inc. - tried to fight back against criticism of their records in Arizona and elsewhere. MTC, in particular, was criticized for the escapes of three prisoners from its Kingman prison last year. Two of those prisoners are accused of kidnapping and murdering an Oklahoma couple, Gary and Linda Haas. Vivian Haas, Gary's mother, has said little in public in the year since the murders. But at the San Luis hearing, she spoke out. "I've been through a lot of painful times in 81 years, even surviving the terrible tornado that hit Joplin recently. But nothing compares to the pain of having my kids brutally murdered because MTC couldn't do its job of keeping criminals locked up," Haas said. MTC Vice President Mike Murphy, who spoke before Haas, emphasized the 500 jobs and the tax benefits he said the proposed prison would bring, and promised good security. Geo Group similarly focused on jobs and security in its presentation.

August 10, 2011 Arizona Republic
Corrections Corp. of America is proposing to use two of its existing prisons in Eloy to provide new private-prison beds for Arizona. Nashville-based CCA, the country's largest operator of private prisons, would empty its Red Rock and La Palma facilities of the inmates from Hawaii and California they now house to create space for 4,500 Arizona inmates. CCA is one of four companies bidding to contract with Arizona's Department of Corrections for up to 5,000 private prison beds. It provided details of its plans at a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday evening in Eloy. Under the proposal, CCA wouldn't expand either private prison; rather, the Hawaiian and Californian inmates would move to one of the more than 60 other prisons elsewhere in the CCA system, likely in other states.

July 20, 2011 Tucson Citizen
Much has been made of Governor Brewer’s intimate ties to Corrections Corporation of America. Her Chief of Staff, Paul Senseman, is a former CCA lobbyist, and his wife is currently a lobbyist for the company. Brewer’s campaign manager and senior policy advisor, Chuck Coughlin, runs a consulting firm that also lobbies for CCA in Arizona. Brewer accepted a total of $60,000 in contributions from people associated with CCA for her campaign and the tax increase initiative that she was pushing last year. The scandal made waves after the passage of SB1070, raising questions about CCA’s role in drafting legislation that would potentially provide the company with millions more in contracts for immigrant detention facilities in Arizona. But Brewer is hardly the only powerful politician in Arizona with ties to this influential industry. A Cell-Out Arizona investigation has revealed that John Kavanagh (R-8), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has accepted numerous campaign contributions from lobbyists and others associated with Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison company and one of the bidders for a contract to build and manage 5,000 new prison beds in Arizona. Now we know why Kavanagh is such a staunch supporter of private prisons. He appeared last week on Phoenix Channel 8’s public affairs program, Horizon, debating the issue with Rep. Cecil Ash. In the 2010 election cycle, Kavanagh accepted at least 6 donations from lobbyists associated with Geo Group. According to Beau Hodai’s investigation for In These Times, “Geo Group employs consulting firm Public Policy Partners…While Public Policy Partners (PPP), an Arizona-based firm, has more than 30 Arizona clients, it only has two clients at the federal level: Geo Group (based in Florida) and Ron Sachs Communications, a Florida-based public-relations firm that, promotes prison privatization. PPP, as a firm, also appears to be an advocate for expanded use of private prisons. Federal lobbying records show PPP owner, John Kaites, lobbying on behalf of the firm on issues of “private correctional detention management.” Kavanagh’s campaign finance reports show that he accepted money from John Kaites as well as Ann Peralta Kaites, John’s lovely wife. He received his-and-hers matching donations from another husband and wife team, Ken and Laurie Quartermain. Ken is a lobbyist for Public Policy Partners. Several other donations came from lobbyists with PPP. It’s a shrewd move for Geo Group. Since CCA has bought the Governor’s office, the best way to get those lucrative contracts is to buy off the guy in charge of releasing the money for them—the Chair of Appropriations and outgoing Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

February 15, 2011 Arizona Republic
Despite a bipartisan outcry last summer after three inmates escaped from a private prison near Kingman, bills to increase state oversight of for-profit corrections companies can't get a legislative hearing. Democrats have introduced 10 bills, including measures that would bring six private-prison complexes in Eloy and Florence under state standards. Those facilities, run by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, house federal prisoners and detainees, as well as inmates from Hawaii, Washington and California, and are unregulated by the state. Democrats also are concerned that, while the Kingman prison still isn't accepting new inmates because reforms aren't complete, another 5,000 private beds have gone out for bid. "There's no legitimate reason why our private prisons shouldn't be held to the same standards as public prisons," said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, who is sponsoring five bills. In the weeks after the Kingman inmates scaled a fence, led a cross-country chase and were tied to the death of a couple in New Mexico, the Department of Corrections issued a searing report that found "a culture of laxness among the staff," including false alarms so frequent they were routinely ignored. Department Director Charles Ryan replaced top administrators and added state employees, while the contractor, Utah-based Management and Training Corp., installed a new alarm system and beefed up staff training. Republicans who called for hearings into the breakout now say they're generally satisfied with Ryan's response. Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said the five Senate bills won't get a hearing in his Judiciary Committee because he doesn't believe they're necessary. The key reform, he said, is to ensure the state employee charged with monitoring each of the five private prisons overseen by the state has experience running a prison unit. That wasn't the case in Kingman, he said.

Governor Brewer running away from hard questions regarding her staff's relationships with CCA.
November 9, 2010 Arizona Republic
A criminal-justice watchdog group has called on state leaders to cancel a contract for 5,000 private-prison beds and launch an investigation into the private-prison industry's "lack of accountability" and influence on state politics. The Arizona office of the American Friends Service Committee, a national Quaker non-profit group that focuses on human rights, held a news conference Monday announcing their concerns. The group said it wants the Attorney General's Office and Secretary of State's Office to investigate issues including the private-prison industry's campaign contributions to state legislators, lobbyists' efforts to push legislation that boosts incarceration rates, and the need for private prisons in Arizona. "We're just asking for basic transparencies in an industry that has a stake in making money off incarcerating people," said Caroline Isaacs, a committee spokeswoman.

November 3, 2010 KPHO
A state audit of the Arizona Department of Corrections found private prisons cost taxpayers more money per inmate. The audit report says housing a medium-custody inmate at a private prison costs $55.89 per day. The daily cost of housing the same inmate at a state facility was calculated at $48.13 a day. State auditor Dale Chapman said there more extensive research is needed on the costs of private prisons. Chapman has examined Arizona's Department of Corrections budget and recommended state lawmakers invest money examining private prisons' price tag. "We think there would be a value in determining and spending time and resources on determining the costs of housing an inmate in a state facility versus a private facility," said Chapman.

October 31, 2010 Joplin Globe Sun
A Joplin woman is among the relatives of an Oklahoma couple, allegedly slain by two escaped prisoners from Arizona and an accomplice, who are seeking $40 million in damages, according to notice of claim letters the family’s attorneys have mailed to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and other officials in that state. Letters sent last week by attorneys for the relatives of Gary and Linda Haas, of Tecumseh, Okla., allege that their Aug. 2 deaths in New Mexico were the result of “a long series of egregious errors and omissions of gross negligence” by the Arizona Department of Corrections and officials at the Arizona State Prison at Kingman, where the inmates escaped July 30. The Haases, who grew up in McDonald County, had been planning to return to Southwest City, where they had property, after losing their jobs in Oklahoma when a GM plant shut down, Linda Rook told the Globe after their deaths. Rook, of Joplin, is a surviving sister of Gary Haas. In August, the couple were heading out west on a camping trip when they were abducted and killed. ‘Slipshod security’ -- The attorneys’ letters allege that Arizona corrections officials and the prison’s private operator, Utah-based Management and Training Corp., “set the stage for and permitted the careless and slipshod security environment” at the prison that allowed the inmates to escape and allegedly kidnap and kill the victims. MTC is liable for punitive damages in the case, according to notice of claim letters sent to company officials. The notice of claim letters were mailed on behalf of the Haases’ daughter, Cathy Byus, and the mother, sister and two brothers of Linda Haas. Their attorney, Jacob Diesselhorst, said Thursday that the claim letters are required before a wrongful-death lawsuit can be filed against the state. Diesselhorst said Arizona officials have 60 days to respond. Contacted over the weekend, Rook declined to comment and referred questions to a Joplin lawyer, John Dolence, who is representing her in the matter. The Globe’s efforts to reach Dolence on Sunday afternoon were unsuccessful. A spokesman for Gov. Brewer, Paul Senseman, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokesman for MTC, Carl Stuart, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

September 1, 2010 Phoenix New Times
Last night's report from KPHO's Morgan Loew on the ties between private prison behemoth Corrections Corporation of America and Governor Jan Brewer has drawn some serious plasma from Brewer's camp. Specifically, the hemorrhage is from Brewer's top political advisor Chuck Coughlin, president of HighGround Public Affairs, which also represents CCA. Seems Coughlin's squealing like a skewered javelina over Loew's latest. In response, HighGround today published a nasty, unsigned screed about Loew and KPHO on HighGround's Web site. Most of this whiny jeremiad is just blather. But the most interesting part has to do with an ad buy with KPHO that HighGround dropped. At the end of last night's segment, Loew mentioned that Coughlin's company canceled the governor's campaign advertising with the station. This, after KPHO began following the Brewer-CCA connection, which has scored national coverage with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show. HighGround's online reply states that, "The fact is that the Governor Brewer 2010 campaign never made a buy on CBS 5 for its current commercial. There was nothing to cancel." Um, okay. Then why does CBS 5 have on file documents signed by the Carlton Media Group's Fran Parker, who is listed on HighGround's Web site as working with the company? The docs, which are public record, show that Parker was the contact for an ad purchase in the gross amount of $13,775 that was to run in the weeks before the primary. (You can see the docs, here.) According to KPHO general manager Ed Munson, Brewer's camp canceled the buy before the ads began running. Confronted with this info, Coughlin e-mailed me that, "The ad buy he is referring to was in August and was never placed. We were considering buys all over the State. We choose [sic] not to air on Channel 5 at that time." Coughlin didn't get back to me on a question asking if this decision was because of Loew's reporting. I asked Munson the same question. He answered that it was "hard to say," but maintained that the lost dollars would not affect KPHO's coverage of the CCA-Brewer connection. HighGround's online temper-tantrum is telling. First, it attacks Loew ad hominem, calling him "maniacal," saying he has to "make things up," and that Loew is interested in advancement to a bigger gig, maybe in New York or someplace. On the first and the third charges, if so, so what? On the second, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, HighGround doesn't really offer anything that Loew made up. That's because Loew didn't make anything up. The kvetches in the post are pretty petty, and reflect Coughlin's biased, self-centered worldview. One of them involves Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee, a CCA critic whom Loew interviews for his piece. HighGround quotes verbatim from Loew's report, which plainly states who Isaacs is, then the post goes on to claim that Loew never did this. "Moreover, Loew never establishes who Caroline Isaacs is," the screed reads. "Apparently she is in Philadelphia and according to AFSC's own website, 'AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.' Sounds like a group with a definite political ax to grind." Like HighGround doesn't have a political ax to grind? Give me a freakin' break! Also, Isaacs is out of the AFSC's Tucson office. If whoever wrote this garbage bothered to look more than six seconds at AFSC's Web site, they could see under "Where we work" a list of AFSC's offices, including the Tucson one. And talk about a smear on Quakers. If AFSC happened to be a Mormon organization devoted to service, love and peace programs, would Coughlin's organization be so quick to slam it? As for Coughlin's Mount McKinley-sized conflict of interest, I've written about this at length in a previous Bird column. Coughlin denies that there's a conflict of interest, when there clearly is. Even by his own admission, he spoke with the governor about whether or not to sign SB 1070, Arizona's "breathing while brown law," while he already had CCA as a client. CCA stands to benefit from SB 1070 because CCA has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain people for immigration-related crimes. And as ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard confirms in Loew's piece, individuals picked up by local law enforcement do end up in ICE-CCA custody. Indeed, Picard recently related to me that for just one CCA prison, the Central Arizona Detention Facility in Florence, ICE paid CCA a staggering $49.5 million for the period between 7/1/09 and 6/30/2010. Not all of that is inmate-related. I'm working on getting a breakdown. But it does give you an idea how much money is involved. Loew's piece from Tuesday followed up on a series of reports he's done for KPHO, pointing out what was first published by the magazine In These Times: That Coughlin lobbies for CCA, that Brewer's communications director Paul Senseman used to lobby for CCA, and that Senseman's wife Kathy still lobbies for CCA. In the past, Coughlin has insisted to me that HighGround has "no position on 1070" and did not lobby Brewer on 1070. Of course, CCA lobbyists and execs did contribute to Brewer's seed money, and donated substantially to the Prop 100 campaign, which was Brewer's baby. What is this, some Benny Hill segment where Coughlin talks to CCA out of one side of his mouth, then changes hats and talks to Brewer with the other? Just how dumb does Coughlin think the Arizona public is? On second thought, I guess he's got them pretty dead to rights.

August 31, 2010 KPHO
A July prison break in Kingman, Ariz., brought a local and national attention to the state's private prisons. But a CBS 5 News investigation discovered records of inmates in the for-profit facilities of which state Department of Corrections are unaware. In the early morning of Sept. 17, 2007, two inmates overpowered a guard and used ladders to climb out of a prison in Florence. Both were convicted murderers, including one who killed a man with a machete, according to prison records. "I just think they took the opportunity because it was there," said former guard Robert McDonald. McDonald, who worked at the Florence prison, attributed part of the problem to the fact the facility is a private, for-profit prison. "Night shift was always the weakest scheduled shift because of staffing," McDonald said. The surprising fact isn't that the prison break involved the machete murderer, but that neither the Department of Corrections nor any other law enforcement agency in Arizona was aware he was there. The escapees committed their crimes in Washington state but were sent to a privately-run prison in Arizona that houses out-of-state inmates. There are at least three of these prisons operating in Arizona, and not even the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections knows who is locked up in them. The CBS 5 investigation found inmates such as Byran Uyesugi, who was convicted of murdering seven people in Hawaii in 1999, the worst mass murder in the state's history. He is an inmate at a private prison in Eloy. There is no Arizona law that requires private prisons to report who they hold. Bill Brotherton was an Arizona state senator in 2006 and sponsored two bills that would have reined in some of the freedom private prisons enjoy. "One of the pieces of legislation was just to say nobody can import murderers or sexual offenders to the state of Arizona," he said. "You keep your people. We've got enough of our own. We don't want any more." Neither bill passed, Brotherton said. "I had a hearing on one in committee. Couldn't get a hearing on the other one. They died," he said. Brotherton found himself against a brick wall the private prison industry has created at the state Capitol. Records show that from 2001 to 2004 the companies that run private prisons and their lobbyists contributed $77,000 to powerful state lawmakers, and have contributed even more since then. "These companies have been buying influence in the Legislature for decades, really," said social justice advocate Caroline Isaacs, whose job includes monitoring the industry for the American Friends Service Committee. She said big state contracts and loose regulations combine to make Arizona the "promised land" of private prisons. Prison companies are exploring new locations in Globe, Benson, Prescott Valley, Florence, Tucson and the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. "They've been very busy running around the state talking to these various town councils and county zoning commissions getting land rezoned for correctional usage," Isaacs said. A prison break in Kingman in July that drew national attention and a nationwide manhunt for three escaped convicts and an accomplice put a temporary stop to those prison expansion plans. Even some of the Legislature's top supporters of private prisons now say it's time to enact "some" regulation of prisons that house out-of-state inmates. State Rep. John Kavanagh said, "I think the major requirement is that we get to ensure that the custody level of the prison matches the custody level of the prisoner." Kavanagh stopped short of saying there should be limits on who these prisons house in Arizona, which means convicts like the machete murderer from Washington and the mass murderer from Hawaii will continue to call Arizona home. Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the private prisons that hold inmates from other states, issued a statement that reads, in part: "We cannot support regulations that would result in the closing of facilities and the loss of hundreds of jobs in Arizona."

August 25, 2010 Private Corrections Working Group
Today, the Private Corrections Working Group (PCWG), a not-for-profit organization that exposes the problems of and educates the public about for-profit private corrections, called for overhaul of the Arizona Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) oversight of the for-profit prison industry, including: • An immediate halt to all bidding processes involving private prison operators and a moratorium on new private prison beds • Hold public hearings during the special session to address the problems with for-profit prisons in Arizona • Enact other cost-cutting measures that not only save money but enhance public safety, like earned release credits, amending truth in sentencing, and restoring judicial discretion. This action came about after the ADOC released a security audit on August 19th concerning the July 30 escape of three dangerous prisoners from a private prison in Kingman operated by Management and Training Corp. (MTC) (Coincidentally, that same day the last escapee and an accomplice, John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch, were captured without incident at a campground in eastern Arizona. The other two escaped prisoners, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick, had been caught previously in Wyoming and Colorado). Ken Kopczynski, executive director of PCWG, condemned MTC for the numerous security failures that led to the July 30 escape. “If MTC had properly staffed the facility, properly trained their employees and properly maintained security at the Kingman prison, this escape would not have occurred. But because MTC is a private company that needs to generate profit, and therefore cut costs related to staffing, training and security, three dangerous inmates were able to escape and at least two innocent victims are dead as a result,” Kopczynski observed. “That is part of the cost of prison privatization that MTC and other private prison firms don’t want to talk about.” The murders of an Oklahoma couple, Gary and Linda Hass, whose burned bodies were found in New Mexico on August 4, were tied to McCluskey, Welch and Province. While MTC said it took responsibility for the escape, vice-president Odie Washington acknowledged the company could not prevent future escapes. “Escapes occur at both public and private” prisons, he stated, ignoring the fact that most secure facilities do not experience any escapes – particularly escapes as preventable as the one at MTC’s Kingman prison. According to the ADOC security audit, the prison’s perimeter fence registered 89 alarms over a 16-hour period on the day the escape occurred, most of them false. MTC staff failed to promptly check the alarms – sometimes taking over an hour to respond – and light bulbs on a control panel that showed the status of the perimeter fence were burned out. “The system was not maintained or calibrated,” said ADOC Director Charles Ryan. Further, a perimeter patrol post was not staffed by MTC, and according to a news report from the Arizona Daily Star, “a door to a dormitory that was supposed to be locked had been propped open with a rock, helping the inmates escape.” Additionally, MTC officials did not promptly notify state corrections officials following the escape and high staff turnover at the facility had resulted in inexperienced employees who were ill-equipped to detect and prevent the break-out. According to MTC warden Lori Lieder, 80 percent of staff at the Kingman prison were new or newly promoted. Although the ADOC was supposed to be monitoring its contract with MTC to house state prisoners, the security flaws cited in the audit went undetected for years. Ryan faulted human error and “serious security lapses” at the private prison. Arizona corrections officials removed 148 state prisoners from the MTC facility after the escape due to security concerns. “I lacked confidence in this company’s ability,” said ADOC Director Ryan. Although it’s a small corporation, since 1995 over a dozen prisoners have escaped from MTC facilities in Utah, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Eagle Mountain, California –where two inmates were murdered during a riot in 2003.

August 22, 2010 Arizona Republic
Arizona puts more of its inmates into privately run prisons every year, even though the prisons may not be as secure as state-run facilities and may not save taxpayers money. Lawmakers began using private prisons to ease overcrowding and have supported their use so aggressively that today, one in five Arizona inmates is housed in a private facility. Many inmates from other states also are housed in private prisons in Arizona, but the state has little information about who they are and limited oversight of how they are secured. The state has 11 privately operated prisons. A high-profile escape of three Arizona inmates last month from a Kingman-area private prison, which spurred a nationwide manhunt and is believed to have resulted in two murders, raises questions about the industry's growth and the degree of state oversight. The last fugitives in that escape were caught Thursday, and the state's prison director has promised changes to the private sites that house Arizona inmates. State leaders in recent years have pushed for more privatization and have blocked efforts to regulate the industry, which has invested heavily in local lobbying and contributed to political campaigns. Last year, officials approved a plan to hand over the operation of nearly every state prison to private companies. The plan was repealed only after no credible bidder came forward. This year, lawmakers approved 5,000 new private-prison beds for Arizona prisoners. Data suggest that the facilities are less cost-effective than they claim to be. A cost study by the Arizona Department of Corrections this year found that it can often be more expensive to house inmates in private prisons than in their state-run counterparts. A growing industry -- Arizona's use of private prisons dates back to the early 1990s, when lawmakers, grappling with overcrowding in state facilities, authorized the construction of a 450-bed minimum-security prison in Marana to house drug and alcohol abusers. The prison is owned and operated by Management & Training Corp., the Utah-based company that also operates the Kingman facility where the three inmates escaped. Since then, Arizona has increasingly relied on for-profit operators to manage its own inmates. It also has allowed private companies to import prisoners from other states. Rapid growth began in 2003 and the years immediately following, when Arizona was again wrestling with prison overcrowding. To ease the shortage, Republican lawmakers agreed to build 2,000 new prison beds, compromising with a reluctant Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, to make half of them private. Around the same time, nearly a dozen other states grappling with the same issues began shipping their inmates to private facilities elsewhere in the country. Arizona, with cheap land and a receptive political climate, became a go-to destination for private-prison operators, who began accepting inmates from as far as Washington and Hawaii. Today, Arizona houses 20.1 percent of its prisoners in private facilities, according to state data from July. Exactly how many inmates are here from other states is unclear. Last year, lawmakers took the unprecedented step of exploring the privatization of almost the entire Arizona correctional system, passing a bill that would have turned over the state's prisons to private operators for an up-front payment of $100 million. The payment would have helped the state close a billion-dollar budget gap. The bill, which also included a host of changes related to the state's budget, was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, but the language relating to prison privatization was repealed in a later special session. The state now has an open contract for the construction and operation of 5,000 new private-prison beds. Arizona's reliance on private facilities coincides with operators' increasing national political activity in hiring lobbyists and donating to political campaigns. The ties between the companies and Arizona elected officials - which go back nearly a decade - have become a campaign issue in this year's gubernatorial race. Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of private prisons, runs six in Arizona, three of which house inmates for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Brewer's critics have suggested that she signed Senate Bill 1070, and has advocated for privatization of some prisons, in part to benefit CCA's bottom line. Democrats have called on Brewer, a Republican, to fire "aides" associated with the prison company. That includes HighGround, a Phoenix consulting and lobbying firm managing Brewer's gubernatorial campaign. The firm counts CCA among its clients. Brewer's official spokesman, Paul Senseman, also used to lobby for CCA. Campaign finance reports filed earlier this year show that eight executives with CCA contributed $1,080 of the $51,193 in seed money Brewer received for her gubernatorial campaign. CCA also gave $10,000 to the "Yes on 100" campaign, which backed a temporary, 1-cent-on-the-dollar increase in the state's sales tax. Brewer was the chief advocate for the tax, which was approved by voters in May. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Brewer said those connections have not influenced her policy decisions. She said she never felt pressured by any of her advisers. "It's absolutely political posturing and rhetoric," Brewer said. "I find it very disappointing. We have a bed shortage here in Arizona, and we have to come up with some way to incarcerate (criminals). The best way, the least expensive way, is to do it with private prisons." The industry's political connections have extended to other Arizona politicians. According to a 2006 report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the private-prison industry gave to the campaigns of 29 of 42 Arizona lawmakers who heard a 2003 proposal to increase state private-prison beds. Between 2001 and 2004, the industry contributed $77,267 to Arizona's legislative and gubernatorial candidates, the vast majority through lobbyists paid to represent their interests at the Legislature. In most cases, donations ranged from a couple of hundred dollars to as much as $2,500. Lax oversight -- The state Department of Corrections has varying levels of oversight of Arizona's private-prison network. Some prisons house criminals convicted in Arizona. The Corrections Department regulates those facilities, though private-prison critics question whether those facilities maintain the same safety standards as their state-run counterparts. Other private prisons house inmates from other states or on behalf of the federal government. Arizona does not dictate what kinds of inmates they may accept, nor the manner in which they are secured. In those situations, private-prison operators work with their outside-government partners on training specifications and other operational details. They report to Arizona only the names, security classifications and number of inmates housed at their facilities. State stat- utes do not require private operators to provide Arizona officials details about the crimes the prisoners committed or escape data. In 2007, two convicted killers sent from another state stole ladders from a maintenance building and climbed onto a roof at a private prison outside Florence. Brandishing a fake gun, they climbed over the prison walls and escaped to freedom. One was caught within hours, but it was almost a month before the other was caught hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. As with the Kingman breakout, the 2007 escape drew attention to the largely unregulated growth of private prisons in the state, particularly prisons that house other states' inmates. To address security concerns, a bipartisan bill drafted by Napolitano's office in 2008 and introduced by Republican state Sen. Robert Blendu would have required private prisons to be built to the state's construction standards. The proposal also would have ended the practice of private prisons importing murderers, rapists and other dangerous felons to Arizona. And it would have required the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. After an initial flurry of activity, the bill died. "The private-prison industry lobbied heavily against that bill, and they were successful," said Michael Haener, Napolitano's lobbyist at the time. Blendu later left the Legislature, and the bill was not reintroduced. What little regulation private prisons have in Arizona stems from a series of escapes in the late 1990s. In response, the Legislature passed a law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs from private-prison operators in the event of an escape. Arizona laws also require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, to notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and to return out-of-state prisoners to their home states to be released. But there are no penalties if the companies don't comply. Costs questioned -- Notwithstanding lawmakers' concerns about security, private prisons gained favor in part because of the promised savings they could deliver to a cash-strapped and overcrowded prison system. Yet studies have questioned whether those savings are real. In making their pitches, private-prison companies played on the desire of many lawmakers to shift more state services to the private sector. Direct cost comparisons between for-profit and public prisons can be difficult, however. According to the National Institute of Justice, private prisons tend to make much lower estimates of their overhead costs to the state for oversight, inmate health care and staff background checks. Officials at public prisons often argue that the state winds up paying a higher cost for those services than is advertised, mitigating savings that private prisons are built to deliver. A study this year by the Arizona Department of Corrections found that when various costs are factored in, it can be more expensive to house an inmate in a private prison than it is to house one in a state-run prison. The cost of housing a medium-security inmate is $3 to $8 more per day in a private prison, depending on what assumptions are made about overhead costs to the state, the study found. Travis Pratt, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University, said there is no evidence that private prisons save government agencies money, even though they typically promise up-front savings. To maintain profit margins, Pratt said, companies often cut back on staff training, wages and inmate services. "Cost savings like that don't come without consequences," Pratt said. "And that can present a security risk that's elevated." Odie Washington, a senior vice president at Management & Training Corp., acknowledged Thursday that the Kingman prison employed an inexperienced staff. "We have a lot of very young staff that have not integrated into very strong security practices," Washington said. Private-prison operators disagree with Pratt's assessment, contending that they can deliver services efficiently and safely. "That's one of the more frustrating misconceptions out there for us that we have to repeatedly respond to," said Steve Owen, director of public affairs for Corrections Corporation of America. Owen said it is CCA's "general experience" that private prisons can save states and the federal government 5 to 15 percent on operational costs. The company also can build facilities more cheaply, he said. CCA is contractually required to meet or exceed training requirements that states they work for set for themselves, Owen said. In addition, the company has made sure its prisons in Arizona comply with accreditation standards put in place by the American Correctional Association, a Virginia-based trade group. Many communities, meanwhile, eagerly welcome private prisons because the facilities generate jobs and economic activity. CCA prisons in Florence and Eloy, for example, employ 2,700 people. Last year, the company paid $26 million in property taxes, Owen said. What's next -- Lawmakers from both parties have called for hearings into what went wrong in Kingman. Presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry Goddard has said he would push to bring back the 2008 private-prison bill. Goddard also is calling for an immediate re-evaluation of the system used to classify and place inmates in facilities. The five-tiered system, which allows some violent criminals to migrate to lower-security facilities for good behavior, met with bipartisan criticism in the wake of the escapes. Two of the three inmates who escaped from the medium-security Kingman prison had been convicted of murder. Goddard said the three recent escapees never should have been in a medium-security prison. Charles Ryan, director of the Department of Corrections, announced Thursday that the state would slow its bidding process for the 5,000 new private-prison beds pending additional review. Brewer has said little publicly about the escape but told The Republic last week that she is committed to holding prison operators responsible for mistakes they made. She said she has ordered Ryan to conduct a "complete review to make sure that inmates are appropriately secured and in the right kinds of facilities." While Brewer remains confident that private prisons are well suited to house less-violent offenders, she said: "What has happened is unacceptable, and I am absolutely pushing for more accountability."

August 20, 2010 Arizona Star
An executive with the firm that runs the private prison from which three dangerous inmates escaped promised Thursday to beef up security but said that's no guarantee it won't happen again. "Escapes occur at both public and private," Odie Washington, a vice president of Management and Training Corp., said while noting it's incumbent on the company and state to do whatever is necessary to close those security gaps prisoners can take advantage of. But a security review of the MTC-run prison near Kingman, released Thursday, reveals that what Washington referred to as "gaps" were more like chasms. As a result, State Corrections Director Charles Ryan has ordered 150 of the highest-risk prisoners removed. The report shows the prison perimeter-alarm system was essentially useless. Bulbs showing the status of the fence were burned out on a control panel. Guards were not patrolling the fence. And a door to a dormitory that was supposed to be locked had been propped open with a rock, helping the inmates escape. Washington, however, said that's not the fault of the corporation. He said company employees at Kingman never told anyone at the corporate headquarters about the problems. Ryan admitted his own audit team, which had been to the prison before the July 30 escape, "didn't see or didn't report" the shortcomings. All that is significant because the three inmates escaped when an accomplice tossed them wire cutters and they made a 30-by-22-inch hole that went undetected for hours. Of particular concern to Ryan is the fence. "What was found were excessive false alarms," Ryan disclosed, noting over 16 hours on July 30 there were 89 alarms. "The system was not maintained or calibrated." The result, he said, was employees were "desensitized" to the alarms going off, and it took 11 to 73 minutes for staffers to check out problems and reset the alarms. "That is absolutely unacceptable," he said. The last of the three inmates, a convicted murderer, along with an accomplice, was recaptured Thursday night. The other two were recaptured, but not before they were linked to the deaths of an Oklahoma couple who were in New Mexico. "This is a terrible tragedy, and the department and the contractor have a lot of work to do," Ryan said. The findings prompted Ryan to put limits on what kind of criminals can be housed at the facility. Until now, the 1,508-bed medium-security section has included people convicted of murder. His order removes, at least from Kingman, anyone convicted of first-degree murder, anyone who attempted escape in the last decade and anyone with more than 20 years left on a sentence. All told, 148 inmates were taken from the facility. But Ryan would not rule out allowing murderers back in the prison after he is satisfied that security has been upgraded. He defended the classification system that allows convicted murders - and even lifers - to serve their time in medium-security prisons. Gov. Jan Brewer sidestepped questions about the system, saying it was in place long before she became governor in January 2009. "It is something that maybe should be reviewed," the governor said Thursday, but added, "That classification is used across America." Ryan said he remains convinced there is a role for private prisons. About 6,400 of the more than 40,000 people behind bars in Arizona are in private prisons. Another 1,760 Arizona prisoners are at an out-of-state facility. The Republican-controlled Legislature remains very much in favor of private prisons, as does Brewer. That support hasn't wavered because of the escape. Brewer said the report from Ryan underscores her belief the escape was caused by human error, and nothing inherent in private prisons. "It's very obvious those alarms should have been responded to," the governor said. But the problems that Ryan sketched out go beyond the actions - or inactions - of guards. Washington admitted there are "significant construction issues" with the perimeter fence and the alarm system that will have to be handled. And Ryan found flaws with the entire way MTC allowed the facility to be operated. For example, he said no one was making regular checks along the fence to look for breaches. And Ryan said guards were "not effectively controlling inmate movements" within the prison system. Other flaws included inmates not wearing required ID badges, grooming requirements being ignored and proper searches of people going into the facility not being done. Casslyn Welch, the woman accused of providing the wire cutters and a vehicle, was banned from the prison after she was caught trying to bring in drugs. But Ryan said prison officials still allowed her to talk to inmates on the phone, making it possible for her to help plan the breakout. Welch and John McCluskey, her fiancée and cousin, were caught Thursday night in northeastern Arizona. Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick have been recaptured. Another problem is that the design of the prison allows anyone to drive up close to the facility. Corrections officials want traffic routed away from the fence.

August 18, 2010 AP
Past audits of the Arizona state prison where three inmates escaped last month gave the facility high marks and revealed few issues with security or staff training, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The escape on July 30 has put corrections officials and the operator of the privately run prison under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. But if there was an indication of any widespread security problems at the facility that houses minimum- and medium-security inmates, it doesn't show in the internal audits. On security issues, the audits showed overall compliance rates of 98.8 percent in 2007, 99.9 percent in 2009 and 99.5 percent in 2010. Nearly 2,870 areas of security were audited over the three years and 37 were marked as noncompliant. One security issue was tagged in 2006. No audits were done in 2005 or 2008 because of fiscal constraints, said Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson. No independent audits of the Kingman prison have been done. The audits instead are conducted by a team of about 15 made up of staff at the corrections department and the prison who are considered subject matter experts. The audit team evaluates areas of the prison that include security, training, medical, food service and business for compliance with the state contract and other orders. A yearly schedule of audits is available in July, giving prisons advance notice, Marson said. Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Working Group, said it's difficult to tell whether the audits are a true reflection of the operations at the prison without attached documentation to support the findings. The group advocates against private prisons he said typically overwork, underpay and don't properly train the staff. "Audits are used a lot of times to make things look like they're OK," he said. "Maybe they are OK. I doubt it." Corrections Director Charles Ryan has said the prison operator would correct the security deficiencies that contributed to the escape of John McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick. Criminal and administrative investigations into the escape are ongoing. McCluskey's fiancee and cousin, Casslyn Welch, is accused of throwing wire cutters over a perimeter fence that the men used to slice their way out and flee. Welch's visitation privileges at the prison were terminated after a random search in June during a visit to McCluskey turned up what was believed to be heroin. Welch told investigators that she was paid by members or associates of a white supremacist group to smuggle the drug into the prison but didn't say who it was intended for. State legislators have urged corrections officials and Gov. Jan Brewer's office to release the results of a security review done following the escape. Corrections officials said the report still is being written and should be released this week.

August 9, 2010 FOX
Questions surround the escape of three violent convicts from a prison in Kingman, casting a shadow on Arizona's relationship with the private prison industry. Officials are reviewing security measures at private prison facilities, and are looking into the future of private prisons in our state. "My concern about this has been the manner in which the facility was operated. I do not believe that the physical plant itself from which these inmates escaped was the issue, it is the performance of the staff that concerned me," says Chuck Ryan, Arizona Department of Corrections Director. State Attorney General Terry Goddard is calling for a break in new contracts with private prison companies, until security issues can be ironed out and a review of their relationship with the DOC is undertaken. "We have basically turned a very significant direction in our state towards more and more private prison operations without looking at the consequences. I'm afraid those consequences have been put in very stark relief by the escape of three violent prisoners," says Goddard. Ryan told us he's in the process of reviewing his team's findings at the facility but offered no further comment on what the future may hold for the state of Arizona and its relationship with MTC. "Until we review their findings and their recommendations it would be premature to comment further about that," says Ryan. Guards at private prisons do not carry weapons and are not trained law enforcement officers. The three convicts escaped on July 30 -- one alarm never sounded and it remains to be seen whether prison guards went to check the second alarm. Prison staff didn't realize they were missing until a 9 p.m. head count, which was five hours after they were last accounted for. The local sheriff's office wasn't alerted until more than an hour later, and state corrections officials found out about the escape at 11:37 p.m. House Democrats are calling for a special session to address security issues with private prisons. The governor's office has not yet sent a comment.

August 3, 2010 AFSC
The escape of three prisoners from the Kingman prison on Friday July 30, 2010, highlights continuing concerns about the management of state prison facilities by for-profit corporations, according to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The Kingman facility is run by Management and Training Corporation of Ogden, Utah. MTC also runs the Marana Community Correctional Center, and is one of four prison corporations that have submitted bids to the Arizona Department of Corrections to build and operate up to 5,000 new state prison beds. This incident comes on the heels of a riot at the Kingman facility in June in which eight prisoners were injured. The escapes are being blamed on lax security and a failure to follow proper protocol. The prisoners reportedly were able to sneak out of their dormitory and cut through a perimeter fence without being detected. "You get what you pay for," said Caroline Isaacs, Director of the AFSC's Arizona office. "These for-profit prison corporations are primarily concerned about the bottom line and making money for their CEO's and shareholders." Isaacs charges that the companies cut corners everywhere they can, but primarily on staff pay and training. The result is a facility with high turnover rates, where the staff is inexperienced and the prisoners have nothing productive to do. Such a prison is unsafe for the inmates, the guards, and the surrounding community. This is not the only Arizona private prison scandal to make headlines recently. A prison run by Corrections Corporation of America in Eloy was recently on lockdown after prisoners from Hawaii rioted over an Xbox video game. When a staff member attempted to intervene, he was severely beaten, suffering a broken nose, broken cheekbones and damage to his eye sockets. The incident was the latest episode in a history of violence that has plagued the facility. Two prisoners are facing a possible death sentence in the fatal beating of another inmate there last February. These types of incidents are "alarmingly common" in privately operated prisons, Isaacs says, citing patterns of mismanagement, financial impropriety, abuse, and medical negligence. Further privatization of Arizona's prisons will be a financial boondoggle for a cash-strapped state and a nightmare for the host communities, she warns. "Arizona's legislature needs to take a good look at the track record of these companies before they spend any more of the taxpayers' money on this failed experiment."

July 29, 2010 Phoenix New Times
In May, I reported in my Feathered Bastard blog that executives and lobbyists for the giant, Tennessee-based prison company Corrections Corporation of America had donated $1,780 in "seed money" for Governor Jan Brewer's Clean Elections campaign. Such early contributions are limited to $140 per person. But if that seems like chump change, consider that CCA also contributed a whopping $10,000 to the campaign for Prop 100, the state sales-tax initiative, the success of which was considered key to Brewer's bid to be more than an "accidental" governor. The proposition was approved overwhelmingly by voters in May. What's the big deal with the CCA contributions? CCA operates six prisons in Arizona, three of which house detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As this column goes to press, SB 1070, Arizona's "breathing-while-brown" law, awaits the decision of U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton on whether she will grant an injunction of all or part of the statute. The various enforcement provisions of 1070 practically ensure that more undocumented folks will be turned over to ICE. CCA probably will end up holding some of these individuals as they wait for removal proceedings or if they are convicted of federal immigration-related crimes. So CCA stands to profit from SB 1070, and as recent reports from the investigative magazine In These Times and Phoenix's CBS 5 (KPHO) indicate, Brewer's relationship to CCA runs far deeper than just the political contributions mentioned above. In These Times' July issue featured a story by Beau Hodai that revealed that Brewer's top flack, Paul Senseman, worked for Arizona's Policy Development Group, which lists CCA as a client. Senseman's wife, Kathy, is listed with the firm as a lobbyist for CCA. Hodai also reported that the CCA employs Highground Public Affairs Consultants to represent its interests in Arizona. Highground's president is Chuck Coughlin, Brewer's top political adviser and the man running her gubernatorial campaign. Though In These Times was the first to publish this information, CBS 5's investigative unit was the first to run with it locally. During a recent newscast, reporter Morgan Loew revealed that CCA gets $11 million a month for inmates in the company's Arizona facilities. Loew got that figure from the U.S. Marshal's Office. Marshal David Gonzales confirmed the figure to me. But he said that's just what he pays CCA for holding his prisoners, many of whom have been convicted on immigration-related offenses. So that $11 million doesn't include whatever ICE pays CCA for the same services. I've asked ICE for that number, but it hasn't gotten back to me. Loew sandbagged Brewer at an event, but Brewer refused to answer questions about her advisers' ties to CCA. Brewer's boy was willing to chat it up with me about his big-dollar, private prison client, however. Clearly miffed by the CBS 5 report, Coughlin referred to it as "drive-by" journalism, and claimed that CCA "doesn't house any Arizona prisoners." "They don't house those types of inmates," insisted Coughlin regarding CCA and immigration-related collars. "[The CBS 5 report] is . . . a total piece of made-up journalism." When I told him that I'd been to the federal courthouse in Tucson myself, and witnessed CCA buses carting people convicted of immigration crimes, he backpedaled — but not by much. "That may be a federal contract," he said. "It has nothing to do with the state." But it will have something to do with the state if 1070 takes effect, as 1070 is all about local police enforcing federal immigration law to the fullest extent possible. Indeed, law enforcement agencies that do not enforce 1070 can be sued by Arizona citizens under one of the law's provisions. The law makes "attrition through enforcement" the policy of Arizona, and one provision requires that all those arrested have their immigration status checked before they are released. If CCA ends up holding some of these individuals, then 1070 will benefit CCA directly. "If that happens, if it were the case, if ICE does," scoffed Coughlin. "You have a lot of ifs down the road that's not a matter of fact right now. We're not working on speculative ventures here. We had no position on 1070. We did not lobby on 1070." Didn't lobby on 1070? That's one hard-to-swallow lump of coal. I asked Coughlin if he was telling me he'd never talked to Brewer about 1070 or advised her to sign the bill, as many presume he did. "I talk with her about a lot of stuff," he admitted. "Of course, we talked about 1070. We run her campaign. Absolutely." Coughlin also admitted that his firm began representing CCA "over a year ago." So he was representing CCA at the same time he was advising Brewer on whether to sign the law. If that's not a conflict of interest big enough to drive a semi through, I don't know what is. Neither Brewer's flack Senseman nor CCA responded to requests for comment for this column. But when I wrote about CCA and Brewer in May, CCA spokeswoman Louise Grant was not shy about gabbing. Grant maintained that CCA has no position on 1070. She denied that the law would be good for her employer or that CCA had any influence over the drafting of the law. "CCA has had no involvement whatsoever with this legislation," she told me at the time. "And we will not have any involvement with it." Well, not until local cops start handing over people to ICE. After that, despite Grant's disavowals, CCA will be involved. Don't get me wrong. I'm not positing a conspiracy theory. In my view, the odious ideology of nativism was the driving force behind the passage of SB 1070. But Coughlin clearly is making bank off CCA. And the company knows where its croissant is buttered. Everybody can smell the links between Brewer and CCA. They stink like one of Brewer's headless bodies in the desert. Or they would, if those bodies were real.

July 28, 2010 Daily Kos
Bigotry may not be the only motive behind Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's rabidly xenophobic new immigration law. Another factor may be that timeless Republican standard: greed. Zaid Jilani of Think Progress explains: Yet a new investigation by local Arizona TV news station CBS 5 finds that the Brewer administration may have ulterior motives for its strong support of the new law. The station has found that "two of Brewer’s top advisers have connections" to private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Paul Senseman, Brewer’s deputy chief of staff, is a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife continues to lobby for the company. Meanwhile Chuck Coughlin, who leads her re-election campaign, chaired her transition into the governorship, and is one of the governor’s policy advisors, is president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which lobbies for CCA. The best of all possible Republican worlds: codify racism, and make money while doing so? From the CBS 5 website: The private prison industry houses illegal immigrant detainees for the federal government. Those companies could gain contracts with state and local agencies to house illegal immigrants arrested for state violations. Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, holds the federal contract to house detainees in Arizona. The company bills $11 million per month. CCA insists it had nothing to do with the creation of the new law, has no state or local contracts to house detainees, and doesn't propose to house those detained because of the new Arizona law. In other words, it will be purely coincidental if those swept up by the new law end up being held by the same private contractor the federal government pays to hold detainees in Arizona. It will be purely coincidental if those swept up by the new law end up being held by the same private contractor that once employed Brewer's deputy chief of staff as a lobbyist, still employs his wife as a lobbyist, and pays a company run by Brewer's re-election chief, transition chair, and policy advisor to lobby. In the spirit of innocent-until-proven-guilty--something the new law's supporters might not understand--someone should ask the Brewer team how, exactly, they do propose to house those swept up by their new law, and who, exactly, will be paid to house them. There can't be many options, but who can imagine that it might somehow coincidentally end up being CCA?

June 21, 2010 In These Times
Over the past several years private-prison companies Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo Group, through their work as members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and through their ties to the Arizona Legislature and the office of Gov. Jan Brewer, have had ample opportunity--and obvious intent--to ensure the passage of S.B. 1070. According to Sen. Russell Pearce and Brewer's spokesman Paul Senseman, the S.B. 1070 went through a lengthy edit and review process that took place predominantly within the Arizona Legislature and the offices of the Maricopa County Attorney and Gov. Brewer. A little over a week after Pearce introduced S.B. 1070 on the floor of the Arizona Senate, CCA enlisted Highground Consulting, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Phoenix, to represent its interests in the state. Lobby disclosure forms filed with the Arizona Secretary of State indicate that Maricopa County also employed Highground during the time of the bill's formation. Highground's owner and principal, Charles "Chuck" Coughlin, is a top advisor and the current campaign manager of Gov. Brewer. State lobby reports show that Brewer's current spokesman, Senseman, previously worked as CCA's chief lobbyist in Arizona as an employee of Policy Development Group, another influential Phoenix consulting firm. His wife, Kathryn Senseman, is still employed by Policy Development Group and still lobbies the legislature on behalf of CCA. In other words, in 2005 and 2006, as Arizona legislators--many of them ALEC members--were drafting provisions of what would eventually become the "Breathing While Brown" law, Brewer's director of communications, Senseman, was lobbying them on behalf of CCA. Brewer's "chief policy advisor," Richard Bark--a man Senseman and Pearce both say was directly involved in the drafting of S.B. 1070--remains listed with the Office of the Secretary of State as an active lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). CCA is a "board level" member of the ACCI and is the top employer in Pinal County, located just south of Maricopa County, where it operates five detention facilities for both state prisoners and immigrant detainees. Geo Group employs consulting firm Public Policy Partners, which, like Highground, also provides consultation and lobbying services to Maricopa County. While Public Policy Partners (PPP), an Arizona-based firm, has more than 30 Arizona clients, it only has two clients at the federal level: Geo Group (based in Florida) and Ron Sachs Communications, a Florida-based public-relations firm that, promotes prison privatization. PPP, as a firm, also appears to be an advocate for expanded use of private prisons. Federal lobbying records show PPP owner, John Kaites, lobbying on behalf of the firm on issues of "private correctional detention management." CCA has also shown special interest in Arizona through recent hiring decisions. In 2007, CCA hired on Brad Regens as "Vice President of State Partnership Relations" for the purpose of cultivating new contracts in Arizona and California. In the two years immediately prior to his employment at CCA, Regens had worked in the Arizona House as director of fiscal policy. Before his appointment as director of fiscal policy, Regens had spent nine years working in the state legislature in various roles, including assistant director of the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Following its hiring of Regens, CCA elected former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) to its board of directors.

May 18, 2010 Phoenix New Times
Governor Brewer's CCA connection: Conflict of interest over SB 1070? Several months before signing SB 1070, Governor Jan Brewer accepted hundreds of dollars in "seed money" for her clean elections campaign from corporate executives and others with a possible stake in Arizona's "papers please" legislation becoming law. In all, seven executives with the Tennessee-based private prisons giant Corrections Corporation of America contributed $980 for the governor's start-up fund with Arizona's clean elections system. A warden for one of CCA's Arizona prisons gave $100. A CCA shareholder gave $140. Lobbyists listed with the state of Arizona as having CCA as a client gave another $560, for a total of $1,780. In addition, CCA has contributed a whopping $10,000 to the campaign for Prop 100, the one cent sales tax heavily promoted by Brewer, which is up for approval by voters today. The success of Prop 100 is considered by many to be the linchpin for a Brewer victory in November. How does CCA stand to gain from SB 1070? CCA, which houses 75,000 offenders and detainees in more than 60 facilities nationwide, operates six prisons in Arizona, three of which list U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a client: Florence, Eloy, and the Central Arizona Detention Center. If SB 1070 is not stopped by a federal court injunction before it goes into effect late July, as a recently filed ACLU lawsuit aims to accomplish, all Arizona law enforcement will be required to check the immigration status of those they have "reasonable suspicion" of being in the country illegally. This, during any lawful stop, detention, or arrest. So the law could potentially mean a boon in warm bodies for CCA prisons, as those aliens turned over to ICE might find themselves in CCA facilities, even if for a short stay. "The more folks that get pulled over and detained, the more money CCA makes," said Monica Sandschafer, executive director of the Phoenix immigrant rights group LUCHA, which stands for Living United for Change in Arizona. "It's a pretty disturbing connection between Brewer and this company." But Brewer campaign flack Doug Cole scoffed at the suggestion that there was anything nefarious about the connection between Brewer and CCA, referring to CCA as a "good corporate citizen" and denying that CCA's contributions to Brewer in any way affected her decision to sign the controversial law. "People contribute to political campaigns, in my experience, because they want to be part of the process," said Cole, speaking in general. "Oh, so we're talking a thousand dollars here now," he harrumphed at one point. Asked if the money might have influenced Brewer to sign SB 1070, he stated emphatically, "Absolutely not." Todd Lang, executive director of Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Commission contended that Brewer had violated no rules in taking the money from CCA, even if CCA stood to benefit from Brewer's actions as governor. "Anyone can give to anyone," said Lang of the so-called "seed money," which is limited to a $51,250 cap. "The restriction Clean Elections puts in place is how little money those guys can give. The theory is that this restricts their influence." Clean Elections holds contributors to the initial seed money fund to a $140 per person limit. Participating gubernatorial candidates must also raise thousands of $5 individual contributions. If they obey these dictates, they are rewarded with public funds: $707,447 for the primary campaign, and $1,061,171 for the general election. However, Sandschafer pointed out that each of the CCA executives and lobbyists in question gave the maximum amount allowed, save for the warden of the Eloy Detention Center Charles DeRosa, who gave $100. "These are the people who stand to profit from this horrible racist legislation," Sandschafer asserted. CCA execs contributing to Brewer include the company's top brass: Damon Hininger, CCA President and CEO; "senior administrator" Anthony Grande; Gustavus Puryear, at one time CCA's general counsel; Todd Mullenger, executive VP and chief financial officer; and so on. Louise Grant, a CCA spokeswoman based in Tennessee, claimed that the contributions to Brewer, which were made in November of 2009, were not intended to influence public policy, and that the $10K contribution to the Yes on 100 fund, dated April 5, 2010, was made because CCA wanted what was best for its employees in Arizona. Grant also stated that under Brewer, CCA had lost two contracts with a total of 3,000 prisoners involved. She said that the main facility they use for ICE detainees is Eloy, the warden for which gave $100 to Brewer's start up fund. She denied SB 1070 would be a good thing for CCA, or that CCA had any influence over the law itself. "CCA has had no involvement whatsoever with this legislation, SB 1070," she said. "And we will not have any involvement with it."

May 7, 2010 AP
One side has big donations paying for television commercials and glossy mailers sent to voters' homes. The other is a shoestring effort based on e-mail chains and homemade signs. It's a picture of stark contrasts when it comes to campaigning for or against Proposition 100, the temporary sales tax increase on Arizona's May 18 special election ballot. If voters approve the measure, the state sales tax would rise to 6.6 cents on the dollar from the current 5.6 cents to raise a projected $1 billion annually. The increase would begin June 1 and would last three years. The Legislature narrowly sent the issue to the ballot in February. That was 11 months after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer first proposed a sales take hike to help close the state's big budget deficits, along with spending cuts, federal stimulus dollars and borrowing. But it didn't take long for Proposition 100 supporters to begin writing checks in the tens of thousands of dollars -- or amounts even larger -- to committees backing the measure. Those included over $81,000 from the Arizona and Phoenix chambers of commerce, $250,000 from the University of Arizona Foundation and $80,000 from the Arizona Education Association and its parent union. Other major contributors include hospital companies, a firefighters' union, manufacturers, arts backers, a private prison company, economic development groups and the Arizona School Boards Association. Their backing has paid for television ads endorsing the ballot measure, and full-mailers plastered with testimonials from teachers, public safety officials and Brewer. "Our state's future is tied to the success of this measure," one mailer has Brewer saying.

April 27, 2010 Mercury News
How's this for border insecurity? In another swipe at Arizona and its strict new anti-immigration rules, California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg on Tuesday asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to "deliver an unequivocal message" of disgust by tearing up the state's contracts with Arizona businesses and government agencies. Arizona's new law, which allows police to demand identification from anyone reasonably believed to be an undocumented immigrant, has spawned a maelstrom of emotions since its approval last week — from quiet applause from those who support the crackdown to protests and boycott shouts, including San Francisco's move Tuesday to ban city workers from traveling to the state on official business. Steinberg, in a withering letter to the governor, called the new rules "unconscionable" and a recipe for "racial profiling." Noting energy agreements with Arizona as well as deals to send the state California's overflow prisoners, he urged Schwarzenegger to take action. "The state of California should not be using taxpayer dollars to support such a policy," the Sacramento Democrat wrote. The move may largely wind up symbolic. Severing many of the contracts may not be legally possible, although Steinberg also has called for a ban on new contracts. In a quick compilation provided Tuesday, the Department of General Services found deals with 73 Arizona entities worth $10.3 million. But officials said that doesn't include all contracts, including those held by Caltrans, state universities or the prison system, so the real number may be much larger. The state has a $700 million contract with a private prison firm that houses California inmates in several out-of-state prisons, including three in Arizona.

April 11, 2010 Arizona Republic
Businesses and business groups are lining up on both sides of the proposed statewide 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax increase. Some say it will hurt them by reducing consumer spending and hiking costs. Others say the tax is needed to support the overall state economy. Businesses generally oppose tax increases on themselves or their customers, but a number of high-profile groups are supporting Proposition 100 in the May 18 election because they consider it necessary to improve the state's fiscal picture and prospects for economic development. "You generally don't see business organizations supporting tax increases," said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "But I think in this case, the near-term budget situation is deemed serious enough that some sort of temporary revenue enhancement was needed to prevent further (budget) cuts." As the election approaches, both factions can point to reports that support their points of view on the proposed tax increase. A study commissioned by the Goldwater Institute and conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute in Boston says passage of Proposition 100 would cost the state about 14,400 private-sector jobs because it would reduce the consumer spending that supports retail jobs. A conflicting study by the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona says passage would save more than 13,000 jobs and preserve more than $442 million in federal matching funds because much of the estimated $918 million in increased revenues the state would receive would be spent on products and services provided by private companies. Hamer said the Arizona chamber supports the tax as part of a comprehensive package that includes the state Jobs Recovery Act, which would give tax breaks to businesses in hopes of encouraging them to increase hiring. The chamber and Greater Phoenix Leadership, a business coalition, have each contributed $50,000 to the Yes on 100 Committee, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Arizona Public Service Co., Magellan Health Services, Scottsdale Healthcare and Tucson Medical Center have each given $25,000. Other companies making large contributions include Honeywell International PAC, which gave $15,000, and Sundt Companies Inc., Resolution Copper Mining and Corrections Corp. of America, each $10,000.

February 26, 2010 AP
Cornell Cos. Inc.'s sales and profit will decline if the state of Arizona removes inmates from the company's Oklahoma prison, an analyst said as he downgraded the prison operator's shares. First Analysis Securities analyst Todd Van Fleet downgraded the Houston company to "equal weight" from "overweight." The January budget proposals from Arizona's governor and legislature would phase out the use of private out-of-state beds. Arizona is struggling to close budget shortfalls. Van Fleet said there was less than a 25 percent chance that Cornell would be able to persuade legislators to keep Arizona inmates in the company's Oklahoma prison. The loss of the Arizona prisoners which could cut into Cornell's annual earnings by 35 cents to 45 cents per share. Van Fleet cut his estimate for 2010 profit to $1.09 per share from $1.69 per share, and his 2010 sales estimate to $398 million from $440.6 million. On Wednesday, when it released fourth-quarter earnings, Cornell predicted it would make $1.31 to $1.41 per share in 2010. The guidance assumed that Cornell would continue to keep all its Arizona inmates for the rest of the year. The contract for the Arizona prisoners ends in mid-September, Van Fleet said. Cornell shares slipped 13 cents to $18.61 in midday trading. They have dropped about 25 percent since Arizona proposed its budget in mid-January.

January 22, 2010 Pueblo Chieftain
State lawmakers had mixed reactions to Thursday's announcement that Arizona is pulling its inmates out of a private prison in Walsenburg, dragging almost 200 jobs out with them. Last year, Colorado inmates were relocated from the Huerfano County Correctional Facility, owned by Corrections Corporation of America, to make room for 800 Arizona inmates. "I'm not surprised that Arizona would be pulling back its inmates," Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West. "That state is in a terrible budget crunch. Its whole prison system is up for sale." Conversely, Joint Budget Committee member Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, said Thursday afternoon, "This is the first I've heard of it. I work with CCA as part of the budget process." In 2008, CCA sought a 5-percent increase in the fee paid to it by the state of Colorado per inmate, per day from $52.69 to $55.32. At the time, McFadyen characterized CCA's demands as the Legislature being "held hostage" by threats that CCA would end acceptance of Colorado's inmates if the pay hike wasn't approved. "We took their threat seriously," McFadyen said Thursday. "It's relevant to this discussion. We got our inmates out of there because CCA was going to throw them out." She said CCA officials shouldn't have been surprised by the potential problems it faced from shrinking government budgets and prison populations. "CCA came in as speculative investors, banking on the booming prison populations of a decade ago," McFadyen said. "Economic development through growing the prison industry is not good public policy." Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, was reluctant to blame the situation on CCA's absence of foresight. "They simply need to find some new customers," McKinley said. "The reason we have prisons is the market's out there. If we didn't need them, we wouldn't have them.

January 21, 2010 Corrections Corporation of America
CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) (NYSE: CXW), the nation's largest partnership corrections provider to government agencies, announced today that the proposed budgets by the Arizona Governor and Legislature, released on January 15, 2010, would phase out the utilization of private out-of-state beds. CCA currently has management contracts with Arizona at its 752-bed Huerfano County Correctional Center in Walsenburg, Colorado and at its 2,160-bed Diamondback Correctional Facility in Watonga, Oklahoma. The proposed phase-out of utilizing out-of-state beds is based on Arizona's budget crisis and its desire to utilize additional in-state capacity that will come on-line in 2010. As a result of the budget proposals, there is a significant risk that CCA will lose the opportunity to house offenders from Arizona at its Huerfano and Diamondback facilities during 2010. Our contract with Arizona at Huerfano expires on March 8, 2010, and our contract at Diamondback expires on May 1, 2010. In the event that Arizona should not renew one or both of these contracts, CCA will work with Arizona officials related to the timing of any phase-out of Arizona inmate populations. We would anticipate that such populations would be transferred out within 30 to 60 days following expiration of each management contract. If Arizona removes its offender populations housed at these facilities, CCA will likely close both facilities. During 2009, CCA generated approximately $56.5 million in revenues from both of these contracts.

December 10, 2009 Truthout
Caroline Isaacs -- You know you’re in trouble when "The Daily Show" sends a “fake correspondent” to your state capitol. Perhaps it was inevitable - who could resist the irony of a state literally selling its capitol to the highest bidder? The comedy in the footage of the aforementioned correspondent standing on Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s desk to test the quality of the drop ceiling in her office was eclipsed only by the tragedy of Rep. Linda Lopez's complete inability to answer the question that should have been first on the mind of every elected official in Arizona: "After you sell these buildings and have to pay rent on them, how will you balance the budget next year?" But the "Daily Show" segment was only the beginning. What’s got the cable “fake news” programs and incredulous audiences worldwide rolling in the aisles now is even more far-fetched: Arizona’s gonna privatize death row. State leaders want to give out lucrative, long-term contracts to private, for-profit corporations to run entire state prison complexes, essentially putting rent-a-cops in charge of women inmates, sex offenders and supermax lockdown units. Brilliant! How come nobody ever thought of this before? Because it’s a terrible idea. In 30-plus years of America’s experiment with prison privatization, never has a private company run entire state prison complexes with multiple security levels. Only one, Corrections Corporation of America, manages high-security prisoners, and only in very small numbers. Even Tennessee, home of CCA, wisely passed on the company’s offer to run the whole state system. Private prison companies prefer to cherry-pick the prisoners that are already cheapest to house - low-security with no medical, disciplinary or mental health problems. That way, they can skimp on paying or training their staff and make a nice tidy profit. So why would any of these corporations even think of putting up $100 million to get some crumbling old prison buildings and contracts to manage prisoners from minimum to death row? Because their campaign contributions and armies of lobbyists have convinced Arizona lawmakers to sweeten the deal. The bill actually requires the state to split the savings generated through privatization 50/50 with the private operator. That’s right - we have to give them half the money back. But wait! There’s more! The deal allows the prison companies to raise their per-diem rate (the amount the state pays them per prisoner, per day) every year for the length of the contract. With no upper limit. And what’s a measly $100 million compared to the combined guaranteed income of 20-year lease payments and those sweet per diems over the length of the contracts? Now, a story like that is a comedy gold mine! The New York Times, first nationally to report on the story, attempted to hide its smirk behind reassuring quotes from Rep. John Kavanagh, a backer of the proposal who just happens to be chair of Arizona's Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which happens to oversee the Department of Administration, which will be managing the contracts. But there was no restraining Stephen Colbert, who took the Twainian opportunity to take this ridiculous idea to its most extreme conclusion: Let’s just privatize the entire criminal justice system and pay cops a commission for every arrest. Surely the profit motive will result in more efficient "justice." How could there be anything wrong with the idea of profiting from depriving other human beings of their freedom? Ha! Ha! And now the joke is going global. On November 23, the Guardian UK featured a story whose incredulous author referred to the Arizona proposals as "bizarre" and "kooky." Resisting the urge to outright mock us, Mr. Abramsky did, however, soberly note that the joke is really on the people of Arizona. Citing the dismal track records of abuse, escapes and riots that have plagued the private prison industry for its entire existence, he warned that this "wacky" scheme could have dire consequences. So, laugh it up, everybody. Arizona taxpayers appear only too happy to foot the bill for your amusement. And be sure to tune in for the next installment, chronicling a state in even deeper debt, on the hook for 20-year contract obligations it can’t afford, fending off lawsuits over shoddy prison medical care and prisoner abuse scandals and frantically searching for the next brilliant short-term scheme to get us out of this mess.

November 7, 2009 AP
Arizona’s plan to turn over its prisons to private companies in exchange for a $100 million upfront payment is having trouble getting off the drawing board, with the plan behind schedule and private prison operators showing little, if any, interest. The privatization effort is required under a law enacted last summer as lawmakers struggled to close a huge budget shortfall. It directs the state to award a contract to one or more private companies to run an unspecified number of prisons for $100 million. It emerged as Republican lawmakers cast about for alternatives to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to increase the sales tax to avoid deep cuts to state program. An official who worked on the law told The Associated Press that the $100 million figure was based on hope, not certainty. The prison concession provision doesn’t specify which or how many of the state’s 10 prison complexes would be included, what would happen to current state employees or the length of a contract. An early version specified a term of 50 years and identified three prisons with approximately 11,000 beds. The Yuma prison complex was excluded from the law at the insistence of a Yuma legislator. State officials were supposed to provide an initial batch of information to potential bidders on Oct. 1, but missed the deadline. But even without that, there appears to be little interest among private-prison companies. Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s largest private prison company, “is not focused on that,” said Louise Grant, a CCA vice president. Grant said CCA is interested in pursuing traditional private-prison deals with states and would review any Arizona request. However, “it’s very questionable whether or not we would participate,” she said. Another operator, Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group, declined to comment, citing corporate policy. A third, Management & Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, issued a noncommittal response. Arizona is among many states that contract with private companies to house state inmates, but officials and industry observers say the large upfront payment request may be unprecedented. “That is such a new idea. The model hasn’t been done,” said Leonard Gilroy, a Reason Foundation official who champions privatization of government services. Gilroy questioned whether Arizona’s plan would be attractive enough for potential bidders in the industry. “It’s sort of like ’we want you to do an operational contract and loan us $100 million,”’ Gilroy said. “I don’t know if there’s enough there to sweeten the pot for the private sector.” Democratic legislators have questioned whether the state should turn control of violent maximum-security offenders, including murderers on death row, to private operators. Little is known about how the plan would be implemented, including whether it would include the Eyman prison complex in Florence that includes death row. Citing procurement confidentiality, state officials declined to release a draft of the document they plan to send to bidders. Corrections Director Chuck Ryan declined multiple requests for an interview in recent weeks. But he told legislators during a May hearing that it was “very concerning” to consider privatizing a major prison complex that houses nearly all death row inmates and 1,000 other dangerous inmates. Privatizing death row involves taking a chance, Ryan said. “It won’t stand the headline test in my opinion.” A leader of a union representing prison guards criticized the plan and suggested that public safety could be at risk. “They’re trying to replace us with lower-paid guards, to handle sex offenders, murders, rapists, inmates with very volatile gang connections,” said J. “J-Rod” Rodriguez, vice president of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. Senate Appropriations Chairman Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said during the May hearing that the prisons concession had been proposed by House Republicans during budget negotiations and was based on “very good numbers” from an investment firm. However, a top House Republican aide said lawmakers and legislative aides came up with the idea as a way “to monetize state assets,” such as Indiana and Chicago have done with toll highways. “Well, Arizona doesn’t have toll roads and there aren’t a lot of assets that can be monetized. That was sort of the genesis of the idea,” said Grant Nulle, House director of fiscal policy. There was no research by an investment firm or anybody else, Nulle said. And the $100 million payment appears unlikely. “Based on preliminary feedback, we may find it difficult to generate an upfront payment of this magnitude,” legislative budget director Richard Stavneak wrote in an Oct. 22 memo. Even if the state does receive good bids, it will take most of the fiscal year to try to implement the idea, so lawmakers shouldn’t count on getting the money in time to help close the current budget’s shortfall, Stavneak said in a recent interview.

October 23, 2009 New York Times
One of the newest residents on Arizona’s death row, a convicted serial killer named Dale Hausner, poked his head up from his television to look at several visitors strolling by, each of whom wore face masks and vests to protect against the sharp homemade objects that often are propelled from the cells of the condemned. It is a dangerous place to patrol, and Arizona spends $4.7 million each year to house inmates like Mr. Hausner in a super-maximum-security prison. But in a first in the criminal justice world, the state’s death row inmates could become the responsibility of a private company. State officials will soon seek bids from private companies for 9 of the state’s 10 prison complexes that house roughly 40,000 inmates, including the 127 here on death row. It is the first effort by a state to put its entire prison system under private control. The privatization effort, both in its breadth and its financial goals, demonstrates what states around the country — broke, desperate and often overburdened with prisoners and their associated costs — are willing to do to balance the books. Arizona officials hope the effort will put a $100 million dent in the state’s roughly $2 billion budget shortfall. “Let’s not kid ourselves,” said State Representative Andy Biggs, a Republican who supports private prisons. “If we were not in this economic environment, I don’t think we’d be talking about this with the same sense of urgency.” Private prison companies generally build facilities for a state, then charge them per prisoner to run them. But under the Arizona legislation, a vendor would pay $100 million up front to operate one or more prison complexes. Assuming the company could operate the prisons more cheaply or efficiently than the state, any savings would be equally divided between the state and the private firm. The privatization move has raised questions — including among some people who work for private prison companies — about the private sector’s ability to handle the state’s most hardened criminals. While executions would still be performed by the state, officials said, the Department of Corrections would relinquish all other day-to-day operations to the private operator and pay a per-diem fee for each prisoner. “I would not want to be the warden of death row,” said Todd Thomas, the warden of a prison in Eloy, Ariz., run by the Corrections Corporation of America. The company, the country’s largest private prison operator, has six prisons in Arizona with inmates from other states. “That’s not to say we couldn’t,” Mr. Thomas said. “But the liability is too great. I don’t think any private entity would ever want to do that.” James Austin, a co-author of a Department of Justice study in 2001 on prison privatization and president of the JFA Institute, a corrections consulting firm, said private companies tended to oversee minimum- and medium-security inmates and had little experience with the most dangerous prisoners. “As for death row,” Mr. Austin said, “it is a very visible entity, and if something bad happens there, you will have a pretty big news story for the Legislature and governor to explain.” Arizona is no stranger to private prisons or, for that matter, aggressive privatization efforts (recently, the state put up for sale several government buildings housing executive branch offices in Phoenix). Nearly 30 percent of the state’s prisoners are being held in prisons operated by private companies outside the state’s 10 complexes. In addition, other states, including Alaska and Hawaii, have contracts with private companies like Corrections Corporation of America to house their prisoners in Arizona. For advocates of prison privatization, the push here breathes a bit of life into a movement that has been on the decline across the country as cost savings from prison privatizations have often failed to materialize, corrections officers unions have resisted the efforts and high-profile problems in privately run facilities have drawn unwanted publicity. “We have private prisons in Arizona already, and we are very happy with the performance and the savings we get from them,” said Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and an architect of the new legislation authorizing the privatization. “I think that they are the future of corrections in Arizona.” Under the legislation, any bidder would have to take an entire complex — many of them mazes of multiple levels of security risks and complexity — and would not be permitted to pick off the cheapest or easiest buildings and inmates. The state also wants to privatize prisoners’ medical care. Louise Grant, a spokeswoman for Corrections Corporation of America, said the high-security prisoners would be well within the company’s management capabilities. “We expect we will be there to make a proposal to the state” for at least some of its complexes up for bid, Ms. Grant said. In pure financial terms, it is not clear how well the state would make out with the privatization. The 2001 study for the Department of Justice found that private prisons saved most states little money (there has been no equivalent study since). Indeed, many states, struggling to keep up with the cost of corrections, have closed prisons when possible, and sought changes in sentencing to reduce crowding in the last two years. As tough sentencing laws and the ensuing increase in prisoners began to press on state resources in the 1980s, private prison companies attracted some states with promises of lower costs. The private prison boom lasted into the 1990s. Throughout the years, there have been high-profile riots, escapes and other violent incidents. The companies also do not generally provide the same wages and benefits as states, which has resulted in resistance from unions and concerns that the private prisons attract less-qualified workers. Then the federal government stepped in, with a surge of new immigrant prisoners, and began to contract with the private companies. The number of federal prisoners in private prisons in the United States has more than doubled, to 32,712 in 2008 from 15,524 in 2000. The number of state prisoners in privately run prisons has increased to 93,500 from 75,000 in that time. With bad economic times again driving many decisions about state resources, other states are sure to watch Arizona’s experiment closely. “There simply isn’t the money to keep these people incarcerated, and the alternative is to free many of them or lower cost,” said Ron Utt, a senior research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group whose work for privatization was cited by one Arizona lawmaker.

June 14, 2009 Arizona Republic
The prospect of Arizona selling off its state prisons for a cash influx might bode well for the budget, but it comes with "grave concerns" from the director of the Department of Corrections, according to a letter Charles Ryan sent to Gov. Jan Brewer earlier this month. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, was part of the budget plan approved last week. Lawmakers have yet to send the bills to Brewer. Senate Bill 1028 would allow private vendors to operate one or more of the Arizona State Prison complexes, with a 50-year contract to run the prisons and an upfront payment of $100 million. Ryan asks Brewer to veto the legislation - if and when it gets to her desk. Brewer's budget plan also includes sale-leaseback deals on prisons. In the letter, Ryan cites concerns with the plan, including the ability of for-profit prison companies to properly control some of the volatile inmates in the state's maximum-security units. He also raises concerns about the proposal's impact on plans to expand prisons, contracts the prisons have with vendors and on prison employees. "Undoubtedly, a private company would pay its employees significantly lower wages and provide them lesser training to realize cost savings. This would lead to higher staff turnover, low morale and place public safety at risk," the letter states. In a presentation Ryan gave to the Brewer last week , he also expressed some logistical concerns about the ability to privatize bits and pieces of the state's large prison complexes, which are designed to handle a variety of inmates with a centralized control-and-operations center. "Privatizing maximum-security beds would be unprecedented in the United States," according to Ryan's presentation. "Who would be responsible for execution of inmates?" There are six privately run prisons in Arizona that house more than 7,000 minimum- and medium-security inmates, about 20 percent of the state's prison population. Another 5,000 inmates are housed in private facilities outside of Arizona, leaving more than 19,000 in state custody. In an e-mail sent to corrections' employees on Friday, Ryan reiterated that the legislation was still up for debate. "Continue to be professional and perform your public safety duty," Ryan told the employees.

February 1, 2008 Arizona Republic
Brandishing a fake gun and using ladders stolen from a maintenance building, two convicted killers climbed onto the roof and over the walls of a private prison in Florence in September. They navigated through several lines of razor wire and outmaneuvered security patrols, escaping to freedom, an investigative report on the incident says. One was caught within hours. It was nearly a month before the other was caught, hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. Now, in response, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano wants to tighten up rules for the state's growing private-prison industry, which is virtually unregulated by the state. A legislative proposal drafted by the Governor's Office and introduced by Republican Sen. Robert Blendu of Litchfield Park would bar private prisons from importing murderers, rapists and some other dangerous or seriously ill felons to Arizona. It would also require the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. "It is a matter of public safety," said Dennis Burke, Napolitano's chief of staff. "(Other states) are exporting their worst criminals to Arizona, and we can't even know what they are doing and what steps they are taking to protect Arizonans." But private-prison officials and other industry supporters say the bill could threaten the industry, which is the largest employer in Pinal County. "We were welcomed to the state 15 years ago. We answered the call to help with economic development in Pinal County," said Tony Grande, a senior vice president for Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private-prison firm in the nation. The firm runs five Arizona prisons, including the one in Florence where the escape took place in September. He said the company has a good track record and doesn't do business in states with tight restrictions. "If you change the rules of the game midstream, we are going to resist it because we invested based on the current rules," he said. No current restrictions -- The private-prison industry has grown rapidly in Arizona since the first such prison opened here in 1994, bringing jobs and thousands of out-of-state inmates to Pinal County. Now, more than 9,000 felons from Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and other states and the federal government are housed in six of 11 privately run prisons in Arizona. Most of the out-of-state inmates are in CCA facilities in Pinal County, according to information collected by the Arizona Department of Corrections. But unlike other states, Arizona has no restrictions on the kind of out-of-state inmates that can be brought here. And private-prison companies in Arizona are not required to share detailed information on inmates, staffing and security measures or have their facility designs approved by state officials. Such requirements are in place in other states with significant private prisons. Some states ban private prisons altogether or, like California, don't allow them to house prisoners from out of state. Of the 15 states that expressly authorize private prisons, Arizona is one of the least restrictive, said Dora Schriro, director of the state prison system. Arizona laws require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and return prisoners to their home states to be released. But, Schriro notes, there are no penalties if the companies don't comply and no way to check on releases. That's a concern shared by Attorney General Terry Goddard. Goddard said he was surprised after talking to attorneys general in other states that Arizona's laws lagged so far behind. "I really think it is about time we had some record keeping ... and Arizona takes a stand on what kind of prisoners from other states we are willing to accept," Goddard said. Sending felons home -- Blendu's bill would bring together several restrictions found in other states and give the state the ability to assess fines if the private companies don't comply. To Blendu, who has been a private-prison supporter, a key piece of the bill is strengthening requirements to send the felons back home. He said he supports private prisons, but he also worries that Arizona's laws have not kept up. "We cannot become the private-prison attraction for the child molesters of our country," he said. His proposal is not the first time the state has attempted to pass more restrictions on private prisons. Escapes and other major incidents have been rare, supporters say. But the escape of three murderers and three other inmates from a private prison in 1996 and another escape of a murderer and a sex offender in 1997 led lawmakers to pass the current law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs.

April 26, 2007 KTAR
Tuesday's riot by Arizona inmates at an Indiana private prison prompts a caution from Democrat Ed Ableser. "We need to be very careful about a private industry that actually makes money off of the amount of criminals we produce in this society," he said. But, Republican Russell Pearce said the riot wasn't caused by private prisons, but by a non-cooperative department of corrections which won't spend available money. "They refuse to build or provide access to 3,000 beds in this state," said Pearce. The philosophical dispute has left the state thousands of prison beds short.

March 19, 2006 Arizona Star
The Arizona Legislature, which has never been shy about enacting laws that enlarge the prison population, should provide adequate funding this year to ensure the safety of the officers and inmates in those institutions. The inmate population, which stands at 33,887, declined slightly last spring but has risen steadily since the summer. As the prison population increased, the number of correctional officers decreased. More prisoners and fewer officers equals danger. Arizona Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro notes that on some overnight shifts, there is only one officer for 150 inmates. That should be a matter of concern for everyone. Two legislators crucial to solving the corrections problems are Sen. Robert "Bob" Burns, R-Peoria, and Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, chairmen, respectively, of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Both lawmakers believe the state can save money by moving more inmates into private prisons, a belief disproved by a report issued last month by MAXIMUS Inc., a national consulting firm. The consultants compared costs of operating low- and medium-security private prisons with the same level of state prisons and found that the state's costs were 8.5 percent to 13.5 percent less than those of the private prisons. Lawmakers should not allow pre-conceived ideas about privatization to cloud their judgment when examining these numbers. More importantly, they should not turn the debate over privatization into an excuse to ignore the serious pay problems within the Corrections Department.

March 1, 2006 Arizona Daily Sun
Gov. Janet Napolitano wants Congress to fund a federal regional prison where Arizona and other Western states can send inmates who are in this country illegally. The governor said Wednesday she has asked for funding in the budget for Federal Bureau of Prisons to build and operate a facility to house people convicted of state crimes but who also are illegal immigrants. Construction of a federal facility also would help blunt calls by some Republican legislators to construct a private prison in Mexico to house state inmates who are not legal residents of this country.

February 23, 2006 Arizona Daily Star
State senators voted Wednesday to ask voters to approve a referendum that would prevent their cities and counties from accepting Mexican consular identification cards. And the House Appropriations Committee voted 9-4 to construct a private prison in Mexico to house criminals convicted of violating Arizona laws who are not citizens of this country. Backers of HB 2761 argue that it is cheaper to house foreign nationals outside the country and that many would prefer to be closer to relatives.

November 28, 2005 Arizona Capitol Times
The labor union that represents the state's corrections officers is meeting individually with lawmakers to push its legislative plan for next session, which includes higher wages, higher retirement contributions from the state and scrutinizing private prisons. The one-on-one meetings are being conducted to educate legislators about what exactly corrections officers do for a living and the role they play in keeping Arizona citizens safe. So far, says the future head of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, results have been positive. Several lawmakers who have historically been opposed to increased spending on corrections have responded favorably to the meetings. "A lot of times, the reason they say 'no' to things is because they have no knowledge," said Tixoc Munoz, executive-president-elect of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. Chuck Foy, a representative of the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS), a sort of "mother union" that oversees dozens of public safety organizations and represents more than 6,300 officers statewide, said getting lawmakers as much information as possible is key. The unions are also setting their sights on the private prison industry. Arizona law allows the state to contract with private penitentiaries - both in- and out-of state - to house the state's criminals. The unions have long opposed the notion of private prisons, saying they are not as cost-effective as the state-run corrections system. Mr. Foy said seeing just how cost-ineffective the prisons are, though, is extremely difficult because the companies have no obligation under the state's public records law to divulge any information beyond what is included on the company's yearly financial report. The groups will push for legislation that would open the financial records of these for-profit prisons. "Let's level the playing field and see where the chips fall," he said. "If the corporates don't want to open the books, what are they hiding?" Opening the books, he says, will allow a clear comparison of the private industry with its state-run brethren. "We believe that once everybody has all of the information, the best decision will be made for the taxpayers," Mr. Foy said.

February 11, 2004
If legislative leaders are looking for a scapegoat in the wake of the nation's longest prison hostage siege, any mirror would be a logical starting point.  But some lawmakers seem determined to score political points by blaming the hostage crisis on the state prisons director, who has been on the job barely six months.  Blaming her would be unfair and wrong.  Arizona is notorious for falling short when it comes to meeting all kinds of state needs - and prisons are no exception.  Although few details have been released about last month's 15-day hostage incident at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis near Buckeye, it appears that inexperienced staff was a contributing factor, if not a key element.  The breakdown in security that allowed two inmates to get into the prison watchtower will be a key focus of an investigation into the incident.  The fact that the hostages and inmates were released alive is a testament to the skills of negotiators and prison officials who kept the tension under control. Corrections officers were inexperienced One potential problem already is apparent: Each of the two corrections officers who were taken hostage by two inmates had been on the job less than six months.  Sgt. Joe Masella, president of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, estimates that 70 percent of state correctional officers have been on the job 18 months or less.  He cites low pay as the cause of high turnover that leaves the state with inexperienced staff. Since the Legislature sets the Department of Corrections budget, lawmakers should own up to their own role in setting the stage for the hostage siege.  Instead, some seem more intent on finding a scapegoat. Legislative leaders plan to delay Senate confirmation of state prison Director Dora Schriro until a probe is completed into her handling of the incident.  Schriro was hired in June. It is likely some of the problems that led to the hostage crisis predated her.  Legislators also would be wise to scrutinize the motives of ex-state prison chief Terry Stewart, who, according to the Arizona Republic, called Senate leaders to "express concerns" about Schriro's handling of the crisis.  Stewart has a conflict of interest. He runs a private prison firm at a time when legislators have been pushing to privatize more of Arizona's prisons. Lawmakers must ask whether undermining Schriro is one of Stewart's business strategies.  More focus on rehab needed here  Schriro devised a successful rehabilitation program in Missouri that earned her a reputation as one of the top corrections directors in the nation.  It's no surprise her progressive ideas are eyed with suspicion here. Nor would it be surprising if conservative Republican lawmakers were to use the hostage crisis as an excuse to oust the Democratic governor's nominee. If that's how the hostage drama plays out politically, it would be a loss for the entire state.  Arizona's prison population is growing at an alarming rate. A key strategy to reducing it is rehabilitation. Schriro has the skills to do that in a system that now does little more than warehouse criminals.  A complete and thorough investigation of the hostage crisis must be conducted to determine what went wrong and how it can be prevented in the future. But it would be patently unfair to make Schriro a scapegoat in a political struggle.  (Tuscon Citizen)

December 4, 2003
Paul Senseman, who has served on the House majority staff under three speakers, announced he will resign at the end of the current special session to become principle lobbyist for Policy Development Group, a government/public relations firm.  Most recently, he has been chief of staff for House Speaker Jake Flake and has also served as director of communications, press secretary and special assistant to the majority. I have seen that one of Policy Development Group’s clients is Corrections Corp. of America, a private prison company. We seem to have an on-going debate on the value of private prisons versus public or state-run prisons. It appears that you’re going to be thrust into that. It’s possible. Right now, I’ve taken myself out of it. Two or three weeks ago, I put a letter to the speaker and Norm Moore, the chief clerk, removing myself from that issue. When I became aware of the fact that with my future employer I would be involved in that, I took myself completely out of the corrections issue so there would be no questions about it.  (Arizona Capitol Times)

December 3, 2003
A bipartisan Senate agreement could pave the way for a major step forward in the lengthy legislative special session.  Republican and Democratic leaders promoted a compromise agreement Monday that would send 2,100 Arizona inmates to temporary cells out of state while allowing the Department of Corrections to bid against private companies to build new prisons.  The bill also would raise drunken driving fines by $500 for a first offense, $1,250 for a second offense and $1,500 for a subsequent conviction. Minor driving scofflaws, for instance those driving on a suspended license, would face a $250 additional fine.  The money would be used to relieve crowding in the state's prison system. The fines could produce about $15 million a year.  The state would send about 140 inmates to county jails at a cost of $2.1 million.  "It looks promising," said Sen. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson.  Dealing with prison crowding and reforming Child Protective Services are the two primary subjects of the special session. However, during the first six weeks there has been little agreement on either issue.  Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, is expected to decide today whether to give her blessing to the prisons agreement.  One of the hang-ups is the creation of an independent committee to design and assess requests for new prisons. The final decision would remain with the executive branch. The committee, with appointees from the Senate president, the House speaker and the governor, would create the requests so that the Department of Corrections, a potential bidder against private companies, would not have an unfair advantage.  (Arizona Daily Star)

November 25, 2003
The debate over whether the use of private prisons is the answer to the state’s overcrowding problem will spill over into the regular session, a senator predicts.  Proposed legislation may bring a temporary solution, but Sen. Bob Burns, R-Dist. 9, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a proponent of private prisons, says he thinks the debate “will go on for a while.”  Mr. Burns says Governor Napolitano’s office is trying to kill privatization and may tarnish the state’s reputation so badly that private companies will not want to do business with the state.  At the end of a Nov. 18 committee meeting, Mr. Burns challenged the governor to meet with committee members to show why private prisons are not a solution.  A day earlier, Ms. Napolitano said during her weekly press briefing that legislators pushing private prisons do not have the facts.  “I know that down at the Legislature every private prison company in America seems to have a lobbyist or two working the halls,” she said. “They are providing information that is contrary to the facts.”  The major inaccuracy, she said, was that private prisons “are cheaper over time. I see no data that suggests that.”  (Arizona Capitol Times)

November 25, 2003
Some Arizona legislators are concerned that a Florida prison company hoping to land millions of dollars in state contracts paid a $300,000 fine this year for failing to report numerous gifts to New York lawmakers.  Correctional Services Corp. wants to expand two prisons in Arizona in exchange for long-term contracts. However, even some backers of private prisons question the company's gift-giving.  "That concerns me," said House Appropriations Chairman Russell Pearce, R-Mesa. "If these allegations are true, then I would have a problem."  In February, the company agreed to pay $300,000 to the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying to settle an investigation into the company's activities.  The commission's executive director, David Grandeau, said the company failed to properly account for gifts given to lawmakers.  "This was a pattern of conduct that existed for a long time," Grandeau said in a phone interview. "They found it politically helpful to them."  One New York lawmaker pleaded guilty earlier this year to taking bribes in an unrelated matter but also admitted to accepting free rides from New York City to the state capital in Albany from the company.  The commission's investigation went back only to 2000, but former Assemblywoman Gloria Davis, a Bronx Democrat, admitted accepting company rides beginning in 1998.  New York law forbids lawmakers from accepting gifts worth more than $75. The trips, as well as at least four or five gift baskets, meals and an airplane ticket given to various lawmakers, exceeded the limit, Grandeau said.  The company signed a settlement agreement in February. It notes that the company's filing with the commission contained errors and omissions.  Grandeau said the practice began under a company vice president who was fired for unrelated activities. Grandeau said his successor, Jack Brown, admitted continuing the gift-giving practice.  Under Arizona law, lobbyists are allowed to buy meals and offer gifts worth less $10. Expenditure reports for Arizona's current special legislative session are due to the secretary of state in January. Previous expenditure reports on meals and gifts show little or no activity from the Correctional Services Corp. lobbyist.  Company Vice President Russell Rau denied any wrongdoing, saying the troubles were just filing errors.  "It was incorrectly filling out forms," Rau said. "Campaign reporting laws are very complex. Ask any elected official. A fee was paid because the mistake was made." Rau said he has not given any gifts to Arizona lawmakers.  Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro said she is keeping tabs on the company's New York troubles but is not going to pull any contracts now. In addition to two Arizona facilities, the firm houses more than 600 inmates in a Texas facility.  "This kind of issue underscores some of the concerns I have expressed recently about privatizing a core government function," Schriro said. "We will continue to monitor closely the criminal investigation and anything that ensues from it."  While the original House bill on prisons featured a passage that would have virtually guaranteed that the company receive more state business, questions arose both about the constitutionality of the bill and the firm's overall performance.  In the Senate, Sen. Bill Brotherton, D-Phoenix, wants to ban any contractor that has been found to have offered a bribe from receiving a private prison contract.  "If we are going to be dealing with private companies doing a law enforcement job, they should be as clean as possible," Brotherton said.  (Arizona Daily Star)

November 19, 2003
Lobbyists descended on the Capitol this month to convince legislators that private prisons are the best option for a cash-strapped state facing an inmate overcrowding crisis and are the cheapest deal for taxpayers.  "Just like sharks that smell blood in the water, the lobbyists sense that there's support in the Legislature for private prisons," said Sen. Pete Rios, D-Hayden. "That's why they are coming out in full force."  A bill muscling its way through the Legislature calls for 3,000 private beds: 1,600 permanent beds at private facilities and 1,400 temporary beds at an out-of-state private prison. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly Monday and is expected to go to a vote of the full Senate today.  "Private companies have demonstrated we can save money on building and operating these facilities," said Russell Rau, vice president of Correctional Services Corporation, which houses 1,825 Arizona inmates, including 625 in Texas. "Privatization has been a good partner for Arizona."  Opponents, led by Gov. Janet Napolitano, say they are not convinced the cost savings exist. Napolitano's proposal called for expanding some state prisons.  (The Arizona Republic)

November 18, 2003
The House on Monday overwhelmingly approved a Republican bill to provide 3,000 new private prison beds, in Arizona and elsewhere, to help relieve crowding in the corrections system.  The GOP-led House's 37-17 vote by party lines sent the bill (HB2019) to the Senate where similar legislation already has been endorsed by one committee and awaits action by another.  However, Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano has said she has "grave concerns" about the bill, which would rely more on private prisons than she wants and provide a smaller midyear spending increase to the Department of Corrections.  The bill approved by the House would add 1,600 additional permanent beds at private prisons and send 1,400 inmates at least temporarily to private prisons outside Arizona. It also would impose a mandatory new $1,000 "assessment" on DUI offenders to help pay for prison expansion.  The state now has approximately 2,315 inmates in private prisons in Arizona and Texas, or about 7 percent of the total 31,146 prisoners in the state system. The state currently has a shortfall of approximately 4,000 permanent beds, forcing the Department of Corrections to take such steps as putting inmates' beds in converted dayrooms. Napolitano proposed adding 1,600 temporary beds, mostly at private prisons, and 1,200 permanent beds by expanding state-run prisons in Florence, Perryville and Yuma.  Republicans favor more use of private prisons, contending private facilities can provide beds at a competitive cost and be available quickly to help solve the bed shortage. Napolitano administration officials dismiss the Republicans' plan as providing too few beds and not enough money, committing the state to expanding private prisons with inadequate sites and tying the Department of Corrections' hands in dealings with private-prison operators.  Napolitano has been cool toward private prisons, contending prisons are a core government function. However, she included additional temporary private beds in her plan for lack of alternatives.  Napolitano's bill would appropriate $26.4 million for the department. The Republican bill would provide $8.9 million. It also reduces by $3.1 million the amount the department must pay for employees' health insurance.  No Republicans defended the bill as House Democrats rose to denounce it.  Rep. Tom Prezelski, D-Tucson, said it's a mistake for the state to rely on money from the new assessments to pay for prison projects. "I don't know if the money's going to exist to actually fund this scheme," he said.  The bill has too many unanswered questions, said Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix. "This bill is begging to be vetoed."  (Privateer News)

November 13, 2003
A Republican plan to require the state to contract for more private prison space is unconstitutional and likely to be vetoed, two top aides to Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.  Tim Nelson, the governor's legal counsel, said lawmakers cannot mandate that the state give money to Correctional Services Corp. to expand its existing private prisons in Phoenix and Florence. He said the state Constitution specifically prohibits the Legislature from directing that taxpayer dollars go to a particular company.  
(Arizona Daily Sun)

October 21, 2003
Lawmakers are looking at reviving the idea of sending Mexican nationals locked up in Arizona prisons south of the border to serve the remainder of their sentences.  And it could come into play as the Legislature goes into a special session today on prison spending and crowding.  Caroline Isaacs, with the Tucson branch of the prison reform group American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization, said the idea is fraught with problems, including who is accountable for the prisoners.  Former prison chief Terry Stewart had been shopping an idea for a private prison in Mexico to house nationals. Stewart could not be reached for comment.  Dora Schrirro, head of the Arizona Department of Corrections, said she will take a look at the proposal.  "It's an interesting idea," Schrirro said. "Everything ought to be given some consideration. The question is whether there is authority."  Her boss isn't exactly thrilled with the idea, however.  "It's not something the governor is in favor of pursuing," said Napolitano's spokesman, Paul Allvin. "These will be wards of the state in Mexico. If they escape or hurt themselves or commit crimes, there is a huge liability issue for Arizona."  (Arizona Daily Star)

May 5, 2003
Poor planning has fueled an overcrowding crisis in Arizons's prison system and state leaders are scrambling to find a solution.  "We're trying everything we can," said George Weisz, Gov. Janet Napolitano's special assistant for corrections.  Meanwhile, the department is coping by building tents at its prison complexes in Goodyear, Tucson, Douglas and Yuma, and having inmates double-bunk in some units.  Three years ago, the state had a solution, when a $196 million prison was planned in Tucson that would have added 4,400 beds.  Since plans for the Tucson complex were canceled, lawmakers have focused on privatization to handle growth.  Last November, the department contracted with Correctional Services Corp. to place up to 645 male inmates in the Newton County Correctional Center in Texas.  (AP)

April 10, 2003
Legislators are being urged to consider a broad array of state properties for sales or other transactions beyond the handful of sites proposed by Gov. Janet Napolitano to help balance the budget.  Gov. Janet Napolitano has suggested that the State Compensation Fund buy either the state mental hospital, the Department of Safety headquarters or the Perryville prison in exchange for $50 million needed to help balance the current fiscal year's budget.  (Tucson Citizen)

March 8, 2003
State lawmakers on Friday turned down a proposal to build a prison in Mexico for more than 3,000 undocumented immigrants behind bars in Arizona.  On a 7-6 vote, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee denied allowing the state to seek a private contractor to build and operate a prison in Sonora, the Mexican state that borders Arizona.  "It would be a good business for Arizona and Mexico," argued Terry Stewart, former Arizona corrections director, who now has a consulting firm, Advanced Correctional Management. "It would solve language and cultural issues." But some senators questioned the legality of repatriating undocumented inmates to Mexico without their consent and the state's responsibility of overseeing a prison in another country.  Further, there is no guarantee that the Mexican government would agree to such a proposal, said Sen. Pete Rios.  (The Arizona Republic)

February 2, 2003
As state leaders search for creative ways to fix a $1.3 billion deficit, they are turning to the sale of state buildings and equipment and money-making enterprises to fill the gap. And while the state has buildings with a replacement value of at least $2.3 billion to offer on the open market, critics are beginning to question the long-term positive impacts of such moves.  "It's borrowing off the future. You have an asset that is almost paid for and now it's sold and in someone else's hand," said Bruce Wheeler, a former Tucson City Councilman who opposed some similar ideas in the past. "I don't think it's a responsible way for making up for deficits."  " Sale of assets is not a strategy that has been widely used," said Tim Blake, an analyst with the credit rating firm Moody's. "What we look for them to do is to get back through recurring measures, not just through one-time fixes. Either of the sale of assets and borrowing are one-time fixes. They just set themselves up for looking for other one-time fixes."  That could hurt the state's limping credit rating. Blake said Moody's outlook for Arizona is negative, and more debt would not help the situation.  A low credit rating makes borrowing more expensive as investors seek higher return in exchange for taking on possibly higher-risk sellers.   Republicans propose an outright sale of buildings and equipment, seeking to raise about $350 million. The state may rent the buildings back or, in the case of prisons, contract with private operators that would run them.  Dormitories could also be sold and privatized.  Here are the replacement values for state owned buildings that legislators will consider selling: Department of Corrections: $774.8 million.  Juvenile Corrections Department: $63.8 million.  (Arizona Daily Star)

January 28, 2003
Republican legislators are proposing to sell state fair grounds, Arizona Highways magazine and other state property to help balance the budget while eying a possible private prison in Mexico to house inmates from that country for future savings.  Other assets were no specified in the package of bills introduced by Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Burns.  Burns and other lawmakers also introduced a bill to have the state seek proposals from private prison operators to build and operate a prison in the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora.  The prison would house some or all of the approximately 3,000 Mexican nationals that now compromise approximately 10 percent of the state's prison inmates.  The state still would have to have a presence at the prison in Mexico to monitor conditions and guarantee a standard of care, Burns said.  "Arizona would be in control because there would be our prisoners, our responsibility," he said.  (AP)

January 26, 2003
A small coalition of University of Arizona faculty and students yesterday called for Gov. Janet Napolitano an the Legislature to use money earmarked for private prisons to fund higher education.  The group, Education Not Incarceration Campaign, number four or five faculty members and about 10 students, said Caroline Issacs, a member of the group.  The state must authorize construction of two private prisons that would handle a total of 5,400 nonviolent offenders, the group claimed.  It said one prison is for convicted drunken drives and the other for female inmates.  In the past 20 years, Arizona's spending on education dropped 11 percent while spending on prisons increased 140 percent, the coalition said.  (Tuscon Citizen)

January 22, 2003
A small coalition of University of Arizona faculty and students called today for Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Legislature to use money set aside for private prisons to fund higher education.  The group, Education not Incarceration Campaign, numbers four or five faculty members and about 10 students, according to member Caroline Isaacs. The state must authorize construction of two private prisons that would handle a total of 5,400 nonviolent offenders, the group claimed. One prison it said is for convicted drunken drivers, the other for female inmates.  Coalition members told an audience of about 25 people that if the state put those prisoners in treatment and counseling programs instead of prison, Arizonan could save the $33.4 million it will pay in operating costs.  In the last 20 years, Arizona's spending on education dropped 11 percent while spending on prisons increased 140 percent, the coalition said.  (Tucson)

January 16, 2003
Arizona's $1.3 billion budget deficit would vanish in a cloud of property sell-offs accounting maneuvers and relatively small cuts in services under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Janet Napolitano.  She hopes to succeed where governors elsewhere have failed: to offset a huge state deficit without raising taxes or slashing money for schools, children's services and prisons.  Napolitano's top budget aide, George Cunningham, said the team benefited from consulting with other states.  That's where aides learned that New York and New Jersey had programs where they sold state assets and leased them back from the private owners.  Napolitano's plan includes the sale and leaseback of $250 million in assets, including several prison facilities. (The Arizona Republic)

January 13, 2003
The battle begins Monday to solve a budget crisis so ingrained in Arizona government that firing all state workers wouldn't solve it an closing all 67 state agencies would fix only half of it.  The prisons budget, nearly $600 million a year and growing, is not technically protected from cuts and could be a source of trims.  One possible solution would be to sell prisons to private companies that would hire their own workers to operate the facilities.  A second would be to release some prisoners early.  (The Arizona Republic)

November 16, 2002
Some of Yuma's prison inmates may end up crossing state lines, but with the government's permission, of course.   In an effort to ease crowding in Arizona prisons, the state Legislature is allowing 645 inmates statewide to be transferred to a private prison in Newton, Texas, said Jim Robideau, a spokesman with the Arizona Department of Corrections.   The Newton County Correctional Center, also called the Fillyaw Correctional Facility, is a private prison run by Correctional Services Corp. It is near the Louisiana state line.  (Yuma sun.com0

April 10, 2002
Before the House took a vote Monday to rein in tough-love boot camps for wayward teens, Melanie Hudson was confident that her son did not die in vain.  She was nearly wrong.  Hudson, whose 14-year-old son, Tony Haynes, died after strenuous exercise at a boot camp last summer, sent a message to lawmakers who assumed the bill would pass.  After a close call on Monday, the House gave new life Tuesday to a bill that would close the loophole allowing boot camps in Arizona without a license or trained staff.  Behind the strength of several members who were absent Monday, it passed 33-15.  It now moves on to the Senate, which passed a similar measure last month.  (azcentral.com)

Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis
Lewis, Arizona
Canteen Correctional Services
November 6, 2009 Arizona Republic
Legal repercussions from Arizona’s longest prison-hostage saga continue dragging through court five years later, but with a curious twist: One of two women sexually assaulted during the drama is blaming the other rape victim for allowing the violence to get started. The Maricopa County Superior Court suit was filed three years ago by Lois Fraley, a correctional officer at Lewis Prison who was held in a guard tower for 15 days during 2004 by two inmates, Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy. Defendants include Canteen Correctional Services Corporation, which prepared inmate meals in a kitchen where the incident began, as well as a company employee who was raped by Coy. That employee previously sued the Department of Corrections and received an undisclosed financial settlement after alleging that prison officials negligently allowed violent felons to work with civilians in the kitchen. She blamed lax prison security, inadequate training and incompetence. In the ongoing case, attorney Joel Robbins, who represents Fraley, alleges that the female kitchen employee failed to close and lock an office door as required by prison rules. As a result, the suit says, Wassenaar and Coy were able to enter the office and overpower the Canteen employee and a DOC guard in the room. While Coy raped the kitchen worker, Wassenaar went to a nearby guard tower where Fraley and detention officer Jason Auch were on duty. According Department of Correction records, Auch failed to verify who was at the door before pressing an electronic buzz-in device. Wassenaar entered the tower, subdued both guards and gained control of an arsenal. Coy then joined him. Auch was released midway through the ordeal, while Fraley was held hostage and terrorized for two weeks. A peaceful surrender was arranged with both inmates promised out-of-state transfers to complete their prison terms. Fraley’s lawsuit says Coy was able to fashion a homemade shank in the kitchen using metal bands removed from milk cases that had been banned because of previous incidents. Although Auch’s decision to open the tower door was crucial later on, the suit argues, the rampage could have been averted if kitchen employee upheld their security responsibilities: “Ms. Fraley would never have had to endure the two weeks in hell but for Canteen’s conduct.” Canteen Corp. contends in legal filings that the company was responsible for preparing food, not overseeing inmates or maintaining security. The trial has been tentatively scheduled for late 2011. As a state employee, Fraley was barred from suing the Department of Corrections under terms of Arizona’s workers compensation law. According to court papers, she sued Canteen on behalf of the state, which owned the rights to her complaint. However, the state reassigned those rights back to Fraley, subject to a lien. Arizona previously sued its insurance company for refusing to honor liability coverage in the prison saga. The outcome of that case could not be determined.

March 3, 2004
The prison where two corrections officers were held hostage is plagued by unprofessionalism and complacency among officers, a panel reviewing the hostage standoff said Tuesday.  Procedures in the kitchen where the Jan. 18 incident began should also be reviewed. The two inmates, Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy, were armed with shanks and were able to overcome the only officer on duty there. In the future, the kitchen office should be locked and two officers should be on duty, panelists concluded.  The panel said the department should also assess whether to continue to employ civilian contract workers in the kitchen. One such worker was raped during the incident. Another failed to show up for work that day, and is being investigated for a possible involvement.  That investigation should continue, the panel recommended. The kitchen worker, who did not show up Jan. 18 and has since been fired by food service company Canteen, has refused to cooperate with investigators. The Arizona Republic is not identifying the man because he has not been named as a suspect or charged with a crime. Attempts to locate him for comment have been unsuccessful. Representatives with Canteen did not return calls seeking comment.  (The Arizona Republic)

March 2, 2004 
Investigators are looking into whether a civilian food-service worker is linked to a botched escape attempt that led to a 15-day hostage siege at the state prison in Buckeye.  The unidentified man reportedly was one of two food-service workers assigned to the Morey Unit kitchen area at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis on Jan. 18, when inmates Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy overpowered the other worker and two corrections guard.  "There were only the two employees scheduled for duty morning and when he didn't show up, inmate Ricky Wassenaar began asking in particular where he was," former Arizona Att General Grant Woods, co-chairman of an investigative panel reviewing the hostage situation, said Monday. "There is cert suspicious circumstances surrounding this employee."  Authorities said the employee in question left the food service company assigned to the prison shortly after the standoff began and thus far has refused to cooperate in the subsequent investigation.  (KVOA.com)

Arizona State Prison-Kingman
Kingman, Arizona
Management & Training Corporation

2010 escape at Kingman an issue for MTC’s bid: August 11, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on MTC
Cathy Byus, et al vs. MTC, et al: March 17, 2011, 30 pages: Wrongful death suit involving the murder of Linda Haas by escapees from MTC's Arizona State Prison Kingman.
Rachel Maddow stay on it http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#38700092
Rachel Maddow kicks butt http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/38685023#38685023

Jan 16 2013 The Associated Press
KINGMAN, Ariz. • The Utah company that operates the Arizona state prison at Kingman says inmates assaulted two corrections officers in a disturbance that a spokesman says was broken up quickly. Spokesman Issa Arnita of Centerville, Utah-based Management & Training Corp. says fewer than a dozen inmates were involved in the incident Saturday. He says the two officers were released from a hospital after treatment for minor injuries. Arnita says the inmates involved have been taken out of normal housing and placed in detention. He says the Arizona Department of Corrections’ criminal investigations unit will investigate the incident for possible criminal proceedings. A department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for information.

July 25, 2012 Kingman Daily Miner
Around 300 inmates at the Arizona State Prison staged a walkout Saturday over cleanliness requirements, officials said. The 300 inmates were all from the same dorm in the Hualapai unit and walked out into the yard all at once, raising red flags among the guards, said Issa Arnita, information officer for Management and Training Corporation that operates the private prison. He said the walkout occurred during the hours that the inmates are able to move freely between the dorms and the yard The inmates were reportedly upset over what Arnita called "grooming issues," or the cleanliness standards inmates are held to as required by the Arizona Department of Corrections. Arnita said a complex administrator was sent to speak with the inmates, who were reportedly satisfied with his response and returned to their dorm 30 minutes after the walkout started.

May 4, 2012 KPHO
It was a prison break that made national news. Two convicted killers and a third dangerous criminal broke out of a medium security private prison facility in Kingman Arizona in July 2010. The escapees were eventually caught after a nationwide manhunt, but not before an Oklahoma couple was killed. The escape and murders that followed raised some serious questions about private prison safety standards and whether new policies should be put in place to prevent prison breaks from happening again. Two years later, Arizona lawmakers have decided to go in a different direction. Buried in the $8.6 billion budget proposal passed at the state Capitol this week is a plan to "eliminate the requirement for a quality and cost review of private prison contracts." It means there would no longer be an annual review of how private prisons operate. House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, voted against the new provision. "It's insanity, that's the only way to describe this, removing the ability for the state to do a cost and quality analysis of the private prison contracts that are being funded by taxpayer dollars makes absolutely no sense whatever," said Campbell. Arizona currently has about a dozen privately operated prisons. State Rep. John Kavanaugh, R- Fountain Hills, is the lawmaker who proposed the plan to remove the review process. CBS5 asked Kavanaugh why the change is good for Arizona. "Because it's a study that was bias from the beginning and never used," said Kavanaugh."So rather than have a report that is biased and nobody listens to and costs money to produce. We simply eliminated it." According to Kavanaugh, the recent reports on private prisons have been put together by state prison officials, skewing the data.

January 20, 2012 Arizona Republic
One of the three men who broke out of Arizona’s Kingman prison in 2010, and an accomplice, pleaded guilty Friday in a New Mexico federal court to a host of charges in the murder of an Oklahoma couple during the escape. Tracy Province, 44, took a plea agreement under which he’ll serve five consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. He pleaded guilty to nine charges, including conspiracy, carjacking resulting in death, and three counts of carrying and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, among others. Casslyn Welch, 45, pleaded guilty to eight offenses, including conspiracy, carjacking and three counts of using a firearm in a crime of violence. She faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. They previously pleaded not guilty to all changes. If they had been convicted, both could have faced the death penalty. Welch’s cousin and fiancee, escapee John McCluskey, who allegedly shot to death Gary and Linda Haas, is scheduled for trial in federal court in Albuquerque in March 2013. Federal prosecutors said they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

September 24, 2011 Arizona Republic
Arizona's Department of Corrections needs to do more to improve security at private-contract and state-run prisons, a report released Friday by the state's auditor general concludes. The report credits the department with making many significant improvements since the July 2010 escapes of three prisoners from the Kingman prison. These improvements include revamping the state's monitoring and inspection programs, which had failed to detect obvious security flaws at Kingman before the escapes; new, tougher annual audits of each prison; better security and reporting requirements in new contracts; and stiffer requirements and better training for state monitors who oversee private prisons.The audit called for further steps to address ongoing security problems.

August 17, 2011 ABC 15
Family members of a couple allegedly murdered by two Arizona prison escapees are speaking out against a proposed prison. The Haas family is on a mission that they never wanted, but feel they need pursue. “It’s something you think about everyday,” said Linda Haas Rook. Rook’s brother Gary Haas and his wife Linda were murdered last year. Investigators believe the killers are two men who escaped from a prison in Kingman just days earlier. The Kingman prison is operated by the Management and Training Corporation, which now has hopes to build prisons in San Luis and Coolidge. The Haas family hopes to prevent the company from doing so. Linda Rook planned to travel more than 1,400 miles with her husband and her mother to the public hearing Tuesday night in San Luis to voice her concerns. “[MTC] needs to right their wrongs,” she told ABC15 from her stopover in Scottsdale. MTC has made several security upgrades to their facility in Kingman, and a spokesperson said the company has a great track record with the state. If MTC is approved to build the new prison, the company stated it plans to bring about 500 jobs to the San Luis area.

August 17, 2011 Arizona Republic
Rep. Chad Campbell, the Arizona House minority leader, asked Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to temporarily halt a proposed 5,000-bed expansion of private prisons in Arizona. Public hearings on the expansion continue this week, with one held Tuesday in San Luis. It is among five communities where four companies are bidding to provide the beds. The Arizona Department of Corrections is expected to issue one or more contracts in late September. But, as The Arizona Republic recently reported, the department has never completed the biannual, cost-benefit analyses required by law to compare private and public prisons. Corrections Director Charles Ryan said he expects the first such analysis to be completed in January. In a letter to Brewer, Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat, asked her to hold off on any new contract until the analysis is ready and "after enhanced security, training and monitoring policies are in place and shown to be effective at all existing private facilities." Brewer could not immediately be reached. At Tuesday's public hearing, the two companies bidding to build prisons near San Luis - Management and Training Corp. and Geo Group Inc. - tried to fight back against criticism of their records in Arizona and elsewhere. MTC, in particular, was criticized for the escapes of three prisoners from its Kingman prison last year. Two of those prisoners are accused of kidnapping and murdering an Oklahoma couple, Gary and Linda Haas. Vivian Haas, Gary's mother, has said little in public in the year since the murders. But at the San Luis hearing, she spoke out. "I've been through a lot of painful times in 81 years, even surviving the terrible tornado that hit Joplin recently. But nothing compares to the pain of having my kids brutally murdered because MTC couldn't do its job of keeping criminals locked up," Haas said. MTC Vice President Mike Murphy, who spoke before Haas, emphasized the 500 jobs and the tax benefits he said the proposed prison would bring, and promised good security. Geo Group similarly focused on jobs and security in its presentation.

June 26, 2011 Arizona Republic
Linda and Gary Haas pulled up at the rest stop on Interstate 40 in eastern New Mexico to walk their dogs and tidy up. It was a sunny morning, already hot, on Aug. 2, 2010. Linda was walking back to the pickup truck and camper when two men came up behind her. One stuck a handgun in her back and warned her in a low voice to keep quiet. As he ordered her in the passenger side, the other man came up on the driver’s side and pointed his handgun at her husband. Gary started to reach beneath his seat. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the man said roughly. Gary put up both hands. He did have a gun, he said, but it was in the camper. The two men – escaped convicts John McCluskey and Tracy Province, who had broken out of Arizona’s Kingman prison three days earlier – clambered into the back seat of the Chevy crew-cab pickup, shoving the Haases’ three small Shih Tzu dogs, Prissy, Roxie and Bear, to one side. FBI affidavits, which record the later confessions of McCluskey, Province and their companion, Casslyn Welch, detail the story of what befell the Haases that day. “Drive,” ordered McCluskey. Gary and Linda didn’t know it yet, but they had only minutes to live. Documents show lapses | DOC faces security issues The most fundamental duty for those who run prisons is to make sure dangerous criminals stay behind bars. Eleven months after three convicts escaped from Arizona’s Kingman state prison and an Oklahoma couple were murdered, both the Arizona Department of Corrections and Utah-based Management & Training Corp., which manages the prison under contract, have made sweeping changes meant to prevent another escape. MTC says it has worked cooperatively with the state to address problems at Kingman. After the escapes and murders, it took eight months, and a formal threat by Corrections Director Charles Ryan that he would terminate MTC’s contract if it didn’t fix the problems within 90 days, before the company shored up security at Kingman to the department’s satisfaction. Security flaws of the same types as in the Kingman escape were found across the entire Arizona prison system, according to records obtained by The Arizona Republic through Freedom of Information requests. But the department has made some broad changes, imposing tougher and more thorough standards for its annual reviews of all state prisons, including those run by private contractors. A department spokesman says it has improved its security tests, and Ryan now requires that any Corrections employee appointed to monitor a contract prison have experience running a prison unit. McCluskey, Province and Daniel Renwick escaped the Kingman prison on July 30, 2010, with the help of McCluskey’s cousin and girlfriend, Casslyn Welch, who tossed over the fence tools that they used to cut their way out. Prison staff ignored the alarm that sounded when the fence was cut because it had been malfunctioning for 21/2 years, going off up to 200 times a shift. Gary and Linda had been on their way to meet relatives for their 11th straight summer campout at Pagosa Springs, Colo. High-school sweethearts, married for 40 years, they’d spent a lot of time on the road since taking early retirement in 2007 from the General Motors plant in Oklahoma City. They were expecting their first grandchild in four months. Now Gary, at gunpoint, drove west on the interstate. Casslyn Welch followed them in a gray Nissan Sentra. Maybe, Gary suggested, the two men could just leave them off the road somewhere and take his truck. They could unhook the 32-foot Cougar camper, if they wanted. McCluskey said that was just what they’d do. He told Gary to pull off and drive north a couple of miles on an old ranch road. Then he had him turn around and pull up by a big rusty water tank. McCluskey waved them out of the cab with his .40-caliber semiautomatic. Time to get the guns from the camper. As McCluskey and Province got out, the three little brown-and-white dogs jumped out, too. Welch came up from her car. McCluskey ordered Province to round up the dogs while he and Welch took Gary and Linda into the camper to get Gary’s gun. Five days after the escape, a Corrections team scoured Kingman to determine what security flaws led to the escape. Their scathing assessment, described in an internal Corrections memo, listed the broken alarm, eight burned-out perimeter lights, other broken security equipment, and a lax, high-turnover culture in which MTC’s green, undertrained staff and rookie supervisors ignored alarms, left long gaps between patrols of the perimeter, left doors leading out of some buildings open and unwatched, didn’t alert the state or local police until hours after the escape, and failed in all manner of basic security practices. The state’s monitor assigned to Kingman admitted that in 14 months on the job he’d never read MTC’s contract to see what they were supposed to do, and that he had no idea the alarm system was so flawed as to be worthless. Ryan subsequently replaced that monitor, who was fired. Going forward, Ryan said, only employees with administrative experience running a prison unit would be given monitoring assignments. The day after the escapes, Ryan suspended all prisoner transfers to Kingman until it could pass inspection. Shortly afterward, he also ordered the transfer of 238 medium-security inmates from Kingman to other facilities. In a letter to Ryan on Aug. 13, 2010, 14 days after the escapes, MTC formally admitted responsibility and agreed to work with the state to fix the problems. It replaced the warden, complex administrator and chief of security, all of whom resigned that week. The first of more-rigorous audits ordered by Ryan was performed at Kingman in November 2010, three months after MTC’s public promise to tackle security flaws. MTC had installed new alarms, but they weren’t working properly and went off so often that staff ignored them, auditors said. Problems with security lights and the control panels continued. Inmates still weren’t wearing IDs. Auditors left tracks in the sand along the perimeter fence to test the staff’s security practices. They failed to notice them. Doors were left unsecured and unmonitored; searches still weren’t being conducted properly. Inside the camper, McCluskey ordered Gary and Linda to sit at the dinette. Gary told them where to find his two guns, a .38-caliber revolver and a 9 mm handgun. Welch put them in a bag and took them outside. The day they’d escaped from Kingman, using guns Welch provided, the trio had kidnapped two truck drivers in a semi to get to Flagstaff. According to the FBI affidavits, McCluskey had wanted to shoot the drivers, but Welch and Province voted not to, so they let the men go. Now, alone with Gary and Linda, McCluskey considered for a moment. Then he raised his gun and fired a shot through Gary’s temple. He turned and pumped three bullets into Linda. Province and Welch ran to the trailer. Province opened the door. He could smell the gunpowder. Blood had splattered everywhere. McCluskey asked Province to help him drag the bodies, slumped at the table, away from the window. Bear, Prissy and Roxie came in through the open door, getting blood on them. For five months following the escapes, the Department of Corrections and MTC sparred over fixing the problems at Kingman. Finally, on Dec. 29, Ryan sent a long letter identifying the 31 most serious concerns, and noting curtly that “a failure to cure all deficiencies” by March 29 would lead him to terminate MTC’s contract. Ryan’s December letter noted that “from 2005 forward, there were 13 instances of large groups of inmates refusing directives or chasing MTC staff off the yard.” Twice in October, large groups of inmates had created “disturbances” over the food. Ryan said this kind of inmate behavior was unacceptable. He noted that during the October incidents, MTC staff couldn’t tell Corrections officials who the complex administrator was, couldn’t find a number for the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office “and didn’t have the presence of mind to dial 911,” leaving it to a Corrections monitor on site to contact police. Ryan’s letter noted continuing problems with MTC officers failing to control inmate movement, with security devices not being repaired, with MTC failing one security test after another. Ryan demanded better staff training and “sustained and systemic improvement.” Not until March 21, eight months after the escapes, did Ryan agree that MTC had fixed the problems. He also agreed to start sending new inmates there starting a week later. Asked why it took so long, Odie Washington, a senior vice president at MTC, replied in writing to The Republic that MTC worked closely with the department to make improvements at Kingman “and will continue to actively monitor and assess operations to ensure we provide a safe and secure facility for the citizens of Arizona.” State auditors also visited MTC’s Marana prison in March. The Corrections Department hasn’t released that audit, saying it is not yet complete. Province shoved the three dogs back into the Chevy truck. McCluskey, who was covered with Gary’s and Linda’s blood, drove the truck and camper to a gas station in Santa Rosa, N.M. Province and Welch followed in the Nissan. As Province pumped the gas, Welch noticed blood dripping from the camper’s back door. The trio drove back west on I-40, turning onto a dirt road until they were out of sight of the highway, behind a barn. While Province unloaded the dogs and dumped out food for them, McCluskey and Welch unhooked the camper and doused the interior, including Gary and Linda’s bodies, with liquor they’d found inside. Then they torched it. Two days later, a rancher called state police, who found the blackened skeletons in the remains of the trailer, and Prissy and Roxie waiting nearby. Prissy had burns on her paws and back. Bear was never found. Guadalupe County Sheriff Michael Lucero used the number on Prissy’s tag to reach Gary and Linda’s only child, the pregnant Cathy Byus, in Oklahoma. She traveled to New Mexico the next week, to identify and recover their remains. On Dec. 1, Byus gave birth to a son, James, who will know his maternal grandparents only through stories and photographs. Daniel Renwick, the third escapee, who’d driven off in Welch’s car the night of the escape, was arrested after a shootout with police on Aug. 1, in Colorado. Province was caught in Wyoming on Aug. 8; McCluskey and Welch were arrested Aug. 19 at a campground in eastern Arizona. McCluskey was convicted this month in Kingman on escape, kidnapping and assault charges. He, Province and Welch are expected to go to trial in New Mexico early next year on charges of murdering the Haases. On March 17, Byus and several other relatives of the Haases sued MTC, Arizona, and Dominion Asset Services, the company that built the Kingman prison, alleging gross negligence. At Kingman, MTC receives $62.16 per inmate per day from the state – about $79 million a year at full capacity, or $64 million a year at its current population of 2,823, which is 80 percent of capacity. Meanwhile, MTC is bidding to manage another 5,000 contract prison beds in Arizona. The Department of Corrections expects to make its recommendation on an award next month.

June 17, 2011 AP
An Arizona inmate whose escape sparked a three-week national manhunt last summer was sentenced Friday to 43 years behind bars for breaking out of prison and abducting two truck drivers whose big rig was used as a getaway vehicle. John McCluskey's sentence came the same day a Mohave County jury found him guilty of escape, kidnapping, aggravated assault and other charges in his July 30 break from the medium-security Arizona State Prison in Golden Valley. Authorities said McCluskey, a second inmate and their accomplice went on to kill Gary and Linda Haas, of Tecumseh, Okla., who were traveling through New Mexico on their way to an annual camping trip in Colorado. The couple's family members watched Friday as McCluskey requested that he be sentenced sooner rather than later. He was ushered back into the courtroom a short time later, shackled at the wrists and ankles and wearing a red jumpsuit. "What we were really pleased with was that he, himself, decided that today was a good day to be sentenced and get this over with. Personally, I feel it's the first right thing he has done," Linda Rook, whose brother was killed, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Prosecutors said McCluskey, 46, and two other inmates escaped with the help of Casslyn Welch, who threw cutting tools onto the prison grounds and supplied the men with guns, money and a vehicle.

May 8, 2011 The Daily News
The 2010 escape from a prison near Golden Valley did not have to happen, Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan told the group assembled at Saturday’s Colorado River Republican Forum meeting. It happened because security protocols were not followed and it took longer to catch three escapees and a woman who helped them because information was slow in getting out to other parties, including the sheriff’s office, he said. About 15 people were assembled to hear Sheahan’s description of what happened and what prison operator Management and Training Corp. has done and is doing to prevent a repeat. While staff at Arizona State Prison-Kingman knew that Daniel Kelly Renwick, John Charles McCluskey and Tracy Alan Province were missing at 9 p.m. July 30, Sheahan said, the sheriff’s office wasn’t alerted until 10:30. When sheriff’s officials asked prison staff for the escapees’ names or even races, he said, prison officials were unsure. “They were all wearing orange,” Sheahan recalled being told. The retelling led to chuckles in the Scooter’s meeting room, but the sheriff said it was far from funny at the time. The sheriff’s office set up a command post inside the prison to spread information as it became available, Sheahan said. The inmates’ behavior early in the escape, as described by Sheahan, seemed to suggest that a quick response by prison staff and law enforcement could’ve led to a quick capture of McCluskey, Province and Casslyn Mae Welch, who allegedly planned the breakout together. Sheahan said Welch left a getaway vehicle containing clothing, weapons, cash and extra gasoline in the desert. Renwick, who Sheahan said “just ended up coming along because he felt like escaping,” found their getaway vehicle and drove off, leaving the others stranded. Province, McCluskey and Welch then allegedly walked about four miles to Interstate 40 and kidnapped and assaulted two truckers. They later allegedly murdered an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico and face the death penalty in that matter. Sheahan said the inmates used wire cutters thrown by Welch into the prison to cut a three-foot hole in the fence, which he said should have been spotted rather quickly, as guards are supposed to drive the perimeter road every 15 minutes. Inside the prison, Sheahan said, lax security was well evident. “There were alarms that never worked,” he said. “There were doors propped open with rocks.” Sheahan said the escapees had no inside help. “No officers were implicated at all,” he said. “There were just officers not doing their jobs.” He also thought it unwise to have the inmates allowed alone outdoors at night to walk dogs. Province and McCluskey were in a dog training program at the prison. Sheahan said the prison is supposed to house minimum- and medium-security inmates, but Province and Renwick were convicted murderers and McCluskey had been convicted of attempted murder. Local authorities were not notified that such inmates were being housed there, he said. After the escape, Sheahan said, the state Department of Corrections nixed the housing of certain types of convicts at the Golden Valley prison, including not housing inmates convicted of murder, attempted murder or murder conspiracy.

March 17, 2011 Arizona Republic
Family members of an Oklahoma couple allegedly slain by a trio of escaped Arizona inmates have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the state, as well as the operator of the private prison near Kingman and a company that helped build the 7-year-old facility. Cathy Byus, the daughter of Gary and Linda Haas, filed the lawsuit Thursday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court. The legal move came less than six months after the Haas' surviving family members filed a $40 million notice of claim against the state and Management & Training Corp., the Utah-based company that operated the private prison from which the inmates escaped. Thursday's lawsuit expands the liability to Dominion Asset Services, because the family's attorneys claim the company improperly installed a faulty alarm system at the prison from which the inmates escaped. "The purpose of this lawsuit is to get justice," said Jacob Diesselhorst, attorney for the family. "Not just for this family - the whole public is at risk." The Haas' murders came in the midst of a nationwide manhunt for the escaped inmates and their accomplice that unfolded over three weeks in late summer 2010. An Arizona Department of Corrections review of the facility following the escape found numerous deficiencies with training and equipment, including an alarm system that issued false alarms so frequently that staff members began to ignore them. Authorities believe inmates Daniel Renwick, John McCluskey and Tracy Province escaped from the prison on July 30 after McCluskey's fiancée, Casslyn Welch, threw cutting tools over the prison's fence, allowing the inmates to snip through the chain link fence surrounding the facility. It was more than two hours before prison staff notified state corrections officials of the escape.

January 29, 2011 AP
An inmate who escaped an Arizona prison last summer and allegedly went on a crime spree was taken to New Mexico on Saturday to face capital murder charges, the U.S. Marshals Service said. Tracy Province, 42, was flown from Kingman to Albuquerque. He was sentenced in Kingman on Friday to more than 38 years in prison on charges of escape, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault and weapons misconduct stemming from crimes in Arizona after his escape. The sentencing cleared the way for him to be sent to New Mexico to face the murder charges in the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla. Authorities say Province, John McCluskey and Daniel Renwick escaped from a medium-security prison in Kingman on July 30. Authorities say McCluskey's fianc
Ãe and cousin, Casslyn Welch, helped the men by throwing cutting tools over the prison's perimeter fence, allowing them to flee into the desert. The escape sparked a nationwide hunt, and all four were recaptured within three weeks. Province, McCluskey and Welch all face capital murder and carjacking charges stemming from the Haas' killings.

January 28, 2011 AP
One of three inmates who escaped from the state prison in Kingman last summer is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. Tracy Province pleaded guilty earlier this month to state felony charges of escape, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault and misconduct with weapons. Province will be sent to New Mexico after he's sentenced on the Arizona charge. He faces capital murder and carjacking charges in the deaths of an Oklahoma couple there. Province was captured without incident in northwestern Wyoming in August after he dropped by for Sunday services at a church and was recognized by a woman who chatted with him.

January 7, 2011 Phoenix New Times
The mother of prison escapee John McCluskey's been sentenced to seven months in prison for helping her son and two other inmates evade authorities after they escaped from prison last summer. Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steven Lynch could have sentenced Claudia Washburn to 2 1/2 years behind bars under a sentencing range laid out in a plea agreement reached in November. Washburn admitted to sending money to her convict son and his two accomplices after they escaped from a Kingman prison on July 31. That money was used by the cons to fund what became a multi-state nightmare for authorities, as the cons crisscrossed the western half of the United States following their escape. While on the run, McCluskey, his cousin/fiancee Casslyn Welch, and escaped inmate Tracy Province, are accused of murdering an Oklahoma couple on vacation in New Mexico.

January 3, 2011 The Daily News
The operators of a privately run prison near Kingman have reimbursed Mohave County for the capture of three inmates who escaped from the prison in July. Management and Training Corporation reimbursed the county Nov. 14 about $23,587 for costs associated with the capture of Tracy Alan Province, John Charles McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch. Province, McCluskey and Daniel Kelly Renwick escaped from the state prison July 30 with the help from Welch. MTC will reimburse the county for additional costs once Renwick’s case in Colorado is resolved and returned to the county, Deputy County Manager Dana Hlavac said. The cost does not include the cost to prosecute and defend the inmates along with the cost to incarcerate the inmates and court costs to try the suspects. Those costs will not be known until the cases are resolved. Those costs are paid through the county’s general fund, Hlavac said.

December 30, 2010 AP
Federal prosecutors in New Mexico have begun steps to seek the death penalty against two Arizona prison escapees and a woman who allegedly helped them escape. A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a superseding indictment against John Charles McCluskey, 45; Tracy Allen Province, 42; and Casslyn Mae Welch, 44, who are accused in the murders of Gary and Linda Haas, both 61, of Tecumseh, Okla. Their bodies were found in August with their burned-out recreational trailer near Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico. The superseding indictment incorporates the 13 counts of the original indictment, but adds a notice of special findings under a law that allows the death penalty after consideration of mitigating and aggravating factors for people found guilty of a crime eligible for the death penalty. “It’s part of the procedural steps we have to go through” to preserve the right to seek the death penalty, Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico, said Thursday.

November 5, 2010 AP
Inmates housed at a privately run prison in Golden Valley in northwestern Arizona tossed rocks and caused a minor disturbance Thursday night. Mohave County Sheriff's deputies responded to the prison near Kingman just before 9 p.m. A sergeant at the prison advised the sheriff's office that several inmates in the yard were causing a disturbance by throwing rocks at prison staff. Deputies immediately established and maintained a roving perimeter. Prison staff got the situation under control at 10:30 p.m. This is the same privately run prison where three dangerous inmates escaped last July.

November 5, 2010 Kingman Daily Miner
Mohave County is holding prison officials to their word that it be reimbursed for costs related to the July 30 escape of three inmates. The county has sent its first bill to Management and Training Corporation, the operator of the private prison located just outside of Kingman, in the amount of $23,587.68. Deputy County Manager Dana Hlavac said the charges are primarily for manpower and mileage fees incurred by corrections staff and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office. Hlavac said the fees are from the time of the escape to the time of the captures of Tracy Province on Aug. 9, and John McCluskey and alleged accomplice Casslyn Welch on Aug. 20. Charges incurred by Mohave County for Daniel Renwick, the third inmate who was caught in Colorado two days after the escape, will be billed after he is extradited to Arizona once his Colorado charges are resolved. Renwick continues to be held in the Garfield County jail on charges of shooting at police and ramming a patrol car with his SUV before he was caught. His arraignment there has been pushed pack to Nov. 26. It is not known when he will be returned to Arizona. Calls to Garfield County about their possible reimbursement were not returned by deadline. Hlavac said the $23,000 bill to MTC does also not include legal fees and jail costs for McCluskey, Province and Welch, who are being held at the Mohave County Jail on various escape-related charges. The jail, along with the Mohave County Attorney's Office and the Legal Defenders Office, have all been instructed to keep a running tab for costs associated with the three. That would include all of the money spent by the county in housing them. Hlavac added that reimbursement for those expenses would not be sought until the conclusion of their cases here. Under terms of the emergency assistance portion of its contract with the Department of Corrections, MTC is held liable for the cost of resources associated with escapes. It is not known whether those costs will be borne by the company directly or by an insurance carrier. MTC spokesperson Carl Stuart said his company has received the bill and that payment will be forthcoming. The Department of Corrections is seeking more than $78,000 from MTC for expenses incurred by its Offender Operations Division and Inspector General Bureau.

October 31, 2010 Joplin Globe Sun
A Joplin woman is among the relatives of an Oklahoma couple, allegedly slain by two escaped prisoners from Arizona and an accomplice, who are seeking $40 million in damages, according to notice of claim letters the family’s attorneys have mailed to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and other officials in that state. Letters sent last week by attorneys for the relatives of Gary and Linda Haas, of Tecumseh, Okla., allege that their Aug. 2 deaths in New Mexico were the result of “a long series of egregious errors and omissions of gross negligence” by the Arizona Department of Corrections and officials at the Arizona State Prison at Kingman, where the inmates escaped July 30. The Haases, who grew up in McDonald County, had been planning to return to Southwest City, where they had property, after losing their jobs in Oklahoma when a GM plant shut down, Linda Rook told the Globe after their deaths. Rook, of Joplin, is a surviving sister of Gary Haas. In August, the couple were heading out west on a camping trip when they were abducted and killed. ‘Slipshod security’ -- The attorneys’ letters allege that Arizona corrections officials and the prison’s private operator, Utah-based Management and Training Corp., “set the stage for and permitted the careless and slipshod security environment” at the prison that allowed the inmates to escape and allegedly kidnap and kill the victims. MTC is liable for punitive damages in the case, according to notice of claim letters sent to company officials. The notice of claim letters were mailed on behalf of the Haases’ daughter, Cathy Byus, and the mother, sister and two brothers of Linda Haas. Their attorney, Jacob Diesselhorst, said Thursday that the claim letters are required before a wrongful-death lawsuit can be filed against the state. Diesselhorst said Arizona officials have 60 days to respond. Contacted over the weekend, Rook declined to comment and referred questions to a Joplin lawyer, John Dolence, who is representing her in the matter. The Globe’s efforts to reach Dolence on Sunday afternoon were unsuccessful. A spokesman for Gov. Brewer, Paul Senseman, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokesman for MTC, Carl Stuart, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

September 27, 2010 Havasu News-Herald
A Golden Valley prison will get a new prison administrator within a few weeks, the facility’s officials said Monday. Management & Training Corp. staff members were informed Friday via e-mail that Jerry Sternes would be appointed as complex administrator, and Neil Turner as warden at the Hualapai unit. Al Murphy, MTC’s corrections vice-president, sent the e-mail. Sternes has more than 25 years experience in corrections and recently retired as complex administrator at the Arizona State Prison in Yuma, which is a 5,000-bed prison, according to the e-mail. Turner is a returning MTC employee who worked at a correctional facility in Grafton, Ohio. He has 20 years experience, according to the e-mail. Turner will replace former unit warden Lori Lieder, who resigned following the escape of three prisoners, Daniel Renwick, John McCluskey and Tracy Province, from the prison July 30. Carl Stuart, MTC communication director, wrote Monday in an e-mail that Darla Elliott, former MTC/Arizona State Prison — Kingman complex administrator, “was placed on administrative leave by MTC sometime in mid-August … Ms. Elliot remains an employee with MTC. She has not yet been reassigned. She will not be returning to the Kingman facility.” Sternes will take her position. Charles Ryan, Arizona Department of Corrections director, presented Mohave County Supervisors with an overview of it internal investigation into the prison break Sept. 20 in Kingman. Although the investigation continues, it has exposed factors contributing to the escape including human error, a faulty perimeter security system and opportunistic inmates, according to earlier reports. After the escape, an investigation showed that prison officials neglected to inform state legislators, Mohave County Board of Supervisors and Mohave County Sheriff’s Office about facility changes. This neglect violated state law and the prison’s contract. In 2005, the prison failed to notify authorities when it changed status from a minimum-custody DUI prison to a minimum/medium-custody prison, which means it could house more dangerous criminals. MTC failed to notify authorities again in 2006 and in 2008 about prisoner movement and contract status amendments linked to the prison’s addition of a 2,000-bed complex. In 2007, the first murderers were transferred to the prison near Kingman, according to earlier reports. Local authorities did not know. “It was almost unbelievable these people (murderers) had been out there,” said Mohave County Sheriff Sheahan recently. “I was surprised at the amount of high-risk criminals.” Tracy Province is currently in custody at the county jail in Kingman, Sheahan said. “(Province’s) comments were something to the effect that he was somewhat surprised he was transferred to this type of prison,” Sheahan said. Province came to ADC in January 1993, and was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery in Pima County at the time of his escape, according to earlier reports. On the night of the escape, by the time prison officials had reported the incident to law enforcement authorities the prisoners were “long gone,” Sheahan said. According to ADC information, MTC determined the three inmates missing around 9 p.m. but didn’t alert MCSO until 10:19 p.m. “At that time, (MCSO) dispatchers were trying to fill out the information for statewide and national dispatch,” Sheahan said. “(MTC) didn’t event know (the inmates’) names after the individuals had been missing an hour-and-a-half.” When dispatchers asked MTC officials to describe the escaped prisoners, all MTC conveyed was that they were wearing orange. The prison also gave sheriff’s deputies photographs of the escapees that were nearly 20 years out of day, Sheahan said, adding this added to his agency’s frustration with the facility.

September 21, 2010 The Arizona Daily Sun
State Corrections Director Charles Ryan said he is instituting an entirely new system for monitoring private prisons -- one he said should prevent the kind of escape that resulted in the death of two people. Ryan said Monday the old system was flawed, with months going by between inspections. And even when they were done, he said, they didn't necessarily spot problems. He also said state oversight of private prisons has often been left to inexperienced personnel. "That was not a good decision," he said. Ryan said that includes the Kingman facility run by Management and Training Corp., where David Lee, an associate deputy warden, was the top state official on site. "The employee has been replaced," Ryan said, with monitoring now being done by a "seasoned deputy warden." And Wade Woolsey, who was the department's operations director for private prisons and Lee's supervisor, has since quit. Ryan also said Monday he is tossing out the bids that already have been submitted to contract for another 5,000 privately run prison beds. The director said he wants to start over again, but this time with some new -- and he said more stringent -- requirements for the private companies that want state funds to house inmates. Ryan's comments came as his agency released the results of its own internal investigation on how three violent criminals, two serving time for murder, managed to break out of the facility with the help of an accomplice who provided wire cutters. They all were eventually captured, but not before the murder of a couple at a New Mexico campground which has been linked to some of those involved. He also said that several of the 50 deficiencies his staff first found after visiting the facility following the July 30 escape still exist. He said it is "certainly a possibility" that the state will cancel its contract with MTC. "The jury is still out," Ryan said. As expected, the report finds various failures with the operation of the facility by MTC. Most of those, including a perimeter alarm system that malfunctioned so often that corrections officers routinely ignored it, had been detailed in an earlier review. What is new are the details of how the state's own monitoring of the 1,508-bed facility fell short and allowed the problems to develop. One central problem, Ryan said, has been having reviews done annually, with private prisons graded on how well they carried out various policies. "Frankly, I think that is very misleading," he said. In fact, that program gave the Kingman facility high marks despite the problems found only after the escape. Ryan said the new system, still being tested, will allow for ongoing evaluation rather than an annual review. "We want to know what's going on daily," he said, and for that information to reach those in his agency who need to know. That was not happening. According to the report, Lee told investigators he was unaware of issues with the alarm system and "never walked the entire perimeter to check if the alarm system was working correctly." And Lee, who had been in the position for 14 months, said he wasn't even sure that was part of his job. "I'm telling you right now, I'm not making excuses," the report quotes Lee as saying. "I had one day with my predecessor, Deputy Warden Mary Clark, and she didn't tell me squat." Woolsey, however, said he was "surprised" Lee did not know there was an issue with the alarms. The report paraphrases Woolsey as saying "it doesn't take a 20-year veteran to look out and see all the light turning on, and the lights don't just turn on unless something sets them off." Woolsey said the sensors, which detect ground disturbance, could be set off by something other than an escape, whether an animal, weather conditions or even poor maintenance. Lee, in his interview, said he never read the contract between the state and MTC. And when asked how he could determine if MTC was fulfilling its obligations, he responded, "I guess I can't." He also said in that interview that, only as a result of the escape, he was required to "walk the zones" and check the alarm system. Lee also said he never actually tried to set off the alarms to see how it works, and that if there were "issues" with the system someone would have mentioned something to him.

September 20, 2010 The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Department of Corrections employee assigned to ensure a privately run prison near Kingman was operated according to state standards was overwhelmed by paperwork and admitted he screwed up, according to an internal review released Monday of a prison escape that led to a nationwide manhunt. David Lee, who was associate deputy warden at the facility when the escape took place July 30, told the state's internal investigators that he had not read the contract between the state and prison operator Management & Training Corp. in his 14 months on the job and that he was unaware of the persistent issues with false alarms that plagued the complex. A lieutenant told investigators that the alarm system could go off 200 or 300 times a shift. The report also indicates that the alarm system hadn't been serviced in two years after a contract expired with a maintenance provider. Neither Lee nor any of his superiors knew anything about the alarm problems, according to the report. Lee was fired and his supervisor resigned following the escape. Daniel Renwick, 36, Tracy Province, 43, and John McCluskey, 45, broke out of the prison July 30 after McCluskey's fiancée, Casslyn Welch, 44, allegedly threw cutting tools and weapons into the prison yard. An officer initially said the perimeter was clear after the escape and authorities worked under the assumption that the inmates were still inside the compound until the officer returned a second time and noticed a hole in the perimeter fence.

September 15, 2010 Arizona Republic
From start to finish, the three inmates who broke out of a Kingman prison and the girlfriend accused of helping them really didn't have much of a plan and often were winging it, with disastrous results. That's the picture that emerges from a U.S. Marshals Service report on the July 30 breakout and the extensive manhunt it prompted. Case of escaped Arizona inmates -- The report details interviews with the first two inmates who were recaptured. The interviews were conducted in part to help authorities track down the other two fugitives: John McCluskey and his girlfriend, Casslyn Welch. McCluskey and Welch were captured at a campground in Arizona. Inmate Tracy Province was arrested earlier in Wyoming. They are in jail in Kingman. They face murder charges in the shooting deaths of two tourists in New Mexico. The other inmate, Daniel Renwick, was arrested after a gunfight with authorities in Colorado and remains in jail there. The report blacked out the names of the two suspects who were interviewed and those of the various investigators who spoke with them. But the dates and locations indicate investigators were talking with Province and Renwick, partly in an effort to find the other two. The report said investigators discounted Province's comments due to inconsistencies. The statements, if true, say there wasn't much of a plan for what would happen after the escape, set up via a cellphone borrowed from an imprisoned drug dealer. The problems started almost immediately after the three inmates cut their way out of the prison with tools that police say were tossed inside by Welch, who had arrived toting a rifle. The escapees couldn't find a Chevy Blazer that was filled with food and clothes - necessities for life on the run. They all split up to search for the SUV. Renwick found it and headed for Colorado on his own, the report said. The report said there was "no definitive plan'" of where to go. Plans to stay at a cabin in Safford fell through immediately when the owners were home. McCluskey, Welch and Province wound up driving around the Southwest. At one point, authorities say, they kidnapped the two tourists in New Mexico. The report said the three decided they would "fight to the death" or kill one another if confronted by police. Province told investigators that the three slept in the car but that he would be kicked out when the other two wanted to "be alone." The report said he eventually asked to be dropped at Yellowstone National Park, where he planned to get high and kill himself because he couldn't live outside jail and didn't want to die inside. The report said he lost his nerve and drifted around until caught. He was arrested in Wyoming. Renwick said he got into the shootout in Colorado because he wanted to die but couldn't kill himself due to a promise he had made to his mother. The report said he looked bewildered when asked about the carjacking and double killing in New Mexico. He agreed to talk only about his own role in the escape, the report said, because he feared being killed in prison if he talked about the others. He tried to find the others before taking the Blazer, the report said, adding he had no idea where to go or what to do. The report quoted him as saying the group planned to go to Arkansas to enjoy its mild winters and "old-fashioned" pawnshops, which they considered easy to rob. They would "pull a couple jobs'" there, and split up. He said another fundraising scheme was to steal semitrucks. They would avoid trucks with GPS trackers and tie up drivers in secluded parts of truck stops so they could have the rigs longer.

September 14, 2010 Courthouse News
The Arizona prison breakout that led to the killing of two campers was caused by "lax procedures and incompetent management" of the private prison operator in Kingman, the mother of one of the victims says. Vivian Haas, whose son, Gary and his wife were shot to death, claims that Management and Training Corp. admitted in an Aug. 13 letter its responsibility for the escapes, and that the circumstances "were shocking and egregious." Haas claims that one of the escaped inmates, John McCluskey, killed her son and his wife in New Mexico in the days after the escape. Haas says the private prison operator "had duties to protect the general public in employing proper incarceration policies and procedures to assure that violent offenders stayed locked up and away from the general public." McCluskey was sentenced to 15 years in 2009 for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and discharge of a firearm, and was sent to the private prison, according to the complaint. His fellow escapee Tracy Province was sentenced in 2009 for murder and robbery, and escapee Daniel Renwick was sentenced to two 22-year sentences for second-degree murder, the complaint states. On July 30, McCluskey, Province, and Renwick escaped from the Kingman prison through a door wedged open by a rock, "climbing one improperly protected fence, hiding behind an inappropriate building in 'no-man's land,' and cutting through the wire of a second chain link fence," according to the complaint. Haas says that Management and Training Corp.'s officers failed to check an alarm that sounded when the men cut through one of two security fences surrounding the prison. She says the alarm system set off false alarms so often that the guards ignored them. Haas adds that the "perimeter fencing was substandard," and that patrols of the perimeter "were scattershot at best." Light poles around the prison were routinely burned out, and "intrusions by outsiders near the fence perimeters were common." On Aug. 2, McCluskey and Province, allegedly with help from Casslyn M. Welch, "confronted" Gary and Linda Haas while they were "in or near their pickup truck towing a camping trailer." Gary and Linda Haas were traveling from Oklahoma to Colorado. McCluskey and Province ordered Gary and Linda Haas into the truck, and forced Gary to drive to the west, his mother says. McCluskey directed Gary to leave the highway and drive to a secluded area, then took the couple into the camping trailer and "brutally shot them, killing each of them," Haas says. McCluskey, Province, and Welch then allegedly drove the camper on the highway until they noticed blood leaking out of the trailer door. The escapees and accomplice "drove to a remote location, disconnected the trailer and intentionally set fire to the trailer with the bodies of Gary and Linda Haas still inside," according to the complaint. Haas says the escapees abandoned the stolen truck in Albuquerque. Province was captured on Aug. 9 in Meeteetse, Wyo. McCluskey and Welch were captured on Aug. 19 in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. On March 22, 2004, the Arizona Department of Corrections awarded a contract to Management and Training Corp. to operate the private prison which was "designed and constructed for 1,100 minimum security beds and 300 medium security beds to house DUI inmates," according to the complaint. Haas seeks punitive damages for negligence and recklessness. She is represented by Christopher Zachar.

September 7, 2010 AP
The woman accused of helping three inmates escape from the state prison in Kingman has pleaded not guilty to drug charges. Casslyn Welch entered her plea Tuesday in Mohave County Superior Court. She faces six counts of narcotics violations for the drugs she's accused of bringing to the medium-security prison in June. Authorities say a random search of Welch and her vehicle turned up marijuana, heroin and drug paraphernalia. Welch was visiting John McCluskey, her cousin and fiancee, at the time and lost her visitation rights but not her phone privileges. Authorities say she wasn't immediately jailed because she agreed to become an informant. She was charged following the July 30 escape of McCluskey and two other inmates.

September 3, 2010 Arizona Republic
The first legal action in the Arizona prison breakout that led to the killing of two campers has been filed against the state and the operator of the private prison. Vivian Haas, the mother of murder victim Gary Haas, filed a $10 million claim against Arizona and a wrongful death lawsuit against Management Training Corp., the company that operates the private prison near Kingman where three fugitives escaped on July 30. The notice of claim is a required precursor to a lawsuit. Police believe one of those escaped inmates, John McCluskey, murdered Gary Haas and his wife, Linda, near Santa Rosa, N.M. in the days following the escape as the fugitives grew weary of traveling in a car and targeted the Haas' for their camping trailer. The escape led to a nationwide manhunt that stretched from Arizona to the Canada border. The claim against Arizona notes the state's failure to maintain custody of the inmates, to properly train and supervise personnel at the prison and to promptly notify law enforcement officials in the area after the escape. "I have conveyed my condolences to the Haas family and friends, however, I cannot comment on pending litigation," Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said in a statement. Management Training Corp. could not be immediately reached for comment. Reviews of the July 30 incident have painted the picture of a prison where detention officers became lackadaisical and predictable in their movements and where equipment failures- including false alarms- were so common that they were frequently ignored. Detention officers failed to check an alarm that sounded when McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick cut through one of two security fences ringing the privately run prison near Kingman. Investigators have said McCluskey's fiancée, Casslyn Welch, threw cutting tools over the fence to the men who snipped through chain link and barbed wire to flee into the desert. It was more than two hours before staff at the private prison notified the state corrections officials of the escape. By then, Renwick was making his way north to Colorado while McCluskey, Province and Welch were on their way to hijacking a truck near Kingman and forced the drivers to take them to Flagstaff. Renwick was captured two days after the escape after he exchanged gunfire with police in Colorado. After allegedly receiving help from relatives in Arizona, McCluskey, Province and Welch made their way east, ultimately ending up at a rest stop in New Mexico where, according to statements Province gave investigators, they saw 61-year-old Gary and Linda Haas, an Oklahoma couple taking an annual camping trip. After days on the road in a cramped sedan, the fugitives decided to target travelers with a camping trailer and the Haas' fit the bill. Province told investigators that he and McCluskey forced the couple into their truck at gunpoint while Welch followed behind. They all ended up in a remote area near Santa Rosa where McCluskey shot the Haas' in their trailer, according to court documents. The fugitives set fire to the trailer in an effort to hide the evidence. A rancher discovered the burned trailer on Aug. 4.

August 27, 2010 Payson Roundup
The would-be Bonnie and Clyde fugitives who’d led police on a wild, three-week chase began talking soon after their capture in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests last week. When Apache County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Casslyn Welch’s silver .38-caliber revolver, Sgt. John Scruggs warned the other officers not to touch it for fear it was a murder weapon, according to court documents. John McCluskey “That’s not the murder weapon,” now-captured fugitive John McCluskey, both Welch’s fiance and cousin, told the officers. “The murder weapon is in the tent.” After police recaptured the convicts who escaped from a private prison near Kingman on July 30, allegedly with Welch’s help, the clues to their escape and crime spree have quickly emerged. The frightening tale included an easy escape through an unguarded fence, a lost getaway car, a fateful vote that saved the lives of two truckers, two aimless and improvised alleged murders and a narrowly averted gun battle at the end. McCluskey and Welch, along with escaped murderer Tracy Province, allegedly caused the deaths of Oklahoma couple Gary and Linda Haas as the couple drove through New Mexico on vacation. The fugitives had grown tired of sleeping in a sedan and decided to find a camper.  Later, while tracking the bloody trail with Province after his arrest, police eyed bloodstains from the camper that had seeped onto the asphalt of a Phillips gas station off Interstate 40 in Santa Rosa, N.M. Police had captured Province in Wyoming about a week-and-a-half after his escape, as he held a hitchhiking sign that read, “Casper.” Once in custody, Province helped police piece together his time on the run, the blood stains, an eerie breadcrumb in a warped version of Hansel and Gretel. The courtroom drama of McCluskey and Welch, the two fugitives who evaded capture the longest, has just begun. McCluskey, Province and Welch have all pleaded not guilty to their lists of charges. The court has appointed public defenders for the men, and Flagstaff attorney Stephen Glazer will represent Welch. All three are held on $1 million bail on Arizona charges including escape in the second degree, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault. McCluskey and Province also face charges of misconduct involving weapons. In New Mexico, the fugitives face charges for carjacking the Oklahoma couple with the intention of causing their deaths. McCluskey and Province face other charges connected to the killing, and each of the three could receive the death penalty. Although Mohave County now has custody of the fugitives, Tom Henman, a supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal out of Phoenix, said this week that officials there would have to coordinate with New Mexico to see “who’s going to get first dibs.” Claudia Washburn, McCluskey’s mother and owner of the Jakes Corner Store in Tonto Basin where Welch worked, now sits in Maricopa County Jail on charges of hindering prosecution and conspiring to commit escape after she allegedly gave the fugitives money or supplies. Payson attorney Harlan Green will represent Washburn, whose preliminary hearing was set for Thursday, but no other details were available by press time. Welch, 44, had been working in Jakes Corner until she allegedly threw wire cutters over the prison fence to free her beloved and his two friends, Province and Daniel Renwick on July 30. Authorities captured Renwick the next day in Colorado. Just the month before, Welch avoided jail time by agreeing to become an informant after authorities found marijuana, heroin and drug paraphernalia during a random search of Welch and her vehicle, the Associated Press reported. Welch reportedly told authorities that people associated with a white supremacist group were paying her to smuggle heroin into prison. Henman, the U.S. Marshal, said this week that McCluskey had ties to the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. Four days after arriving in Mohave County Jail after the escape, McCluskey was taken to Kingman Regional Medical Medical Center after cutting his neck and wrists with a Bic razor. The lacerations were serious, but not life threatening, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. After receiving treatment, McCluskey returned to his high-security level single cell in jail. The courtroom drama is just beginning, and the sordid details of the crime spree are emerging. A complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico outlines how the three prisoners’ escape allegedly led to car-jacking and murder. Immediately after the escape, Renwick became separated from the crew while the group tried to find the car that Welch had parked in the desert. Welch had packed the car with food and clothes, and had bought two .40-caliber semi-automatic handguns for the escape. But then Welch couldn’t find it. Instead, they hijacked two men driving an 18-wheeler at gunpoint and forced them to drive to Flagstaff. In Flagstaff, the trio voted whether to kill the truckers. McCluskey, just escaped from a 15-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder voted to kill them while Welch and Province voted to release them. McCluskey then somehow “secured” a gray Nissan Sentra and the group stopped in Safford before driving to New Mexico, according to court documents. In New Mexico, Province noticed that the car had an expired license plate, and the crew stole another one. By Aug. 2, all three had tired of driving and sleeping in the sedan. They agreed to find a camper or trailer to steal. At a rest area, McCluskey and Welch eyed Gary and Linda Haas, thinking them a good “prospect,” according to the complaint. The Haases were camping near Santa Rosa on their way to Colorado as they had every year for more than a decade. The couple had concealed weapons permits, and typically carried at least one gun with them. But on the morning of Aug. 2, when McCluskey and Province took their places behind Linda as she walked to her truck, no gun would save her. The fugitives forced Linda into the truck’s passenger seat as Welch acted as a lookout. Gary reached down as if to retrieve something from under the seat. Province saw him, and said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” The fugitives ordered Gary to drive west on I-40, and eventually directed the truck to a secluded area between Tucumcari, N.M., and Santa Rosa. McCluskey and Welch made Gary and Linda hand over their two guns, which had been in the camping trailer, while Province stayed outside. Welch joined Province outside, and several gunshots rang out with McCluskey still inside. According to the complaint, McCluskey shot Gary once in the head and then turned the gun on Linda, who he shot three times. McCluskey told investigators he felt compelled to kill the Haases if the fugitives were to remain free. McCluskey and Province scooted the bodies down in the trailer so nobody could see them from outside, and then the fugitives drove the truck and the trailer — dead bodies inside — back on the highway to the Phillips 66 gas station, where they would leave that telltale bloodstain. Meanwhile, Province followed McCluskey in the Sentra with stolen plates. After gassing up, McCluskey found a spot off the highway and unhitched the trailer. Inexplicably, they quickly decided to abandon the trailer that they’d allegedly committed two senseless murders to obtain. With Welch’s help, the two found liquor in the trailer and poured it on the floor before lighting a fire with matches. Province had dumped out food for the dogs, and the three left the Haases as their bodies burned. Later at a shopping center, Province and McCluskey wiped the truck with paper towels and brake fluid, hoping to remove their fingerprints. Welch took blankets, Province took a backpack, and the three drove away in the Sentra. By this time, Province had asked the engaged cousins to drop him off at Yellowstone Park. Police arrested Province soon after in Meetetese, Wyo., reportedly the day after singing “You’re Grace is Enough,” with other churchgoers in the small town outside Yellowstone. He carried the backpack stolen from Gary and Linda Haas. McCluskey and Welch would remain free for about another week. News reports placed the couple anywhere from Canada, where the Royal Mounted Police searched, to Arkansas, where a beauty salon robbery was briefly and incorrectly linked to the fugitives. But on Aug. 19, a Forest Service ranger was patrolling the Gabaldon Campground at the base of Mount Baldy back in Arizona where their terrible journey had begun. When the ranger spotted the couple, McCluskey walked behind a tree, trying to hide, according to court documents. The ranger also noticed bullet holes in a nearby tree. He jotted down the license plate number, and realized it was stolen. Later, McCluskey told police he was sorry he hadn’t killed the ranger when he had the chance. Authorities covertly watched the couple, closing off escape routes, while an arrest team assembled. Shortly after 7 p.m. on Aug. 19, officers from the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Apache County Sheriff’s Department apprehended the fugitives and ended the nationwide manhunt. Welch pulled her silver revolver out from behind her back, pointing it at police, according to court documents, before realizing police outnumbered her. McCluskey was lying in a sleeping back outside the tent where he’d hidden his guns. Later, he told the officers he would have killed them.

August 25, 2010 Silver Belt
The Arizona Department of Corrections has confirmed that any decisions over bids submitted by four companies to build private prisons here in our state have been delayed because of security issues raised about a privately operated prison in Kingman last month where the breakout of three violent convicts occurred on July 30. Barrett Marson, Director of Communications for the state agency, told the Arizona Silver Belt, efforts to add an additional 5,000 private prison beds has been stalled because of concerns which have developed on how the medium-security private prison was being operated in Kingman. He said representatives of each of the four companies that submitted proposals to build and operate private prison complexes housing ADC inmates will be called in for more questioning about their proposals. When asked, does this mean these proposals will have to be re advertised and go out for bids again? Marson said that decision has not been made at this time. The companies submitting proposals to the Arizona Department of Corrections, which have been under review since May 28th, were Management and Training Corporation ( which owns and operates the private prison at Kingman along with another facility in Marana and 24 Job Corps Centers in the U.S), GEO Group Corrections, Corrections Corporation of American and Emerald Correctional Management Company. Emerald, in its proposal , submitted plans to build a 1,000 bed medium prison in the city of Globe between the Gila County Fairgrounds and the San Carlos Reservation line. The controversial Emerald project has been endorsed by the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation but is now actively being opposed by a group of merchants and local citizens. All top officials of Utah based Management and Training Corporation who were operating the company’s medium security prison at Kingman either were terminated or removed to other job assignments as a result of a report released by the Arizona Department of Corrections on Thursday citing numerous security flaws at the correctional facility. Among the flaws was the private prison’s alarm system. Some 89 false alarms reported at the correctional facility on July 30th, the day the three convicts walked out. Ryan’s agency claims there was no maintenance on these prison alarms for the past two years and responding to these alerts was not a priority with prison workers who had become “desensitized” to false alarms. Too, turnover of employees at the Kingman private prison had been high resulting in a lack of training. One official of Management and Training Corporation indicated she was working with a staff that was basically 80 percent new due to the turnover problems. It was further reported that an excessive delay occurred in discovering the escape of the three convicts ( two convicted of murder, one a double homicide) and notifying law enforcement. In addition, it was found that operational practices at the prison after led to a gap of 15 minutes or longer during shift changes along the outside perimeter fence.

August 25, 2010 Private Corrections Working Group
Today, the Private Corrections Working Group (PCWG), a not-for-profit organization that exposes the problems of and educates the public about for-profit private corrections, called for overhaul of the Arizona Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) oversight of the for-profit prison industry, including: • An immediate halt to all bidding processes involving private prison operators and a moratorium on new private prison beds • Hold public hearings during the special session to address the problems with for-profit prisons in Arizona • Enact other cost-cutting measures that not only save money but enhance public safety, like earned release credits, amending truth in sentencing, and restoring judicial discretion. This action came about after the ADOC released a security audit on August 19th concerning the July 30 escape of three dangerous prisoners from a private prison in Kingman operated by Management and Training Corp. (MTC) (Coincidentally, that same day the last escapee and an accomplice, John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch, were captured without incident at a campground in eastern Arizona. The other two escaped prisoners, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick, had been caught previously in Wyoming and Colorado). Ken Kopczynski, executive director of PCWG, condemned MTC for the numerous security failures that led to the July 30 escape. “If MTC had properly staffed the facility, properly trained their employees and properly maintained security at the Kingman prison, this escape would not have occurred. But because MTC is a private company that needs to generate profit, and therefore cut costs related to staffing, training and security, three dangerous inmates were able to escape and at least two innocent victims are dead as a result,” Kopczynski observed. “That is part of the cost of prison privatization that MTC and other private prison firms don’t want to talk about.” The murders of an Oklahoma couple, Gary and Linda Hass, whose burned bodies were found in New Mexico on August 4, were tied to McCluskey, Welch and Province. While MTC said it took responsibility for the escape, vice-president Odie Washington acknowledged the company could not prevent future escapes. “Escapes occur at both public and private” prisons, he stated, ignoring the fact that most secure facilities do not experience any escapes – particularly escapes as preventable as the one at MTC’s Kingman prison. According to the ADOC security audit, the prison’s perimeter fence registered 89 alarms over a 16-hour period on the day the escape occurred, most of them false. MTC staff failed to promptly check the alarms – sometimes taking over an hour to respond – and light bulbs on a control panel that showed the status of the perimeter fence were burned out. “The system was not maintained or calibrated,” said ADOC Director Charles Ryan. Further, a perimeter patrol post was not staffed by MTC, and according to a news report from the Arizona Daily Star, “a door to a dormitory that was supposed to be locked had been propped open with a rock, helping the inmates escape.” Additionally, MTC officials did not promptly notify state corrections officials following the escape and high staff turnover at the facility had resulted in inexperienced employees who were ill-equipped to detect and prevent the break-out. According to MTC warden Lori Lieder, 80 percent of staff at the Kingman prison were new or newly promoted. Although the ADOC was supposed to be monitoring its contract with MTC to house state prisoners, the security flaws cited in the audit went undetected for years. Ryan faulted human error and “serious security lapses” at the private prison. Arizona corrections officials removed 148 state prisoners from the MTC facility after the escape due to security concerns. “I lacked confidence in this company’s ability,” said ADOC Director Ryan. Although it’s a small corporation, since 1995 over a dozen prisoners have escaped from MTC facilities in Utah, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Eagle Mountain, California –where two inmates were murdered during a riot in 2003.

August 23, 2010 Arizona Republic
After three violent criminals escaped from a private prison last month in Kingman, state officials began asking why they had been assigned to a medium-security facility. John McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick escaped July 30 after an embarrassing series of security lapses at the prison, operated by Utah-based Management and Training Corp. All three have been captured, but their escape is likely to spur further discussion on how to classify inmates' security risks and decide where to house them. Both public and private prisons use the state's classification system, but the Arizona Department of Corrections already has pulled some inmates from the Kingman facility as it rethinks how it assigns risk. Arizona assigns inmates a number from one to five, with five representing the highest risk, based on their crimes. Depending on their score, inmates are assigned to one of four custody levels: minimum, medium, close and maximum. Over time, an inmate's classification can be adjusted up or down based on the inmate's behavior in custody. The system works when used properly, said Tom Rosazza, a consultant and former state corrections director. But the system can also mean that more violent offenders can wind up in less-secure facilities depending on their behavior. Although they were in a medium-security facility at a private prison, McCluskey, Province and Renwick qualified as dangerous offenders. Renwick was a convicted murderer. Province killed a man in 1991 by stabbing him 51 times. McCluskey was sentenced in Arizona for attempted murder and had a previous armed-robbery conviction in Pennsylvania. "My first thought was, 'What the hell were those guys doing at that (Kingman) place?' " Rosazza said. Their cases are not unique. There are more than 1,400 inmates serving time for murder in medium-security settings in Arizona, including 796 with life sentences. More than 100 were housed at the prison near Kingman, the only private facility in Arizona to house murderers. Province entered the prison system with a maximum "five" rating when he reported to serve his life sentence in 1993 but was moved down to a "three," or medium security, by 1997. Renwick followed a similar path through the system, while McCluskey entered custody as a medium-security inmate for firing a shotgun into a Mesa home in 2009. Authorities allege the trio escaped with help from Casslyn Welch, McCluskey's cousin and fiancee. The escapees are believed to have cut their way through a fence. Alarms were ignored because, according to state officials, prison guards thought they were false. Renwick was recaptured Aug. 1 in Colorado after a shootout with police. Province was caught Aug. 9 in Wyoming. McCluskey and Welch were caught Thursday evening in Apache County and are suspected along with Province of being involved in the murder of an elderly couple in New Mexico shortly after the escape. Because of the three inmates' possible post-escape crimes, the classification issue likely will come up in any future lawsuits against the state or a prison operator, Rosazza said. "That would be the first thing I'd look at," he said. Arizona officials control what factors are used in determining prisoner classifications and, based on those classifications, decide which facilities prisoners are held in. Although the former fugitives escaped from a private facility, the state will bear some liability in any court action because it is responsible for prisoners sentenced in Arizona. "The state doesn't contract away its responsibility," Rosazza said.

August 22, 2010 Arizona Republic
Arizona puts more of its inmates into privately run prisons every year, even though the prisons may not be as secure as state-run facilities and may not save taxpayers money. Lawmakers began using private prisons to ease overcrowding and have supported their use so aggressively that today, one in five Arizona inmates is housed in a private facility. Many inmates from other states also are housed in private prisons in Arizona, but the state has little information about who they are and limited oversight of how they are secured. The state has 11 privately operated prisons. A high-profile escape of three Arizona inmates last month from a Kingman-area private prison, which spurred a nationwide manhunt and is believed to have resulted in two murders, raises questions about the industry's growth and the degree of state oversight. The last fugitives in that escape were caught Thursday, and the state's prison director has promised changes to the private sites that house Arizona inmates. State leaders in recent years have pushed for more privatization and have blocked efforts to regulate the industry, which has invested heavily in local lobbying and contributed to political campaigns. Last year, officials approved a plan to hand over the operation of nearly every state prison to private companies. The plan was repealed only after no credible bidder came forward. This year, lawmakers approved 5,000 new private-prison beds for Arizona prisoners. Data suggest that the facilities are less cost-effective than they claim to be. A cost study by the Arizona Department of Corrections this year found that it can often be more expensive to house inmates in private prisons than in their state-run counterparts. A growing industry -- Arizona's use of private prisons dates back to the early 1990s, when lawmakers, grappling with overcrowding in state facilities, authorized the construction of a 450-bed minimum-security prison in Marana to house drug and alcohol abusers. The prison is owned and operated by Management & Training Corp., the Utah-based company that also operates the Kingman facility where the three inmates escaped. Since then, Arizona has increasingly relied on for-profit operators to manage its own inmates. It also has allowed private companies to import prisoners from other states. Rapid growth began in 2003 and the years immediately following, when Arizona was again wrestling with prison overcrowding. To ease the shortage, Republican lawmakers agreed to build 2,000 new prison beds, compromising with a reluctant Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, to make half of them private. Around the same time, nearly a dozen other states grappling with the same issues began shipping their inmates to private facilities elsewhere in the country. Arizona, with cheap land and a receptive political climate, became a go-to destination for private-prison operators, who began accepting inmates from as far as Washington and Hawaii. Today, Arizona houses 20.1 percent of its prisoners in private facilities, according to state data from July. Exactly how many inmates are here from other states is unclear. Last year, lawmakers took the unprecedented step of exploring the privatization of almost the entire Arizona correctional system, passing a bill that would have turned over the state's prisons to private operators for an up-front payment of $100 million. The payment would have helped the state close a billion-dollar budget gap. The bill, which also included a host of changes related to the state's budget, was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, but the language relating to prison privatization was repealed in a later special session. The state now has an open contract for the construction and operation of 5,000 new private-prison beds. Arizona's reliance on private facilities coincides with operators' increasing national political activity in hiring lobbyists and donating to political campaigns. The ties between the companies and Arizona elected officials - which go back nearly a decade - have become a campaign issue in this year's gubernatorial race. Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of private prisons, runs six in Arizona, three of which house inmates for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Brewer's critics have suggested that she signed Senate Bill 1070, and has advocated for privatization of some prisons, in part to benefit CCA's bottom line. Democrats have called on Brewer, a Republican, to fire "aides" associated with the prison company. That includes HighGround, a Phoenix consulting and lobbying firm managing Brewer's gubernatorial campaign. The firm counts CCA among its clients. Brewer's official spokesman, Paul Senseman, also used to lobby for CCA. Campaign finance reports filed earlier this year show that eight executives with CCA contributed $1,080 of the $51,193 in seed money Brewer received for her gubernatorial campaign. CCA also gave $10,000 to the "Yes on 100" campaign, which backed a temporary, 1-cent-on-the-dollar increase in the state's sales tax. Brewer was the chief advocate for the tax, which was approved by voters in May. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Brewer said those connections have not influenced her policy decisions. She said she never felt pressured by any of her advisers. "It's absolutely political posturing and rhetoric," Brewer said. "I find it very disappointing. We have a bed shortage here in Arizona, and we have to come up with some way to incarcerate (criminals). The best way, the least expensive way, is to do it with private prisons." The industry's political connections have extended to other Arizona politicians. According to a 2006 report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the private-prison industry gave to the campaigns of 29 of 42 Arizona lawmakers who heard a 2003 proposal to increase state private-prison beds. Between 2001 and 2004, the industry contributed $77,267 to Arizona's legislative and gubernatorial candidates, the vast majority through lobbyists paid to represent their interests at the Legislature. In most cases, donations ranged from a couple of hundred dollars to as much as $2,500. Lax oversight -- The state Department of Corrections has varying levels of oversight of Arizona's private-prison network. Some prisons house criminals convicted in Arizona. The Corrections Department regulates those facilities, though private-prison critics question whether those facilities maintain the same safety standards as their state-run counterparts. Other private prisons house inmates from other states or on behalf of the federal government. Arizona does not dictate what kinds of inmates they may accept, nor the manner in which they are secured. In those situations, private-prison operators work with their outside-government partners on training specifications and other operational details. They report to Arizona only the names, security classifications and number of inmates housed at their facilities. State statutes do not require private operators to provide Arizona officials details about the crimes the prisoners committed or escape data. In 2007, two convicted killers sent from another state stole ladders from a maintenance building and climbed onto a roof at a private prison outside Florence. Brandishing a fake gun, they climbed over the prison walls and escaped to freedom. One was caught within hours, but it was almost a month before the other was caught hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. As with the Kingman breakout, the 2007 escape drew attention to the largely unregulated growth of private prisons in the state, particularly prisons that house other states' inmates. To address security concerns, a bipartisan bill drafted by Napolitano's office in 2008 and introduced by Republican state Sen. Robert Blendu would have required private prisons to be built to the state's construction standards. The proposal also would have ended the practice of private prisons importing murderers, rapists and other dangerous felons to Arizona. And it would have required the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. After an initial flurry of activity, the bill died. "The private-prison industry lobbied heavily against that bill, and they were successful," said Michael Haener, Napolitano's lobbyist at the time. Blendu later left the Legislature, and the bill was not reintroduced. What little regulation private prisons have in Arizona stems from a series of escapes in the late 1990s. In response, the Legislature passed a law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs from private-prison operators in the event of an escape. Arizona laws also require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, to notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and to return out-of-state prisoners to their home states to be released. But there are no penalties if the companies don't comply. Costs questioned -- Notwithstanding lawmakers' concerns about security, private prisons gained favor in part because of the promised savings they could deliver to a cash-strapped and overcrowded prison system. Yet studies have questioned whether those savings are real. In making their pitches, private-prison companies played on the desire of many lawmakers to shift more state services to the private sector. Direct cost comparisons between for-profit and public prisons can be difficult, however. According to the National Institute of Justice, private prisons tend to make much lower estimates of their overhead costs to the state for oversight, inmate health care and staff background checks. Officials at public prisons often argue that the state winds up paying a higher cost for those services than is advertised, mitigating savings that private prisons are built to deliver. A study this year by the Arizona Department of Corrections found that when various costs are factored in, it can be more expensive to house an inmate in a private prison than it is to house one in a state-run prison. The cost of housing a medium-security inmate is $3 to $8 more per day in a private prison, depending on what assumptions are made about overhead costs to the state, the study found. Travis Pratt, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University, said there is no evidence that private prisons save government agencies money, even though they typically promise up-front savings. To maintain profit margins, Pratt said, companies often cut back on staff training, wages and inmate services. "Cost savings like that don't come without consequences," Pratt said. "And that can present a security risk that's elevated." Odie Washington, a senior vice president at Management & Training Corp., acknowledged Thursday that the Kingman prison employed an inexperienced staff. "We have a lot of very young staff that have not integrated into very strong security practices," Washington said. Private-prison operators disagree with Pratt's assessment, contending that they can deliver services efficiently and safely. "That's one of the more frustrating misconceptions out there for us that we have to repeatedly respond to," said Steve Owen, director of public affairs for Corrections Corporation of America. Owen said it is CCA's "general experience" that private prisons can save states and the federal government 5 to 15 percent on operational costs. The company also can build facilities more cheaply, he said. CCA is contractually required to meet or exceed training requirements that states they work for set for themselves, Owen said. In addition, the company has made sure its prisons in Arizona comply with accreditation standards put in place by the American Correctional Association, a Virginia-based trade group. Many communities, meanwhile, eagerly welcome private prisons because the facilities generate jobs and economic activity. CCA prisons in Florence and Eloy, for example, employ 2,700 people. Last year, the company paid $26 million in property taxes, Owen said. What's next -- Lawmakers from both parties have called for hearings into what went wrong in Kingman. Presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry Goddard has said he would push to bring back the 2008 private-prison bill. Goddard also is calling for an immediate re-evaluation of the system used to classify and place inmates in facilities. The five-tiered system, which allows some violent criminals to migrate to lower-security facilities for good behavior, met with bipartisan criticism in the wake of the escapes. Two of the three inmates who escaped from the medium-security Kingman prison had been convicted of murder. Goddard said the three recent escapees never should have been in a medium-security prison. Charles Ryan, director of the Department of Corrections, announced Thursday that the state would slow its bidding process for the 5,000 new private-prison beds pending additional review. Brewer has said little publicly about the escape but told The Republic last week that she is committed to holding prison operators responsible for mistakes they made. She said she has ordered Ryan to conduct a "complete review to make sure that inmates are appropriately secured and in the right kinds of facilities." While Brewer remains confident that private prisons are well suited to house less-violent offenders, she said: "What has happened is unacceptable, and I am absolutely pushing for more accountability."

August 20, 2010 Arizona Star
An executive with the firm that runs the private prison from which three dangerous inmates escaped promised Thursday to beef up security but said that's no guarantee it won't happen again. "Escapes occur at both public and private," Odie Washington, a vice president of Management and Training Corp., said while noting it's incumbent on the company and state to do whatever is necessary to close those security gaps prisoners can take advantage of. But a security review of the MTC-run prison near Kingman, released Thursday, reveals that what Washington referred to as "gaps" were more like chasms. As a result, State Corrections Director Charles Ryan has ordered 150 of the highest-risk prisoners removed. The report shows the prison perimeter-alarm system was essentially useless. Bulbs showing the status of the fence were burned out on a control panel. Guards were not patrolling the fence. And a door to a dormitory that was supposed to be locked had been propped open with a rock, helping the inmates escape. Washington, however, said that's not the fault of the corporation. He said company employees at Kingman never told anyone at the corporate headquarters about the problems. Ryan admitted his own audit team, which had been to the prison before the July 30 escape, "didn't see or didn't report" the shortcomings. All that is significant because the three inmates escaped when an accomplice tossed them wire cutters and they made a 30-by-22-inch hole that went undetected for hours. Of particular concern to Ryan is the fence. "What was found were excessive false alarms," Ryan disclosed, noting over 16 hours on July 30 there were 89 alarms. "The system was not maintained or calibrated." The result, he said, was employees were "desensitized" to the alarms going off, and it took 11 to 73 minutes for staffers to check out problems and reset the alarms. "That is absolutely unacceptable," he said. The last of the three inmates, a convicted murderer, along with an accomplice, was recaptured Thursday night. The other two were recaptured, but not before they were linked to the deaths of an Oklahoma couple who were in New Mexico. "This is a terrible tragedy, and the department and the contractor have a lot of work to do," Ryan said. The findings prompted Ryan to put limits on what kind of criminals can be housed at the facility. Until now, the 1,508-bed medium-security section has included people convicted of murder. His order removes, at least from Kingman, anyone convicted of first-degree murder, anyone who attempted escape in the last decade and anyone with more than 20 years left on a sentence. All told, 148 inmates were taken from the facility. But Ryan would not rule out allowing murderers back in the prison after he is satisfied that security has been upgraded. He defended the classification system that allows convicted murders - and even lifers - to serve their time in medium-security prisons. Gov. Jan Brewer sidestepped questions about the system, saying it was in place long before she became governor in January 2009. "It is something that maybe should be reviewed," the governor said Thursday, but added, "That classification is used across America." Ryan said he remains convinced there is a role for private prisons. About 6,400 of the more than 40,000 people behind bars in Arizona are in private prisons. Another 1,760 Arizona prisoners are at an out-of-state facility. The Republican-controlled Legislature remains very much in favor of private prisons, as does Brewer. That support hasn't wavered because of the escape. Brewer said the report from Ryan underscores her belief the escape was caused by human error, and nothing inherent in private prisons. "It's very obvious those alarms should have been responded to," the governor said. But the problems that Ryan sketched out go beyond the actions - or inactions - of guards. Washington admitted there are "significant construction issues" with the perimeter fence and the alarm system that will have to be handled. And Ryan found flaws with the entire way MTC allowed the facility to be operated. For example, he said no one was making regular checks along the fence to look for breaches. And Ryan said guards were "not effectively controlling inmate movements" within the prison system. Other flaws included inmates not wearing required ID badges, grooming requirements being ignored and proper searches of people going into the facility not being done. Casslyn Welch, the woman accused of providing the wire cutters and a vehicle, was banned from the prison after she was caught trying to bring in drugs. But Ryan said prison officials still allowed her to talk to inmates on the phone, making it possible for her to help plan the breakout. Welch and John McCluskey, her fiancée and cousin, were caught Thursday night in northeastern Arizona. Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick have been recaptured. Another problem is that the design of the prison allows anyone to drive up close to the facility. Corrections officials want traffic routed away from the fence.

August 20, 2010 AP
An unattended campfire and a suspicious forest ranger led to the arrest of two of the most wanted fugitives in the U.S., ending a three-week nationwide manhunt that drew hundreds of false sightings, authorities said. John McCluskey fled July 30 with two other inmates from a private prison in northwest Arizona and evaded authorities in at least six states before being caught Thursday evening just 300 miles east of the prison. Authorities arrested McCluskey, 45, and his alleged accomplice Casslyn Welch, 44, at a campsite in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona. Welch, who is McCluskey's fiancee and cousin, reached for a weapon but dropped it when she realized she was outgunned by a swarming SWAT team, said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona. Officers apprehended McCluskey without incident after finding him lying in a sleeping bag outside a tent. He told authorities he had a gun in his tent and would have shot them if he had been able to reach for it. It was a peaceful close to a manhunt that authorities had said was likely to end in a bloody shootout between officers and desperate outlaws who fancied themselves as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. "The nightmare that began July 30 is finally over," Gonzales said. The fugitives' ruse began to crumble about 4 p.m. Thursday when a U.S. Forest Service ranger investigated what appeared to be an unattended campfire, Gonzales said. He found a silver Nissan Sentra backed suspiciously into the trees as if someone were trying to hide it. The ranger had a brief conversation with McCluskey, who appeared nervous and fidgety. A SWAT team and surveillance unit surrounded the campsite and swarmed on the fugitives, Gonzales said. McCluskey told officers he wishes he would have shot the forest ranger when he had the opportunity, authorities said.

August 18, 2010 AP
Past audits of the Arizona state prison where three inmates escaped last month gave the facility high marks and revealed few issues with security or staff training, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The escape on July 30 has put corrections officials and the operator of the privately run prison under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. But if there was an indication of any widespread security problems at the facility that houses minimum- and medium-security inmates, it doesn't show in the internal audits. On security issues, the audits showed overall compliance rates of 98.8 percent in 2007, 99.9 percent in 2009 and 99.5 percent in 2010. Nearly 2,870 areas of security were audited over the three years and 37 were marked as noncompliant. One security issue was tagged in 2006. No audits were done in 2005 or 2008 because of fiscal constraints, said Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson. No independent audits of the Kingman prison have been done. The audits instead are conducted by a team of about 15 made up of staff at the corrections department and the prison who are considered subject matter experts. The audit team evaluates areas of the prison that include security, training, medical, food service and business for compliance with the state contract and other orders. A yearly schedule of audits is available in July, giving prisons advance notice, Marson said. Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Working Group, said it's difficult to tell whether the audits are a true reflection of the operations at the prison without attached documentation to support the findings. The group advocates against private prisons he said typically overwork, underpay and don't properly train the staff. "Audits are used a lot of times to make things look like they're OK," he said. "Maybe they are OK. I doubt it." Corrections Director Charles Ryan has said the prison operator would correct the security deficiencies that contributed to the escape of John McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick. Criminal and administrative investigations into the escape are ongoing. McCluskey's fiancee and cousin, Casslyn Welch, is accused of throwing wire cutters over a perimeter fence that the men used to slice their way out and flee. Welch's visitation privileges at the prison were terminated after a random search in June during a visit to McCluskey turned up what was believed to be heroin. Welch told investigators that she was paid by members or associates of a white supremacist group to smuggle the drug into the prison but didn't say who it was intended for. State legislators have urged corrections officials and Gov. Jan Brewer's office to release the results of a security review done following the escape. Corrections officials said the report still is being written and should be released this week.

August 14, 2010 Santa Fe New Mexican
Lost in the Bonnie and Clyde tale of Arizona fugitives on the run for two weeks is the grisly slaying of an Oklahoma couple whose bodies were found in a burned-out travel trailer on a remote ranch in Eastern New Mexico. Police have linked the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas last week to the inmates and the woman who helped them escape, but they are keeping a tight lid on what happened as the couple traveled to an annual camping trip with friends in Colorado. Family and friends say they have no idea how the Haases' paths would have crossed with escaped convicts John McCluskey and Tracy Province and their accomplice, Casslyn Welch. Blood inside the couple's pickup — found days later in Albuquerque — makes the family certain of one thing: The 61-year-olds put up a fight. "So much of the story has been the bad guys this and the bad guys that," said Cathy Byus, the Haases' daughter. "That's important too. We want them out there too, but we don't want people to forget the human side of this."

August 14, 2010 Las Vegas Review-Journal
Key personnel have resigned their posts at a privately operated state prison where three dangerous inmates escaped last month. The Management & Training Corporation, which houses 3,500 minimum- and medium-security inmates at the Arizona State Prison-Kingman, confirmed the departures Friday. "MTC accepted the resignation of Warden Lori Lieder and her unit's chief of security this week," MTC spokesman Carl Stuart said. Lieder and the security chief were administrators at the Hualapai Unit, the medium security wing of the complex from which the inmates made their July 30 getaway. Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said he has directed changes and upgrades in security and operations protocols at the prison. Increased perimeter patrols and increased control and restriction of inmate movement within the units are among his directives. MTC operates 11 private prisons, including two in Arizona.

August 13, 2010 USA Today
An Arizona fugitive's accomplice was acting as a drug mule for a white supremacy group and agreed to become a police informant weeks before she helped him escape from prison, authorities said Friday. Casslyn Welch, and her fiance and cousin John McCluskey, are now considered among the most wanted fugitives in America after authorities say Welch helped McCluskey and two other men escape from the Arizona State Prison in Kingman by throwing wire cutters over a fence. Daniel Renwick and Tracy Province have since been captured. Welch was visiting McCluskey at the medium-security prison in June when a random search of Welch and her vehicle turned up marijuana, heroin and drug paraphernalia, Mohave County sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter said. Welch wasn't jailed because she agreed to become an informant, and she provided information about the suppliers of the drugs, Carter said. Welch told investigators she was being paid by members or associates of supremacists to smuggle heroin into the prison as she had successfully done three times before, but she declined to say who the items were intended for at the prison. Fidencio Rivera, chief deputy U.S. marshal for Arizona, said authorities believe Welch and McCluskey have minimal ties to white supremacy groups in or out of prisons and "we're not expending much resources on that right now." Investigative efforts were focused Friday in Arkansas, where Welch has family, and Montana, where the two were last seen Aug. 6, but Rivera said the pair could be anywhere. They are financing their getaway by committing crimes along the way and using their experience as long-haul truck drivers, Rivera said. "Our stance is they're being very reactionary at this point and time, playing off the cuff," he said. A reward of up to $35,000 is being offered for information leading to their arrest. They are believed to be traveling in a 1997 Nissan Sentra that is gold, gray or tan in color, and authorities say that the two likely will become more dangerous as the manhunt continues. Marshals are asking travelers at truck stops along highways and in campgrounds across the nation to watch out for the couple, who may have dyed their hair and otherwise changed their appearance. "We know they're out there and they're committing crimes out there to get money," Rivera said. "They have limited funds, they're sleeping in their car, they're staying at rest stops, campsites. They're not using a whole lot of money." Marshals and border officials in Montana are following up on what leads they have, but there have been no developments in the past few days, said Rod Ostermiller, Montana's acting U.S. marshal. "At this point in time, just because of the time frame we're working with, we're expanding way beyond Montana," Ostermiller said Friday afternoon. Welch is facing a growing list of charges since the July 31 escape, including kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault. She was charged last week with six counts of narcotics violations for the drugs she's accused of bringing to the prison. Welch told investigators in June that the marijuana belonged to her, Carter said, but she picked up what she was told was heroin packaged in balloons from two men in Phoenix and was paid $200 each time she smuggled it into the prison, according to police records. On the night of the escape, Welch had packed a getaway car nearby with cash, weapons and false identification, Rivera has said. But Renwick, Province, McCluskey became disoriented and could not find the car after they cut through the prison fence. The group split up, and Renwick found the vehicle and drove off, leaving the other three to hijack a tractor-trailer and head to Flagstaff. Renwick, who was serving time for second-degree murder, was arrested after a shootout with law enforcement in Rifle, Colo., two days after the escape. The rest of the group was linked through forensic evidence to the deaths of an Oklahoma couple whose bodies were found in their charred camper in eastern New Mexico last week, authorities there said.

August 11, 2010 AP
The manhunt for a fugitive from Arizona and his fiancee shifted from Montana to Arkansas after they were suspected of holding up a beauty supply store there Wedneday morning, the U.S. Marshal's Service said. A couple who robbed Kut and Curl beauty salon in Gentry, Ark., fits the description of John McCluskey and his fiancee, Casslyn Welch, said David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona. The town of about 2,000 is in northwest Arkansas, nearly 1,600 miles from the small Montana town where the pair was last spotted on Sunday. The Benton County Sheriff's Department said it is investigating the robbery, but U.S. Marshals there haven't positively identified the couple. "We're trying to use any means possible — surveillance cameras, anything possible to determine (their identifications)," said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Gary Gray of the Western District of Arkansas. "Right now, Benton County is working this incident as a crime that happened in their jurisdiction. In the event it is tied to something else, we're all working together on this." McCluskey, 45, and Welch, 44, have eluded capture since he and two other inmates escaped from an Arizona prison on July 30. Welch's mother lives near Gentry, authorities said. Welch was last spotted Sunday at a restaurant in St. Mary, Mont., on the eastern border of Glacier National Park and authorites thought the couple may be trying to cross into Canada. Interpol issued an international alert for the two Wednesday. Since then, authorities had not had any credible leads in the northern Montana valley near the Canadian border, where Glacier National Park meet the vast, open Great Plains.

August 9, 2010 FOX
Questions surround the escape of three violent convicts from a prison in Kingman, casting a shadow on Arizona's relationship with the private prison industry. Officials are reviewing security measures at private prison facilities, and are looking into the future of private prisons in our state. "My concern about this has been the manner in which the facility was operated. I do not believe that the physical plant itself from which these inmates escaped was the issue, it is the performance of the staff that concerned me," says Chuck Ryan, Arizona Department of Corrections Director. State Attorney General Terry Goddard is calling for a break in new contracts with private prison companies, until security issues can be ironed out and a review of their relationship with the DOC is undertaken. "We have basically turned a very significant direction in our state towards more and more private prison operations without looking at the consequences. I'm afraid those consequences have been put in very stark relief by the escape of three violent prisoners," says Goddard. Ryan told us he's in the process of reviewing his team's findings at the facility but offered no further comment on what the future may hold for the state of Arizona and its relationship with MTC. "Until we review their findings and their recommendations it would be premature to comment further about that," says Ryan. Guards at private prisons do not carry weapons and are not trained law enforcement officers. The three convicts escaped on July 30 -- one alarm never sounded and it remains to be seen whether prison guards went to check the second alarm. Prison staff didn't realize they were missing until a 9 p.m. head count, which was five hours after they were last accounted for. The local sheriff's office wasn't alerted until more than an hour later, and state corrections officials found out about the escape at 11:37 p.m. House Democrats are calling for a special session to address security issues with private prisons. The governor's office has not yet sent a comment.

August 9, 2010 Arizona Daily Sun
Authorities in Arizona have charged two women with helping convicted felons after they escaped from prison in the northwestern part of the state. The Arizona Attorney General's Office on Monday charged 42-year-old Diana Joy Glattfelder and 68-year-old Claudia Washburn with hindering prosecution and conspiracy to commit escape. Glattfelder lives in Prescott Valley and is the ex-wife of escapee John McCluskey. Washburn, of Payson, is McCluskey's mother. Both are accused of providing money, supplies or transportation to the inmates and their alleged accomplice, Casslyn Welch. It was not clear if the women had attorneys. Three violent inmates escaped from a prison near Kingman last month. Two have been captured but authorities say McCluskey is still on the run with Welch.

August 9, 2010 PCWG
Who’s Guarding the Private Prison Guardians? At about 9:00 p.m. on Friday, July 30, alarms began to go off at the Management and Training Center’s (MTC) Arizona State Prison at Golden Valley, near Kingman. Other alarms appeared to be defective and didn’t sound. Only when an evening count was taken was it apparent that three extremely violent inmates had escaped. The Mojave County’s Sheriff’s Office was finally notified of the escape at 10:20 p.m. Another 80 minutes elapsed before MTC notified state officials with the Arizona Department of Corrections. The media wasn’t alerted until mid-morning on Saturday, and thus the public was not informed about the dangerous escapees until that time. Casslyn Mae Welch, the first cousin and fiancée of prisoner John McCluskey, allegedly had been caught smuggling drugs into the MTC-operated prison. That night she threw bolt cutters over the fence to McCluskey and his partners in the escape, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick. Welch then distracted a perimeter guard to cover their getaway. Province, a neo-Nazi, and another recent parolee had stabbed a robbery victim 51 times in 1991. Renwick ambushed and killed his ex-girlfriend and her father in 2000. McCluskey had attempted to kill a man and an arresting officer in 2009, but his shotgun jammed. Around midnight on July 30, McCluskey, Welch and Province hijacked a semi-truck parked by the highway in Kingman, kidnapped the drivers and forced them to drive to Flagstaff, 150 miles away. They released them about 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and then fled, possibly aided by another accomplice. On August 1, an alert sheriff’s deputy in Rifle, Colorado spotted Renwick driving a Ford Bronco. A quick-thinking police officer chased and disabled the SUV after shots were fired at his cruiser, capturing Renwick. Three days later a pickup belonging to Gary and Linda Hass, a 61-year-old vacationing Tecumseh, Oklahoma couple, was abandoned in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their cremated remains were found at a burned-out camper a hundred miles east in Santa Rosa on August 7. Forensics evidence has tied their deaths to the MTC escapees. Police used On-Star to locate the missing pickup. From there, the police believe the killers headed north to Yellowstone National Park. Tracy Province was captured in Meeteetse, Wyoming on August 9 – eleven days after the escape. A massive manhunt for Welch and McCluskey continues, concentrated in Yellowstone. Arizona Dept. of Corrections Director Charles Ryan laid the blame for the escape at MTC’s feet. “My concern is that the staff at this prison may have been lax in doing their job, and that probably created the opportunity so that they could escape,” he said. On Memorial Day there had been a riot at the MTC-operated Golden Valley facility. News of that disturbance also was delayed, and the scope and severity of the incident were substantially minimized. Additionally, MTC’s Marana prison near Tucson rioted on February 10, 2010, resulting in injuries among both prisoners and staff. Although it’s a small corporation, since 1995 over a dozen prisoners have escaped from MTC facilities in Utah, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Eagle Mountain, California where two inmates were also murdered during a race riot. There has been no explanation regarding MTC’s responsibility for uncorrected security failures and the amateurish lack of timely notification that may have prevented this most recent tragedy. It is yet another example in a long history of lapses and failures of oversight that is pervasive in the private prison industry, where the motive of companies to generate profit by cutting corners leads to incidents that endanger public safety. Until for-profit private prison companies and the lawmakers who support them are held accountable, avoidable tragedies such as the recent MTC escape are certain to recur. Unfortunately, any reforms will come too late for Gary and Linda Haas. The Private Corrections Working Group (PCWG) is a non-profit citizen watchdog organization that works to educate the public about the significant dangers and pitfalls associated with the privatization of correctional services. PCWG maintains an online collection of news reports and other resources related to the private prison industry, and holds the position that for-profit prisons have no place in a free and democratic society. www.privateci.org. For more information, please contact: Ken Kopczynski, Executive Director Private Corrections Working Group 1114 Brandt Drive Tallahassee, FL 32 (850) 980-0887 kenk@privateci.org

August 9, 2010 MSNBC
One of two convicted killers who escaped from an Arizona prison has been captured in Wyoming, law enforcement officials said Monday. Tracy Province, 42, was arrested Monday morning while walking in the small Wyoming town of Meeteetse, about 80 miles from Yellowstone National Park, said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for the Phoenix area. At the time of the arrest, Province was carrying a hitchhiking sign with "Casper," the name of a town in east-central Wyoming, written on it, officials said. He also had a 9mm handgun in his possession, Gonzales said. At first the man denied he was Province, then admitted his identity and said he was "relieved this manhunt was over for him," Gonzales said. The other escapee and a suspected accomplice remained on the loose. The search for them was centered in an around Yellowstone and intensified after authorities said they linked one of the inmates to a double homicide in New Mexico. The U.S. Marshals Service said earlier that information indicates Province, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch might be hiding in portions of the park that span Montana and Wyoming, though investigators believe Province had separated from McCluskey and Welch. The fugitives reportedly have ties to white supremacist groups, MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt said Monday, and could be seeking sympathizers to help them flee the law.

August 8, 2010 CNN
Authorities believe two Arizona prison escapees and their alleged accomplice may be in the Yellowstone National Park area of Montana and Wyoming, based on recent information, the U.S. Marshals Service said Sunday. John Charles McCluskey, 45, and Tracy Province, 42, are described as armed and dangerous. They have been at large since fleeing an Arizona prison on July 30. A third escaped inmate, Daniel Renwick, 35, was arrested the day after the escape in Rifle, Colorado, where he got in a shootout with police.

August 7, 2010 AP
The mother of one of three inmates who escaped from a northwestern Arizona prison was arrested Saturday after authorities suspected she helped two of them. Claudia Washburn, 68, was arrested at her home and place of business in Jakes Corner south of Payson on charges of conspiracy to commit escape, hindering prosecution and facilitation to commit escape, said Thomas Henman, supervisory deputy at the U.S. Marshals Service. He said Washburn is the mother of John McCluskey, who escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman with Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick on July 30. Authorities believe McCluskey’s fiancee and cousin — 44-year-old Casslyn Welch of Mesa — helped the inmates escape by throwing wire cutters over the prison fence. Henman said Washburn is suspected of giving financial and other types of support to help McCluskey, Province and Welch. Renwick was arrested Aug. 1 in Rifle, Colo. following a brief car chase and shoot-out.

August 7, 2010 AP
Two men who escaped from a private Arizona prison and a woman thought to have helped them have been linked to the investigation of a couple’s killing in New Mexico, authorities said Saturday. New Mexico State Police spokesman Peter Olson said Tracy Province, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch were linked through forensics but he declined to provide specifics. He declined to say whether police believe the three were responsible for the killings, adding that “we don’t know how involved they are.” Province, McCluskey and Daniel Renwick escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman on July 30 after authorities say 44-year-old Casslyn Welch of Mesa threw wire cutters over the perimeter fence. Renwick was arrested in Colorado on Aug. 1. The prison is managed by a Utah firm, Management & Training Corp., of Centerville. The badly burned skeletal remains of Linda and Gary Haas, both 61, of Tecumseh, Okla., were found in a charred camper on Wednesday morning on a remote ranch in Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico. Olson said a car belonging to the couple was found 100 miles west in Albuquerque on Wednesday afternoon.

August 4, 2010 AP
The three inmates didn't seem to arouse the least bit of suspicion when they sneaked out of their dorm rooms and rushed to the perimeter of the medium-security prison. Alarms that were supposed to go off didn't. No officers noticed anything amiss. And no one was apparently paying attention when the violent criminals sliced open fences with wire cutters and vanished into the Arizona desert in their orange jumpsuits. The series of blunders surrounding the escape and the state's practice of housing hardened murderers and other violent criminals in private, medium-security prisons have placed Arizona corrections officials under intense scrutiny in recent days. Two of the fugitives remained at large Wednesday as the manhunt entered its fifth day. Authorities believe the inmates have left Arizona and were heading east with a girlfriend who allegedly threw the wire cutters over a fence and fled with two of them. Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said he met Wednesday with representatives of the Utah-based prison company Management and Training Corp. and that they "have been assured that MTC is committed to addressing and correcting the security deficiencies that contributed to the escape." Ryan said a corrections security team at the prison was completing a comprehensive evaluation, and he would meet with MTC next week to finalize a plan. Investigators were focused on how the inmates managed to go undetected for several hours around the time of the escape and why three violent criminals were allowed in a medium-security prison in the first place. An Arizona lawmaker said the state needs to overhaul its inmate classification system, which allowed the prisoners to get put into the medium-security lockup despite their violent pasts. Corrections officials said their prison behavior was good enough that they downgraded the inmates' threat risk, clearing the way for placement in the facility. "One thing we might have to look at is saying if you're convicted of a crime that is as serious as murder, that you are always considered a high risk," said David Lujan, a state lawmaker who unsuccessfully sought to regulate the types of inmates held in private prisons. "They may be a moderate risk to the staff when they're inside. But when you see what happens outside afterward, obviously, they're more than a moderate risk to the public." The Arizona State Prison in Kingman sits amid nothing but a dusty field, three miles from a major east-west interstate highway. It opened in 2004 and was designed to house repeat drug and alcohol offenders and set them on a path to rehabilitation, but eventually grew to include more serious offenders in a separate unit. That was where Daniel Renwick, 36, Tracy Province, 42, and John McCluskey, 45, plotted their escape. Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, including allegations that he stabbed his victim multiple times over money. Renwick was serving two 22-year sentences for two counts of second-degree murder, and McCluskey was doing 15 years for attempted murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm. Authorities originally said McCluskey was convicted of murder, when it was in fact attempted murder. Province has a dozen prison disciplinary infractions since 1996 — many of them drug-related. He worked in the prison's kitchen, while Province and McCluskey worked in the prison dog kennel, where they trained the animals for adoption. The trio last was accounted for at 4 p.m. Friday, said Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson. Staff noticed the men missing in a head count and after electronic sensors along the perimeter fence sounded around 9 p.m. The local sheriff's office wasn't notified of the escape until 10:19 p.m., and state corrections officials weren't called until 11:37 p.m. "I think there was a concern by everyone that it was after the fact," said Trish Carter, a spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office. "Time is of the essence during this type of incident. The faster you get there, the more likely you're able to catch these inmates who escaped the facility." The three hopped a fence in the area of the dog kennel and used wire cutters that McCluskey's fiancee, who also is his cousin, had thrown over a fence to cut through two perimeter fences and flee. Carl Stuart, a spokesman for MTC, indicated that the dog program might have to be suspended because of the incident. He declined to comment further on security at the 3,508-bed prison. Province, McCluskey and his fiancee, 44-year-old Casslyn Mae Welch of Mesa, kidnapped two semi-truck drivers at gunpoint in Kingman and used the big rig to flee to Flagstaff, police said. Renwick was captured Sunday after an early morning shootout with an officer in Colorado. Ryan has said "lax" security may have created an opportunity for the men to escape, and authorities are looking into whether prison staff members might have aided the inmates. Ryan also has said the prison contractor will "be on the hook" for costs associated with finding the fugitives. The fugitives were among more than 115 inmates housed at the medium-security unit where others convicted murderers were held. Under their classification, they were considered a moderate risk to the public and staff. They weren't allowed to work outside the prison and were limited in their movement within the prison walls. The men were in orange jumpsuits when they escaped, which should have been easy to spot against the desert backdrop, said Kristen Green of Phoenix, who visits an inmate at the prison. "Guards should be on top of this, people in the control room should be on top of this," she said. "There's no way that they should have missed these guys, three of them going through a fence? This was pretty well planned."

August 3, 2010 AP
Three convicted murderers escaped a privately run prison in Arizona by using wire cutters that a woman threw over a fence, a state Department of Corrections spokesman said Tuesday. Officials also said prison staff didn't realize the inmates were missing Friday until after sensors on the perimeter fence sounded and a 9 p.m. head count, which came five hours after the three were last accounted for by prison staff. The woman who authorities say helped in the escape is Casslyn Mae Welch, 44, of Mesa — the fiancee and cousin of John McCluskey, one of the three inmates. She was waiting outside the prison in Kingman as the inmates breached a perimeter fence with the wire cutters and escaped, said department spokesman Barrett Marson. A security camera captured Welch driving a blue sedan around the facility that holds minimum- and medium-security inmates. Corrections Director Charles Ryan has said "lax" security created an opportunity for the men to escape. He's scheduled to meet with representatives of the prison operator, Utah-based Management and Training Corp., on Wednesday, Marson said. "We are going over everything that happened during the night of the escape, and many issues will be addressed with MTC," Marson said. A spokesman for MTC, Carl Stuart, declined to comment on security at the 3,508-bed facility. The local sheriff's office wasn't alerted until more than an hour after prison staff discovered the three were missing, and state corrections officials found out about the escape at 11:37 p.m., Maroon said. Daniel Renwick, 36, was captured Sunday in western Colorado. Tracy Province, 42, the 45-year-old McCluskey and Welch had kidnapped two drivers of a semi-truck in Kingman early Saturday morning and traveled in the rig to Flagstaff, where they left the drivers unharmed, authorities said. The three remain at large and are believed to be together in Arizona, said U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Thomas Henman. Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, and McCluskey was serving 15 years for second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm. Renwick was serving a 22-year sentence for second degree murder. Renwick was being held Tuesday in a Colorado jail on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, vehicular eluding, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and felony escape. His bail is set at $2.5 million. Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson in Colorado said his office is reviewing the case and will decide whether to file charges by Aug. 11. "He's presumed innocent," Beeson said. "But if what we have seen in the reports is true, then I would say you're not going to come into my jurisdiction, shoot at officers and not be taken to task for it. My intent is, if we have business to do, we will do it, and accomplish it, and then we would be glad to turn him over to whomever wants him." According to an arrest affidavit, a Garfield County, Colo., sheriff's deputy noticed a vehicle with its lights off in a church parking lot and found that it matched the Arizona license plate of a Chevy Blazer connected with the fugitives. Another officer noticed the vehicle pulling out of the parking lot and chased it for three miles on an interstate until Renwick slowed down and exited. Renwick shot through the rear window of the Blazer, and Rifle, Colo., police Officer William Van Teylingen said he heard objects hitting his car. Teylingen rammed Renwick's vehicle, which came to a stop in a hotel parking lot. Teylingen's airbag activated in his cruiser and by the time he got out, Renwick was lying on the ground behind the cruiser. Teylingen found a rifle in the Blazer and a hole in a headlamp on his cruiser.

August 3, 2010 AFSC
The escape of three prisoners from the Kingman prison on Friday July 30, 2010, highlights continuing concerns about the management of state prison facilities by for-profit corporations, according to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The Kingman facility is run by Management and Training Corporation of Ogden, Utah. MTC also runs the Marana Community Correctional Center, and is one of four prison corporations that have submitted bids to the Arizona Department of Corrections to build and operate up to 5,000 new state prison beds. This incident comes on the heels of a riot at the Kingman facility in June in which eight prisoners were injured. The escapes are being blamed on lax security and a failure to follow proper protocol. The prisoners reportedly were able to sneak out of their dormitory and cut through a perimeter fence without being detected. "You get what you pay for," said Caroline Isaacs, Director of the AFSC's Arizona office. "These for-profit prison corporations are primarily concerned about the bottom line and making money for their CEO's and shareholders." Isaacs charges that the companies cut corners everywhere they can, but primarily on staff pay and training. The result is a facility with high turnover rates, where the staff is inexperienced and the prisoners have nothing productive to do. Such a prison is unsafe for the inmates, the guards, and the surrounding community. This is not the only Arizona private prison scandal to make headlines recently. A prison run by Corrections Corporation of America in Eloy was recently on lockdown after prisoners from Hawaii rioted over an Xbox video game. When a staff member attempted to intervene, he was severely beaten, suffering a broken nose, broken cheekbones and damage to his eye sockets. The incident was the latest episode in a history of violence that has plagued the facility. Two prisoners are facing a possible death sentence in the fatal beating of another inmate there last February. These types of incidents are "alarmingly common" in privately operated prisons, Isaacs says, citing patterns of mismanagement, financial impropriety, abuse, and medical negligence. Further privatization of Arizona's prisons will be a financial boondoggle for a cash-strapped state and a nightmare for the host communities, she warns. "Arizona's legislature needs to take a good look at the track record of these companies before they spend any more of the taxpayers' money on this failed experiment."

August 3, 2010 KGUN9-TV
When a prison inmate escaped--who killed a woman's husband and daughter, she says 19 hours went by before the Arizona Department of Corrections informed her she could be in danger. KGUN 9 wants to know why. Daniel Renwick was one of three inmates who escaped from a privately run prison in Kingman. For Vicki Walker learning that Renwick escaped brought back a world of bad memories. "He murdered my husband and my daughter, " she said. "They were in their vehicle and he shot them, leaving my grandson who was 14 months. Kaleb now is ten." The way she heard of the escape made things worse. A son in law in another state saw it on the news and called her. Mrs. Walker says, "As a victim I'm supposed to be notified right away if there's an escape or if he's released and I did not hear from Department of Corrections for 19 hours." KGUN9 News asked Arizona Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan what went wrong. Ryan said, "The Department was also not advised immediately about the escape by Management Training Corporation and it's unfortunate it took as long as it did."

August 3, 2010 Arizona Republic
When the man who plunged a knife 51 times into their loved one received a sentence of life in prison in May 1993, Bryan Knoblich and his mother hoped they would never hear Tracy Province's name again. In 1991, Province and David Rodacker were on leave from jail when they attacked Norman Knoblich, 57, as he closed his coin-operated laundry business in Tucson. The pair left Norman dead and took only his wallet. Nineteen years later, Bryan Knoblich and his mother are again on the lookout for his father's killer. Province, 42, John McCluskey, 45, and Daniel Renwick, 36, escaped from a privately run medium-security state prison in Kingman on Friday night. "My first thought was, 'Are you kidding?' " Bryan said, recalling when he heard Province's name on the weekend news. "He's a twisted guy. Why weren't they in a maximum-security facility?" It's a question Mohave County supervisors and other officials are asking as authorities continue their search for Province and McCluskey. Renwick was recaptured Sunday in Colorado. "It's one thing when it's vehicular homicide and you're drunk," County Supervisor Buster Johnson said Monday of such prisoners. "But these people shouldn't be allowed anywhere else but in (maximum security)." While the manhunt continues, officials with the county, the Arizona Department of Corrections, and Management and Training Corp., the Utah-based company that operates the facility, are studying how the men penetrated several layers of security. Unarmed prison officials sounded the alarm about 9 p.m. after Province, McCluskey and Renwick missed their head count, Johnson said. An hour passed before the Mohave County Sheriff's Office was notified that the men somehow had made their way through locked doors and avoided surveillance cameras, ground and fence sensors, guard towers and roving ground patrols before cutting a hole in fencing near a dormitory. Officials are now investigating whether the escapees had inside help. "That's the question," Johnson said. "With this whole situation, this does bring up some concerns." Authorities believe the men were assisted by McCluskey's fiancee, Casslyn Welch of Mesa. They are believed to have hijacked two semitrucks and driven to Flagstaff before purchasing a car in Goodyear. Renwick was captured in Rifle, Colo., following a shootout with local authorities. No one was hurt and Renwick was booked into the Garfield County Jail. Although state officials have said all three men were serving time for murder, court records show McCluskey was serving 15 years for attempted murder after he fired a shotgun into a Mesa home in March 2009. He told police he would have killed his target had his weapon not jammed, records say. "He (McCluskey) also indicated that he would have shot the officer who detained him," court documents state. The Kingman facility holds 3,508 inmates, according to Carl Stuart, a Management and Training Corp. spokesman. Of those inmates, 117 are serving life sentences, with 57 being housed on first-degree murder and 60 on second-degree murder convictions, according to state corrections officials. The facility is classified as a medium-security prison, meaning it houses "inmates who represent a moderate risk to the public and staff," state Corrections Department Director Charles Ryan said in a release. Prison officials are seeking bids to add an additional 5,000 beds at the prison, which means the facility could house inmates from other states, Johnson said.

August 1, 2010 AP
A convicted murderer who escaped Friday with two other men from an Arizona prison fired a bullet at Rifle police before being arrested early Sunday morning, police say. Lt. J.R. Boulton said no one was injured during the incident, in which Daniel Renwick, 36, was then apprehended after an officer used his car to ram the vehicle the man was driving. Renwick was arrested after first drawing the attention of a Garfield County sheriff’s deputy in the Rulison area. Renwick was one of three convicts who authorities say escaped Friday evening by cutting a hole in a fence at an Arizona state prison. The other two and an accomplice remained at large Sunday, authorities said. Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson said authorities there have no information leading them to believe the other escapees are in Colorado. Rather, information from law enforcement suggests they are still in Arizona, said Charles Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Boulton said Renwick was alone when he was arrested. Marson said the other two inmates should be considered especially dangerous because of the nature of their convictions. Officials identified them as Tracy Province, 42, who was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, and John McCluskey, 45, serving 15 years for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm. Marson said the men are believed to be with Casslyn Mae Welch, 44, who is suspected of aiding in the escape. Renwick is being held without bond in the Garfield County Jail, the Sheriff’s Department said. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, vehicular eluding and escape. The escapees kidnapped two semitrailer drivers at gunpoint in Arizona and initially used their truck to flee, authorities say. Boulton said he believes Renwick was arrested in a Chevy S-10 Blazer. Rifle police believe that the vehicle is owned by an acquaintance of Renwick. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that a sheriff’s deputy noticed a suspicious vehicle in the Rulison area, and while the deputy was trying to get behind the vehicle on Interstate 70 and check the license plate, the driver’s behavior became more suspicious. The driver got off at the west Rifle I-70 exit, dispatchers confirmed with the deputy that the vehicle was associated with the Arizona escape, and the deputy prepared to pull over a high-risk vehicle, the Sheriff’s Department said. Rifle police were dispatched to the west Rifle exit at 12:16 a.m. Sunday. The driver left as they prepared to approach and drove east on I-70, refusing to pull over, then exited at the main Rifle interchange. Boulton said the driver fired a shot that struck the front of a patrol car before police rammed his vehicle. He then surrendered without incident, Boulton said. Boulton said he believes at least two Rifle officers and a sheriff’s deputy were involved in the arrest. “They did everything they should have done. Everybody got to go home,” he said. The Sheriff’s Department said deputies used dog teams at the scene and there was no indication that other escapees were in the area. Renwick and the others escaped from a medium-security prison in Golden Valley, Ariz., Marson said. Renwick was serving two consecutive 22-year sentences for second-degree murder for shooting a father and his daughter, Marson said. His sentence expiration date was 2043. KOLD TV in Tucson reported that the daughter was Renwick’s ex-girlfriend. Police spent much of Saturday using helicopters and dogs to search for the three men. At about 5 a.m. Saturday, the group kidnapped two drivers of a semitrailer in Kingman, Ariz., and forced them at gunpoint to drive two hours east to Flagstaff, said Flagstaff police Sgt. James Jackson. The group left the drivers, unharmed, in the truck at a stop just off Interstate 40 and then fled. “The truck drivers were lucky to get away unscathed,” Jackson said. “I mean, they’ve been convicted of murder and they’re escaping from prison.” Authorities said Welch was seen at the prison before the escape driving a blue 1996 Chrysler Concord car with Arizona license plate ABL7584. Authorities urged anyone with information on the escaped prisoners to use caution and call police immediately. Province was last seen wearing dark blue jeans, a dark purple polo shirt with red stripes and white tennis shoes. McCluskey was wearing light-colored blue jeans, a white button-up shirt with horizontal and vertical blue stripes, and white tennis shoes. Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, operates the prison where the escape occurred. The company operates 17 correctional facilities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Idaho and Ohio, according to its website. Ryan said Sunday that the escape is under investigation. “We have great concerns that there was laxness on the part of security staff at this private prison, but I’m going to allow the investigation to run its course,” said Ryan, who plans to meet with prison officials in the next day or two.

July 31, 2010 AP
Three prison inmates convicted of murder escaped from a northwest Arizona prison Friday after cutting a perimeter fence. Helicopters and police dogs searched for the men, who were found missing Friday evening from the Arizona State Prison in Golden Valley. The men are considered armed and dangerous. Flagstaff police believe the men kidnapped two people at gunpoint in the Kingman area, left them in Flagstaff and continued in an unknown direction. The missing prisoners are: Tracy Province, who was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery; Daniel Renwick, who was serving 22 years for second-degree murder; and John McClusky, who was serving 15 years for second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm. Police also believe the men got help from a woman named Casslyn Mae Welch and may still be traveling with her. Anyone with information on the escaped prisoners should call police immediately. They were last seen wearing orange prison jumpsuits.

June 2, 2010 Arizona Daily Sun
State prison officials are investigating the circumstances of a brawl at a privately run prison in Kingman that left eight inmates injured. The fight in a minimum security unit of the Arizona State Prison-Kingman involved black and white inmates, some using padlocks wrapped in socks as weapons. Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson says Monday's altercation lasted nearly 45 minutes. A spokesman for prison operator Management and Training Corporation says no staff members were hurt. Of the eight inmates taken to a hospital, seven were released after treatment and one hospitalized for a non-fight related condition. The prison remained on lockdown on Wednesday.

June 2, 2010 Kingman Daily Miner
The Cerbat unit of the Arizona State Prison-Kingman was on lockdown Tuesday following an incident on Memorial Day. Carl Stuart, spokesperson for Management and Training Corporation, which operates the prison, said a fight broke out among inmates in the east yard of the minimum security Cerbat unit around 1 p.m. Monday. He said it is unclear how many inmates were actually involved in the fight since the vast majority were simply spectators. The fight lasted nearly 45 minutes and was between black and white inmates, according to Barrett Marson, director of communications for Arizona State Prison. Some of the inmates used padlocks wrapped in socks as weapons. Eight inmates were taken to the hospital following the fight. Seven were observed and released, while an eighth inmate was treated for a condition unrelated to the fight. No staff members or guards were injured, according to Stuart. Officials are still investigating what caused the altercation to break out. Stuart said the lockdown was a precautionary measure and would last indefinitely. Inmates in the Hualapai unit were on restrictive movement, meaning that all non-essential activities, such as rehabilitation classes, were temporarily suspended.

Arizona State Prison Complex- Safford
May 29, 2014 america.aljazeera.com

SAFFORD, Ariz. — Regan Clarine found out she was pregnant just two days before she was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars for possessing a narcotic for sale. Giving birth to her baby daughter while she was incarcerated at the state prison complex near Tucson was an experience she says nearly killed them both. Clarine says her first indication things were not right with her health care was when she asked prison officials for an ultrasound. She was worried she wasn't gaining enough weight, but they never gave her one. Instead, Clarine said that after about nine months, prison doctors sent her to the hospital to induce labor, but when the baby still didn’t come, they performed a cesarean section against her wishes. When Clarine went back to her cell, her C-section wound re-opened. “It was big enough for me to put my fist in there,” she said. “It was the worst pain I’d ever been through in my life.” Clarine said she alerted guards, but they refused to let her see a doctor, leaving her on the prison yard with a gaping wound for two weeks. When she finally saw medical staff, she said they told her that she was lucky to be alive. They treated her with a wound vacuum. Then, she said, they employed an antiquated medical treatment. “They decided to use sugar … like McDonald’s sugar,” she said. “They would open it and pour it inside [the wound] and put gauze over and tape it up. And I had to do that for like three weeks.” Clarine’s story is one of dozens. Like many other states, Arizona privatized its prison health care system two years ago. In a six-month investigation, “America Tonight” found disturbing cases of inadequate treatment, and evidence that Wexford Health Sources, the first private company Arizona contracted to provide prison health care, was aware that it was violating prisoners’ constitutional rights. Arizona’s system is currently run by Corizon Health, the largest private prison health care provider in the country. Now, for the first time ever, one of its former employees is blowing the whistle about its failures. Teresa Short was a patient care technician for Corizon, but lost her job in late March for refusing to go to work while suffering from a case of scabies she caught from a prisoner. Short said she thought it would be unethical to treat patients while she was still contagious. She had already infected a family member, she said, and feared her son could contract it and bring it to his high school. According to Short, Corizon and Arizona prison officials have been trying to cover up the outbreak, which now includes the original prisoner and seven staff members. (Read Corizon's response.) But the most persistent problem at Corizon, Short said, was staffing. “We have a lot of dementia patients that take time in feeding,” she said, “and because of the short staff we'd have to stand there for hours to try to feed them and it was just not permitted.” Sometimes, those patients would go unfed, she said. Others who were incontinent would sit for hours in their own feces, she said. And still others died. Short described one dementia patient who had a vascular catheter in his arm for dialysis treatments. He didn’t understand what it was and kept playing with it, she said, so she repeatedly told senior staff he needed additional supervision. Instead, they sent him back to his cell, alone. At 5 a.m., she went in to check on him. Former Corizon patient care technician Teresa Short said some Arizona prisoners have died because there weren't enough medical staff on duty.

Former Corizon patient care technician Teresa Short said some Arizona prisoners have died because there weren't enough medical staff on duty. America Tonight “[I] could smell blood before I even went into the room,” she said. “And when I turned on his light, it looked like somebody had been murdered. There was blood all over the room. I screamed for help.” Short said the man had unplugged the catheter and quickly bled out. If Corizon had employed more staff to monitor patients, she said, he might still be alive. There are some numbers to back up Short’s claims. Since the state privatized its prison health care, medical spending in prisons dropped by $30 million and staffing levels plummeted, according to an October report from the American Friends Services Committee, a Quaker social justice organization. It also found a sharp spike in the number of inmate deaths. In the first eight months of 2013, 50 people died in Arizona Department of Corrections custody, compared with 37 deaths in the previous two years combined. According to a 2012 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the health care in Arizona’s prisons now amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, with prisoners at serious risk of "pain, amputation, disfigurement and death.” The suit cites examples of Arizona health officials telling prisoners to pray to be cured and drink energy shakes to alleviate cancer symptoms. “People are often sent to prison for two-year, three-year sentences that have turned into death sentences because of the absence of the basic minimal care,” said Dan Pochoda, legal director for the ACLU in Arizona. He said in his 40-year career, he’s never seen a worse prison health care system. In an emailed statement, Corizon spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern said that the company could not discuss individual cases because of privacy laws, but that “the vast majority of our current staff levels exceed contract requirements,” and that their care follows the guidelines of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the American Correctional Association. “Our goal is always to provide quality care while being good stewards and making the best use of public funds,” she wrote. “As for lawsuits, we treat hundreds of thousands of patients in millions of healthcare encounters each year,” she added. “… The majority of lawsuits are brought by inmates without an attorney representing them and are dismissed or resolved prior to trial.” (Read the company’s full statement.) 'He had plans' After his cancer, inmate Tony Brown's pain medication was switched from morphine to less-powerful Lortab. After his cancer, inmate Tony Brown's pain medication was switched from morphine to less-powerful Lortab. America Tonight Tony Brown is another inmate who died since Arizona privatized its prison health care. He was serving a 10-year sentence for aggravated assault and was due to be released last September. “They were supposed to come down for Thanksgiving this year,” his daughter Jenna Jumper said. “He never got to meet my husband and he wasn't there when I got married, so they were going to come visit.” Brown was in remission from esophageal cancer, according to his medical records, and had been prescribed morphine for the pain. But in October 2012, the prison ran out of the drug. Medical staff switched him to Lortab, a weaker painkiller. In a video taken by prison guards and obtained by “America Tonight,” Brown is seen just after he was put on the new medication, writhing in pain while handcuffed to a gurney. His medical records show that guards told nurses his condition was worsening and that he "needed to be checked out." But there is no record of medical staff visiting his cell. In another video taken two days later, a prison chaplain checks on Brown at his wife’s request. “Inmate Brown, I spoke with your wife earlier today,” the chaplain is heard saying. “Can you communicate with me please? I’d like to speak with your wife later on. Is there something I can tell her?” Brown, face down on a bunk, barely moves and doesn’t respond. A guard can be heard saying, “Is it me or does this just not feel right to anybody else?” The guards started CPR and nurses came to assist, but 40 minutes passed before they realized no one had called an ambulance. He died in a hospital the next day. Two days later, his widow Jami Brown said she finally received a call back from Wexford, the private prison health care company in charge at the time. “My biggest thing is that if people would stop to realize that he did have family,” his daughter said, “and that he did have a child and he did have a wife and he had plans.” The official cause of death was listed as complications from cancer. But Brown's family is suing Wexford, claiming he died from lack of adequate medical care. In a statement, Wexford attorney Ed Hochuli said he couldn’t discuss details of the case because of the lawsuit and health care privacy laws, but wrote: "Based on the limited information we have at this time, though, I am very confident Wexford Health and its employees acted appropriately, and further investigation of this claim will demonstrate and prove the lack of any wrongdoing or negligence by Wexford Health.” But there are signs that Wexford was aware of problems. “America Tonight” obtained a copy of a PowerPoint presentation written by top Wexford executives for a meeting with the Arizona governor's office in November 2012 – four months after the company started providing care in the state. It warned that the care it and the Department of Corrections were providing was "not compliant with … requirements" and that "the current class action lawsuits are accurate." It recommended an overall operational cleanup, staffing reassessment and the appointment of a governor’s office liaison. The PowerPoint presentation also says that the department's "transparency" policy with the media could "encourage negative press." 'A grain of sugar' State Rep. John Kavanagh said Clarine’s story about being treated with sugar didn’t seem like a “true allegation,” adding that it “sounds ridiculous.” State Rep. John Kavanagh said Clarine’s story about being treated with sugar didn’t seem like a “true allegation,” adding that it “sounds ridiculous.” America Tonight Prison officials deny any problems with privatized care. Richard Pratt, the interim director of the health services division of Arizona’s Department of Corrections, told “America Tonight” that staffing levels since privatization were “basically the same.” “Corizon staffing levels have been coming up on a monthly basis to the point even last month the hours that they were working with their existing staff exceeded the contract requirements,” he said. He also denied there was a scabies outbreak, as Teresa Short had charged. But Pratt emphasized that privatizing health care wasn’t a decision made by the Department of Corrections. “It was legislated and mandated and it was the law,” he said. “So we were forced to do this.” Legislators who supported the privatization promised that it would save taxpayers money, while maintaining adequate levels of care for inmates. The majority of states have privatized prison health care, rewarding private companies for keeping costs down. “I mean, people die in prisons,” said state Rep. John Kavanagh, who wrote the legislation that privatized the state’s prison health care. “I receive a lot of handwritten notes from prisoners. I receive emails from prison families with all sorts of allegations of crazy behavior. And then, you call the prison people up and they usually have a reasonable explanation for it.” Kavanagh said Clarine’s story about being treated with sugar didn’t seem like a “true allegation,” adding that it “sounds ridiculous.” “You know prisoners have 24/7 to think up allegations and write letters,” he said. “I'm not saying that some of them can't have a basis in fact. But you got to take them with a grain of salt or in the case of the hospital, with maybe a grain of sugar.” Kavanagh was also dismissive of the ACLU lawsuit. “I think most people who get into [class-action lawsuits] wind up with nothing and the lawyers walk away in limousines with their trunks full of cash,” he said. No bid, nothing: Richard Pratt, interim health services director for Arizona’s Department of Corrections, denies that there’s a scabies outbreak in prison and says that Corizon’s staffing levels have exceeded the requirements of the contract. Richard Pratt, interim health services director for Arizona’s Department of Corrections, denies that there’s a scabies outbreak in prison and says that Corizon’s staffing levels have exceeded the requirements of the contract. America Tonight Before Tony Brown’s death, Wexford was already coming under fire after a contract nurse exposed more than 100 inmates to hepatitis C by using dirty needles to deliver medication, according to the Department of Corrections. Four months later, Arizona severed ties with Wexford and awarded the three-year, $369 million contract to Corizon, which has similar contracts in 28 states, according to its website. But it has faced problems in many of them; in the last five years, Corizon has been sued for malpractice 660 times. Arizona Democratic House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said the Legislature didn't properly vet Corizon before signing the contract. “No bid. Nothing,” he said. “It was deemed an emergency situation by Department of Corrections so they didn't have to go through the normal process.” Campbell also noted that Corizon had just hired the former head of the Department of Corrections, who was the mentor of the current head of the department. That’s not the only tie that members of the state government have to private prisons. Charles Coughlin, the former campaign strategist for Gov. Jan Brewer, runs a lobbying firm called HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which represented one of the country’s largest private prison companies. HighGround donated $5,000 to Jan PAC, Brewer's super PAC. Then in late March, Kavanagh allocated $900,000 in state funding to the private prison company GEO Group Inc., even though the Department of Corrections said it wasn’t needed, according to the Arizona Republic. “They're profiting on taxpayer dollars and to me, if I'm going to hand out money to a private entity, I want to make sure it's being spent wisely,” said Campbell, who is now calling for an investigation. The governor's office declined a request from “America Tonight” for an interview and referred us back to Kavanagh, who said the allegations that Brewer accepted bids because of personal relationships were “baseless.” “I think they're propaganda,” he said. “I mean, people say to me I've gotten campaign contributions from private-prison people. Well, yeah. I got from a lobbyist who represents them but that lobbyist also represents 40 other clients in different industries. It's smoke and mirrors. It's a façade.” In the meantime, allegations of wrongdoing continue to mount. According to the American Friends Service Committee report, an inmate at the Whetstone Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex tested positive for tuberculosis in August. But Corizon did not test other prisoners, even those who were doing community service outside the complex. A healthy baby: Clarine walks out of prison, escorted by her father Clarine walks out of prison, escorted by her father America Tonight Earlier this month, Regan Clarine completed her sentence. “America Tonight” met her as she was released into the waiting arms of her father, Paul. “It’s one of the happiest days of our life,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll never have to do this again.” They drove to a nearby hotel to reunite with the rest of the family, including her 11-month-old daughter, Rylan. They’d met a handful of times on brief prison visits, but Rylan didn’t recognize her mother. Still, Clarine was happy to see her so healthy. She responded to Kavanagh’s allegation that she was probably making up her story with a laugh, saying, “That’s crazy. I don’t think I could even come up with something like that … Sugar?” To add insult to injury, her mother, Lori, said the prison has billed her $2,000 for Rylan’s birth. She is disputing the charges but fears it could hurt her credit if she doesn’t pay them. She says privatized prison health care simply isn’t working. “You know, she got her just punishment,” Lori said. “But, oh my goodness, they're still human beings. Take care of them.”

Benson, Arizona
Corplan

May 11, 2010 San Pedro Valley News-Sun
The Benson City Council was not persuaded on the idea of having a detention center built to house illegal immigrants without more proof that the federal government would pay for it. In a short discussion Monday night, the council heard from James Parkey of Corplan Corrections, headquartered in Texas. Corplan Corrections has proposed building a detention center near the Benson Municipal Airport using a $21 million bond the city would secure. Corplan said the bonds would be retired from funds paid by federal agencies to house illegal immigrants in the holding facility. But City Manager Glenn Nichols said he has checked with numerous agencies such as Immigration Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshal's Service and U.S. Customs, and all stated they would only use such a facility if there is a valid contract. With no contract in place, Nichols recommended the council not proceed with plans to build the facility. Parkey, who attended Monday's meeting, said there would be no liability to the city, and Corplan Corrections is asking the city to back the plan so they can "go to Washington and find a contract." Councilman Al Sacco said the liability to the city is "our good name." The first-term council member said he would not support such a proposal ever. Parkey said with more illegal immigrants being apprehended by authorities in Southern Arizona, this proposal is Benson's opportunity to get ahead economically. Councilwoman Jo Deen Boncquet said the city could secure bonds and use funding on projects more beneficial to the city, noting that illegal immigration is a hot topic in Arizona right now, and Benson should stay out of the business. Vice Mayor Toney King said when he first heard the proposal in January, it sounded like a good business venture for the city, but now, with so many questions surrounding the project, the risks aren't worth it. Councilman John Lodzinski said with too many unanswered questions it's better to "keep my hand on the city wallet." Councilman David Lambert questioned the deal, stating if it was such a good investment, why didn't the company find sponsors or investors, instead of having the city secure the required funding. Mayor Mark Fenn said at this time he agrees with fellow council members, telling Parkey that Corplan should get the federal contracts in writing before coming to cities with the proposal. Councilwoman Lori McGoffin was not in attendance, and no action was taken on the issue.

April 28, 2010 San Pedro Valley News-Sun
Allowing a private detention center to operate in Benson is not in the city's best interest said Michelle Brane, the director of the detention and asylum program for the Women's Refugee Commission. In fact, Brane said private prisons like the proposed 200-bed facility are "horrible for rural communities." Corplan Corrections, a Texas Company, wants to build a 104,000-square-foot facility to house mostly women and children who are in the country illegally. The company known for building prisons and detention centers in the U.S., has promised the city big payouts if they sponsor the $27 million bonds needed to pay for the prison construction. Representatives of Corplan, including Toby Michael and James Parkey, have told city officials and council members that the bond is paid for through federal funding. Corplan Corrections has already selected a 25-acre parcel that would hold the facility, that they are calling a "Family Residential Center of the Southwest," near Benson Municipal Airport. However, Brane said the promise of federal funding is not a true statement. "I have spoken to the Department of Homeland Security, and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement because if Corplan were to get funding, it would be from them," she said. "At this point there are not any (request for proposals); there have been no discussions with the federal government. Nothing is a sure thing and in fact I would say highly doubtful." City Manager Glenn Nichols said city staff has moved forward with investigating whether this would be a good economic move for the city, and it will be discussed by the City Council during the May 10 regular meeting. Nichols said the biggest concern remains accountability. "We have seen nothing in writing from the Department of Corrections that this would definitely be funded," he said. The second concern is the city's liability if the bond were to go into default. Corplan Corrections says there is no liability on the city's part, but Nichols said they are not completely sure. Nonetheless, the direction the city will take will depend on how the council votes on May 10. Nichols said the council will be presented the information, discuss it and vote to either move forward with the process or stop it. Corplan Corrections has painted a picture of great economic promise if Benson moves ahead with the project. In closed-door meetings with council members, Corplan has promised a federally funded facility that would house 500 women and children in the country illegally and would create up to 150 jobs. The city has also been told they would get an increased revenue stream of $218,000 a year. Similar facilities have been proposed in New Mexico and Texas, and one became a failure in Hardin, Mont., where the city signed off on $27 million in bonds in 2007 for a 200-bed facility. The facility was constructed, but to this day sits empty with no federal grant funding or per diem fees as promised by Corplan Corrections. Kim Hammond, mayor of Hardin, has warned cities like Benson to tread lightly when considering the proposals brought forth by private companies like Corplan.

March  9, 2010 San Pedro Valley News-Sun
While members of the Benson City Council have been given private sessions to hear the sales pitch that might bring a detention center to town, residents Monday night had to hear the news second hand. Mayor Mark Fenn led the discussion, reciting a sales pitch he was given by Corplan Corrections, a Texas company that wants to build a 104,000-square-foot facility to house mostly women and children who are in the country illegally. Representatives of the project, Richard Reyes of Innovative Government Strategies, and James Parkey and Toby Michael of Corplan Corrections, did not attend the first public meeting regarding the proposal. Following the company pitch, Fenn said it would not be a detention center like the one proposed about six years ago when residents vehemently opposed a 500-bed facility off State Route 80. Instead, the facility, that could be built near the Benson Municipal Airport off Ocotillo Road, is being called a "Family Residential Center of the Southwest," a 25-acre project that would only house families and children. Fenn said it would be the first facility of its kind. Fenn said the center would be federally funded, but that is not really the case. The center would be paid for with revenue bonds the city would issue. The revenue from the federal per diem for residents would pay off the bonds, as long as the center wins a contract from the federal government. That is not guaranteed. The city would be responsible for retiring the revenue bonds, whether or not they win the bid. This would not be the first center of its kind. Parkey was involved in a similar project in Hardin, Montana. That city signed off on $27 million in bonds to fund the construction of a 200-bed center that was supposed to house women and children awaiting asylum, deportation or court. The prison was built in 2007, but remains empty to this day, and Hardin is now responsible for the bonds that are now in default. According to published reports, Parkey promised Hardin that Corplan Corrections would take care of everything; there would be no liability and the town would benefit economically because it would bring 150 high-paying jobs. In Hardin, $27 million in bonds were secured. Benson will have to create a corporation that would secure $21 million in revenue bonds to pay for the prison construction. Corplan Corrections has promised the bonds will be paid for by per diem fees that federal agencies will pay the private corporation over the next 21 years, at which time Benson would assume full ownership of the facility. Corplan Corrections has also looked at other cities searching for a council willing to build the family centers. In Las Cruces, N. M., city officials are still considering the exact same facility after questions were raised in February. However, approval may be harder to get now that a state senator has joined the debate. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who represents Las Cruces, questioned whether or not the promise of federal funding is legitimate. The senator told reporters he was unaware of any federal initiatives to fund such a project, and if there were, the Department of Homeland Security would first put such a project out to bid, instead of taking a "build it and the money will come approach." Corplan Corrections pitched the same project in Las Cruces it is now trying to sell in Benson, stressing that it would not be a detention center. In a February public meeting in Las Cruces, Toby Michael of Corplan said, "This is not a detention center. It is an extended-stay center. We're not going to be housing criminals, but for the fact that they are undocumented immigrants ... there will be no bars, no cells, no razor wire on the fences. Residents will be housed in a safe and secure environment." While Corplan Corrections contends they are not proposing a detention center, residents of the facility will be held against their will. Fenn and other council members said they would proceed cautiously, noting they do have some concerns about the company's reputation and how the financing would work. But, Fenn told some weary residents in the audience that Benson could benefit from such a facility. "I have a feeling if someone was presenting a similar facility as a university with dorms, we would say great and would all embrace it," he said. "I realize that the nature of the center is very controversial. Do we as a city put our foot down and say as Americans we don't support this? At some time there could be up to 150 well-paying jobs. You have to balance all that. How much of our political opinion do we interject into city business? I will go on record saying I don't completely endorse this facility. The company may have a checkered history and background and a lot of questions to answer on finances." Fenn said if the facility isn't built in Benson, it will be built somewhere else where another city could reap the economic benefits. The council also defended their actions during the 25-minute discussions. In a short speech to defend the elected board, Councilman David Lambert said they have not gone behind the public's back in considering the measure, but have attended several personal meetings with Corplan Corrections. Lambert said no laws were broken in the meetings because only three council members were present at a time, therefore a quorum was never formed. Lambert did not say how many meetings council members have had with the developers. Councilwoman Lori McGoffin excused herself from the discussions entirely, citing a possible conflict of interest. The second-term councilwoman said Corplan Corrections has contacted her employer, the Medicine Shoppe, about providing pharmaceutical supplies to the facility once it opens. After discussions, the council directed city staff to continue researching the proposal. According to the Corplan Corrections Web site, the for-profit Texas company specializes in building detention centers for illegal immigrants, correctional facilities and prisons.

Canyon State Academy
Quenn Creek, Arizona

February 24, 2003
Phoenix police are investigating allegations that a female employee at the Canyon State Academy had an affair with a 16-year-old resident of the boot camp for delinquent boys.  Formerly known as Arizona Boys Ranch, the non-profit academy in Queen Creek has struggled in the past with allegations of misconduct by employees toward students, mostly involving alleged physical and emotional abuse.  According to Phoenix police, the youth's mother lodged a complaint Feb. 16, saying an adult instructor had a sexual relationship with her son.  (AzCentral.com)

Central Arizona Correctional Facility
Florence, Arizona
GEO Group
Apr 29, 2013 ktar.com        

PHOENIX -- Federal authorities said a prison management group has agreed to pay $140,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit in Arizona. The Arizona Civil Rights Division and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the settlement Monday involving the GEO Group Inc. The EEOC and ACRD claimed that male managers at a GEO-managed private prison facility in Florence sexually harassed numerous female employees and fostered an atmosphere of sexual intimidation and harassment. They claimed that one prison supervisor at Florence West routinely made crude, obscene and suggestive sexual remarks to female employees, often in front of other management officials who didn't stop the harassment. Florida-based GEO runs more than 100 private prison facilities across the country. A call to GEO officials for comment on the settlement wasn't immediately returned Monday afternoon.

October 4, 2010 Arizona Republic
A federal agency filed a lawsuit last week alleging a private company that operates prisons in Florence sexually harassed and retaliated against female employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's lawsuit against GEO Group Inc. alleged the company and some male managers supervising correctional officers fostered a "sexual and sex-based hostile work environment" at two Florence prisons that allowed harassment and retaliation against female employees. GEO Group, which operates Arizona State Prison-Florence and Central Arizona Correctional Facility in Florence, declined to comment on the EEOC lawsuit. The EEOC alleges GEO Group was aware but failed to take measures to prevent the harassment. The EEOC case stems from a harassment complaint that a female employee filed in June 2009 with the Arizona Civil Rights Division and the EEOC. The lawsuit alleged the prison operator retaliated against her after she filed her complaint. The EEOC said the male employees engaged in verbal and physical harassment of female employees. A male manager grabbed and pinched a female employee, and a female employee was forced on a desk and kissed and touched by a male employee, the lawsuit says. The federal agency reportedly attempted to reach a voluntary settlement with the GEO Group before filing the lawsuit. The Arizona Attorney General's Office previously filed suit and investigated complaints against the prison operator. The EEOC is authorized under federal law to collect compensatory and punitive damages, which are not available under Arizona law. It was the fourth discrimination lawsuit announced last week by the EEOC against Arizona employers. The federal agency also filed lawsuits against a Peoria car dealership, a Bullhead City Mexican eatery and a Phoenix restaurant. Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix office, said the agency filed a batch of lawsuits last week due to work-flow issues. Agency attorneys focused on new cases after they finished other duties such as trials and filing motions in existing cases.

Central Arizona Detention Center
Florence, Arizona
CCA
Dec 2, 2012  By JJ Hensley The Republic

A U.S. Marshals agent who was responsible for coordinating a $124 million annual contract with Corrections Corporation of America in Florence is facing criminal charges in federal court over an attempt to secure a job with the private-prison operator. Thomas B. Bullen, 58, is on unpaid leave from the Marshals Service pending the outcome of the agency’s administrative investigation into his conduct, said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona. Bullen referred a request for comment to his attorney, who did not return repeated messages. Bullen pleaded not guilty to the allegations at a hearing in October and is due to go to trial in the spring. Bullen served as chief administrative officer for the Marshals Service from 2006 until early 2011, according to court documents, when he was demoted and assigned to oversee the agency’s contract with the CCA, whose Florence facility holds defendants in federal cases awaiting trial “What I do now is oversee a $4 billion, 20-year contract with (the CCA). … I go throughout the facility and compare the contract with what they are doing,” Bullen wrote of his job, a description included in court documents. “I make surprise inspections at all times of the day or night; and file reports with the Arizona U.S. Marshals Service and also confer with the Office of Federal Detention Trustee in Washington, D.C.” One of Bullen’s primary contacts was a woman referred to in court documents as “M.C.” About nine months into his new job, Bullen learned that M.C., who worked as the health-services administrator at the CCA, was going to retire, prompting Bullen to approach her about applying for the job. Bullen applied for the job in October 2011, interviewed in November and was offered the job later that month. The day he received the job offer, Bullen notified his supervisor that he was going to take a position with the CCA. “This e-mail was the first time that anybody at the USMS had received notice of Bullen’s possible departure,” according to court documents. The indictment notes that Bullen received ethics training, which included instructions barring federal employees from seeking employment that conflicts with their official duties, including a session the month before he started seeking the position with the CCA and another in 2008. “During that training, Bullen was specifically instructed that ‘if an employee who participates personally and substantially in a federal procurement exceeding $100,000 is contacted by a vendor/bidder with an offer for employment,’ the employee must ‘refuse the offer and report the contact in writing to a supervisor,’” according to court documents. Federal prosecutions for conflict of interest are relatively rare, averaging about 13 cases in each of the last five years, according to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. None has originated in Arizona. The most frequent prosecutions were for employees charged with violating the same section of the U.S. Criminal Code that Bullen is accused of violating, and they are typically resolved with guilty pleas, probation and fines. Prison time is rare but is exercised in some cases. In 2009, a Georgia woman was sentenced to three years in prison following a three-day trial in which prosecutors proved she was using her position with the Department of Veterans Affairs to place mentally ill veterans in an assisted-living facility in which she had a financial interest.

January 28, 2011 Star-Advertiser
The Abercrombie administration is starting to make good on the governor's promise to bring all state prison inmates incarcerated on the mainland back to Hawaii.The state returned 243 inmates from Arizona last week and sent back just 96 to take their place. Of the 243 returning inmates, 54 are getting paroled, 28 are about to complete their prison terms and three are back for court hearings. When Gov. Neil Abercrombie promised swift action last month to bring back all Hawaii inmates serving time in mainland prisons, state Senate Public Safety Chairman Will Espero was not expecting action so soon. "I was pleasantly surprised," he said. Espero said he learned of the returning inmates yesterday from state Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata. He said the state conducts prison transfers quarterly, but it usually sends at least the same number of prisoners to the mainland as it returns. He applauded Abercrombie's plan to bring back all Hawaii inmates. "If we're going to spend $60 million a year to house inmates, I'd rather spend it here in Hawaii than on the mainland," Espero said. The state returned 152 inmates to Hawaii on Jan. 19, sent 96 to Arizona on Jan. 20 and returned an additional 91 last Friday. The transfers leave 1,759 Hawaii inmates in Arizona: 1,705 in Saguaro Correctional Center, 51 in Red Rock Correctional Center, two in Florence State Prison and one in Central Arizona Detention Center. Central Arizona, in Florence, and Saguaro and Red Rock, both in Eloy, are private prisons operated by Corrections Corp. of America, which houses Hawaii inmates under contract with the state. Abercrombie made his promise after 18 Hawaii inmates at Saguaro sued CCA, the state and the state's contract monitor. The inmates claim they were beaten and assaulted and their families threatened by prison guards. The Public Safety Department sent a team to examine practices at Saguaro last year after two Hawaii inmates died in February and June. The state returned all but one of the 169 women serving time in a CCA prison in Kentucky in 2009 after the inmates reported widespread sexual abuse by guards and prison employees.  The Abercrombie administration is starting to make good on the governor's promise to bring all state prison inmates incarcerated on the mainland back to Hawaii.

November 25, 2010 Florence Reminder
Contract talks between Corrections Corporation of America and the union continued Monday in Chandler, but the business agent for the local said he wasn’t very optimistic for a breakthrough in negotiations that started in May. “I think [CCA is] going through the motions. The bottom line is they don’t want the union here,” Robert Inman said. A company spokesman in Nashville disagreed, saying the company is working in good faith toward an amicable solution. At issue is a new three-year contract for employees at CCA’s Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence. The majority of CADC detention officers, approximately 350 in all, don’t belong to the Security, Police & Fire Professionals of America Local 825. Just over 100 do belong. The union is seeking a 4 percent raise in each of the next three years, which Inman said is what local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees received in their new contract. Union members have said CCA is offering 10 cents an hour. CCA spokesman Steve Owen declined to discuss specific dollar amounts “out of respect for the negotiating process.” But he said CCA does have a proposal in front of the union that offers a raise and “preserves outstanding benefits.” But Inman said even with the raise the union is seeking, CADC employees would still earn considerably less than they would at ICE. “Twenty-two bucks [an hour at CADC] is not bad, but up the street [at ICE] it’s 26, 27 and 28.” He said a regular ICE detention officer earns about $26.87 per hour, while transportation officers and armed guards earn about a dollar more. Inman said the union would also like to secure CADC employees some bereavement leave, which they have at ICE. Owen said CADC and ICE don’t house exactly the same inmates. He said CADC does have ICE detainees, but there are other partners too. “I wouldn’t call it identical” to the local ICE facility, he said. He said CADC also holds inmates for the U.S. Marshal Service and the Pascua Yaqui tribe. Inman said CCA can simply pass on the costs of the new contract to the federal government. It submits the contract to the U.S. Department of Labor for approval. If the wages are too high, the government takes the union to a “variance hearing.” But Owen said it’s “not as simple as passing along an increase to the government. “... Our governmental partners are working under increasingly-tight budgets,” Owen said. “... We’ve seen contracts pulled and jobs lost because it was advantageous for the government to relocate where wages are lower.” He said CCA had a U.S. Bureau of Prisons contract in California, but when it was up for renewal, the government opted for a less-expensive contract in Georgia, even though “they were highly complimentary of our facility.” Inman said he isn’t worried the union is seeking a wage that will put the facility in jeopardy. “I’ve been doing this 15-16 years. If we’re too high, the government will take us to a variance hearing. That’s why we try to stay on the parameter of not pricing ourselves out of business. “... We don’t want to price ourselves out of a job. Our goals are good working conditions, a good living for your family, getting your kids an education, taking your kids on a vacation every year and making a halfway-decent dollar.” Owen said CADC already pays a wage above what the federal government sets, yet is still offering a raise. “We’re making decisions that won’t hurt our ability to do business, and hurt our employees by the loss of jobs. ... The company is not going to agree to demands that don’t make good sense.” Owen said the union has barred two-thirds of represented employees from voting on the contract; Inman agreed that nonmembers don’t have a vote. CCA had proposed a federal mediator to help negotiations progress, but the union backed out of that meeting, Owen said. Inman replied that the mediator was scheduled to be present Monday.

November 18, 2010 Florence Reminder
Members of the Security, Police & Fire Professionals of America Local 825 picket in front of Central Arizona Detention Center Friday. The union represents 102 of the 300 or so officers at CADC, which is operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The union has been bargaining for a higher hourly wage in a new three-year contract. A union member who said he could not give his name per company rules said they’re seeking half the amount of raise recently won by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees, who work with federal inmates like they do at CADC. A CCA spokesman could not be reached for comment earlier this week. The two sides are scheduled to resume talks on Monday. Union members said CADC is CCA’s only union prison in Arizona.

April 21, 2010 ABC 15
A former Arizona correctional officer pleaded guilty this week to attempting to give a prison inmate drugs, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Juan Nunez, 41, of Coolidge, admitted he attempted to provide the inmate with cocaine while he worked at the Corrections Corporation of America Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence. On November 6, 2008, Nunez met with an undercover FBI Special Agent in a parking lot in Tucson, according to a news release. During the meeting in the agent's car, Nunez reportedly took half an ounce of cocaine and $1,600 in cash as payment for delivering the drugs to the inmate. Nunez was arrested without incident after he got out of the car, according to authorities.

January 13, 2009 Press Release
A report released today by the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program describes harsh conditions of confinement for the roughly three hundred women housed in immigration detention facilities in Arizona. The report, Unseen Prisoners: A Report on Women in Immigration Detention Facilities in Arizona, is based on over a year of research, including over 40 interviews with detainees, their family members, attorneys, and service providers. “Few people realize that we are locking up huge numbers of immigrants every day and holding them for months and in some cases years at a time. They are not being punished for a crime, and yet they are held in facilities that are identical to, and often double as, prisons or jails,” said Nina Rabin, the lead researcher and author of the report. “Women immigration detainees in particular are an invisible population. We hope this report will raise awareness about women locked up just an hour away from here in conditions that would shock most Americans. We also hope to raise awareness about the U.S. citizen children separated from their mothers right now because of immigration detention.” The report provides detailed information about day-to-day life in the three facilities that house women immigration detainees in Arizona: Central Arizona Detention Center, Pinal County Jail, and Eloy Detention Center. Rabin and several University of Arizona law students conducted interviews and extensive background research for the report over a twelve month period between August 2007 and August 2008. Rabin described the study’s participants: “In our small sample size of detainees who agreed to participate in this research study, we encountered pregnant and nursing mothers, domestic violence victims, low-wage workers swept up in worksite raids, and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and sexual violence.” The federal agency in charge of the detention and removal of immigrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), contracts for two of the facilities to be run by the private prison company the Corrections Corporation of America. In the case of Pinal County Jail, ICE contracts with the county. ICE permitted the researchers access to two of the three facilities, but declined requests to interview ICE representatives or facility personnel for the report. Rabin met with ICE representatives in December to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations. Key findings of the report include: • Family separation: The majority of women interviewed were separated from at least one U.S. citizen child under the age of 10 and were transferred to Arizona from out of state. As a result, they were hundreds or at times thousands of miles away from their families and communities during their time in detention. • Severe penal conditions for women who are not serving criminal sentences: Women described conditions of confinement that are in many cases more restrictive than in county jails or prisons, including limited access to recreation, a complete absence of programming or activities, frugal provision of food and other supplies, and the routine use of strip searches and shackling during transport. • Aggressive government prosecution and detention of women who pose no security threat or flight risk: Attorneys reported that ICE routinely appeals decisions to release pregnant women on bond; rejects or does not respond to applications for humanitarian parole of victims of domestic violence, refugees, or women with serious health conditions; and refuses to reduce bonds for families unable to pay. • Inadequate medical care: Women reported inadequate gynecological and obstetrical care, long waits for medical attention, and dismissive responses to medical requests. The report contains detailed recommendations for Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, and the individual facilities researched. Recommendations range from broad policy changes, including the need for increased consideration of the impact of immigration detention on families, to specific facility-level concerns, such as the lack of outdoor recreation in Pinal County Jail. The report will be available beginning on January 13, 2009, at http://www.law.arizona.edu/depts/clinics/ilc//UnseenPrisoners.pdf. For more information, please contact Nina Rabin at (520) 621-9206 or rabin@email.arizona.edu.

December 19, 2008 West Central Tribune
Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 34, formerly of Appleton, appeared Friday afternoon before District Judge David Mennis in Benson to face a Swift County grand jury’s indictments on first-degree, premeditated murder and second-degree, intentional murder in the Sept. 12, 2004, shooting death of his wife, Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26. Lemcke’s family was able to post $10,000 bail for him by late afternoon and allow for his conditional release, according to his attorney, Brian Wojtalewicz of Appleton. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General William Klump asked the court to set bail at $1 million, but Judge Mennis offered Lemcke two options. He could post a $100,000 bond or $10,000 cash and be released on conditions that require he not leave the state without the court’s approval. Or, he could post $1 million bond or $100,000 cash bail and be released without conditions. In asking for $1 million bail, Klump argued that Lemcke represented a flight risk due to his connections in Arizona and the possibility of fleeing into Mexico, as well as the seriousness of the charges against him. A first-degree murder conviction carries the possibility of life in prison, while a second-degree murder conviction could result in a 40-year sentence. Wojtalewicz called the $1 million bail request “absurd.’’ He said Lemcke desperately wanted to be reunited with his 5-year-old daughter and poses no risk. He told the court that Lemcke was returning from Scout camp with his daughter and was only one hour from the Mexican border when Wojtalewicz called him on Nov. 16 to tell him that a grand jury had indicted him on murder. Within two hours of the phone call, Lemcke had arranged for his daughter’s care and turned himself in to the sheriff in Pinal County, Ariz., according to Wojtalewicz. He also pointed out for the court that a Swift County grand jury had heard testimony in the case in April 2005 and had returned no bill of indictment. Lemcke has been working for the past two years as a corrections officer with Corrections Corporation of America in Florence, Ariz., owns a home there, and has not represented a threat to others or a flight risk, Wojtalewicz said.

November 19, 2008 West Central Tribune
A Swift County grand jury has issued indictments for first- and second-degree murder against Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 34, in the shooting of his wife Nichole Riley-Lemcke in their Appleton home on Sept. 12, 2004. The indictments against Lemcke were issued Monday and are now filed with the Minnesota courts, according to the trial court public access system. The court file lists charges of first-degree murder – premeditated and second-degree murder – with intent not premeditated for an offense alleged to have been committed. The grand jury had been convened last week and is believed to have heard testimony Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before issuing the indictment on Monday. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office declined comment on Tuesday. Spokesman Ben Wogsland said there was “nothing of a public nature’’ that he could address. Swift County Attorney Robin Finke was in court and could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. Previously, the county attorney said that grand jury proceedings are secret and that his office could not comment in any respect unless or until a defendant is presented with charges in district court. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Florence, Ariz., took Lemcke into custody under a governor’s warrant on Nov. 16, according to its Web site. Lemcke has been living in Florence, Ariz., where he has been employed as a correctional officer with the Corrections Corporation of America facility, according to information obtained during an earlier civil lawsuit filed against him by his late wife’s family. Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26, a mother of three, was shot in the Appleton home she shared with Andrew Lemcke during the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2004. Lemcke described the shooting as accidental in a letter to the editor published after the incident.

November 7, 2008 Lawfuel
Juan Nunez, 39, of Coolidge, Ariz., was arrested by the FBI yesterday and charged today with Attempted Provision of a Prohibited Object to an Inmate and Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute. Nunez is employed as a corrections officer by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and currently works at CCA’s Central Arizona Detention Center located in Florence, Ariz. The CCA facility houses federal inmates per a contract with the federal government. The criminal complaint alleges that since October 30, 2008, Nunez has been negotiating with an inmate to bring cocaine into the facility from an outside source on the inmate’s behalf. On November 6, 2008, Nunez met with an undercover FBI agent acting as the outside source. During the meeting, Nunez accepted a ½ ounce of cocaine for the inmate and a $1,600 payment for agreeing to smuggle the cocaine into the facility. Nunez was arrested immediately after he took possession of the cocaine and money. At his initial appearance today in federal court in Phoenix, Nunez was held over for a detention hearing set for Monday, November 10th at 3:45 p.m. A conviction for Attempted Provision of a Prohibited Object to an Inmate in this case carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both; and a conviction for Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute in this case carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $1,000,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, the judge ultimately assigned to this case will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

February 23, 2007 The Arizona Republic
The parent company of the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence has agreed to pay more than $400,000 to settle findings of hiring discrimination. U.S. Department of Labor investigators said the privately run prison's selection process disproportionately rejected non-Hispanic job applicants who applied to be correctional officers during a two-year period that ended in March 2005. The prison has agreed to pay 464 former applicants an equal share of $438,626, or $945.32 each, which includes back pay and interest. The prison will also hire 16 previously rejected applicants. The Corrections Corporation of America, which manages the prison, said the settlement doesn't mean it violated federal affirmative action law. "Although we continue to disagree with the position taken by (the Labor Department), we have agreed to take certain steps to resolve this matter," a company statement said. The investigation was the result of routine audits that the Labor Department conducts with companies contracting with the federal government. "We'll go in and we'll look at the job applicant pool for more than one position, and we look at who applied for the jobs and who was hired," spokeswoman Deanne Amaden said. "In this case, what we found was a high disproportionate number of Hispanics were being hired. The result was that the non-Hispanics were not getting that job opportunity." Corrections Corporation of America has also agreed to immediately stop discriminatory practices and undergo self-monitoring measures to ensure legal hiring practices, according to the Labor Department.

November 11, 2006 Arizona Daily Star
A lockdown at the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence has suspended visitation as authorities conduct a routine search for contraband, said Gilbert Carmona, assistant warden. "This is a yearly shakedown," he said Friday, but declined to say if anything has been found. The detention center has about 3,000 inmates, Carmona said. The lockdown is expected to last about a week, he said. Visitation will be resumed when the lockdown is lifted, he added. The privately-run facility is owned by Corrections Corporation of America.

September 29, 2005 Casa Grande Valley News
Several employees at Central Arizona Detention Center used their mid- day break last Thursday to have a piece of cake and congratulate a colleague on his birthday. Harry J. Larson celebrated his 80th birthday while on the job as a correctional officer. CADC Warden Bruno Stolc presented a plaque to Larson, who has been with the private prison in Florence since June 2001. The warden recalled in front of about 25 people assembled, how Larson recently helped pull an aggressive inmate off another officer. "So Mr. Larson is not just filling a spot. Mr. Larson is a correctional officer, and we're dang proud to have him," Stolc said. Warden Stolc said while Larson is the oldest CADC employee, he is not the oldest employee in CCA. Frank Deloria, an officer at the company's Eden, Texas, prison is 83. The company also has a part- time registered nurse who is 87, Stolc said.

December 7, 2004 Metropolitan News-Enterprise
A federal magistrate judge in Arizona should have appointed a lawyer to represent an incarcerated immigrant suing a private jailer over his treatment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday.
It was an abuse of discretion not to name counsel under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(e)(1) for Emmanuel Senyo Agyeman in his civil rights suit, Senior Judge John T. Noonan said. He was held at a variety of correctional facilities, included one operated by a private contractor, Corrections Corporation of America. In his lawsuit, he contended he was shackled, bound and beaten by CCA employees while being transported for medical treatment in 1998. After a trial at which he represented himself, a jury rejected his claims. The Ninth Circuit appointed a lawyer to represented him in his appeal and yesterday vacated the judgment resulting from the trial. Agyeman, Noonan explained, was under the misconception that he could proceed against the individual CCA corrections officers under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 as if they were state employees, while in fact their liability could only be predicated on Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The corporation itself, however, could not be subjected to liability under Bivens, as Agyeman sought to do, Noonan said; instead, Agyeman should have sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act and sought to join CCA as a defendant. The plaintiff never succeeded in gaining access to the federal regulations which, on appeal, CCA argued governed his treatment at the time of the alleged incident, Noonan added. Without gaining access to the federal prison regulations, Agyeman could not establish that the treatment he alleged that he received was or was not contrary to what was required by the United States as to noncriminal detainees. Without a lawyer, Agyeman not only did not think of obtaining this information but did not advance any coherent theory for subjecting Corrections Corporation to liability.” In addition to ascertaining a viable basis for liablility, a lawyer might have been able to exploit the “anomaly of incarcerating a person on noncriminal charges and confining him for seven years,” Noonan suggested. He elaborated: “Such incarceration may be a cruel necessity of our immigration policy; but if it must be done, the greatest care must be observed in not treating the innocent like a dangerous criminal. Is there any warrant for shackling the feet and binding the chest of an innocent detainee? It requires legal skill to frame this issue and distinguish Agyeman’s case from that of the ordinary transferee—.”

Dolan Springs, Arizona
CCA

February 19, 2008 The Daily News
A proposed private prison near Dolan Springs was denied Tuesday by the Mohave County supervisors. The supervisors denied a change to the county's general plan and the Dolan Springs Area Plan for the prison. They also denied rezoning the property from agricultural residential to general manufacturing. In December, the planning and zoning commission also denied changing the general plan and the area plan for the private prison as well as denying the rezoning the property. Like at prior supervisor and planning and zoning commission meetings, dozens of speakers, mostly Dolan Springs residents, opposed the prison. They cited the amount of water a prison would use as the main issue. John Ford, who is running for District 1 supervisor, said the will of most of the people in the community, located about 45 miles north of Kingman, said no to the prison. The prison could use up to 300,000 gallons a day, he said. Others spoke of how putting a prison near a residential area would not be compatible with the surrounding properties. Others questioned the prison builder's, Corrections Corporation of America, record including the number of escapes, assaults and riots at CCA's other prisons located in other states. Others did not want out-of-state prisoners transferred to Mohave County. Bob Holsinger of Golden Valley said that inmates are often dropped off and released nearby with a ticket back to their jurisdiction. He also said the owners of a prison near Yucca promised the prison would house low-risk inmates but it now houses higher-risk inmates. Kathy Tackett- Hicks, who represents CCA, said the prison would have developed its own water system. However, the firm would not guarantee a $250,000 contract with Mt. Tipton Water Company.

Eloy Detention Center
Eloy, Arizona
CCA
Officials Hid Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail by Nina Bernstein January 9, 2010 New York Times

Aug 1, 2014 rawstory.com

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Rights activists called on Thursday for the immediate release of a transgender women allegedly raped by her cellmate at an Arizona immigrant detention center, accusing authorities of refusing to provide for her safety. The activists say immigration and detention center officials have shown they are incapable of protecting the 23-year-old woman following the alleged July 20 sexual assault at the Eloy Detention Center, southeast of Phoenix. The woman, Marichuy, whose legal name is Jesus Leal Gamino, has been detained for more than a year at the 1,437-detainee center, which is operated by Corrections Corporation of America under a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “We see no other solution than for ICE to immediately release her, where her community can take measures to … help her heal,” said Francisco Luna, a spokesman for Arcoiris Liberation Team, one of the groups calling for the woman’s release. ICE confirmed the alleged rape was reported and said the case was referred to the “appropriate authorities” for investigation. In a statement, it said it was committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of all those in its custody. “ICE has a strict zero tolerance policy for any kind of abusive or inappropriate behavior in its facilities and takes any allegations of such mistreatment very seriously,” it said. An ICE spokeswoman said the agency could not discuss the woman’s immigration case history due to privacy concerns. A Corrections Corporation spokesman would not specifically comment on the case, but said its officials also take such matters seriously and investigate reported allegations. “Any allegation of this nature is also reported to outside law enforcement so that an independent investigation can be conducted,” the company said in a statement.


azfamily.com, Nov 17, 2013

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- An inmate at a privately run prison in Florence is dead after getting into a fight with his cellmate. It happened Saturday morning at the Corrections Corporation of America's Florence Correctional Center, a private prison contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service. According to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, both inmates were from San Diego and were awaiting transfer to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. The men arrived at the Florence facility Friday night. It's not clear what sparked the altercation. Correction officers were conducting an inspection when they spotted a 43-year-old man assaulting his 55-year-old cellmate. "The 43-year-old prisoner ignored repeated verbal commands as he continued to assault the other prisoner," PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney said in a news release. "Correction officers entered into the cell and subdued the suspect. The victim received immediate medical attention but was pronounced deceased at the scene." PCSO is investigating the circumstances surrounding this in-custody death. "There was no known animosity between the men and neither expressed any concern over being housed together when they were processed last night," according to Gaffney. Because it's still early in the investigation, PCSO detectives are not releasing any details about either of the inmates. At this point, the warden of the Florence Correctional Center, Brian Koehn, has not issued a public statement. PCSO detectives are talking to the suspect, as well as to witnesses and they piece together events leading up to the deadly fight. Notification to the deceased inmate's family is pending. CCA's Florence Correctional Center is a medium-security facility with more than 1,800 beds. It houses both male and female inmates and is accredited by the American Correctional Association, the largest international correctional association in the world. CCA operates 65 facilities throughout the country. Six of them are in Arizona. Two are located in Florence and four are in Eloy.


Aug 2, 2013 cambio-us.org

Visitors to Eloy Detention Center are greeted by a mural of three flags. They are, from left to right, the stars & stripes of the United States, the rising sun of Arizona, and the maroon corporate logo of CCA. The three flags are painted as if they are being flown on the same level, with the Corrections Corporation of America’s flag flying to the right of the flag of the United States of America. This is, as any cub scout knows, a terrible violation of decorum, and highly disrespectful of the U.S. flag. It is also a violation of the Federal Flag Code, 4 U.S.C. §§ 4-10, for which CCA should be instantly deported. The Dream 9 were in Eloy when I visited the for-profit prison in the middle of the Arizona desert. All of the nine young people had been brought to the United States as children and would have qualified for DACA relief, the legalization-lite the Obama administration had conceded after three years of escalating pressure from Dreamers. But six of the Dream 9 had lost hope and left the country before DACA was announced, and so they no longer qualify. The other three – Lulu Martinez, Lizbeth Mateo and Marcos Saveedra – did something almost beyond comprehension: they voluntarily left the U.S. a few weeks ago to go fetch the others back. In doing so, Martinez, Mateo and Saveedra made themselves ineligible for DACA. When the nine Dreamers presented themselves at the Nogales port of entry, they were arrested and ended up in Eloy.

 

PREVIOUSLY: Border Patrol Overkill

Some of the Dreamer leaders immediately started organizing the other detainees. The warden, a corporate employee of CCA, decided to throw them into solitary confinement. (That a corporate employee has the power to make such a decision is also nearly beyond comprehension; even Bloomberg Businessweek is distinctly uncomfortable about this kind of wholesale delegation of police powers to a corporation.) CCA’s warden was afraid that organized, widespread unrest would generate bad press. CCA is no stranger to bad press. Grassroots Leadership recently rounded up a worst-of collection of deaths, riots, graft, and corruption at CCA facilities. The Tucson Citizen has drawn up a CCA Rap Sheet that includes details of the close working relationship between CCA and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who helped keep CCA’s beds filled by signing SB1070 into law.  And just a few months ago, Elsa Guadalupe Gonzalez and Jorge Garcia Mejia died inside Eloy within two weeks of each other. Mr. Mejia was 40 years old. Ms. Gonzalez was 25. On May 8, Detention Watch Network called for ICE to terminate its contract with CCA. Yet, ICE continues to pay CCA big bucks to lock up immigrants. I was in Eloy with Carlos Garcia of Puente, an Arizona grassroots group with members fighting to keep their families together despite best efforts by ICE and Sheriff Joe Arpaio to break them apart. Carlos was at Eloy to see his uncle, a handsome, silver-haired 62 year old man who doesn’t look a day over 64. Carlos’s uncle has been locked up in Eloy Detention Center since November 2012. With his entire family in the Tucson area and a good chance that he will win his deportation case, the rational thing to do would be release him in the meantime. So why is he still in Eloy? It’s certainly not because he’s a danger to society. When the sequester loomed early this year, the Obama administration determined Carlo’s uncle posed no threat and simply released him. A month later, the spigot got turned back on, and Carlo’s uncle was put back into detention, to the tune of $79.06 a day. That’s $19,000 – and counting – that the U.S. Government has stuffed into CCA’s pockets for locking up a 62-year old man the U.S. Government has determined doesn’t need to be locked up. Absurd? Yes, but why stop there? ICE points out that they are required by law to “maintain” at least 34,000 detention beds. That means owning or paying out for 34,000 beds, regardless of how many beds ICE actually needs.  Just as two negatives don’t make a positive, two stupids don’t make a smart policy. What two stupids do make are a profit for CCA. It’s no wonder that for-private prison companies have pushed so hard to take over the market for immigrant detention beds. A report by Justice Strategies explains CCA’s not-so-complicated strategy for increasing its market dominance: be generous with campaign contributions, and then lobby like hell for policies that increase detention. Seven years ago, for-profit facilities held fewer than 20% of immigrants in detention. That has now risen to over 50%. The policies supported by CCA and other for-profit prison companies are good for the corporations and bad for the country. Mandatory detention laws, for example, mandate that people with a criminal record including any felony or some misdemeanors, must remain locked up once they enter the immigration system. The judges no longer have the discretion to make an individualized judgment based on a person’s particular circumstances. Giving judges back their power to judge would empty out much of Eloy. A few feet to our left in the Eloy visitation room, Carlos introduced me to Elder López, a friendly, faux-hawked young man with a 6 year old boy clinging to his leg. The boy is Elder’s son, seeing his father for the first time in the two years Elder has been detained. Elder has a strong case – his wife and their two kids are all U.S. citizens. Before mandatory detention went into effect, Elder would likely have been released and allowed to handle his deportation case while at home with his family in Phoenix. Instead, he’s now sitting in a cell, away from his wife and kids. The big winner in this set-up? CCA. Some advocates believe that, in a similar vein, the predominant beneficiaries of Operation Streamline’s criminal prosecution policy are the private prison corporations. I’ll look into Operation Streamline when I reach Tucson, AZ and Del Rio, TX. A rally for the Dream 9 was gathering in the CCA parking lot when Carlos said goodbye to his uncle. Elder put one hand on top of his son’s head and gave one-armed hugs to the rest of his family.  Carlos and I left back the way we came in, filing past the mural of those three flags. I wondered whether the muralist knew that how the flags were painted indicated CCA was a sovereign power, equal in status to the United States. The insult to the U.S. flag may not have been intentional, but in this context, it certainly is accurate.


May 2, 2013 www.azcentral.com

Federal immigration officials will review operations at a privately owned detention center in Eloy after two immigrants committed suicide in a span of three days earlier this week. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Thursday confirmed the death of Jorge Garcia-Mejia, 40, who hanged himself in his cell Tuesday. Garcia-Mejia, a native of Guatemala, had been in custody since March 23. Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales, 24, was found hanging and unresponsive in her cell Sunday afternoon. Guadalupe-Gonzales’ body was discovered shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday, and Garcia-Mejia’s body was discovered at about 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The times of their deaths could play a role in the federal probe because officers at the facility are charged with providing direct supervision of the detainees. Steve Owen, a spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the facility in Eloy, said that when officers assigned to a specific pod or unit have to escort detainees to meals or recreation, the task of supervision falls to an officer in a central location who tries to monitor the detainees who choose not to participate.

December 7, 2011 Courthouse News
A transgender woman claims she was sexually assaulted by a Corrections Corporation of America guard at the private immigration prison it runs in Eloy, outside of Phoenix. CCA is the biggest private operator of immigration prisons in the country and holds almost half of the 33,000 people in federal custody on any given day, the ACLU of Arizona said in a statement. The federal complaint against CCA, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, and the City of Eloy claims that local and federal officials failed to protect Tanya Guzman-Martinez from abusive CCA guards, even after they were notified about the sexual assault and harassment. Guzman, who was imprisoned for eight months in Eloy, says she was sexually assaulted there twice. "One incident occurred on December 7, 2009 and involved a detention officer who after repeated harassment, maliciously forced Guzman-Martinez to ingest his ejaculated semen and threatened to deport her back to Mexico if she did not comply with his demands," the ACLU said. "Guzman-Martinez immediately reported the assault to detention staff and the Eloy Police Department and the detention officer was later convicted in Pinal County Superior Court of attempted unlawful sexual contact. "Despite this attack, immigration officials did nothing to protect her from further abuse. In a separate incident that took place on April 23, 2010, Guzman-Martinez was sexually assaulted by a male detainee in the same all-male housing unit where she was subjected to the first assault. She didn't report the assault to local police until about a week later because she feared retaliation by detention staff and other detainees. Soon after she reported the second assault to the police, Guzman-Martinez was released from ICE custody." CCA has been sued repeatedly for abuses in its private prisons. Guzman seeks punitive damages for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other deprivations of constitutional rights.

October 31, 2011 AP
A Mexican man in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has died at University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson. Authorities say 54-year-old Pablo Gracida-Conte was taken by ambulance from the Eloy Detention Facility to the Casa Grande Regional Medical Center on Oct. 25 after complaining of shortness of breath and dizziness. The hospital transferred him last Friday to the UofA Medical Center for medical stabilization. Authorities say Gracida-Conte died Sunday morning at the university medical facility. The cause of death wasn't available Monday. Gracida-Conte was arrested June 4 by law enforcement in Fairfield, Calif. He was turned over to ICE on June 9 and transferred to the Eloy Detention Facility pending immigration removal proceedings.

December 23, 2010 Tri-Valley Central
At approximately 1:21 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Eloy Fire responded to a call at the Red Rock Correctional Center for an assault victim, which quickly expanded to 10 California inmates after a lunchtime riot at the facility. According to Eloy Fire Div. Chief Danny Lorenz, seven were transported to area hospitals. Three out of the seven had life-threatening injuries and were flown to the Maricopa Medical Center in the valley. The rest were transported by ground to the Casa Grande Regional Medical Center. “It took all the resources of Eloy Fire and then some,” Div. Chief Lorenz said. Casa Grande Engine 501 was called in to assist in the response, as well as five Southwest Ambulance units, several of which were posted at the local Eloy stations and put on standby. There were no other active calls within the district while Eloy Fire units were engaged at Red Rock until 4:30 p.m. The incident, during the lunch hour in an area that only houses California inmates, involved approximately 110 inmates. No staff was hurt during the incident, which drew trained response teams from other areas of the prison, as well as mutual aid from the Eloy Police Department as a precautionary measure.

August 21, 2009 New York Times
In the fall of 2006, a man’s death brought a team of government investigators to the large privately run immigration jail in Eloy, Ariz., in the desert between Phoenix and Tucson. Medical care was so poor, the team later warned federal immigration officials, that “detainee welfare is in jeopardy.” Another death there soon spurred another inquiry, and another scathing report was issued about the care provided by the private company, the Corrections Corporation of America. But the government scrutiny did not add up to much for Felix Franklin Rodriguez-Torres, 36, an Ecuadorean construction worker who wound up in Eloy that fall as an unauthorized immigrant after being jailed for petit larceny in New York City. By mid-December, a fellow detainee told the man’s relatives, Mr. Rodriguez lay pleading for medical help on the floor of his cell, unable to move. He died weeks later of testicular cancer, a typically fast-growing but treatable disease, which had gone undiagnosed and untreated during his two months at Eloy, which holds more than 1,500 detainees. And despite a high-level discussion of his case among federal immigration officials while he was dying — captured in e-mail messages between Washington and Arizona — his death on Jan. 18, 2007, was not even listed on the roster of detention fatalities that the agency produced under pressure last year and updated in April. His death, and the damning reports that preceded it, are coming to light now only through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. On Monday, after inquiries about Mr. Rodriguez’s death by The New York Times, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency added his name and nine others to the public roster — including another unrecorded detainee death at Eloy in 2005. The Rodriguez case echoes many others that have spurred demands for an overhaul of the troubled and expanding realm of immigration detention. But in its details, it underscores the daunting challenge facing the Obama administration as it tries to improve detention conditions, starting with greater oversight of places like Eloy. “The rampant problems of medical and mental health care aren’t just going to go away if there’s more oversight,” said David Shapiro, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U.’s National Prison Project, which has called for legally binding rules on conditions in immigration detention. “There have to be consequences.” The Corrections Corporation of America referred questions about Mr. Rodriguez’s case to the immigration enforcement agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the department, said the administration had taken its first steps “to improve medical care, custodial conditions, fiscal prudence and ICE’s critical oversight of the immigration detention system, and we will find out why this death wasn’t reported properly.” The administration’s long-term goal, announced this month as a three-to-five-year plan, is a vastly different detention system, no smaller in size, but less penal in character than the current sprawling mix of jail and prison cells. At the same time, however, Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, is expanding immigration enforcement. And for now, officials said they would continue to rely on the same prison companies and county jails to house people facing possible deportation for immigration violations. In some ways, Mr. Rodriguez’s case fits one of Ms. Napolitano’s priorities: detaining people accused of immigration violations who are already in jail for a crime. Records show that Mr. Rodriguez, who had entered the United States on a visitor’s visa in 1998 to represent Ecuador in a karate tournament, was transferred to immigration authorities on Nov. 8, 2006, after serving five months at Rikers Island. He had been accused of joining several other men in robbing an acquaintance after a Saturday of soccer and beer in Corona, Queens. Though he pleaded guilty to petit larceny, he maintained his innocence even on his deathbed, said his father, Felix Rodriguez, a legal resident who has been a deliveryman for a Manhattan jewelry company for 15 years. “I understand a prisoner shouldn’t be on a golden bed, but a prisoner is a human being,” the father said in Spanish. “He at least deserves respect when he is so sick he can’t even eat.” By the time the ailing detainee was taken to the emergency room at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, on Dec. 27, 2006, he had a mass in his neck that had “tripled in size” and obstructed his breathing, according to a government accounting form summarizing his care. Too far gone for chemotherapy, he was soon placed on life support, and he died when it was disconnected. But even while he was dying, a draft synopsis of his case was already circulating in Washington among high-level officials at the immigration agency. It stated that the detainee had been seen by the Eloy medical staff “on numerous occasions,” and first complained of a sore neck on Dec. 25. In their exchanges about the case, officials did not question why the medical staff had failed to recognize symptoms of cancer. Just weeks earlier, the agency’s own investigations had linked two Eloy deaths to inadequate medical staffing by the Corrections Corporation, which was then reaping record profits from stepped-up immigration enforcement. “Medical care in this facility does not meet ICE standards,” the first investigating team wrote to John P. Torres, director of detention and removal operations, after looking into the suicide of a 32-year-old Guatemalan detainee there on Sept. 29, 2006. They noted that a sick call request from the Guatemalan, Jose Lopez-Gregario, had been ignored for a week, even though he was on suicide watch and known to be despondent. The medical staff — “overwhelmed due to a sudden loss of veteran staff” — apparently assumed he had already been deported. Cut off from care in an isolation cell and racked with guilt that he had left his family without enough food, he hanged himself. A second team assessed Eloy again after a 27-year-old Colombian was found unconscious in an isolation cell at Eloy on Dec. 6, 2006; an “unwitnessed seizure” left him brain-dead. The investigators not only found fault with the way his individual case had been handled, but also documented systemic problems with the administration of medical care — in contrast to routine audits, in which Eloy, like most detention centers, was typically rated “acceptable” on a checklist. “The facility has failed on multiple levels to perform basic supervision and provide for the safety and welfare of ICE detainees,” the investigators wrote. The Colombian, Mario Chavez-Torres, had shown symptoms of bleeding on the brain, and should have been sent for outside evaluation, the report said; a week after his written request for medical attention for “headaches, dizziness and vomiting,” he collapsed in the shower. A call for medical help by a guard was answered an hour later by a vocational nurse who told the guard: “I’m not qualified. To be honest, I’m just a pill-pusher.” That lone nurse on the night shift was responsible for distributing medication to 300 chronically ill detainees in a population of 1,500, the report said. The first report had warned that most of the seasoned medical staff left Eloy that fall, months before a planned takeover of its medical unit by ICE’s Division of Immigration Health in 2007. But immigration authorities had continued to send detainees to Eloy, and Mr. Rodriguez was among them. To his sister Janneth Montesdeoca, who lives in Ozone Park, Queens, Mr. Rodriguez, an athlete, seemed healthy until just before his transfer to immigration authorities. On her last visit to Rikers, she noticed that his head seemed swollen. Considering his dire condition two months later, the swelling was most likely a sign that cancer was blocking his lymph system, said physicians consulted for this article, adding that it should have been caught in a full medical exam. Both reports had noted that though all immigration detainees are supposed to get a medical exam within 14 days of admission, timely exams were not being performed at Eloy that fall. Most testicular cancer is fast-growing, said Dr. David Weiner, a urologist at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, but even after spreading, “it’s a very treatable cancer in the vast majority of cases.” In a phone call to his mother from Eloy on Dec. 18, 2006, Mr. Rodriguez said he had seen the doctor there many times, complaining of coughing and fever. He promised to telephone again at Christmas. When he did not, his worried family repeatedly contacted his deportation officer, who kept assuring them that Mr. Rodriguez was fine, said his brother-in-law, Leonardo Montesdeoca, a United States citizen who is a software supervisor for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. As the family tells it, they learned the truth about a week after Mr. Rodriguez had been taken to the hospital, in a call from a fellow detainee. “He said Franklin was very, very sick,” Mr. Montesdeoca said. “They would call the attention of the guards and they would just ignore, they would look the other way. He got to the point where he didn’t move anymore.” Records show that on Jan. 12, 2007, the hospital told the detention company that he had as little as a week to live. But his sister says the deportation officer would not tell them where Mr. Rodriguez had been hospitalized. Instead, relatives said, he offered to release the detainee to their care if they paid for a plane ticket to New York — a plan derailed, apparently, because the patient was too sick to travel. It was a phone call from Mr. Rodriguez that brought the family to his deathbed. Against the rules, a nurse had lent him her cellphone. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have known if my son was dead or alive,” said his mother, Maria Torres, who lives in Queens. “I give thanks to that nurse, even now.” His face lit up when he saw his parents arrive the next day, Mr. Montesdeoca said. They were able to speak for a few hours before the two detention guards at his bedside cut off the visit. But when the family returned the next morning, he was in a coma. A few days later, they agreed to discontinue life support. E-mail messages about his impending death had already ricocheted between Washington and Arizona. “Thanks for the advance notice,” one official wrote from a BlackBerry after receiving the draft synopsis on Jan. 17, and sending a copy on to John Torres, the director of detention and removal for the agency, and Gary E. Mead, the deputy. Dr. Gene A. Migliaccio, director of the agency’s Immigration Health Services, was asked “to reach out to Phoenix” and “to ensure that proper protocols are followed.” One of his employees followed up by asking if anyone had the Eloy medical records: “When this detainee is taken off life support, may I get a copy for my death chart?” But there is no evidence that the medical records were ever collected. The death was automatically referred to the immigration agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility in Washington, which simply sent it back to the Phoenix field office for an internal management review. In March 2007, the matter was closed after the local office filed its conclusions in three sentences: the detainee had died of aggressive cancer, the matter had been handled appropriately, and there was no evidence of negligence. The same month, a report by Homeland Security’s inspector general on the death of the Columbian detainee found no evidence of foul play or inadequate response. But at least two more detainees died at Eloy in 2008 — a 41-year-old Iraqi and a 52-year-old man from Ghana. Mr. Rodriguez’s ashes were mailed to his mother, and when she visited relatives in Ecuador, she carried them back for burial. “I never want another immigrant to feel this pain,” she said. “Not knowing what to do, his suffering and no way of getting him help.”

August 18, 2009 Phoenix Arizona News
More immigrants have died in custody at the detention center in Eloy than at any other facility in the country. Records from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency show that nine immigrants have died while in custody at Eloy since 2003, two more than reported at any other facility where immigrants have died. The nine deaths represent about 9 percent of the total 104 immigrants who have died while in government custody since 2003, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic. Neither ICE nor prison officials could speak immediately Tuesday to the the number of deaths at the Eloy facility, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America under contract with the federal government. "While I'm not going to comment on specific facilities, I will say generally that the detention reforms recently announced by ICE...will improve medical care, custodial conditions, fiscal prudence and critical federal oversight of the immigration detention system," said ICE Public Affairs Officer Gillian Brigham in Washington D.C. Two of the deaths at Eloy -- Elias Lopez, a Mexican national who died Jan. 4, 2005, and Felix Rodriguez-Torres, a Ecuadorian national who died Jan. 18, 2007 -- were among 10 people whose in-custody deaths were previously unreported. ICE officials said Monday that the discovery of the 10 deaths was prompting "an agency-wide review of all documents and databases to ensure the integrity of ICE’s records on detainee deaths." Records show that eight of the 10 died of natural causes, one committed suicide and one was unknown. Records relating to circumstances involving the deaths of immigrants detained at Eloy are so far unavailable. But records do show that one of the men died at the Maricopa County Medical Center and another at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson. The facility at Eloy houses 1,500 immigrants, all of whom are facing civil immigration cases and deportation. According to The Republic's analysis, seven immigrants died while in custody at the Columbia Care Center in Columbia, SC, where ICE runs a mental health facility. There were four deaths each at facilities in San Pedro, Calif., and Springfield, Mo. "It is definitely concerning that there have been nine deaths at Eloy," said Victoria Lopez, immigration rights advocate for the American Civil Liberties union in Phoenix. "It is especially concerning when some of those deaths have gone unreported." The release of the death list was sparked by an ACLU lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act asking for a comprehensive list of deaths in 2007. In April, the Department of Homeland Security released a list of 90 individuals who died while in custody. The ACLU maintains that deficient medical care is "believed to be a leading cause of death in immigration detention, and is the number one complaint the ACLU has received from ICE detainees."

August 17, 2009 New York Times
More than one in 10 deaths in immigration detention in the last six years have been overlooked and were omitted from an official list of detainee fatalities issued to Congress in March, the Obama administration said Monday. The administration added 10 previously unreported deaths to the official roster and disclosed an 11th, which occurred Friday: that of Huluf Guangule Negusse, a 24-year-old Ethiopian. Mr. Negusse died from the effects of an Aug. 3 suicide attempt in the Wakulla County correctional facility near Tallahassee, Fla. What Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials call “the death roster” stands at 104 since October 2003, up from the 90 that were on the list the agency gave to Congress this spring. The latest search for records began late last month, officials said, when Freedom of Information litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union uncovered one of the 10 deaths that had gone unreported — that of Felix Franklin Rodriguez-Torres, 36, an Ecuadorean who settled in New York and died of testicular cancer on Jan. 18, 2007, after being detained two months at an immigration jail run for profit by the Corrections Corporation of America in Eloy, Ariz. On Saturday, after inquiries about that case by The New York Times, the new chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, issued a directive for field offices to make sure that other deaths had not been overlooked, a spokesman said. David Shapiro, staff lawyer with the A.C.L.U. National Prison Project, said: “Today’s announcement is a tragic confirmation of our worst fears. Our nation’s immigration detention system has been plagued by a total lack of transparency and accountability, and even with today’s announcement there is no way we can be fully confident that there are not still more deaths that somehow have gone unaccounted for.”

January 13, 2009 Press Release
A report released today by the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program describes harsh conditions of confinement for the roughly three hundred women housed in immigration detention facilities in Arizona. The report, Unseen Prisoners: A Report on Women in Immigration Detention Facilities in Arizona, is based on over a year of research, including over 40 interviews with detainees, their family members, attorneys, and service providers. “Few people realize that we are locking up huge numbers of immigrants every day and holding them for months and in some cases years at a time. They are not being punished for a crime, and yet they are held in facilities that are identical to, and often double as, prisons or jails,” said Nina Rabin, the lead researcher and author of the report. “Women immigration detainees in particular are an invisible population. We hope this report will raise awareness about women locked up just an hour away from here in conditions that would shock most Americans. We also hope to raise awareness about the U.S. citizen children separated from their mothers right now because of immigration detention.” The report provides detailed information about day-to-day life in the three facilities that house women immigration detainees in Arizona: Central Arizona Detention Center, Pinal County Jail, and Eloy Detention Center. Rabin and several University of Arizona law students conducted interviews and extensive background research for the report over a twelve month period between August 2007 and August 2008. Rabin described the study’s participants: “In our small sample size of detainees who agreed to participate in this research study, we encountered pregnant and nursing mothers, domestic violence victims, low-wage workers swept up in worksite raids, and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and sexual violence.” The federal agency in charge of the detention and removal of immigrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), contracts for two of the facilities to be run by the private prison company the Corrections Corporation of America. In the case of Pinal County Jail, ICE contracts with the county. ICE permitted the researchers access to two of the three facilities, but declined requests to interview ICE representatives or facility personnel for the report. Rabin met with ICE representatives in December to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations. Key findings of the report include: • Family separation: The majority of women interviewed were separated from at least one U.S. citizen child under the age of 10 and were transferred to Arizona from out of state. As a result, they were hundreds or at times thousands of miles away from their families and communities during their time in detention. • Severe penal conditions for women who are not serving criminal sentences: Women described conditions of confinement that are in many cases more restrictive than in county jails or prisons, including limited access to recreation, a complete absence of programming or activities, frugal provision of food and other supplies, and the routine use of strip searches and shackling during transport. • Aggressive government prosecution and detention of women who pose no security threat or flight risk: Attorneys reported that ICE routinely appeals decisions to release pregnant women on bond; rejects or does not respond to applications for humanitarian parole of victims of domestic violence, refugees, or women with serious health conditions; and refuses to reduce bonds for families unable to pay. • Inadequate medical care: Women reported inadequate gynecological and obstetrical care, long waits for medical attention, and dismissive responses to medical requests. The report contains detailed recommendations for Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, and the individual facilities researched. Recommendations range from broad policy changes, including the need for increased consideration of the impact of immigration detention on families, to specific facility-level concerns, such as the lack of outdoor recreation in Pinal County Jail. The report will be available beginning on January 13, 2009, at http://www.law.arizona.edu/depts/clinics/ilc//UnseenPrisoners.pdf. For more information, please contact Nina Rabin at (520) 621-9206 or rabin@email.arizona.edu.

May 11, 2008 Washington Post
Neil Sampson, who ran the DIHS as interim director most of last year, left that job with serious questions about the government's commitment. Sampson said in an interview that ICE treated detainee health care "as an afterthought," reflecting what he called a failure of leadership and management at the Homeland Security Department. "They do not have a clear idea or philosophy of their approach to health care [for detainees]," he said. "It's a system failure, not a failure of individuals." A new director for health services arrived six months ago, following a stretch when the agency was run first by Sampson and then by a second interim director. The new boss is LaMont W. Flanagan, who brought with him the credential of having been fired in 2003 by the state of Maryland for bad management and spending practices supervising detention and pretrial services. An audit found that Flanagan had signed off on payments of $145,000 for employee entertainment and other ill-advised expenditures. His reputation was such that the District of Columbia would not hire him for a juvenile-justice position. "Another death that needs to be added to the roster," Diane Aker, the DIHS chief health administrator, tapped out in an e-mail to a records clerk at headquarters on Aug. 14, 2007. Juan Guevara-Lorano, 21, was dead. Guevara, an unemployed legal U.S. resident with a young son, was arrested in El Paso for driving illegal border-crossers farther into the city. He was paid $50. An entry-level emergency medical technician, with barely any training, had done Guevara's intake screening and physical assessment at the Otero County immigration compound in New Mexico. Under DIHS rules, those tasks are supposed to be done by a nurse. After two difficult months in detention, Guevara had decided not to appeal his case. He would go back to Mexico with his family. But on Aug. 4, he came down with a splitting headache, what he called a nine on a pain scale of 10, his medical records show. The rookie medical technician prescribed Tylenol and referred Guevara to the compound's physician "due to severity of headache ... and dizziness," according to medical records. But Guevara never saw a doctor. Eight days after the first incident, he vomited in his cell. The same junior technician came to help but was unable to insert a nasal airway tube. Guevara was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined an aneurism in his brain had burst. His wife, pregnant at the time with their second child, recalled that she rushed to the hospital but ICE guards would not let her inside, until the Mexican Consulate interceded. Guevara's mother waited five hours before they let her in. By then he was brain-dead. "My son is not coming back," sobbed Ana Celia Lozano months later, sitting in Guevara's small mobile home as her grandson played on the floor. "I want to know how he lived and died, nothing more." What appears to be the most incriminating document in Guevara's case has been partially blacked out. Still, what is left shows that he did not receive adequate care. "The detainee was not seen or evaluated by an RN, midlevel or physician. . . . At the time of the incident on 8/12/2007, the detainee was seen and examined by EMTs." Each immigration facility is allotted a different number of positions, and a shortage of doctors and nurses is not unusual at centers across the country. Records from February show that about 30 percent of all DIHS positions in the field were unfilled. ICE officials said last week that the current vacancy rate is 21 percent. Concern about the vacancies is voiced repeatedly at clinical directors' meetings. "How do we state our concerns so that we can be heard? . . . this is a CRITICAL condition. . . . We have bitten off more than we can chew," a physician wrote in the minutes of one meeting last summer. In some prisons, the staffing shortages are acute. The Willacy County detention center in South Texas -- the largest compound, with 2,018 detainees -- has no clinical director, no pharmacist and only a part-time psychiatrist. Nearly 50 percent of the nursing positions were unfilled at the 1,500-detainee Eloy, Ariz., prison in February. At the newly opened 744-bed Jena., La., compound, nurses run the place. It has no clinical director, no staff physician, no psychiatrist and no professional dental staff. Last August, Sampson, who was then DIHS interim director, warned his superiors at ICE that critical personnel shortages were making it impossible to staff the Jena facility adequately. In a vociferous e-mail to Gary Mead, the ICE deputy director in charge of detention centers, he wrote: "With the Jena request we have been re-examining our capabilities to meet health care needs at a new site when we are facing critical staffing shortages at most every other DIHS site. While we developed, executed and achieved major successes in our recruitment efforts we have been unable to meet the demand." The slow ICE security-clearance process forced many job applicants to go elsewhere, Sampson wrote. Of the 312 people who applied for new positions over the past year, 200 withdrew, he wrote, because they found other jobs during the 250 days it took ICE, on average, to conduct the required background investigations. Last week, ICE officials said the average wait had decreased recently to 37 days. These shortages have burdened the remaining staff. In July 2007, a year after Osman's death in Otay Mesa, medical director Hui strongly complained to headquarters about workload stress. "The level of burnout . . . is high and rising," she wrote in an e-mail. "I know that I have been averaging approximately 2-6 hrs of overtime daily for the past 2 months. I will no longer be able to sustain this pace and will be decreasing the number of hours that I work overtime. This being said, more will be left undone because we simply do NOT have the staff." The overcrowding has created a petri dish for the spread of diseases. One mission of the Public Health Service is to detect infectious diseases and contain them before they spread, but last summer, the gigantic Willacy center was hit by a chicken pox outbreak. The illness spread because the facility did not have enough available isolation rooms and its large pods share recycled air, but also because security officers "lack education about the disease and keep moving around detainees from different units without taking into consideration if the unit has been isolated due to heavy exposure," noted the DIHS's top specialist on infectious diseases, Carlos Duchesne. The staff was forced to vaccinate the entire population in mid-July. In one 2007 death, memos and confidential notes show how medical staff missed an infectious disease, meningitis, in their midst. Victor Alfonso Arellano, 23, a transgender Mexican detainee with AIDS, died in custody at the San Pedro center. The first three pages of Duchesne's internal review of the death leave the impression that Arellano's care was proper. But the last page, under the heading "Off the record observations and recommendations," takes a decidedly critical tone: "The clinical staff at all levels fails to recognize early signs and symptoms of meningitis. . . . Pt was evaluated multiple times and an effort to rule out those infections was not even mentioned." Arellano was given a "completely useless" antibiotic, Duchesne wrote. Lab work that should have been performed immediately took 22 days because San Pedro's clinical director had ordered staff members to withhold lab work for new detainees until they had been in detention there "for more than 30 days," a violation of agency rules. "I am sure that there must be a reason why this was mandated but that practice is particularly dangerous with chronic care cases and specially is particularly dangerous with . . . HIV/AIDS patients," Duchesne wrote. "Labs for AIDS patients . . . must be performed ASAP to know their immune status and where you are standing in reference to disease control and meds." Given the frequency with which ICE moves people within the detention network, keeping track of detainees is critical to stopping the spread of infectious illnesses. The purchase of an electronic records system named CaseTrakker in 2004 was supposed to help. But according to internal documents and interviews, CaseTrakker is so riddled with problems that facilities often revert to handwritten records. A study at one site found that it took one-third more time to use CaseTrakker than to use paper. Thousands of patient files are missing. Recorded data often cannot be retrieved. Day-long outages are common. When detainees are transferred from one facility to another, their records, if they follow them, are often misleading. Some show medications with no medical diagnoses, or "lots of diagnoses but no meds," according to Elizabeth Fleming, a former clinical director at one compound in Arizona. After Yusif Osman's death and the discovery of the problem with his computerized records, the DIHS ordered a review of all charts at the Otay Mesa center. During the review, auditors also found that 260 physical exams were never completed as required. The nurse responsible for the error in Osman's case was reprimanded, but the computer problem was not fixed. The CaseTrakker system "has failed and must be replaced," Sampson, the DIHS interim director, wrote to his ICE supervisors in August. In January 2008, medical director Shack told colleagues that CaseTrakker "is more of a liability than the use of paper medical record system," according to the minutes of a meeting. It "puts patients at risk." ICE officials said last week that they are not satisfied with CaseTrakker and are working to replace it. Along with being at the mercy of computer glitches, detainees suffer from human errors that deny or delay their care. And with few advocates on the outside, they are left alone to plead their cases in the most desperate ways, in hand-scribbled notes to doctors they rarely see. "I need medicine for pain. All my bones hurt. Thank you," wrote Mexico native Roberto Ledesma Guerrero, 72, three weeks before he died inside the Otay Mesa compound. Delays persist throughout the system. In January, the detention center in Pearsall, Tex., an hour from San Antonio, had a backlog of 2,097 appointments. Luis Dubegel-Paez, a 60-year-old Cuban, had filled out many sick call requests before he died on March 14. Detained at the Rolling Plains Detention Facility in the West Texas town of Haskell, he wrote on New Year's Day: "need to see doctor for Heart medication; and having chest pains for the past three days. Can't stand pain." Ten days later he went to the clinic and became upset when he wasn't seen. He slugged the window, yelled, pointed at his wristwatch. He was escorted back to his cell. Another of his sick call requests said: "Need to see a doctor. I have a lot of symptoms of sickness ... as soon as possible!" The next was more urgent: "I have a emergency to see the doctor about my heart problems ... for the last couple days and I been getting dizzy a lot." The next day, Dubegel-Paez collapsed and died. His medical records do not show that he ever saw a doctor for his chest pains.

May 5, 2008 New York Times
The four sons of Maya Nand, 56, are still haunted by the last collect call he made to them from an immigration detention center in Eloy, Ariz. “This was the first time we ever heard our dad cry,” said one, Jay Ashis Nand, 25. “He said, ‘Son, if you don’t get me out of here today, I’m going to die.’ ” Mr. Nand, a legal immigrant from Fiji who was diabetic, had been calling his family with mounting desperation over a 10-day period, the sons said. Already ailing when he was abruptly taken into custody at the family’s home in Sacramento early in the morning of Jan. 13, 2005, he had deteriorated after a week at the Arizona detention center, which is run for the federal government by Corrections Corporation of America, a publicly traded prison company. “He felt a lot of pain in his heart,” Jay Ashis said. “He would stand up all night because he couldn’t breathe.” The sons, all naturalized American citizens, said their father told them that the medical staff at Eloy did not take his condition seriously, and that when he could barely walk, guards would tell him to stop faking. The sons kept calling the center to plead for medical attention, they said, but could get through only to an answering machine. They said they hired a lawyer to reach the warden, but nothing changed. And in their father’s last call, it seemed his life was hanging in the balance. That he was being detained at all was hard for the family to understand. Mr. Nand, whose forefathers were brought to Fiji from India as slaves by the British, had waited 10 years so he could move the family legally to the United States, in November 1998. A former civil servant, he struggled to find work as an architectural draftsman, and eventually applied for United States citizenship. It was the rejection of his citizenship application, because of a 2002 misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, that apparently prompted his arrest. The misdemeanor was the lone blot on his record, his sons said, and had been resolved to the court’s satisfaction with a year of anger management classes. But immigration authorities considered it grounds for deportation. And instead of summoning him by letter to immigration court, where he could have fought to stay in the United States, immigration agents arrested him without warning and shipped him to detention in another state. On Jan. 25, 2005, the day after Mr. Nand’s last call from Eloy, about midway between Phoenix and Tucson, he was found slumped in the lobby of the detention center’s clinic suffering cardiac arrest, said his second son, Jay Pranawnip Nand, 27. Then he was taken by ambulance to an emergency room in Casa Grande, Ariz., where, according to a letter to the family from an immigration official, doctors diagnosed congestive heart failure and later a heart attack. He was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson, on life support. After driving 12 hours to get to the hospital, the sons and their mother, Malti, said they watched helplessly as Mr. Nand’s damaged heart failed. He died Feb. 2, shackled to the bed. Asked about Mr. Nand’s treatment, Corrections Corporation officials said in a written statement that he had been medically screened when he arrived at the Eloy center, seen and treated “multiple times” by its medical staff, and taken to a hospital. According to a government list of deaths in immigration custody, Mr. Nand was one of five detainees to die at Eloy within a 26-month period; none of the deaths have previously been brought to public attention. “After the funeral, I was like, ‘I want to sue the hell out of them,’ ” Jay Pranawnip said. “I don’t want money. I just want them to realize what they have done and change the policy, because there are people dying.” But he said an inexperienced lawyer who took the case dropped it a year later without having filed anything. After hunting fruitlessly for a replacement, the family gave up. “Just talking about it now, I’ve got goose bumps,” he added. “I’ve got rage and anger and sorrow at the same time.”

May 5, 2008 New York Times
Word spread quickly inside the windowless walls of the Elizabeth Detention Center, an immigration jail in New Jersey: A detainee had fallen, injured his head and become incoherent. Guards had put him in solitary confinement, and late that night, an ambulance had taken him away more dead than alive. But outside, for five days, no official notified the family of the detainee, Boubacar Bah, a 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who had overstayed a tourist visa. When frantic relatives located him at University Hospital in Newark on Feb. 5, 2007, he was in a coma after emergency surgery for a skull fracture and multiple brain hemorrhages. He died there four months later without ever waking up, leaving family members on two continents trying to find out why. Mr. Bah’s name is one of 66 on a government list of deaths that occurred in immigration custody from January 2004 to November 2007, when nearly a million people passed through. The list, compiled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after Congress demanded the information, and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, is the fullest accounting to date of deaths in immigration detention, a patchwork of federal centers, county jails and privately run prisons that has become the nation’s fastest-growing form of incarceration. The list has few details, and they are often unreliable, but it serves as a rough road map to previously unreported cases like Mr. Bah’s. And it reflects a reality that haunts grieving families like his: the difficulty of getting information about the fate of people taken into immigration custody, even when they die. Mr. Bah’s relatives never saw the internal records labeled “proprietary information — not for distribution” by the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the New Jersey detention center for the federal government. The documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth. Mr. Bah had lived in New York for a decade, surrounded by a large circle of friends and relatives. The extravagant gowns he sewed to support his wife and children in West Africa were on display in a Manhattan boutique. But he died in a sequestered system where questions about what had happened to him, or even his whereabouts, were met with silence. As the country debates stricter enforcement of immigration laws, thousands of people who are not American citizens are being locked up for days, months or years while the government decides whether to deport them. Some have no valid visa; some are legal residents, but have past criminal convictions; others are seeking asylum from persecution. Death is a reality in any jail, and the medical neglect of inmates is a perennial issue. But far more than in the criminal justice system, immigration detainees and their families lack basic ways to get answers when things go wrong. No government body is required to keep track of deaths and publicly report them. No independent inquiry is mandated. And often relatives who try to investigate the treatment of those who died say they are stymied by fear of immigration authorities, lack of access to lawyers, or sheer distance. Federal officials say deaths are reviewed internally by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which reports them to its inspector general and decides which ones warrant investigation. Officials say they notify the detainee’s next of kin or consulate, and report the deaths to local medical authorities, who may conduct autopsies. In Mr. Bah’s case, a review before his death found no evidence of foul play, an immigration spokesman said, though after later inquiries from The Times, he said a full review of the death was under way. But critics, including many in Congress, say this piecemeal process leaves too much to the agency’s discretion, allowing some deaths to be swept under the rug while potential witnesses are transferred or deported. They say it also obscures underlying complaints about medical care, abusive conditions or inadequate suicide prevention. In January, the House passed a bill that would require states that receive certain federal money to report deaths in custody to their attorneys general. But the bill is stalled in the Senate, and it does not cover federal facilities. The only tangible result of Congressional concern has been the list of 66 deaths, which names Mr. Bah and many other detainees for the first time, but raises as many questions as it answers. For Mr. Bah’s survivors, the mystery of his death is hard to bear. In Guinea, his first wife, Dalanda, wept as she spoke about the contradictory accounts that had reached her and her two teenage sons through other detainees, including some who speculated that Mr. Bah had been beaten. In New York, a cousin who is an American citizen, Khadidiatou Bah, 38, said she was unable to bring a lawsuit, in part because other relatives were afraid of antagonizing the authorities. “They don’t want to push the case, or maybe they will be sent home,” she said. “This guy was killed, and we don’t know what happened.” Lingering Questions -- The list of deaths where Mr. Bah’s name surfaced is often cryptic. Along with 13 deaths cited as suicides and 14 as the result of cardiac ailments, it offers such causes as “undetermined” and “unwitnessed arrest, epilepsy.” No one’s nationality is given, some places of detention are omitted, and some names and birth dates seem garbled. As a result, many families could not be tracked down for this article. But when they could be, they posed more disturbing questions. In California, relatives of Walter Rodriguez-Castro, 28, said they were rebuffed when they tried to find out why his calls had stopped coming from the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield in April 2006. Then in June, his wife went to his scheduled hearing in San Francisco’s immigration court and learned that he had been dead for many weeks, his body unclaimed in the county morgue. The coroner found that Mr. Rodriguez-Castro, a mover from El Salvador in the country illegally, had died of undiagnosed meningitis and H.I.V., after days complaining of fever, stiff neck and vomiting. The cause of death on the government’s list: “unresponsive.” Immigration authorities said on Friday that the case was now under review, but would not answer questions about it or other deaths on the list. Sgt. Ed Komin, a spokesman for the jail, said the death had been promptly reported to immigration officials, who were responsible for notifying families. Four sons in another family, in Sacramento, described trying for days to get medical care for their father, Maya Nand, a 56-year-old legal immigrant from Fiji, at a detention center run by the Corrections Corporation in Eloy, Ariz. Mr. Nand, an architectural draftsman, had been ailing when he was taken into custody on Jan. 13, 2005, apparently because his application for citizenship had been rejected, based on an earlier conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence. In collect calls, the sons said, he told them that despite his chest pains and breathing problems, doctors at the detention center did not take his condition seriously. The Corrections Corporation said he had been seen and treated “multiple times.” But a letter to the family from an immigration official said his treatment was for a respiratory infection. The letter said that Mr. Nand was taken to an emergency room on Jan. 25, where congestive heart failure was diagnosed, and that he “suffered an apparent heart attack while at the hospital.” He died on Feb. 2, 2005, shackled to a hospital bed in Tucson. Boubacar Bah had more going for him than many detainees. He had a lawyer and many friends and relatives in the United States, and his detention center in New Jersey was one of the few frequented by immigrant advocates. But three days after he suffered a head injury in detention last year, no one in his New York circle knew that he was lying comatose in a Newark hospital, where he had already been identified as a possible organ donor. “Thank you for the referral,” an organ-sharing network wrote on Feb. 3, 2007, according to hospital records. “This patient is a potential candidate for organ donation once brain death criteria is met.” Four days after the fall, tipped off by a detainee who called Mr. Bah’s roommate in Brooklyn, relatives rushed to the detention center to ask Corrections Corporation employees where he was. “They wouldn’t give us any information,” said Lamine Dieng, an American citizen who teaches physics at Bronx Community College and is married to Mr. Bah’s cousin Khadidiatou. On the fifth day, they said, a detention official called them with the name of the hospital. There they found Mr. Bah on life support, still in custody, with a detention guard around the clock. “There was one guard who knew Boubacar,” Ms. Bah said. “He told me on the down-low: ‘This guy, you have to fight for him. This guy was neglected.’ ” Within the week, word of the case reached a reporter at The Times, through an immigration lawyer who had received separate calls from two detainees; they were upset about a badly injured man — named “something like Aboubakar” — left in an isolation cell and later found near death. But advocacy groups said they were unaware of the case. And Michael Gilhooly, the spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that without the man’s full name and eight-digit alien registration number, he could not check the information. For those who knew Mr. Bah, it was hard to understand how such a man could lie dying without explanations. “Everybody liked Boubacar,” said Sadio Diallo, 48, who has a tailor shop in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he and Mr. Bah had shared an apartment with fellow immigrants since arriving in 1998. “He’s a very, very, very good man.” For six years, Mr. Bah had worked for L’Impasse, a clothing store in the West Village, sewing dresses that sold for up to $2,000 with what a former manager, Abdul Sall, called his “magic hands.” Mr. Bah often spent Sundays at the Bronx townhouse his cousins had inherited from the family’s first American citizen, a seaman who arrived in 1943. In Africa, Mr. Bah’s earnings not only supported his first wife, sons and ailing mother, but in Guinean tradition, allowed him to wed a second wife, long distance. It was his longing to see them all again after eight years that landed him in detention. When he returned from a three-month visit to Guinea in May 2006, immigration authorities at Kennedy Airport told him that his green card application had been denied while he was away, automatically revoking his permission to re-enter the United States. An immigration lawyer hired by his friends was unable to reopen the application while Mr. Bah waited for nine months in detention, records showed. Mr. Bah died on May 30, 2007, after four months in a coma. His lawyer, Theodore Vialet, requested detention reports and hospital records under the Freedom of Information Act. But by the time the records arrived last autumn, the idea of a lawsuit had been dropped. So Mr. Vialet just filed the records away — until a reporter’s call about a name on the list of dead detainees prompted him to dig them out. After the Fall -- There are 57 pages of documents, some neatly typed by medics, some scrawled by guards. Some quote detainees who said Mr. Bah was ailing for two days before his fall on Feb. 1, and asked in vain to see a doctor. The records leave unclear exactly when or how Mr. Bah was injured in detention. But they leave no doubt that guards, supervisors, government medical employees and federal immigration officers played a role in leaving him untreated, hour after hour, as he lapsed into a stupor. It began about 8 a.m., according to the earliest report. Guards called a medical emergency after a detainee saw Mr. Bah collapse near a toilet, hitting the back of his head on the floor. When he regained consciousness, Mr. Bah was taken to the medical unit, which is run by the federal Public Health Service. He became incoherent and agitated, reports said, pulling away from the doctor and grabbing at the unit staff. Physicians consulted later by The Times called this a textbook symptom of intracranial bleeding, but apparently no one recognized that at the time. He was handcuffed and placed in leg restraints on the floor with medical approval, “to prevent injury,” a guard reported. “While on the floor the detainee began to yell in a foreign language and turn from side to side,” the guard wrote, and the medical staff deemed that “the screaming and resisting is behavior problems.” Mr. Bah was ordered to calm down. Instead, he kept crying out, then “began to regurgitate on the floor of medical,” the report said. So Mr. Bah was written up for disobeying orders. And with the approval of a physician assistant, Michael Chuley, who wrote that Mr. Bah’s fall was unwitnessed and “questionable,” the tailor was taken in shackles to a solitary confinement cell with instructions that he be monitored. Under detention protocols, an officer videotaped Mr. Bah as he lay vomiting in the medical unit, but the camera’s battery failed, guards wrote, when they tried to tape his trip to cell No. 7. Inside the cell, a supervisor removed Mr. Bah’s restraints. He was unresponsive to questions asked by the Public Health Service officer on duty, a report said, adding: “The detainee set up in his bed and moan and he fell to his left side and hit his head on the bed rail.” About 9 a.m., with the approval of the health officer and a federal immigration agent, the cell was locked. The watching began. As guards checked hourly, Mr. Bah appeared to be asleep on the concrete floor, snoring. But he could not be roused to eat lunch or dinner, and at 7:10 p.m., “he began to breathe heavily and started foaming slightly at the mouth,” a guard wrote. “I notified medical at this time.” However, the nurse on duty rejected the guard’s request to come check, according to reports. And at 8 p.m., when the warden went to the medical unit to describe Mr. Bah’s condition, the nurse, Raymund Dela Pena, was not alarmed. “Detainee is likely exhibiting the same behavior as earlier in the day,” he wrote, adding that Mr. Bah would get a mental health exam in the morning. About 10:30 p.m., more than 14 hours after Mr. Bah’s fall, the same nurse, on rounds, recognized the gravity of his condition: “unresponsive on the floor incontinent with foamy brown vomitus noted around mouth.” Smelling salts were tried. Mr. Bah was carried back to the medical unit on a stretcher. Just before 11, someone at the jail called 911. When an ambulance left Mr. Bah at the hospital, brain scans showed he had a fractured skull and hemorrhages at all sides of his swelling brain. He was rushed to surgery, and the detention center was informed of the findings. But in a report to their supervisors the next day, immigration officials at the center described Mr. Bah’s ailment as “brain aneurysms” — a diagnosis they corrected a week later to “hemorrhages,” without mentioning the skull fracture. After Mr. Bah’s death, they wrote that his hospitalization was “subsequent to a fall in the shower.” The nurse, Mr. Dela Pena, and the physician assistant, Mr. Chuley, said that only their superiors could discuss the case. The Public Health Service did not respond to questions, and the Corrections Corporation said medical decisions were the responsibility of the Public Health Service. Mr. Bah’s cousins demanded an autopsy, but the Union County medical examiner’s confidential report was not completed until Dec. 6. It was sent to the county prosecutor’s office only as a matter of routine, because the matter had been classified as an “unattended accident resulting in death.” Prosecutors said they did not investigate. “According to the report, Bah suffered a fall in the shower,” Eileen Walsh, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors, said in an e-mail message. “We are not privy to any other bits of information.” In the home movies Mr. Bah made of his last journey home, he is only a fleeting presence: a slim man with a shy smile. But without his support, relatives in Africa say they have little money for food and none for his sons’ schooling. His body went back to Guinea in a sealed coffin. “I stayed here seven years, waiting for him,” his second wife, Mariama, said in French, recalling their long separation and the brief reunion that led to the birth of their son, now a toddler, while Mr. Bah was in detention. “I wanted them to open the casket,” she added, “to know if it was him inside. Until today, I cry for him.”

April 29, 2008 Casa Grande Valley News
Specimens tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory on April 24 have confirmed norovirus as the cause of an outbreak currently occurring at the Eloy Detention Center. Over 300 detainees have become ill so far with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Pinal County Public Health and Environmental Health officials are working with officials at the Eloy Detention Center to manage spread of the infection in the facility. At this point no cases have had serious illness or needed to be hospitalized. Norovirus, which causes what is commonly referred to as "stomach flu" or "winter vomiting disease" typically causes symptoms such as low grade fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually resolve in 1-3 days. Norovirus is spread through the fecal-oral route from person to person, often involving contaminated environmental surfaces such as door or sink handles. Health officials are still investigating the source of the norovirus outbreak. While norovirus is more common during the colder months, it is found year round in Arizona and is a common cause of outbreaks associated with institutional settings, schools, daycares, cruise ships, and other environments where people are in close proximity to one another.

April 25, 2008 East Valley Tribune
Specimens tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory Thursday have confirmed norovirus, known as the “winter vomiting disease,” as the cause of an outbreak at a private Eloy Detention Center owned by Corrections Corporation of America. Pinal County is reporting that more than 300 detainees have become ill with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Pinal County Public Health and Environmental Health officials are working with detention center staff to manage spread of the infection. County officials said no one has been hospitalized. The virus is spread through fecal-oral contact and is usually cleared up in one to three days. It can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces such as door and sink handles. The best way to protect yourself from infection is to practice good hygiene including washing hands multiple times a day, health officials said.

November 22, 2006 Eloy Enterprise
Police dispatched to the CCA Federal Detention Center in reference to found narcotics. Officers retrieved a golf ball sized bag of green-leafy substance. The substance later tested positive for marijuana.

November 2, 2006 CBS5
Welcome to the Eloy Detention Center, smack in the middle of the Arizona desert, overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or "I.C.E." -- but run almost in secret by a private, for-profit company, the Corrections Corporation of America, or “C.C.A.” And for Apollinar Estrada-Campos, a permanent resident of the U.S. and a green card holder, Eloy is now home. Estrada-Campos has lived here for 30 years, mostly in California picking wine grapes. “At harvest time I picked 3 tons a day myself,” he told us. But earlier this year, he was arrested for picking up some copper wire along a railroad track. Charged with a misdemeanor, he served 3 months in jail for minor theft. But under their rules, immigration calls that misdemeanor an "aggravated felony" and says it's enough for him to be held at Eloy until it's determined whether he'll be deported. “I spent already 4 months, I don't want to stay here no more, no.” he says. Roughly 1,400 people are in Eloy, some 70% of them are from California. Some are permanent residents of the U.S. like Estrada-Campos who have committed crimes and long since paid their penalty. Many committed no crimes at all, but they're stuck here with no right to a public defender and no time limit on how long they can be held. “They are detained for incredibly long periods of time, typically without counsel, without the opportunity to present their cases, and throughout they are treated as if they are hardened criminals,” says Lucas Guttentag, who teaches immigration issues at Berkeley and Stanford. “I’ve been to Eloy, I know what it's like. It's a prison in every sense of the word.” Or worse, according to a man who we'll call Allen. “Basically, we do not have any rights,” he told us. Allen spent more than a year at Eloy before it was determined that he could stay in the U.S. He asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “They do not give you anything,” he told us. “What kinds of medication did detainees need and not get?” we asked. “Heart medication, blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication.” And if a detainee complains too much he says, there's the "shu", or Segregated Housing Unit. There are two of those units at Eloy, where even outside in the heat, they're hidden behind black cloth. “There are people in the shu that actually got beaten up,” Allen told us. And he says filing a grievance does little good. “You do not have no evidence. It's their word against yours. If you grieve it they're going to tell you officer said that you are lying. And actually there is no proof.” “There are always two sides to the story, there's the detainee's side that I wasn't getting this service and then there is the contractor's side,” says John “Kip” Crowther, who oversees the Eloy facility for I.C.E. “So the detainee would file their grievance and that grievance goes where?” we asked. “It goes to the contractor,” Crowther told us. That's C.C.A., the same private contractor that's running Eloy for a profit. “Of course it's a problem if the private company is supposed to be monitoring itself,” says Guttentag. Especially because unlike regular prisons, immigration detention centers are largely unregulated. There's no requirement for outside review. “Do you think there should be an independent reviewer in the grievance process?” we asked Crowther. His response: no. And why not? “Because I think the system is showing that we are handling the grievances appropriately,” he told us. “If you weren't, how would anybody know?” we asked. His response: “You're asking me to prove a negative and I can't do that.” “There's no way to know, and there's no one who does know, other than the very person who’s administering it who has no incentive to allow anyone to see what’s going on,” says Guttentag, and I.C.E. would only let us speak with one detainee. “If there is nothing to hide, make the information available. And that is something that both the government and the detention companies have refused to do consistently.” With guards standing over him, Estrada-Campos hesitated to give us any details on the conditions at Eloy. All he would say was…“terrible.”

February 24, 2006 KOLD
Eloy, Arizona, a city that few Arizonans get to know, depends on a service that most try to avoid: prisons. "It's a good source of income for the people who work here,” said Eloy resident Rosa Winemiller. So when the Bureau of Prisons did not renew its contract to use Corrections Corporation of America's Eloy Detention Center, 425 jobs—about a quarter of them in Eloy—were in jeopardy. Even during Eloy's mayoral election, both mayor Byron Jackson and challenger Manuel Salas agree that the city needs the prison. "I encourage the powers at be to do what they can to keep them. We need it,” Salas said. "People had to pass background checks and credit checks, and now under this contract they won't have to go through that,” Jackson said. One employee who will lose their job said that the possibility of a transfer to Florence or Central Arizona, which existed last month, is no longer available. The employee said that about 600 jobs nationwide have been cut, and 75 of those were at those two facilities.

February 16, 2006 Eloy Enterprise
Pay cut for many still a possibility .The Eloy City Council didn't let time drag on when it came to stopping job loss at the prison. At Monday's council meeting an agreement was approved that will smooth the way between the Eloy Detention Center owners, Corrections Corporation of America and the federal Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.The contract approved Monday, also known as an intergovernmental agreement, now awaits approval from ICE. As of deadline the city had not received word. The city council also approved the accompanying contract with CCA, which has already signed on the dotted line. Warden Tom Long and former Eloy warden John Gluch, now CCA managing director, western division, were both at the meeting. A handful of CCA employees and family were in the audience. They sat and listened but did not speak publicly. A current correction's officer, "Mr. Ray" said he did not want to give his name as the atmosphere at the detention center was still unsettling. He said the contract was helpful, but may still not help many current employees. He said because the contract had moved away from being a direct federal contract, there was a risk of a pay cut in the $4 to $5 range. Mayor Byron Jackson, himself a corrections officer for about a year in 2002, addressed another rumor he had heard often, relating to the role of the city in hiring CCA employees. He said the city assumes no extra duties or responsibilities with the agreement. "The city from this point on has no employer bearing on employment or pay scale or things of that nature," Jackson said. "The contract merely gives the vehicle for us to provide you (CCA) the service. ...Legal, operations and service responsibilities are 100 percent with CCA." Mr. Ray said 126 people have already been laid off, including 89 correction's officers. Because the new contract is an IGA rather than a federal Service Contract Act, which sets salary at a higher average, the pay cut is "a very real possibility." "There's a strong uncertainty of not knowing what our future is," Mr. Ray said. "I've been there 12 years and they're doing cuts by seniority. But if there are pay cuts your senior officers are going to be looking for work elsewhere. .. A lot of people are leaving now."

February 2, 2006 Z-Wire
The attempt to stem job loss at the Eloy Detention Center has already started. Tuesday afternoon CCA officials, the city and its legal representatives went into a closed-door executive session to discuss a proposed agreement between the federal government and the city of Eloy. After the public announcement last month that the facility had lost its federal Bureau of Prisons contract due to budget tightening in Washington D.C., employees were left not knowing what to do. Though various options are clearly available in Arizona and beyond, few are solid and remain only options for the 425 employees. Corrections Corporation of America, which owns the facility, has said they would help employees find new jobs before the Feb. 28 deadline. The next step for employees is still unknown. Other prisons nearby are being contacted to see if they need more help. The CCA Red Rock facility to house state prisoners is set to open within months just next door to the Eloy Detention Center. But there is no guarantee in place. CCA employees in Eloy have now been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, designed to limit their conversation with reporters and others.

January 19, 2006 KVOA
Corrections Corporation of American says it's been told by the feds that its contract to operate a private prison near Eloy won't be renewed. That means 400 jobs could be lost. The contract ends February 28th. In a memo to employees, C-C-A says the fed's decision is outside their control making it necessary to reduce the work force at Eloy. A C-C-A spokesman in Nashville says the company felt it the right thing to do give employees advanced notice so they could begin making preparations.

January 12, 2006 Yahoo.com
Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today that it received notification from the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") of its intent not to exercise its renewal option at the Company's 1,500-bed Eloy Detention Center, located in Eloy, Arizona. At December 31, 2005, the Eloy facility housed approximately 500 inmates from the BOP and approximately 800 detainees from the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), pursuant to a subcontract between the BOP and ICE. The Company anticipates that the BOP will complete the transfer of the approximately 500 BOP inmates from the Eloy facility to other BOP facilities by February 28, 2006.

Florence Correctional Center
Florence, Arizona
CCA
Nov 27, 2013 myfoxphoenix.com

FLORENCE, Ariz. - An inmate was killed behind bars -- beaten to death by the man who shared his cell and now we're learning more about the motive behind the attack. It turns out the suspect was about to be released and deported back to Mexico. When detectives first arrived at the Florence Correctional Center, they found 55-year-old Michael Patrick McNaughton dead and his cell mate, 43-year-old Roberto Venegas-Fernandez nearby. Initially, they thought the two were involved in a fight. "It wasn't what appeared to be a fight at all, but a very deliberate intentional murder," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Both inmates were being housed at the private prison for sex crimes.  They arrived on Friday, November 15th and by Saturday morning, Fernandez had strangled the victim to death. "This was planned out in an effort to ensure that he would not leave the United States," said Babeu. According to the Sheriff, Fernandez is an illegal immigrant and was approaching his release date. "He told our detectives he liked three meals a day.  The jail guards were very nice to him and he was afraid that upon his release he would be deported back to Mexico.  He wanted to be sure that he wouldn't be deported back to Mexico," said Babeu. And to be sure he would get the most serious charge, he also bit the victim's private area. "He choose to freely speak to homicide investigators and readily admitted this.. why he did it," said Babeu. Both inmates were prisoners of the U.S. Marshal's Service.  They were from the San Diego area. The Florence Facility is operated by the Correctional Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the U.S.  We reached out the private prison company Tuesday afternoon and never heard back. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is recommending that prosecutors charge Venegas-Fernandez with first-degree murder.


azfamily.com, Nov 17, 2013

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- An inmate at a privately run prison in Florence is dead after getting into a fight with his cellmate. It happened Saturday morning at the Corrections Corporation of America's Florence Correctional Center, a private prison contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service. According to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, both inmates were from San Diego and were awaiting transfer to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. The men arrived at the Florence facility Friday night. It's not clear what sparked the altercation. Correction officers were conducting an inspection when they spotted a 43-year-old man assaulting his 55-year-old cellmate. "The 43-year-old prisoner ignored repeated verbal commands as he continued to assault the other prisoner," PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney said in a news release. "Correction officers entered into the cell and subdued the suspect. The victim received immediate medical attention but was pronounced deceased at the scene." PCSO is investigating the circumstances surrounding this in-custody death. "There was no known animosity between the men and neither expressed any concern over being housed together when they were processed last night," according to Gaffney. Because it's still early in the investigation, PCSO detectives are not releasing any details about either of the inmates. At this point, the warden of the Florence Correctional Center, Brian Koehn, has not issued a public statement. PCSO detectives are talking to the suspect, as well as to witnesses and they piece together events leading up to the deadly fight. Notification to the deceased inmate's family is pending. CCA's Florence Correctional Center is a medium-security facility with more than 1,800 beds. It houses both male and female inmates and is accredited by the American Correctional Association, the largest international correctional association in the world. CCA operates 65 facilities throughout the country. Six of them are in Arizona. Two are located in Florence and four are in Eloy.

September 3, 2011 ABC 15
Officials say two correctional officers at a Florence prison were injured when they were assaulted by two inmates Friday afternoon. The incident happened at the Florence Correctional Center as the officers were escorting two State of Hawaii inmates back to their cells from the segregation recreation yard. Staff responded immediately and ended the assault quickly, according to officials. The facility was placed on lockdown as a precaution and law enforcement and Hawaii Department of Public Safety authorities were notified. The officers were taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

January 28, 2011 Star-Advertiser
The Abercrombie administration is starting to make good on the governor's promise to bring all state prison inmates incarcerated on the mainland back to Hawaii. The state returned 243 inmates from Arizona last week and sent back just 96 to take their place. Of the 243 returning inmates, 54 are getting paroled, 28 are about to complete their prison terms and three are back for court hearings. When Gov. Neil Abercrombie promised swift action last month to bring back all Hawaii inmates serving time in mainland prisons, state Senate Public Safety Chairman Will Espero was not expecting action so soon. "I was pleasantly surprised," he said. Espero said he learned of the returning inmates yesterday from state Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata. He said the state conducts prison transfers quarterly, but it usually sends at least the same number of prisoners to the mainland as it returns. He applauded Abercrombie's plan to bring back all Hawaii inmates. "If we're going to spend $60 million a year to house inmates, I'd rather spend it here in Hawaii than on the mainland," Espero said. The state returned 152 inmates to Hawaii on Jan. 19, sent 96 to Arizona on Jan. 20 and returned an additional 91 last Friday. The transfers leave 1,759 Hawaii inmates in Arizona: 1,705 in Saguaro Correctional Center, 51 in Red Rock Correctional Center, two in Florence State Prison and one in Central Arizona Detention Center. Central Arizona, in Florence, and Saguaro and Red Rock, both in Eloy, are private prisons operated by Corrections Corp. of America, which houses Hawaii inmates under contract with the state. Abercrombie made his promise after 18 Hawaii inmates at Saguaro sued CCA, the state and the state's contract monitor. The inmates claim they were beaten and assaulted and their families threatened by prison guards. The Public Safety Department sent a team to examine practices at Saguaro last year after two Hawaii inmates died in February and June. The state returned all but one of the 169 women serving time in a CCA prison in Kentucky in 2009 after the inmates reported widespread sexual abuse by guards and prison employees.  The Abercrombie administration is starting to make good on the governor's promise to bring all state prison inmates incarcerated on the mainland back to Hawaii.

August 11, 2010 KOLD
A former private prison security officer goes from guarding inmates to becoming one after attempting to secure cocaine for an inmate. Forty-one-year-old Juan Nunez of Coolidge was sentenced Monday to 24 months in a federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Nunez previously pleaded guilty to attempt to furnish an inmate with contraband on April 10. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix says Nunez was busted after buying a half-ounce of cocaine from an undercover FBI agent in Tucson Nov. 6. Nunez was correctional officer employed by Corrections Corporation of America and worked at privately run detention center in Florence.

October 24, 2009 Casa Grande Dispatch
An inmate at a Corrections Corporation of America prison has been sentenced to a long prison term for aggravated assault on a corrections officer with two prior felony convictions. Elijah Stroman, 26, was sentenced Oct. 6 by Pinal County Superior Court Commissioner Craig Raymond to the presumptive term of five years in prison, with credit for 87 days served, after pleading guilty. The term is to be served concurrently with a sentence from Washington state. The offense occurred May 19, 2008. Restitution is to be determined.

February 6, 2009 Yuma Sun
An illegal immigrant injured in an automobile accident after his arrest by the Border Patrol has received a $200,000 settlement. Jose Sandoval reached the settlement with Corrections Corporation of America, which had subcontracted with the Wackenhut security firm to transport previously detained aliens for the Department of Homeland Security, according to Yuma attorney Candy Camarena, who along with attorney Virginia Zazueta represented Sandoval. Sandoval, who had been arrested in the Yuma area in March, was being transported in a van with five other people to Florence, Ariz., when a flat tire caused the driver to lose control, according to Camarena and Miguel Escobar, Mexican consul in Yuma. The van rolled over along Interstate 8 in Pinal County. Sandoval was hospitalized with injuries to the arm and spinal column. "He was deported to Mexico through Nogales, in precarious health condition," Escobar said. "He was walking with a cane, and he contacted the Mexican Consulate to get help. The consulate took care of him and took him to San Luis Rio Colorado for medical care and we contacted the attorney." Sandoval, a resident of Baja California, got the additional medical attention but "the arm was broken in seven places," he said. "I have metal pins here and there," Sandoval said Friday at a news conference in San Luis Rio Colorado. "The spinal column splintered in two parts, I suffer a lot of pain. All the time there is that pain in the back." A carpenter by training, he had gone to the United States to work in construction, he said Friday at a news conference, but will no longer be able to do that kind of work. "I've tried to lift heavy things, but it hurts. I can't do it." The legal case was nearly seven months in preparation, Camarena said. "The biggest problems that we had in this lawsuit was that federal court demands that the plaintiff in a suit be present. Mr. Sandoval can't enter the United States, but we reached an agreement to resolve the case." Sandoval received $80,000, with the rest of settlement going for his medical and legal bills.

October 7, 2008 The Zonie Report
A former prison guard for one of the largest private prisons in the Southwest is suing his employer for wrongful termination following a fight with an inmate. Robert McDonald joins other recent plaintiffs who have filed workplace discrimination complaints against Corrections Corporation of America, a Maryland-based company that operates prison facilities in Eloy, Florence and elsewhere under contracts with local and federal agencies. In his complaint, McDonald states that the company hired him in July 2006. At the time, he notified company officials that he had a disability. The complaint does not disclose any details about his condition. In November 2006, McDonald claims his supervisor told him that he was a “security threat” because of his disability, the complaint says. In June 2007, McDonald claims he filed a formal grievance with the company over discriminatory treatment he allegedly received due to absences. On July 2, 2007, McDonald was assaulted by an inmate while he was on-duty, the complaint states. Two days later, the company terminated him without notice based on a policy violation that arose during the scuffle, according to the complaint. But the real reason, McDonald claims, was because he was disabled. Other employees who faced similar circumstances and were not disabled were not fired, he claims. As a result, McDonald filed charges against the company with the Arizona Civil Rights Division in September 2007. The office investigated the matter and found that he had the right to sue. McDonald claims the company violated his Civil Rights and defamed him by giving two prospective employers, the Gila River Indian Community and the state Department of Corrections, negative information about him during the application process. Tempe lawyer Tamra Facciola is representing McDonald in Pinal County Superior Court.

October 7, 2008 Casa Grande Dispatch
One of two convicted murderers who escaped from a private prison here about a year ago has been sentenced to 10 years, but his time wasn't his own anyway. Kollin Lorik Folsom, 25, of Washington state was sentenced Sept. 16 by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Janna Vanderpool after pleading no contest to kidnapping, for restraining a detention officer at Florence Correctional Center during the escape. Folsom was given credit for 85 days served. Restitution is to be determined. The term is to be served concurrently with one for his 1999 murder conviction in Clark County (Wash.) Superior Court. A charge of escape was dismissed in a plea agreement. Since Folsom has more than 40 years left on this sentence, prosecutors from the Pinal County Attorney's Office felt he would be in prison for most of the rest of his life and offered the plea agreement. Kidnapping is a more serious offense than escape. Folsom and Roy Townsend escaped about 1 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2007 after overpowering a detention officer using what looked like a gun and tied him down as they worked on an evening cleaning crew. The inmates forced the detention officer to open some cabinets, then made him drop to his knees and hog-tied him. They took his keys and radio and used ladders to climb onto the prison roof, then used them to scale razor wire-topped fencing. They split up after escaping. The detention officer later worked tape off his mouth and called for help. Television footage of the prison at the time showed at least one of the ladders leaning against a fence. Both inmates were due to be transferred to a prison in Oklahoma the next week. Investigators discovered that Townsend had watched television shows such as "Prison Break" and "Mastermind" before the escape, and he had talked about escaping to Mexico. Folsom was captured about six hours later by a Pinal County Sheriff's Office deputy on patrol about five miles from the prison, after a foot chase. Folsom was taken to Casa Grande Regional Medical Center for treatment of a big cut on the back of his leg from the razor wire. Folsom was convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing his girlfriend's father in November 1999 in Washougal, Wash. He had been at the Florence prison since 2005. Townsend was captured about a month later in Washington state. He had been convicted of arson, theft and murder in Mason County, Wash., and has almost 50 years remaining on his sentence. The two were among about 500 Washington state prisoners serving their time at the Corrections Corporation of America prison. The Washington Department of Corrections Web site lists Folsom as being in an undisclosed private prison.

September 30, 2008 AP
More than 100 inmates are being transferred back to Washington, after serving time at private prisons in Arizona. The Corrections Department says the return of 110 inmates from Arizona is the largest single-day transfer of out-of-state inmates this year. They were sent to Arizona because of crowding in Washington prisons. But an expansion in the state prison system has freed up some space. Seventy-six of the inmates will be sent to the Washington Corrections Center in Mason County, and 34 will be sent to the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County. The number of inmates housed outside the state is now 978. Earlier this year, nearly 1,200 Washington inmates were in other states.

February 1, 2008 Arizona Republic
Brandishing a fake gun and using ladders stolen from a maintenance building, two convicted killers climbed onto the roof and over the walls of a private prison in Florence in September. They navigated through several lines of razor wire and outmaneuvered security patrols, escaping to freedom, an investigative report on the incident says. One was caught within hours. It was nearly a month before the other was caught, hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. Now, in response, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano wants to tighten up rules for the state's growing private-prison industry, which is virtually unregulated by the state. A legislative proposal drafted by the Governor's Office and introduced by Republican Sen. Robert Blendu of Litchfield Park would bar private prisons from importing murderers, rapists and some other dangerous or seriously ill felons to Arizona. It would also require the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. "It is a matter of public safety," said Dennis Burke, Napolitano's chief of staff. "(Other states) are exporting their worst criminals to Arizona, and we can't even know what they are doing and what steps they are taking to protect Arizonans." But private-prison officials and other industry supporters say the bill could threaten the industry, which is the largest employer in Pinal County. "We were welcomed to the state 15 years ago. We answered the call to help with economic development in Pinal County," said Tony Grande, a senior vice president for Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private-prison firm in the nation. The firm runs five Arizona prisons, including the one in Florence where the escape took place in September. He said the company has a good track record and doesn't do business in states with tight restrictions. "If you change the rules of the game midstream, we are going to resist it because we invested based on the current rules," he said. No current restrictions -- The private-prison industry has grown rapidly in Arizona since the first such prison opened here in 1994, bringing jobs and thousands of out-of-state inmates to Pinal County. Now, more than 9,000 felons from Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and other states and the federal government are housed in six of 11 privately run prisons in Arizona. Most of the out-of-state inmates are in CCA facilities in Pinal County, according to information collected by the Arizona Department of Corrections. But unlike other states, Arizona has no restrictions on the kind of out-of-state inmates that can be brought here. And private-prison companies in Arizona are not required to share detailed information on inmates, staffing and security measures or have their facility designs approved by state officials. Such requirements are in place in other states with significant private prisons. Some states ban private prisons altogether or, like California, don't allow them to house prisoners from out of state. Of the 15 states that expressly authorize private prisons, Arizona is one of the least restrictive, said Dora Schriro, director of the state prison system. Arizona laws require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and return prisoners to their home states to be released. But, Schriro notes, there are no penalties if the companies don't comply and no way to check on releases. That's a concern shared by Attorney General Terry Goddard. Goddard said he was surprised after talking to attorneys general in other states that Arizona's laws lagged so far behind. "I really think it is about time we had some record keeping ... and Arizona takes a stand on what kind of prisoners from other states we are willing to accept," Goddard said. Sending felons home -- Blendu's bill would bring together several restrictions found in other states and give the state the ability to assess fines if the private companies don't comply. To Blendu, who has been a private-prison supporter, a key piece of the bill is strengthening requirements to send the felons back home. He said he supports private prisons, but he also worries that Arizona's laws have not kept up. "We cannot become the private-prison attraction for the child molesters of our country," he said. His proposal is not the first time the state has attempted to pass more restrictions on private prisons. Escapes and other major incidents have been rare, supporters say. But the escape of three murderers and three other inmates from a private prison in 1996 and another escape of a murderer and a sex offender in 1997 led lawmakers to pass the current law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs.

December 22, 2007 East Valley Tribune
Arizona for the first time is using a state law that allows police agencies to recover costs in capturing people who escape from private prisons. The tab is $25,000 for the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s part in the capture of two murderers who escaped from the Florence Correctional Center in September, according to Phil Case, DPS budget officer. Case said he has asked other agencies, including the Florence and Casa Grande police departments, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Corrections, to figure out what their costs were. “We’re fully aware of the statutory requirements,” said Steve Owen, spokesman for Correctional Corporation of America, a company based in Nashville, Tenn., that runs the Florence prison. “We certainly very much appreciated the assistance.” The company has five prisons in Pinal County housing about 9,200 men, and another is planned. Owen said there have only been two other escapes from Correctional Corporation of America prisons in Pinal County since 1997, and each was captured within minutes. A Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy caught Kollin Folsom, 24, within hours after he and Roy Townsend, 37, overpowered a correctional officer as they worked on a cleaning crew at the prison. They then used a ladder to get over the razor wire fence. Deputy U.S. Marshals found Townsend near Spokane, Wash., about a month later. Both men were from Washington, where state prisons are overcrowded. States often send inmates to private prisons in other states when their prisons are over capacity. There are more than 1,700 prisoners from California, Washington, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement housed at the Florence Center. When Folsom and Townsend got out, dozens of officers set up roadblocks and went door-to-door. Dogs tried to sniff out the escapees, and helicopters searched from the air. When the initial manhunt ended, detectives continued to search for Townsend. State law requires private prisons to pay either $10,000 per escaped prisoner or the “actual capture costs per escapee, whichever is more.”

October 17, 2007 Arizona Republic
A convicted murderer who escaped a Florence prison last month has been reportedly caught in his home state of Washington. Detective Walt Hunter of the Florence Police Department said in an e-mail Wednesday morning that Roy Townsend, 37, who escaped with Kollin Folsom, 24, from Florence Correctional Center on Sept. 17, had been apprehended in Spokane. In the e-mail, Hunter said he has few details other than Townsend was captured. Townsend and Folsom escaped Sept. 17 after overpowering a correctional officer as they worked on an evening cleaning crew at the Florence Correctional Center, then used ladders to scale razor wire-topped fencing. Folsom, also a convicted murderer, was apprehended several hours after the two men escaped. Townsend was convicted of arson, theft and murder in Mason County, Washington, and had nearly 50 years still to serve. He was among 506 Washington inmates at Florence.

October 10, 2007 KOMO TV
A family here wants an explanation from the state as to why their son's killer sent to a private, out of state prison in Arizona? Eleven years ago, Gerald Harkins was shot twice, killed and left in the woods. He was just 18. A few miles from Shelton in the family's living room, there are old newspaper clippings, including one that says: "Killer Gets 66 Years in Prison." But three weeks ago, Roy Townsend and another killer puts ladders against a prison fence in Arizona. One was recaptured, but Townsend, convicted of killing Gerald Harkins is still at large. "To me, it's like being right back where we were 10 years ago," said Gerald's father, Larry. "Waiting and hunting." Audrey and Larry Harkins had just begun to heal. Some of the pictures and poems still bring tears. Two years ago, Audrey started putting together a photo album as a memory book. She never expected a prison break and fear. "He needs to be behind bars to protect every young adult," she said. "You don't know what would make him turn." To them, their son's killer is more than a wanted poster. He's a nightmare returned. And they can't understand why the State of Washington moved a murderer into a medium security private prison. "I don't understand it," Larry Harkins said. "To me, when he was convicted in the state, a judge gave him a penalty and the state of Washington was supposed to carry that penalty out. He was put in their care, and, you know what, they blew it." The Harkins say they have a meeting Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen to talk about their son and a prison break. The Harkins may worry, but police in Shelton and Mason County say a fugitive would have to be crazy to come back. After all, they say everybody knows everybody and everything that's going on. In the meantime, Larry and Audrey say they want two things: Townsend's arrest and changes in the state's prison practices.

September 21, 2007 AP
A convicted murderer who escaped from a private prison in Florence earlier this week is still on the loose. Pinal County sheriff's spokesman Mike Minter says a nationwide law enforcement alert is out for 37-year-old Roy Townsend, but so far he's eluded capture. Townsend escaped Monday from the Florence Correctional Center with another inmate, who was captured hours later. Townsend was convicted of arson, theft and murder in Mason County, Washington and had nearly 50 years still to serve. He was among 506 Washington inmates at Florence. Minter says sheriff's investigators plan to meet with U.S. Marshals officials to try to come up with ideas on how to track down Townsend.

September 18, 2007 Arizona Republic
Authorities issued a statewide alert but scaled back their search Tuesday for a convicted murderer who escaped from a privately run prison in Florence. Florence Police Detective Walt Hunter said there have been reported sightings of 37-year-old Roy Townsend. Townsend and 24-year-old Kollin Folsom escaped from the Florence Correctional Center by overpowering a correctional officer as they worked on an evening cleaning crew. They escaped about early Monday by climbing ladders over razor wire-topped fencing about 14 feet high. Folsom was caught several hours later. Hunter said the search for Townsend has been cut back to agencies in the immediate area but a statewide "attempt to locate" alert has gone to law enforcement agencies. "We're working with several other agencies, even out of state agencies," Hunter said Tuesday, "and we're following up on a bunch of leads and tips today." Authorities searched across the town and nearby desert areas Monday. "Police officers are going door to door. We have roving patrols. We have air surveillance. We have dog units," Hunter said Monday. "There's just so many locations he could have gone, you can't really pinpoint one direction. We're just doing an exhaustive search of the whole area," Hunter said. "Wherever (Townsend) is at, hopefully we're going to catch him." Townsend and Folsom were working as part of an evening cleaning crew when they attacked a guard and tied him down, according to a release from the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the prison.

September 18, 2007 Arizona Republic
Two convicted murderers serving time at a private prison in Florence overcame a guard and then used ladders to slip over prison fences early Monday, authorities said. One of them, Kollin Folsom, 24, was caught by Pinal County authorities at 7:23 a.m. Monday morning. The other, Roy Townsend, 37, is still on the loose. About 1 a.m., Folsom and Townsend escaped from the Florence Correctional Center. Detective Walt Hunter of the Florence Police Department said the inmates took ladders, climbed on the prison roof and scaled two fences. Television footage of the prison showed at least one of the ladders leaning against a fence. Folsom was captured in a two-story building about three miles south of the prison, Hunter said. Hunter said both inmates were serving homicide sentences and were from Washington state. Both inmates were on night cleaning duty when they escaped. They overtook and tied down a male correctional officer before they gained access to the ladders from the maintenance room, officials said. The prison is on lock down, officials said. A “full-scale” search by the Pinal County Sheriff's Department and Florence Police Department, including K-9 tracking dogs, is still underway. The U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies are also assisting in the search, Hunter said. “We're just doing an exhaustive search of the whole area,” he said. “Wherever (Townsend) is at, hopefully we're going to catch him.” Towsend is described as a White male, with black hair and brown eyes, 5 feet 11 inches, and weighing about 160 pounds. He is said to be wearing dark blue pants and a white t-shirt or dark blue top, officials said. Authorities warn anyone who might see Towsend not to approach him, but to call 911. Folsom was convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing of Clinton Williams, his girlfriend's father, in November 1999 in Washougal, Wash. Townsend, 37, was convicted of arson, theft and murder in the shooting of Gerald Harkins in Mason County, Wash. Townsend's release date is Sept. 5, 2054.

September 17, 2007 East Valley Tribune
Two convicted murderers working on the night cleaning crew overtook and tied up a correctional officer, and escaped from Florence Correctional Center early Monday. Kollin Folsom, 24, and Roy Townsend, 37, are prisoners from Washington who have been serving time in the private prison for two and three years, respectively. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and Florence Police Department are looking for the men, who escaped about 1 a.m. Folsom is white, 5 feet, 9 inches, 160 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes with no identifiable physical marks. Townsend is white, 5 feet, 11 inches, 160 pounds, black hair, brown eyes, with no identifiable physical marks, according to a press release.

July 11, 2006 Honolulu Advertiser
Hawai'i inmates who worked in the kitchen of an Arizona prison have been disciplined for allegedly smuggling methamphetamine and marijuana into the facility. Shari Kimoto, administrator of the Mainland branch of the Hawai'i Department of Public Safety, said prison operator Corrections Corp. of America began investigating the alleged drug ring at the Florence Correctional Center after a number of inmates tested positive for drug use. The kitchen supervisor and several truck drivers with a food service company that makes deliveries to the prison in Florence, Ariz., were fired in connection with the case, and one or two corrections officers also may have been involved, Kimoto said. She said she expects to learn more when CCA officials file additional reports about the investigation.

February 10, 2005 Anchorage Daily News
The governor is asking lawmakers for $116 million to cover this year's rising costs of public services, including medical care for the poor and elderly, fuel for state ferries and buildings, and fighting last summer's wildfires. An increase in the contract rate for housing state inmates at a private prison in Arizona means the Department of Corrections needs $2.3 million to cover its higher costs this year, Frasca said. The daily rate went up 8 percent, from $52.93 to $57.15 per inmate, said Richard Schmitz, spokesman for the department. Alaska pays to house about 750 inmates at the prison, he said.

April 17, 2003
The family of a Hawaii inmate who died in an Arizona prison alleges in a lawsuit that he died after packets of drugs he was smuggling for a prison gang burst in his stomach.  According to the suit filed yesterday in Circuit Court, Iulai Amani, then 24, died of a heart attack on April 15, 2001, at the Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Ariz.  The lawsuit attributes the heart attack to "a drug overdose, the mechanism of which was inconsistent with recreational use but consistent with drug smuggling under the direction" of a Hawaii gang that controlled the prison.  As a result of overcrowding in its prisons, the state contracted with private mainland prisons to take inmates.  Hawaii contracted with the Florence facility, which is managed by Corrections Corp. of America, a publicly traded prison company based in Nashville, Tenn.  The Florence prison is a medium-security facility with about 1,600 beds which houses both men and women. As a private prison, it is not subject to regulations governing other Arizona prisons. It also takes some of the toughest and most violent Hawaii prisoners.  Last week, another inmate, Victoriano Ortiz, sued the state and CCA alleging failure to protect him from being beaten up by USO members in a prison yard fight involving 23 inmates.  (Star Bulletin)

April 15, 2003
Victoriano Ortiz was 24 years old when he beat his wife to death in the abandoned bus the two shared as a home.  He broke her jaw and several ribs before he wrapped her body in a blanket, loaded it into a shopping cart and dumped it into the stream next to River Street in downtown Honolulu.  Last week, Ortiz sued the state of Hawaii and the owners of the Arizona prison where he was held, alleging failure to protect him from being beaten up by a gang of Hawaii inmates that controlled the prison to the point that guards smuggled drugs to gang members in return for protection.  Ortiz's federal lawsuit and other documents obtained by the Star-Bulletin give a glimpse into a rough era in the recent history of the Florence Correctional Center, a privately run prison in Florence, Ariz., managed by Corrections Corp. of America, a publicly traded company based in Nashville, Tenn.  Ortiz's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, names members of USO, the state of Hawaii, CCA and others as defendants. He alleges reckless or gross negligence and "a callous disregard" for his safety.  Ortiz alleges in his complaint that Pablo Sedillo, then warden of the Florence prison, "told the USOs that they could do whatever they wanted as long as they don't hurt the guards." Ortiz alleges that "in doing so Sedillo made the USOs ... managers of the facility, jeopardizing the safety of all non-USO-affiliated residents."  (Star Bulletin)

April 14, 2003
The state of Hawaii is among the defendants in a lawsuit filed by an inmate at Florence Correctional Center who claims he was badly beaten by a prison gang that was given unprecedented privileges by the warden and guards.  In a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Victoriano Ortiz said correctional officers smuggled drugs to members of the so-called United Samoan Organization and allowed them to assault nonmembers without interference.  Ortiz, who was convicted of second-degree murder 15 years ago, claims he was attacked by members of the gang in April 2001. The Honolulu native alleges that the prison warden told members of the gang "they could do whatever they wanted as long as they don't hurt the guards."  A spokesman for the Florence Correctional Center couldn't be reached for comment.  Ortiz's lawsuit names Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the private facility, along with two alleged gang leaders and the state of Hawaii, which has a contract to send inmates to the prison.  Ortiz requests damages for cruelty, negligence, failure to protect and other civil rights violations.  (AP)

March 21, 2003
A 74-year-old Gold Canyon man was killed yesterday in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate 10.  Layton Mowrey was driving a van for Correctional Services Corp., eastbound on I-10 about two miles west of the Trico-Marana Road exit when he lost control at 11:30 a.m., said officer David Kleinman of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. CSC runs a prison for the state in Florence.  (Tucson Citizen)

September 4, 2001
For years, Hawaii's prisons have been free of the violent gangs that plague many Mainland facilities, but inmates returning from prisons on the Mainland are showing more signs of gang involvement, according to the head of the state prison system.  Among the convicts returned to Hawaii to finish their sentences, prison officials are seeing more gang tattoos, gang "code words" and inmates who acknowledge other prisoners with gang affiliation as leaders, said Ted Sakai, director of the state Department of Public Safety.  Prison officials earlier this year demanded that the Mainland operators of the Florence Correctional Center in Arizona stage a crackdown on a Hawaii prison gang.  One Hawaii investigator said the gang is "Hawaii's first bona fide prison gang."  About 1,200 Hawaii convicts are now held in prisons in Arizona and Oklahoma because there is no room for them in facilities here.  (The Honolulu Advertiser)    

September 3, 2001
In the business of privately operated prisons, some states are exporters, and some are importers. That is, some states send their convicted criminals out of state, while others bring them in. And some states, especially those on the receiving end, are getting squeamish about the transfers.  One after another, states have imposed restrictions on the kinds of out-of-state inmates that private prison operators can import. And states that don't limit the types of inmates that can be imported worry that they will become "dumping grounds" for the worst convicts from other states.  The tighter laws can be an easy sell politically because even some corrections experts question the wisdom of importing particularly vicious convicts or sex offenders from other states. As Terry L. Stewart, director of the ARIZONA Dept. of Corrections put it, "We have our own maximum custody inmates. They are dangerous inmates. Why in the world would we want maximum custody inmates from anywhere else?"  (State Net Capitol Journal)

August 7, 2001
About an hour's drive from Tucson sits a ticking time bomb waiting to go off - a private prison in such chaos it has effectively been taken over by the criminals.  Gang members mixed booze-laced beverages in a five-gallon pail in the prison kitchen at the Florence Correctional Facility.  Inmates wandered the corridors with little supervision and had sex with female immigration detainees.  One guard said he even resorted to bringing marijuana to work to give to certain prisoners so that they would protect him from other prisoners.  Yet Arizona's state prison regulators can do nothing about such problems.  Unlike many other states, Arizona's Legislature has given free reign to corporate operators of private prisons like the one in Florence, allowing them to set up shop here with almost no rules in place to monitor their operations.  "Right now you can build a prison anywhere in Arizona, and the only thing you have to meet is the local building code," said Terry Stewart, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.  It doesn't take a degree in corrections to know this is absurd public policy.  The Florence facility is run by Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, the largest private prison firm in the nation.  It's what is known in the industry as a "speculative" prison - one built outside the purview of the normal regulatory system, with no guarantee that there will be prisoners available to fill it.  (Arizona Daily Star)

August 5, 2001
The state's prison director wants lawmakers to give him more control over private prisons following reports that a Hawaii gang had effectively taken over a Florence prison.  Hawaii auditors determined in late April that a gang called United Samoan Organization was essentially running the Florence Correctional Facility, which houses 550 of that state's inmates -- 300 of whom are sex offenders.  The prison, operated by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America -- or CCA -- is about an hour outside both Tucson and Phoenix.  After the deaths of two inmates, six inmate assaults and a riot that left one officer with six stitches - all of which happened in April -- Hawaii dispatched four auditors to inspect the prison, which opened in 2000.  Two female auditors were not allowed to tour the facility because of fears for their safety. Auditors determined that gang members were having sex with female Immigration and Naturalization Service inmates. Gang members were using drugs and making an alcoholic drink called "swipe," which the monitoring team found in a five-gallon bucket in the kitchen.  Staff, who reportedly had been calling the Hawaiians "beach niggas," were taking cultural training.  If Arizona cracks down, Hawaii officials have few options. Their inmates were moved out of Texas because of tighter restrictions there. Oklahoma does not accept sex offenders. California and many other states don't allow any out-of-state prisoners.  Red flags started waving for Sen. Pete Rios, a Hayden Democrat, on primary election night last September. While he was awaiting election returns in the Pinal County seat, police vehicles suddenly blocked the major highways out of Florence. Someone at CCA's prison had called 911, saying there was a hostage situation, but, when law enforcement responded, CCA refused to provide information.  In the end, three guards were injured after inmates smashed windows, computers, televisions and food carts during a 90-minute riot that started in a dispute over how rice was cooked.  (The Arizona Daily Star)

July 29, 2001
Hawaii may be forced to build a new prison because other states are imposing restrictions on the kinds of out-of-state inmates they will accept, according to state Public Safety director Ted Sakai.  Officials in Arizona are considering limiting the types of out-of-state inmates Arizona will accept.  They were prompted by escalating violence and gang activity by Hawaii inmates serving time in one Arizona prison.  Hawaii officials who inspected the Florence prison reported that they found a "facility in turmoil," with a gang of Hawaii inmates involved in drug smuggling and assaults against prisoners and corrections officers.  Terry L. Stewart, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, said he will ask the Arizona Legislature for new authority over companies such as Corrections Corporation of America.  (AP) 

July 21, 2001
Medical officials in Arizona say a prison inmate from Hawaii died in April from an accidental overdose of methamphetamine and that another Hawaii inmate died a few days later of natural causes.  (AP) 

July 1, 2001
A team sent to check on conditions at an Arizona prison that holds more than 560 Hawaii inmates conducted only a limited inspection because of the "hostile environment," including the potential for violence, according to state reports obtained by The Advertiser.  The desert prison, where two Hawaii inmates have died in recent months, was described in the April 30 report as "a facility in turmoil," and officials described lax security conditions, reports of widespread drug use and domination by members of a prison gang.  The reports by the monitoring team highlight problems with an inexperienced prison staff and refer to "widespread" drug smuggling into the facility by prison staff.  One prison official admitted to the Hawaii inspectors that he smuggled marijuana into the prison because he was afraid of gang members incarcerated there, according to the reports.  Sgt. Patrick Kawai, a Hawaii gang intelligence officer who was sent to inspect the Florence facility, reported in April that "I never once while at FCC observed an officer frisk search or strip search an inmate.  I never once observed an officer go through any inmate's property, or search anything an inmate was carrying."  That lack of "simple security measures" allows inmates to move weapons and other contraband, Kawai said in his report.  The Advertiser has been seeking reports about the Florence inspections for some time but state officials have been reluctant to provide them.  When the April report was first released, most of it was blacked out by officials citing security concerns.  After further requests from the newspaper and intervention by the governor's office, the reports were released.  The monitoring reports also reveal that a year after the Hawaii prisoners were sent to Florence, the prison still does not offer educational and rehabilitation programs to inmates that are required by CCA's contract with state.  When asked if CCA is now providing the programs required by the contract, Sakai replied: "I don't think so, but again we understand it's going to take some time. ...For example, they've committed to starting the substance abuse treatment program.  They're going to have to get the staff together.  I don't know if they have it yet, and then it takes time to build these programs up."  Inmates have complained about the lack of educational, sex offender and drug treatment programs at Florence, in part because parole often depends on whether inmates complete required programs.  Sakai acknowledged virtually no inmate programs were available for the 100 inmates who were shipped to Florence about a year ago.  The June report also quotes a Florence prison official as admitting the prison medical unit is "grossly understand."  (The Honolulu Advertiser)

May 25, 2001
More than three dozen Hawaii inmates have been transferred from an Arizona prison to one in New Mexico.  State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said at least some of the inmates who were transferred were part of a prison gang.  Last month the state sent an inspection team to review the operations of Florence, and state officials expressed concerns about problems there.  CCA replaced the warden at Florence earlier this month, and asked Hawaii officials if they could temporarily move about 40 disruptive inmates to a New Mexico prison "to get Florence settled down," Sakai said.  (AP)

May 11, 2001
The Florence Correctional Center in Arizona, where two Hawaii inmates died last month and three others were severely beaten, has named a new warden.  Frank Luna, 38, moves over from Corrections Corporation of America's Huerfano County Correctional Center in Colorado where he had been warden of the medium-security prison since August 1999.  Louise Green, vice president of marketing and communications for CCA, said the previous warden at Florence, Pablo Sedillo, is on administrative leave.  (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

May 9, 2001
Complaints from Hawaii corrections officials have led to the replacement of the warden at a privately run Arizona prison.  The Hawaii officials said that management problems at the facility were jeopardizing the safety of Hawaii inmates serving time there.  State Public Safety director Ted Sakai said the warden of Florence Correctional Center was replaced late last week or early this week.  Incidents at Florence include inmate gangs, serious beatings of several inmates, a riot last September and the death of a Hawaii inmate on April 16th from what prison officials suspect was a drug-induced heart attack.  CCA now holds about 1,100 male inmates from Hawaii, including about 550 at Florence.  The state will pay the company about $17 million this year to house the 1,100 prisoners and provide educational and other programs.  (AP) 

May 3, 2001
Two deaths in a private prison in Florence led to a lockdown and search for contraband.  In one instance, Steve Owen spokesperson for Corrections Corporation of America said, Iulai Amani, 23, died April 16 while being taken to a hospital after he began coughing up blood in his cell at the Florence Correctional Center.  Cause of death had yet to be determined Wednesday, but officials said he may have overdosed on cocaine or methamphetamine.  Amani's knuckles reportedly were bloody at the time of his death, suggesting he may have been in a fight.  And on April 25, John Kia, an inmate with a history of health problems died from a bacterial infection, Owen said.  (AP)

April 27, 2001
State corrections officials have sent a team to investigate the recent deaths of two Hawaii inmates held at a private prison in Florence, Arizona.  "There's no evidence at all that there was any physical altercation that led to the deaths, so that's been ruled out," Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said Thursday.  Sakai has been told John Kia, 41, died of a heart attack Wednesday at the Florence Correctional Center, while Iulai Amani, 23, died of either a heart attack or asphyxiation April 15.  "We know that two inmates died, and we also know that we had several (Hawaii) inmates who were assaulted by other inmates at the same facility," Sakai said.  "I understand that there were a couple of inmates who were beaten up pretty bad, bad enough that they had to be rushed to the emergency room."  (AP)

Florence West Correctional Facility
Florence, Arizona
GEO Group
October 4, 2010 Arizona Republic
A federal agency filed a lawsuit last week alleging a private company that operates prisons in Florence sexually harassed and retaliated against female employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's lawsuit against GEO Group Inc. alleged the company and some male managers supervising correctional officers fostered a "sexual and sex-based hostile work environment" at two Florence prisons that allowed harassment and retaliation against female employees. GEO Group, which operates Arizona State Prison-Florence and Central Arizona Correctional Facility in Florence, declined to comment on the EEOC lawsuit. The EEOC alleges GEO Group was aware but failed to take measures to prevent the harassment. The EEOC case stems from a harassment complaint that a female employee filed in June 2009 with the Arizona Civil Rights Division and the EEOC. The lawsuit alleged the prison operator retaliated against her after she filed her complaint. The EEOC said the male employees engaged in verbal and physical harassment of female employees. A male manager grabbed and pinched a female employee, and a female employee was forced on a desk and kissed and touched by a male employee, the lawsuit says. The federal agency reportedly attempted to reach a voluntary settlement with the GEO Group before filing the lawsuit. The Arizona Attorney General's Office previously filed suit and investigated complaints against the prison operator. The EEOC is authorized under federal law to collect compensatory and punitive damages, which are not available under Arizona law. It was the fourth discrimination lawsuit announced last week by the EEOC against Arizona employers. The federal agency also filed lawsuits against a Peoria car dealership, a Bullhead City Mexican eatery and a Phoenix restaurant. Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix office, said the agency filed a batch of lawsuits last week due to work-flow issues. Agency attorneys focused on new cases after they finished other duties such as trials and filing motions in existing cases.

December 10, 2008 Casa Grande Valley News
A man who escaped from a Florence prison in 2006 has been sentenced to four additional years in prison. Christopher Richard Breiland, 39, was sentenced Nov. 3 by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Bradley Soos to the minimum term with credit for 605 days served. Restitution is to be determined. The term is to be served concurrently with four sentences in Maricopa County, according to a plea agreement that noted Breiland would get a total of at least 15 years in prison. Breiland, 36, was discovered missing from the privately operated Florence West prison on May 4, 2006 after prison-issued orange pants and blood were found on the perimeter fence. Blankets and clothing was used in his bunk to make it look like he was sleeping while he climbed a recreational gate and squeezed through a barbed wire fence as other inmates watched through a window to see if he made it. Authorities found Breiland after he slammed the car he was driving into three other vehicles May 13, 2006 during a pursuit in Phoenix, injuring himself and four others. No serious injuries were reported. Breiland was serving sentences for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. He was due to be released Dec. 30, 2006. Florence West is a private prison owned by GEO Group Inc. and by operated Correctional Services Corporation. As provided by state law, all costs associated with Breiland's apprehension will be charged to GEO Group.

May 18, 2006 AP
Authorities found an escaped convict after he slammed his car into three other vehicles late Saturday afternoon in Phoenix. Christopher Breiland's capture was a joint effort by the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Phoenix and Scottsdale Police Departments. Breiland, 36, was discovered missing from the privately-operated Florence West prison on May 4 after prison-issued orange pants and blood were found on the perimeter fence. On Saturday, Breiland fled police as they tried to pull him over. Police stopped the chase after Breiland began driving recklessly. But Breiland still ran into three vehicles, injuring himself and four others. All were examined at a hospital and were expected to be OK. Breiland was serving sentences for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. He was due to be released Dec. 30, but now faces new charges. Florence West is a private prison owned by the GEO Group Inc. and by operated Correctional Services Corporation. As provided by state law, all costs associated with Breiland's apprehension will be charged to GEO Group.

May 14, 2006 KPHO
Authorities have found an inmate who escaped from a private prison in Florence May 4th. Thirty-six-year-old Christopher Breiland went missing from Florence West after prison-issued orange pants and blood were found on the perimeter fence. Breiland has been in prison since 1997, when he was sentenced to six and a half years for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery. He was due to be released next December 30th. Breiland was apprehended by Phoenix Police Department at 5:05 p-m today. His capture was a joint effort between the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Phoenix and Scottsdale Police Departments.

May 5, 2006 Arizona Daily Star
A state prisoner escaped Thursday from a private prison in Florence, officials said. Christopher Breiland, 36, escaped from the Florence West facility sometime before 8 a.m., when the staff noticed prison-issued orange pants and blood on a fence, authorities said. The prison was locked down and a count was taken, confirming that someone escaped. Search teams and tracking dogs were deployed, and Arizona Department of Corrections investigators were at the Florence facility, but Breiland had not been found by 7 p.m. Thursday. Breiland was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in 1997 after convictions on three felony counts: theft, weapons misconduct and forgery. He was due for release on Dec. 30. He was also convicted of a separate theft count, which netted him a nine-year sentence that was to begin in 1998, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections Web site. This was not the first time Breiland had escaped, according to the DOC Web site. He also fled last Dec. 24. He is white, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, and has brown eyes and brown hair. He has a cross tattooed on his left shoulder.

May 4, 2006 The Arizona Republic
Schools were locked down for hours Thursday as law enforcement and prison officials searched south of town for an inmate who escaped from a private prison. As of late Thursday afternoon, he had still not been found. Christopher Breiland, 36, was discovered missing from Florence West, owned by Boca Raton, Fla.-based Geo Group Inc., at about 8 a.m., according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. Orange prison pants and blood were found on a perimeter fence. Florence Police, Pinal County sheriff's deputies, corrections officers, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and K-9 units are looking for Breiland. He's described as 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. He has a cross tattooed on his left shoulder. Breiland had been considered a low-security inmate because he was in for a non-violent offense and was set to be released in December, said Pablo Paez, a Geo Group spokesman. Breiland was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in 1997 for felony convictions for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery, according to the Corrections Department. "(But) when someone escapes from prison, you have to proceed with caution," Paez said. Florence High School was locked down from 9:14 a.m. until 1:15 p.m., said Lt. Walt Hunter, with the Florence Police Department. Florence Elementary School and the town's Head Start program were also locked down.

Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation
Benson, Arizona
Management and Training Corporation

August 4, 2004
Led by local veterinarian Paula Tyler, many San Pedro Valley residents spoke out against proposed construction of a $25 million Benson Rehabilitation/Detention Center Thursday night.  Nearly 150 residents attended the standing-room only meeting at the Benson Public Library. Some were forced to stand outside and listen to the information presented by members of the newly created Committee for Responsible Economic Growth, with Tyler as the president.  Patricia Cooper, a former attorney for the Arizona Corporation Commission, said companies that manage private prisons are "undercapitalized, understaffed and will eventually fail."  "They look for rural communities that are desperate to grow," she said. "It is the responsibility of our city leaders to get the information and make an informed decision."  Besides the City Council moving swiftly to create the new corporation set to fund the detention center, Cooper said residents should be concerned over the legality.  "As a lawyer, I found 17 major problems with this resolution," Cooper said. "For one thing, the resolution was drafted by the developer's attorney. This resolution doesn't limit what they can build, expand, the money they can spend or the money they can borrow.  "It doesn't limit what kind of prisoners (the detention center) can take. These are all common limits set with other private agencies. In this resolution, the developer has no liability bonds, no training standards and no way to end the operator's contract.  "It gives the city officers all the authority to make this happen with no limits. No wonder the city attorney (Ann Roberts) wouldn't sign it."  Roberts refused to sign the resolution after the City Council approved it in a 6-1 vote on July 5. Councilman Toney King voted against the measure, citing a lack of information.  The resolution established Mark Kartchner, David DiPeso, Councilman Ted Amox, Beverly Stepp and Mike Montroy as members of the new corporation. None of the corporation members attended Thursday's community meeting.  Cooper said she is concerned about the members the council charged with funding the new economic venture because several of them have admitted to a conflict of interest.  Cooper said Amox has admitted to doing land surveying at the State Route 80 location and DiPeso admitted he may receive a referral fee for helping the developers find the land.  Cooper also took on the City Council's continued claims the new detention center will bring more business to Benson.  "We have heard so much about how it's going to bring business here," Cooper said. "Florence has five prisons, two of them private and that city has lost so many people because of it. Florence doesn't even have a supermarket anymore. What are we going to become?"  (Benson News-Sun)

August 4, 2004
Admitting to handling the process badly, the City Council Monday night halted plans to build the Benson Rehabilitation/Detention Center on State Route 80, voting to dissolve the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation and start over.  Tensions ran high during the two-hour meeting, with citizens taking advantage of the lengthy call to the public portion, which lasted nearly 90 minutes. Most speakers expressed opposition to the proposed detention center and the City Council's handling of the situation.  Local attorney LaNita Plummer said the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation, created on July 7 to borrow funding for the $25 million facility, is "null and void on its face."  Blaming actions taken by City Manager Boyd Kraemer, Plummer said the manager proceeded to file paperwork with the Arizona Corporation Commission on June 25, and signed as the incorporator on July 7, without official consent from the City Council. Following Plummer's advice, Councilman Toney King, who brought the matter before the council, immediately moved to rescind the resolution approving the organization of the nonprofit corporation known as the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation. Councilwoman Kathy Suagee seconded the motion.  "I am embarrassed and ashamed of not doing this in a more open way," Suagee said. "This was the council's decision. Don't blame the city manager, he is just learning the laws of the land."  (Benson News-Sun)

July 28, 2004
Moving forward on funding a $25 million detention center, the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation has elected its officers and created bylaws.  The group drew a lot of controversy when it was created by the City Council on July 7. Leading the new corporation is David DiPeso, unanimously selected as president.  Councilman Ted Amox, is five president; Beverly Stepp, is secretary; Mike Montroy is the treasurer. Serving as second vice president will be Dr. Mark Kartchner.  "They want to build this thing as soon as possible so that's the reason for this hurry," Amox said. "I think Cochise County is the most likely candidate in the United States for a facility like this."  City Manager Boyd Kraemer said the city of Benson can't borrow the money to fund the facility without voter approval, which is where the corporation comes in.  The plan is for the group to borrow $25 million through revenue bonds, which will supposedly be paid for over the next 22 years, through profits from detainees being held at the facility anywhere from three to nine months. Once the debt is paid, the City will own the facility.  The benefit of this plan, Kraemer said, is that the city is in no way liable and taxes won't increase to pay for the facility.  Kevin Pranis, a criminal justice policy analyst for Justice Strategies in New York City, said he's been studying privately owned detention centers for the last two years and to say there is going to be no risk to the city is "laughable."  "If bonds go into default the investor is never the one to get hurt," Pranis said. "This may be successful, but if it's not, someone is going to have to pay and the city will be right in the middle of it. The investors have the money to file the lawsuits and fight it. The city doesn't, and will probably end up paying for it. The city isn't an expert in bond laws or with the detention-center market. There are no guarantees."  Neither the city nor Matador has contacted the U.S. Marshals office about using the Benson facility.  Brian Nernex, assistant chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals office in Tucson, said he found out about the proposed facility through the San Pedro Valley News-Sun article on July 14 and the office has not committed to using it.  Pranis said its common for privately owned facilities to not only leave the public out of the process, but also the law-enforcement agencies that are said to be behind the project. Besides the Marshals office not being contracted, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has also been left out of the loop.  "I have not been talked to directly," Dever said. "With something as big as this it does surprise me that they haven't even talked to the Marshals office."  (News-Sun)

Great Plains Correctional Facility
Hinton, Oklahoma
GEO group (bought Cornell)
September 1, 2010 Phoenix New Times
An Arizona prison inmate, being housed in a private prison in Hinton, Oklahoma, is dead after apparently taking the easy way out, rather than completing his sentence. Officials at the Arizona Department of Corrections tell New Times inmate Patrick Ross was found dead in his cell around 7:50 a.m. yesterday. Responding Medical teams tried to revive Ross but were unsuccessful. DOC officials wouldn't say how Ross killed himself only saying he died "after apparently committing suicide." Ross was serving a 13-year sentence -- at a private prison run by Cornell Companies -- for an armed robbery he committed in Maricopa County. Ross began his sentence in December 2009 and ended it -- apparently on his own terms -- yesterday. DOC is investigating the death.

August 11, 2010 Tulsa World
Arizona is pulling more than 1,700 of its inmates from the Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton. Arizona has recently added 4,000 beds to its existing prisons to increase capacity, Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson said Tuesday. In addition, the state's contract for space at Great Plains is nearing an end, he said. The Great Plains private prison is owned by the Hinton Economic Development Authority and operated by Houston-based Cornell Cos. Cornell Cos. was previously in the process of merging with GEO, based in Boca Raton, Fla. GEO operates the Lawton Correctional Facility. The Arizona inmates are expected to be removed in the coming months, said Charles Seigel, Cornell Cos. spokesman. The company has known for several months that Arizona was considering the move, he said. The Great Plains Correctional Facility has 272 employees with an annual payroll of $9.1 million. "We are going to be without inmates for the moment," Seigel said. "We are working to try to find another customer to use it." Until then, employees will be laid off, he said. Hinton has a population of just under 3,000, said Dave Flezickey, a Hinton Economic Development Authority spokesman. The prison is one of the town's largest employers. Cornell and Corrections Corporation of America have told the Federal Bureau of Prisons that they are interested in housing criminal illegal aliens at Great Plains and three other private prisons in the state. The inmates would be low-security males who are predominantly Mexican citizens with one year or less left to serve. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections does not have the funds to contract to house state inmates at the two Oklahoma private prisons from which Arizona has removed inmates, said DOC Director Justin Jones. Arizona also removed inmates from Diamondback Correctional Facility in Watonga this spring. "Obviously, I would not rule it out, but that decision will have to be made through the legislative process," Jones said. He said the private prison industry is a speculative market. "It is not immune to recession and trends in sentencing and crime," Jones said. "A lot of states have gone back and applied research to their sentencing practices, which results in sentences that are more evidence-based, and that obviously affects a market that relies upon incarceration."

August 6, 2010 Market Watch
Cornell Companies, Inc. announced today that it has received notification from the Arizona Department of Corrections of its election not to renew its contract at Cornell's 2,048 bed Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton, Oklahoma, which is scheduled to expire on September 12, 2010. The Company will be working with Arizona in the coming days to determine the schedule for the transfer of inmates, which the Company expects to complete in 2010. As a result of this notification, Cornell intends to continue marketing the facility to other customers. Cornell's previous 2010 guidance assumed that the Arizona DOC would maintain its use of the Great Plains facility at its present level through the end of the year. In May 2010, Cornell reported that the ultimate resolution of Arizona's usage of the facility would likely depend on the timing of Arizona's budget process and may not occur until the third quarter of 2010. In light of the contract termination, Cornell is withdrawing its prior annual financial guidance.

February 26, 2010 AP
Cornell Cos. Inc.'s sales and profit will decline if the state of Arizona removes inmates from the company's Oklahoma prison, an analyst said as he downgraded the prison operator's shares. First Analysis Securities analyst Todd Van Fleet downgraded the Houston company to "equal weight" from "overweight." The January budget proposals from Arizona's governor and legislature would phase out the use of private out-of-state beds. Arizona is struggling to close budget shortfalls. Van Fleet said there was less than a 25 percent chance that Cornell would be able to persuade legislators to keep Arizona inmates in the company's Oklahoma prison. The loss of the Arizona prisoners which could cut into Cornell's annual earnings by 35 cents to 45 cents per share. Van Fleet cut his estimate for 2010 profit to $1.09 per share from $1.69 per share, and his 2010 sales estimate to $398 million from $440.6 million. On Wednesday, when it released fourth-quarter earnings, Cornell predicted it would make $1.31 to $1.41 per share in 2010. The guidance assumed that Cornell would continue to keep all its Arizona inmates for the rest of the year. The contract for the Arizona prisoners ends in mid-September, Van Fleet said. Cornell shares slipped 13 cents to $18.61 in midday trading. They have dropped about 25 percent since Arizona proposed its budget in mid-January.

May 4, 2007 KOLD TV
A private prison in Oklahoma will reopen later this summer after getting a contract to keep two-thousand inmates from Arizona. Houston-based Cornell Companies owns the Great Plains Correctional Facility and has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Department of Corrections with four one-year options to follow. The prison in Hinton, Oklahoma was shut down and nearly 200 workers laid off earlier this year after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections pulled out the last of its more than 800 inmates. The prison is currently equipped with 812 beds and the contract calls for it to open with 916 beds. The prison is to expand to hold the two- thousand inmates by the fourth quarter of next year. The first inmates are expected in August or September.

La Palma Correctional Center
Eloy, Arizona
CCA

August 10, 2011 Arizona Republic
Corrections Corp. of America is proposing to use two of its existing prisons in Eloy to provide new private-prison beds for Arizona. Nashville-based CCA, the country's largest operator of private prisons, would empty its Red Rock and La Palma facilities of the inmates from Hawaii and California they now house to create space for 4,500 Arizona inmates. CCA is one of four companies bidding to contract with Arizona's Department of Corrections for up to 5,000 private prison beds. It provided details of its plans at a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday evening in Eloy. Under the proposal, CCA wouldn't expand either private prison; rather, the Hawaiian and Californian inmates would move to one of the more than 60 other prisons elsewhere in the CCA system, likely in other states.

May 26, 2011 The Eloy Enterprise
According to a press release disseminated last week by New America Media, a concern about who was preparing food for general population prisoners sparked an ongoing hunger strike since May 18 at a CCA prison. According to a concerned general population inmate at LaPalma Correctional Center in Eloy, a strictly male Californian inmate prison, the correctional center is upending its populations, switching its housing mission from 2,000 general population (GP) inmates and 1,000 special needs yard (SNY) inmates to 1,000 GP and 2,000 SNY. That population change includes switching the general population inmates preparing meals for the entire prison to SNY inmates.

May 15, 2010 Casa Grande Dispatch
A 30-year-old man serving a term in an Eloy prison has been sentenced to five years in state prison for promoting prison contraband. Miguel Angel Bandilla, an inmate at the Corrections Corporation of America La Palma Correctional Center, was sentenced April 14 in Pinal County Superior Court by Judge Pro Tem Henry Gooday to the presumptive term, with credit for 35 days served. The offense occurred Sept. 16. Any remaining counts in the indictment were dismissed in a plea agreement.

August 12, 2009 Casa Grande Dispatch
A supposed anonymous letter sent to the La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy late June prompted an investigation and subsequent arrest of the assistant warden at the facility for drug possession. Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) had drugs tested privately, that were reportedly found taped under the dash in the suspect's car while it was parked in the parking lot. According to test results provided to the Eloy PD, spokeswoman Amanda Villescaz said, the substance tested positive for amphetamines. Eloy Lt. Frank Nolasco, told the Tucson News last week that the suspect denied knowledge or having anything to do with the substance found. Though the CCA official was arrested June 25, he was released that day after questioning, pending the results of the drug testing. He was not charged, Villescaz said, due to a few unsure facts. CCA, on the other hand, terminated the official from their employment that day. The Eloy PD is not taking CCA's word for it, though, and is having the substance in question tested in state crime labs. Eloy detectives have also requested evidence testing of fingerprints and DNA to positively link the illegal contraband to the former CCA prison official. Because no charges have been filed, the official's name is not being released at this time. "It's still a very iffy case," Villescaz said. Lab testing has slowed due to staffing and economical issues, and could be a couple of months before the department receives the results and can move forward with the case.

Marana, Arizona
US Extradition Services

August 20, 2007 Arizona Star
Authorities Sunday night caught the second of two convicted sex offenders who escaped in the afternoon from a private interstate prisoner transport van near I-10 and Cortaro Road, a Marana Police Department spokesman said. The escape happened when the driver stopped at a Circle K, 5600 N. Cortaro Road, about 3 p.m. so a female prisoner could use the toilet, according to Sgt. Tim Brunenkant, of the Marana Police Department. Brunenkant said the driver told investigators that when he and the woman prisoner returned to the van, he found that the two male prisoners were gone. The two male prisoners were wearing handcuffs and leg irons shackled by chains to a belt, "but were able to get out of them," he said. The restraints were found in the van, Brunenkant said. Jose Montenegro Ramirez avoided apprehension until about 10:30 p.m. Police said a resident called 911 after Ramirez showed up at his home near West Massingale Road and I-10 looking for help. The resident recognized Ramirez from earlier news reports of the escape. He ran from the home, but police already in the area searching for Ramirez tracked him down soon after the 911 call. A canine unit helped apprehend Ramirez, police said. The 26-year-old was being returned on a California warrant for parole violation, with a sex offense as the original charge. The second inmate who escaped, Luis Angel Torres, 25, was found on the I-10 frontage road between the Cortaro and Ina road exits about 5:30 p.m.. Torres was being held on a warrant for failure to register as a convicted sex offender, Brunenkant said. Torres was taken to a hospital after capture. Torres had a pre-existing abdominal condition that required attention, Brunenkant said. No information was available on which hospital he was taken to. The three prisoners, being transported by U.S. Extradition Service of Austin, Texas, were being taken to California, said Gordon Brooks, director of operations for the service. Brooks said the company's rule of having one driver-guard watch over three prisoners is well within federal guidelines, which he said call for one employee per six prisoners. He said other employees of the company were on the way to Arizona as of Sunday evening. The prisoners are unlikely to be turned back over to the company, and other arrangements would be made for their transport, Brunenkant said. Escape charges are likely to be sought against Torres.

Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility
Tucson, Arizona
Management and Training Corporation

February 11, 2010 AP
A private prison in Arizona is on lockdown after a brawl broke out that involved as many as 150 minimum-security inmates and left a staff member and 12 prisoners with minor injuries. The Arizona Department of Corrections said the fight broke out before 10 p.m. Wednesday but was contained within an hour. A 20-member tactical unit from Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson responded to help put down the disturbance. The Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility near Tucson houses 500 inmates and is owned and operated by Management and Training Corp., based in Centerville, Utah. The cause of the fight is under investigation.

June 21, 2004
The chief of security for the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility was fired June 1 and a sergeant resigned May 26 over allegations the sergeant had prisoners do pushups in lieu of written discipline.  Company spokesman Carl Stuart would not comment on why Capt. Ken Anderson was fired or why Sgt. Ben Rumbo resigned, saying the company does not comment on personnel matters. The Utah-based Management and Training Corporation operates the Marana prison and a prison in Kingman for the Arizona Department of Corrections and nine other private prisons in five states.  Anderson, who was the company's Correctional Officer of the Year in 1999, said he was shocked and outraged over his firing. In a four-page written appeal he filed with the company June 7, Anderson called the termination notice he received, "nothing more than a fabrication of half-truths and outright falsehoods, sprinkled with occasional facts."  He said he believed he handled the allegation of prisoners being made to do pushups properly based on the information he had at the time.  Since his forced leave and termination, Anderson said he has learned of allegations about other prison guards making prisoners do pushups, possibly since January, yet no other guards have been fired or suspended, or apparently even interviewed by state investigators.  Stuart said the company doesn't know how long or how often prisoners have been made to do disciplinary pushups at the prison.  (Explorer News)

January 5, 2004
Next time you file your income tax forms, you may want to remember the case of U.S. vs. Daniel Johnson.
Johnson obtained $378,000 in federal income tax refunds while living in a Tucson jail, according to a federal indictment released Thursday in Phoenix.  Indicted on five counts of fraud, Johnson is accused of filing tax returns that claimed he earned more than $3.8 million during the two years he was incarcerated at the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility.  (The Arizona Republic)

Maricopa County Jail
Phoenix, Arizona
Correctional Health Services

January 7, 2010 Arizona Republic
Maricopa County jail workers don't have the tools to collect and manage health-care data for inmates, according to a report from a consulting group the Sheriff's Office brought in last summer. The report from the National Institute of Corrections found the same systemic problems that have plagued the jail health-care system for more than a decade: Detention officers and health-care workers have a difficult time communicating with each other, and their reliance on handwritten medical records and a patchwork of computer systems can lead to medical problems for inmates. The report, which the county released to The Arizona Republic in response to a public-records request, also noted the system struggles because there are no contracts or working agreements between sheriff's personnel and employees of Correctional Health Services, the agency that provides health care in the jails. The Sheriff's Office requested the report to ensure employees were gathering the health-care data they needed from the 130,000 inmates who move through the system each year, Deputy Chief MaryEllen Sheppard said. The consultant's recommendations likely will fall by the wayside, just as other expert advice has, until Sheriff's Office officials and health-care workers resolve their legal battles over control of the jail health-care system. Sheppard said the consultants, from a governmental group that assists correctional agencies, did not charge for the review and were brought in after Correctional Health Services lost accreditation last year. "To have accreditation be pulled, that was a blow. We didn't want to be in that position again," Sheppard said. The lack of accreditation is at the heart of a lawsuit Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed in the fall, requesting that a judge take responsibility for inmate health care from Correctional Health Services and give it to the Sheriff's Office.

July 2, 2009 The Arizona Republic
She had notes from a judge and her doctor, but Delyla Pierson-Winburn says that didn't guarantee her the correct medical treatment she needed when she entered Maricopa County's Lower Buckeye Jail last summer to serve time for a DUI conviction. For that, Pierson-Winburn filed a personal-injury lawsuit against the county in Superior Court last month, seeking costs incurred with the suit and other relief that the court deems proper. The suit names Maricopa County, the Sheriff's Office and Correctional Health Services, the county-funded agency that provides health care in the jails, as defendants. The Sheriff's Office still intends to file some legal action to gain control of health care in the jails, said MaryEllen Sheppard, a deputy chief. "Ultimately (Sheriff Joe Arpaio) is held accountable and responsible for the health care provided the inmates in his jails," Sheppard said. "But he has no authority over the operations of CHS or the provision of the health care." The note, from Judge Deborah Griffith, indicated that Pierson-Winburn should be able to bring her medicine and use it during her three-day stay in jail; the note from her doctor noted that Pierson-Winburn had a "significant temperature intolerance," according to the suit. Pierson-Winburn still ended up in Tent City in the summer heat, with no access to her anti-anxiety medication. Three days later, she was being carted out of jail and into an ambulance after she lost consciousness. "My last memory is being in a holding cell, and I woke up in an ambulance," she said. Pierson-Winburn said she knew Tent City wasn't designed to be accommodating and called ahead of time to find out what she would need to keep the medicine with her. The nurse who screened Pierson-Winburn when she reported to Lower Buckeye Jail on June 23, 2008, agreed with the physician and judge, Pierson-Winburn said, but that information wasn't adequately communicated to jail detention officers. "The note was on my person and with my medication, and it was on every form," she said. "It was between the intake and getting to the jail that all of that information was lost or ignored." That communication breakdown happens too frequently in Maricopa County's jails, according to experts who've reviewed the system and dozens of lawsuits filed in the past 10 years that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars. County officials repeatedly have been told that Correctional Health Services operations are inadequate and pose a danger to inmates. Over the past 10 years, faced with hundreds of lawsuits, a federal court order and the loss of accreditation, the Board of Supervisors has paid more than $250,000 to consultants to find solutions. CHS lost its accreditation in January for failing to meet national health-care standards.

January 12, 2009 Arizona Republic
Maricopa County has lost accreditation of its jails after a months-long attempt by county administrators to remain accredited. County officials were notified Monday that the National Commission on Correctional Health Care is pulling its accreditation. Accreditation is state mandated and helps the county defend itself against lawsuits brought against the system by inmates. Accreditation provides criteria that employees of Correctional Health Services, which provides health care to the county's 10,000 inmates, can use to guarantee they are providing quality care. In late September, the commission sent a letter to the county to inform administrators that jail accreditation was being denied, but the letter offered few details and appeared to rely on testimony from an ongoing lawsuit between a former inmate and Sheriff Joe Arpaio as justification for the denial. The letter alleged that Correctional Health Services employees provided false or misleading information that allowed the agency to give the county's jails full accreditation. The county appealed the denial, and the jails had remained accredited through that process.

October 23, 2008 Arizona Republic
A federal judge has sided with inmates' claims that conditions in Maricopa County jails continue to violate their constitutional rights. U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake on Wednesday modified a 1995 judgment that laid guidelines for a wide range of issues in Maricopa County jails, including medical and mental-health care, population control and record keeping. Maricopa County sheriff's officials said they plan to comply with the judge's orders. Wake effectively pared down the original 115-point decision to 16 paragraphs that outline what the Sheriff's Office must do to at least maintain constitutional standards for pretrial inmates. The judgment also requires the Sheriff's Office to submit quarterly reports to inmates' attorneys in order to show compliance. "Sheriff Arpaio's horrendous treatment of detainees, especially those with severe medical and mental-health problems, has caused terrible suffering for years," said attorney Margaret Winter, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. A number of the violations included Correctional Health Services, which is required to provide medical care for inmates. Wake said CHS violated inmate rights by not giving timely and adequate assessment of health needs and not identifying and appropriately treating many detainees with serious mental illness. A national organization began an effort to pull accreditation from the county's jails last month after learning of potentially damaging testimony that emerged during the trial, but the jails remain accredited while county officials appeal the decision. Sheriff's officials have long made the distinction between their role and that of Correctional Health Services, though Arpaio's critics have contended that the office's indifference in getting inmates to CHS medics violates the constitution. Wake made no such finding.

August 15, 2005 Arizona Republic
Maricopa County is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow it to withhold a medical report from the parents of a mentally retarded drug user who died after being restrained as he was being booked into jail. Four years after the death of Charles Agster III, and three years after his parents filed a lawsuit, the case has yet to go to trial. The county argues that all reports and evidence that are public records, including a videotape of the encounter, have been provided to the plaintiffs, but a follow-up "peer review" by medical personnel on whether the incident was handled properly should be kept confidential. In their lawsuit, parents Carol Ann and Charles Agster Jr. accuse jail and health care officials of falsely claiming that they summoned paramedics three minutes after their struggling son, buckled into a restraint chair, stopped breathing. Most states, including Arizona, exempt medical peer reviews from disclosure, reasoning that health care personnel won't be frank if they know their reports could be used against the people and institutions they're evaluating. But federal law has no such exemption, the District Court in Phoenix ruled. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in April, noting that it was at the county's request that the lawsuit was moved from state to federal court. In a petition filed July 28 for Supreme Court review, Phoenix attorney Michael Wolver argued on behalf of the county and its Correctional Health Service that courts had been inconsistent on the issue and the high court should sort it out.

December 5, 2004 Arizona Republic
A Phoenix murder defendant whose father is a political rival to Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he's being housed in isolation as a psychiatric patient at a Maricopa County jail even though he's not mentally ill. In letters and phone interviews from Madison Street Jail, Patrick Bearup said sheriff's officials singled him out for political retribution, even ordering the light in his cell to remain on 24 hours a day. Medical records obtained by The Arizona Republic seem to confirm that allegation. In August, Dr. Pamela Drapeau of Correctional Health Services made this notation in Bearup's chart: "He remains on 6-3 (psychiatric ward) per order of MCSO because his father was running as an opponent to Sheriff Arpaio. . . . He has no psychiatric problems." Correctional Health Services is not under Arpaio's authority, although it is housed inside Madison Street Jail and detention officers provide security.
Notations in Bearup's medical chart indicate he is sequestered "as a courtesy hold for MCSO" because he is a "high-profile case." Correctional Health Services records indicate that Bearup repeatedly filed grievances seeking placement in the regular inmate population but was refused.

Mexico
May 2, 2005 AP
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a proposal Monday for the state to contract to have a private prison built in Mexico to house illegal immigrants now jailed in Arizona. Supporters say the proposal would reduced the state's heavy costs for imprisoning the 3,600 to 4,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona prisons who have been convicted of crimes. Opponents questioned whether this approach would have saved money, whether the state had the legal authority to move the foreign prisoners to Mexico and whether Mexico would have welcomed the prison. "It will not reduce the number of criminal aliens Arizona must incarcerate, nor will it automatically reduce the per capita cost of incarcerating them," Napolitano wrote in her veto letter. The Mexico prison idea was proposed in the 1990s but shelved, partly due to legal concerns. It was revived in 2003 to help cover budget shortfalls but was rejected by a key legislative committee.

December 10, 2002
Former Arizona Corrections director Terry Stewart wants the state to build a private prison in Mexico for Arizona's Mexican-national prisoners - an idea that could benefit him personally.  Stewart pitched the idea to a group of Mexican congressmen who toured private prisons in Arizona on Oct.31, eight days before he left office.  Now Stewart is pursuing the proposal for his consulting business, Advanced Correctional Management, which is trying to form a private-prison company.  "At this point, I have no connection to any deal that's going on," Stewart said.  But, he said, "I will try to develop one."  Gov.-elect Janet Napolitano said her office looked into the legality of the idea when she was a attorney general.  "To house somebody outside the territory of the US was found to be very problematic.  If we can't do it legally, why waste time on it?" Napolitano said.  Whether or not such a prison is legal, it should be rejected on principle, said Caroline Isaacs, the criminal justice program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee's Arizona branch in Tucson.  Isaacs said segregating inmates on a basis of nationality is wrong, and a prison in Mexico would compound problems with private prisons.  Isaacs also criticized what she views as Stewart's use of his public office for private gain.  "This is business decision for Stewart.  He's sensing there is a market out there to profit off of," Isaacs said.  (Arizona Daily Star)

June 18, 2002
With the prison population growing at a rate of 162 inmates a month while resources dwindle, the Arizona Corrections Department faces a major challenge in finding ways to house convicts, says Charles Ryan, deputy director for prison operations.  In the fiscal 2003 budget approved in May by legislators, DOC has $2.6 million to contract with out-of-state private prisons for 650 inmates.  (Arizona Capitol Times)

May 16, 2002
Some Arizona inmates will be shipped out of state and local community colleges will get more power under the terms of the budget deal worked out Wednesday among legislative leaders and Gov. Jane Hull.  The last-minute changes agreed to by [Ruth Solomon] and Rep. Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe, her House counterpart, delete all provisions that would have allowed state Corrections Director Terry Stewart to place inmates into a "house arrest" program to deal with prison crowding.  Hull had threatened to veto the entire budget over that issue.  Instead, lawmakers have agreed to come up with some additional cast to contract with private prisons in other states to house some inmates for about $30 a day.  That is more expensive than the $13 a day per inmate that a home-arrest program costs but less than the $50 a day it costs in state-run facilities, not counting the cost of building prisons.  (The Arizona Daily Star)

Mohave County Prison
Mohave County, Arizona
Dominion
, Management & Training Corporation
March 29, 2007 The Daily News
Mohave County supervisors will decide on whether to end a contract with an Oklahoma firm that built the county's only prison. Mohave County Manager Ron Walker is asking supervisors to terminate a September 1999 contract between Mohave Correctional Services LLC and the county to build and operate the state prison, which opened in August 2004 and is located about 15 miles southwest of Kingman. The contract states that MCS would pay Mohave County $3,000 a month in administration costs and provide housing for about 50 county inmates. The county has tried to make arrangements to house overflow county inmates but MCS has not complied. Walker also said MCS has not paid the county any of the administration costs in the contract, calling it a breach of contract. “We don't want to partner with anyone who hasn't lived up to the first piece of this contract,” Walker said. “Who are we dealing with here anyway?” Walker said if the supervisors approve, in 30 days if the money is not paid. the county will look at a contractual lawsuit for monetary default. The contract also provides for a 60-day notice to correct any non-monetary defaults, for example, transferring the contract to the prison's current operator without permission from the county. Utah-based Management & Training Corp. currently operates the prison, which houses about 1,500 inmates. The prison houses male inmates sentenced throughout Arizona on charges of drug possession and driving under the influence. Walker said the contract issue was brought up after MTC officials recently spoke to the board about partnering with the county to build a federal prison in the county. Jim Hunter, former vice president of MCS, said from Oklahoma that the contract was never validated when MCS sold the land to Mohave Prison LLC in April 2004. The Tucson firm holds the title and leases the land and the prison to the state for 10 years at which time the state will own the facility. Hunter also said MCS, which built the prison, does not exist anymore. He does not recall if MCS transferred the contract to another firm. The 1999 contract states that the contract is binding to the respective parties meaning the county and MCS' successors. Mike Murphy, vice president of corrections marketing for MTC, said at the previous supervisor meeting that MTC does not have a contract to provide housing for overflow county inmates or to pay the county any administration costs. The first 500 inmates arrived at the prison on Aug. 9, 2004, and were housed in two units. The second phase opened in April 2005 with permanent support buildings units and housing for an additional 1,000 inmates.

January 24, 2003
Delays, inaction and possible postponement by Arizona’s new governor cast a cloud of uncertainty over a private prison project possibly destined for Mohave County.  The Department of Corrections fielded just two bids for the 1,400-bed prison last year. Dominion Correctional Services and Management and Training Corp. submitted a bid to build and operate the prison 13 miles south of Kingman near the Griffith Energy plant. Correctional Services Corp. submitted a competing bid for another site in Holbrook.  State officials made a confidential decision regarding contract award and location in November and prepared a contract to be reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office. The bidders had hoped for an announcement before Christmas because the agreement required completion of 400 beds to be ready for use in March.  Jim Hunter, an executive with Dominion, said too much time has elapsed and that there’s no way his company could, if issued the contract, complete the initial beds on time as required.  Officials for the Department of Corrections and Attorney General’s Office have not been able to explain the delay involving contract review Whether a contract will be awarded is uncertain because the project is postponed under Gov. Janet Napolitano’s proposed budget. “It shows a one- to two-year delay in the 1,400-bed prison project,” Hunter said.  (Today's New Herald)

November 4, 2002
Residents who attended a public meeting about a proposed private prison here were largely divided in their support or opposition by how close they live to the site.  "People in Golden Valley are opposed.  Water is a main concern.  Even the native cactus are dying from the current drought," said Golden Valley resident Robert Holsinger at a meeting Friday.  Dominion Correctional Services wants to build the 1,400-bed prison near Kingman to house men convicted on driving under the influence charges.  The prison would be run by Management and Training Cooperation of Centerville Utah, but would follow guidelines set by the state Department of Corrections.  A site near Holbrook is also being considered for the private prison.  (AP)

New Castle Correctional Facility
New Castle, Indiana
GEO Group

April 10, 2008 The Star Press
Arizona inmates held in the New Castle Correctional Facility will be moved out of Indiana beginning this month. George Zoley, chairman and chief executive officer for The GEO Group, the private company that manages the New Castle prison, said inmates will be moved out of New Castle, 100 at a time, until all are moved elsewhere. Zoley made the comment during the company’s quarterly earnings report last month, not earlier this week as reported earlier today on The Star Press Web site, www.thestarpress.com. A transcript of the report was published this week. According to the transcript, Zoley said, “We expect to transfer approximately 100 Arizona inmates out of the New Castle facility every two weeks beginning in the first week of April, while simultaneously filling these vacant beds with additional Indiana inmates reaching an initial total of over 2,000 Indiana inmates.” As of Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Corrections listed its Indiana inmate population at 629 offenders. None of the inmates have been moved as of yet, said Trina Randall, spokeswoman for the New Castle prison. The Indiana Department of Correction and ADOC reached a deal in March 2007 to house Arizona offenders at the underused prison in New Castle. A month later Arizona inmates led a riot inside the facility, and ultimately 28 inmates, all but one of them from Arizona, were charged as a result of the riot. The two states ultimately called off their deal, and Indiana said it would use the space inside the 2,416 bed prison for its own inmates.

October 26, 2007 AP
Indiana prison officials have returned to Arizona four inmates who were charged in the April riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The inmates, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor rioting and battery charges, were sent back because they are "no longer suitable for dormitory-style" medium-security prisons like New Castle, said Karen Cantou Grubbs, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction. A contract between the states calls for Indiana to house inmates from Arizona, where prisons are overcrowded. The agreement also allows the rotation of some inmates every month. Cantou Grubbs declined to say how the prisoners are moved between states. Indiana returned 60 inmates to Arizona earlier this week and received 79 medium-security prisoners in return. The four inmates involved in the April 24 riot have been replaced with new inmates, said Al Parke, southern regional director for the Department of Correction. The prisoner rotations, which have happened three times, keep Indiana's inmate population from Arizona at about 630. The contract, which the states announced in March, originally called for Indiana to house 1,260 inmates, with Arizona paying $64 a day per inmate. But prison space has since been filling up in Indiana, too. "Indiana is telling us they've got a shortage of beds, so we're capped," said Nolberto Machiche, a spokesman for Arizona's corrections department. Eight inmates and two New Castle staff members were injured during the April 24 riot. A total of 27 Arizona inmates were charged with a mix of felonies and misdemeanors afterward. "I'm very confident that those inmates that have been transferred back to Arizona will not adversely affect our ability to prosecute the remaining inmates," Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane said. The states rotate inmates for several reasons. Some prisoners return to Arizona because bad behavior makes them unsuitable for a medium-security prison. Others are sent back because they have an upcoming court or release date, Parke said. Some also return as a reward for good behavior. Having a rotation gives inmates "a light at the end of the tunnel," telling them that if they behave well they will return, Machiche said. Indiana was housing some Arizona inmates at New Castle and Wabash Valley, a maximum security prison in Western Indiana. The Wabash inmates were moved several weeks ago. All Arizona prisoners are now at New Castle, which is managed by a private company, GEO Group Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla. "No one will go to any other (Indiana) institution unless there were emergency conditions," Parke said.

September 10, 2007 The Star Press
A former New Castle Correctional Facility inmate who said he was beaten by two other prisoners has sued the state of Indiana and the Department of Correction, among other parties, for not protecting him after he reported illegal activity to prison security last year. Gabriel Leach, who according to computerized DOC records was incarcerated on theft charges from Jefferson County until May, filed suit last month. He listed the state, DOC, The GEO Group (the private company that manages the prison), two prison guards and inmates Harrison Baker and "Cowboy" Harrison as defendants. According to Leach's claim, at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2006, the 30-year-old man was called to the security office from his bunk in Unit C over the public address system. During that conversation with officers, Leach reported illegal activity that was happening inside the prison and said he was in "danger of death or serious bodily harm." He was returned to Unit C and on Dec. 29 two of his fellow inmates, Baker and Harrison, allegedly beat Leach for about 15 minutes. According to court documents, he suffered fractured ribs, a fractured jaw, broken nose and chipped teeth. Leach also claims he was taken to solitary confinement before he was provided medical treatment. In the state's response, filed Tuesday, Indianapolis attorney Paul O. Mullin wrote that Leach "was careless and negligent with regard to his own safety and well being," which contributed to the inmate's injuries.

August 25, 2007 AP
The New Castle Correctional Facility likely has seen the last transfer of inmates from Arizona, according to Gov. Mitch Daniels and a state prison spokesman. A rising inmate population, the closing of one prison and unexpected renovations at another leave Indiana officials focused on using available beds for their inmates, state Department of Correction spokesman Randy Koester said. "We don't plan on opening up any additional housing units for Arizona," he said. The April 24 riot at New Castle that involved Arizona inmates did not have a "direct" impact on the decision, Koester said. Daniels was asked about the prison transfers during a news conference yesterday. He said he did not expect to see "any more prisoners accepted anytime soon" at the medium-security prison.

August 21, 2007 Indianapolis Star
One-third of the Arizona inmates transferred to serve their sentences in an Indiana prison are violent criminals, including 25 who were convicted of murder, according to new data from state prison officials. Prison officials said inmates were chosen based on their behavior in prison, not their criminal records. But an advocate for prisoners' rights was surprised by the news, saying officials had left the impression with the public that violent offenders would not be included among those moved to the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group. "That's not what they said they were going to send," said Celia Sweet, former president of the Indiana chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. "You know, live up to your word. Don't go trying to hoodwink the public just to make some money off the backs of these prisoners. That's not right. It's immoral." The state never misled anyone, said Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue. Indiana's deal with Arizona allows medium-security prisoners and bans only sex offenders, prisoners with discipline problems and recognized gang members, he said. Medium security, Donahue said, does not preclude those convicted of violent crimes. The majority of inmates in Indiana prisons are housed in medium-security areas, he said. In all, 203 of the 611 Arizona inmates are serving terms for violent crimes, including men convicted of assault, kidnapping and attempted homicide.

August 14, 2007 AP
More than two dozen inmates face charges stemming from an April riot that broke out after hundreds of out-of-state prisoners were transferred to a privately run prison. A total of 28 inmates _ all but one of them from Arizona _ appeared Tuesday in a temporary court set up at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The charges included rioting, criminal confinement, intimidation and battery by bodily waste. About 500 prisoners from Arizona and Indiana burned mattresses and broke windows during the disturbance at the medium-security prison April 24. Eight prisoners, a guard and a counselor were injured, none seriously. The riot happened six weeks after the first of some 600 Arizona inmates began joining 1,050 Indiana prisoners. The New Castle prison, about 45 miles east of Indianapolis, is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.- based GEO Group. A state report issued in May acknowledged the Department of Correction transferred the out-of-state inmates too quickly, had used inexperienced guards and failed to have equal meal and recreation schedules for the two groups of inmates.

May 15, 2007 Journal-Gazette
For-profit prisons not good for state: I want to thank The Journal Gazette for raising important questions regarding the recent riot by Arizona inmates at GEO’s New Castle correctional facility in the editorial, “Prisons and Privatization,” (April 28). What Hoosiers are coming to realize is that prisons-for-profit are just that: They’re profits makers for shareholders and corporate execs. While all the editorial’s questions are on point, I predict nothing will be done because this issue is pure politics (let’s see, your Department of Correction chief is a former executive for U.S. Corrections Corp.). GEO and the other for-profit private prison companies depend on low wages, no benefits, high turnover and political contributions so that corporate executives can bring in the big bucks (GEO’s George Zoley lives in an $8 million mansion with a 150-foot dock for his yacht). All of this corporate profit should have been reinvested into the criminal justice system to maybe have a positive influence on the system. But hey, they’re just smart businessmen – they know that nothing will be done to cancel the contract. The fix is in, folks; you bought the con (no pun intended). KEN KOPCZYNSKI, Executive Director, Private Corrections Institute, Tallahassee, Fla.

May 9, 2007 AP
Two weeks after about 500 rioting prisoners burned mattresses and broke windows at a privately run state prison, state officials are expected to complete their investigation by Friday into what sparked the melee. The findings will be reviewed by state prisons chief J. David Donahue, who could make them public by next week, said Evan Hawkins, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Correction. “It’s a very large net that’s been cast, where pretty much everything that could have happened is going to be investigated,” Hawkins said Wednesday. “We’re trying to move as fast as possible. And we’re hoping the report will be out next week.” Whether or not Donahue will suggest any changes to prison policy depends on what the “post-event analysis report” of the riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility shows, Hawkins said. After the April 24 riot, prison officials said it apparently began when about 40 inmates who recently transferred from Arizona refused to return to their living area after having lunch. The conflict spread to Indiana inmates and led prisoners to set mattresses and paper on fire in the courtyard, break out windows and damage sinks and toilets. By the time the prison was secured, nine people — including two staff members — suffered minor injuries.

May 5, 2007 WISH TV
New e-mails show how concerned prison officials in Arizona were before and after last week's prison riot in New Castle. While the Indiana Department of Correction continues to investigate what went wrong, I-Team 8 is conducting its own investigation. On April 24th, Chopper 8 showed you inmates setting fires and breaking windows within the New Castle Correctional Facility, Indiana's only privatized prison, run by the Geo Group. The apparent clash between Indiana and Arizona prisoners left 2 guards and a handful of inmates hurt. Late Friday afternoon, I-Team 8 obtained the following emails from high-ranking prison officials in Arizona. One came from the director of Arizona's Department of Correction to Indiana DOC Commissioner David Donahue. It was dated the day before the riot. It stated, "Basic security practices are lacking, like counts and inmate discipline. Simple modifications that were proposed last week haven't been implemented. " There was another email, this time from the man sent here from Arizona to investigate after the riot. Ivan Bartos wrote, "I'm sick of being okey doked about some things and have had to breathe and bite my tongue to avoid being very confrontational about things. They still don't have accountability for their radios, we believe that at least one cell phone is in control of our inmates and they are not counting inmates correctly. My visit with Geo heavy hitters yesterday made me realize that regardless of what is being said, efforts to assign blame are underway." And in an update by Mr. Bartos, he expresses concern about fires, because the alarm system and virtually all fire extinguishers were destroyed in the riot. He reports keys still missing, and no clear picture of what tools might be gone. Late Friday night, I-Team 8 received a response from the Indiana Department of Correction. It said that even before Arizona inmates arrived in New Castle, there was concern that the prison there would not be ready to accommodate so many prisoners so quickly. The State Department of Correction says to expect a complete report on the riot next week.

April 29, 2007 The Tribune-Star
Like license plates, shivs and pruno, there’s money to be made in prison. Just ask investors in GEO Group (GEO), who’ve seen their stakes in the private jailer more than triple in value in the past year. — SmartMoney.com, Feb. 26. Among the seven specific “risks and uncertainties that could materially affect” future earnings estimates, The GEO Group Inc. does not mention “prison riots” in its online 2007 Financial Guidance Update. Apparently, incidents such as Tuesday’s uprising by hundreds of inmates in the GEO-operated New Castle Correctional Facility fall under risk-and-uncertainty No. 8 — “other factors.” Those are outlined in the Florida company’s annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings. This relegation to the small print of GEO’s big international world sums up what is — and is not — of importance to GEO and Wall Street. Indeed, within two days of what New Castle’s mayor proclaimed “a full-scale riot,” GEO Group’s stock had regained most of the 2.2-percent loss caused by the destructive protests. By week’s end, GEO had more than rebounded, closing at $51.20 — a healthy $1.30 over its pre-riot price. The United States may account for less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but we have more than 25 percent of the globe’s prisoners. You’d think that fact would give pause to those who boast incessantly of this nation’s Christian values, but that seems not to be the case. Incarceration in America is a major growth industry. About 2.2 million men and women are locked up in U.S. correctional institutions — compared to 500,000 in 1980 — with another 4.8 million on parole or probation. Industry projections call for a 13-percent increase in our prison population within the next four years. Only 6 to 7 percent of U.S. prisons are operated by private-sector companies like the GEO Group, but it isn’t because public officials are hesitant to hand over the reins. Demand simply outstrips supply. Competition among states for contracts is fierce, which spells a rosy future for corporations. In other words, it will take more than a few burned mattresses and seven minor injuries in one short-lived rebellion to derail the privatized prison express. Especially in Indiana. In 2005, Gov. Mitch Daniels awarded a four-year, $53-million contract for New Castle prison to the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest prison management company. Listed on the NYSE since 1996, GEO operates 58 prisons in the United States, Australia and South Africa and is building some of its own. The company also runs a few mental-health facilities, including the Florida Civil Commitment Center, where sex offenders who have served out their prison sentences are kept locked up, ostensibly to receive rehabilitative treatment mandated by Florida law. Last year, Daniels began to try to snag some of the millions of bucks floating around the prison industry and get them back into Indiana’s coffers. A deal to house California inmates, where correctional institutions are bursting at the seams, went south in December, but the governor then struck a one-year agreement with Arizona: $6.1 million to house about 1,200 of its inmates at New Castle. As we now know, thanks to the uprising, about a week before the free-for-all, Dora Schriro, Arizona’s prisons chief, came to Indiana to see how things were progressing for the first 630 transferees. The number of New Castle guards and the inexperience of some inspired her to delay moving any more Arizona inmates here. Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for Schriro, explained to the Associated Press: “They were pulling staff from other areas around the state to put them into these [security] positions, and we needed to be sure there was a permanent professional crew on site. It wasn’t just a quantity issue, it also was quality and the level of experience.” Tuesday’s violent protest, primarily by the medium-security Arizona inmates who’d had no say-so in their hasty 1,500-mile move to Indiana, confirmed Schriro’s worries. In the aftermath, when some folks criticized Gov. Daniels for busing in hundreds of seething Arizona prisoners before New Castle had an adequately trained staff to handle them, he said his intentions were for the welfare of Indiana workers. “We were looking for a way to get some Hoosiers hired at New Castle,” he told the Indianapolis Star. Also, it was a chance to “have them well-trained on somebody else’s nickel.” Of the uprising, Daniels assumed his characteristic corporate executive stance and reminded everyone that “corrections is a high-risk business managing high-risk offenders.” True, and the return is also very high. SmartMoney.com’s bullish story on the GEO Group noted that expected increases in the prison population mean “construction of new prison beds will cost as much as $12.5 billion. That kind of burden will likely force states and the federal government to outsource even more.” Patrick Swindle, a Tennessee investment analyst, told SmartMoney that states build prison beds for $75,000 to $80,000 per bed and the federal government “at north of $100,000 per bed.” Meanwhile, the private sector does it for about $60,000 per bed. That sort of economizing comes at a cost — to someone. Indy Star staff writer Erika D. Smith interviewed Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Institute, a non-profit organization that researches and reports on the problems of privatized prisons. According to Kopczynski, the employee turnover rate in privately run prisons is about 50 percent. In public correctional institutions it’s in the 15-percent range. “They answer to the shareholders so they make cuts whenever possible,” he said. The off-set, of course, is the dependability of the consumer base for prison services; the “customers” just keep on coming. Plus, they’re recession-proof. As Jamie Cuellar, a manager of the Brazos Micro Cap fund, explained to SmartMoney.com: “When times are bad, more people tend to go to jail. It’s awful but true.” And if those people don’t like the accommodations, what are they going to do? They can take their business elsewhere, but the only way to do that is to bust up the joint, shove some security guards around, set some mattresses on fire and get thrown into a place that’s even worse.

April 29, 2007 The Star-Press
WIDE DISPARITY EXISTS between the assessment of Indiana's top corrections official and that of eyewitness accounts regarding staffing and security conditions at New Castle Correctional Facility. Because of this contradiction, state officials should not lock themselves into a position that Indiana must push ahead on accepting more Arizona inmates. That position of optimism was articulated on Wednesday, only hours after the prison riot at New Castle, by J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction. Donahue told The Indianapolis Star that he had not changed his mind about housing prisoners from outside Indiana and saw no reason to pull back from accepting more Arizona inmates once 132 new correctional workers completed their training at the prison. "We have a facility that we need to use and a community that needs jobs, and Arizona has a critical shortage of prison space," he said in an interview with The Star. ALL OF THOSE POINTS ARE TRUE, BUT the statement ignores many aspects of what happened on Tuesday at New Castle, what led up to the disturbance and the possible risk of continuing the "Arizona experiment" without significant changes and upgrades in the security plan. While adding more workers at New Castle is logical, that might not cure certain disturbing elements of the situation. Witnesses and others who commented to Star Press reporters about Tuesday's disturbance seem to paint a different picture than the one Donahue is seeing or assumes is there. For instance, Aamir Shabazz of Muncie, who works as a volunteer chaplain for Muslim inmates and has been at the prison three times a week, suggests that New Castle was unprepared for the Arizona inmates, who brought a more "hard-core" prison culture with them. "They don't have enough guards to make them (Arizona prisoners) change," Shabazz said. This prompts the question: Will there be enough "muscle" and experience in the added workforce, as seen by Donahue, to make the Arizona plan work? Jamin Vaughn, who worked at New Castle through last June, described the workforce at the privately operated prison as under-trained, underpaid and under-manned. He said the GEO Group, which operates the facility, cut costs by supervisory staff when it took over. The strongest denunciation of New Castle security came from Muncie's Kara Scott, who last month began training to work there. Although she declined to return after only one day of training, it is apparent that Scott's powers of observation were keen. In a Star Press interview, Scott noted she badly needed a job but quickly saw that New Castle was not a safe place to work. She said she spotted several danger signs: inmates unsupervised, some in prison areas marked for staff only; guards lacking proper security apparatus (including sprays and other devices to help maintain order); guards advised that, in case they were attacked, not to go to a co-worker's rescue but instead stay put and ask for additional security; guards being advised there would be times, perhaps during a shift change, that they might be working alone; and trainees advised to take self-defense and Spanish classes on their own, in anticipation of the influx of Arizona inmates. ASSUMING THAT SCOTT'S OBSERVATIONS and recall are accurate, it indicates that GEO supervisors and Indiana officials must be willing to make huge changes before even thinking about allowing more Arizona inmates to come to New Castle. What happened at the prison on Tuesday is eerily reminiscent of this country's incursion into Iraq four years ago. There was the same stubbornness of purpose (despite the warning flags of dealing with a different kind of population), the same over-reliance on faulty information, the same lack of effective and long-range plan for handling the aftermath of a situation, and the same imprecision on how to permanently resolve an unstable and risk-filled situation that erupted after troops/prisoners were on the ground. Officials in charge at New Castle must make a complete, fact-filled and unbiased investigation and assessment. Until then, they should avoid such overly optimistic advice that merely adding more bodies to the staff will resolve all problems in an alien and volatile prison population.

April 27, 2007 WISH TV
Three days after the riot at New Castle Correctional Facility, questions still remain. Insiders claim the Department of Correction and Geo Group are not telling the truth about what really happened. A New Castle correctional officer, who did not want to be identified because he didn't want to lose his job, emailed: "These (Arizona) offenders are apparently violent and have been since day one. GEO Group and the Arizona Department of Corrections are telling the media that these individuals are not murderers or sex offenders. This is not a true statement." An inmate's mother, who says her son told her on Sunday the Arizona inmates were going to riot, said: "What upsets me is they knew this was going to happen. They could have avoided this." A spokesman for the Department of Correction told I-Team 8 they had no advance information or knowledge of the riot. When asked if Geo Group knew about the riot beforehand, a spokeswoman based at the facility told I-Team 8, "Absolutely not." And this from a former inmate: "The control room should have locked everything down completely! It sounds to me that they lost control before the riot even started." DOC confirms the facility was locked when the riot started, but told I-Team 8 offenders were able to override the system and manually unlock housing unit doors. How did that happen? This from a member of one of the prison emergency response teams: "It is apparent that the facility is understaffed and is not as safe of an environment as it potentially could be. Is this safe for staff and the surrounding community? I think not." The DOC continues to say that staffing is adequate and that public safety is number one. And, finally, a mother whose son was one of the first responders, emailed I-Team 8: "They had taken a few officers for hostage purposes. If the facility had been at full capacity, we would have been a community in mourning instead of giving a sigh of relief." The DOC spokesman maintains that there were no hostages at any time. Since Tuesday, I-Team 8 has been asking Indiana, Arizona and Geo Group that manages New Castle for a list of the Arizona inmates to find their crimes and sentences. Already I-Team has found a man serving time for murder. Repeated requests for information and interviews have been denied. While Indiana still has not released the list, late Friday afternoon Arizona did. I-Team 8 team is looking at every name to see what 630 inmates were shipped here and if the list abides by the agreement that there would be no violent criminals such as killers or sex offenders.

April 26, 2007 KTAR
Tuesday's riot by Arizona inmates at an Indiana private prison prompts a caution from Democrat Ed Ableser. "We need to be very careful about a private industry that actually makes money off of the amount of criminals we produce in this society," he said. But, Republican Russell Pearce said the riot wasn't caused by private prisons, but by a non-cooperative department of corrections which won't spend available money. "They refuse to build or provide access to 3,000 beds in this state," said Pearce. The philosophical dispute has left the state thousands of prison beds short.

April 25, 2007 AP
Indiana's contract with a Florida-based company that runs prisons across the nation requires it to reimburse the state for the costs police incurred subduing Tuesday's riot at an eastern Indiana prison it manages. State prisons chief J. David Donahue said Wednesday that staff at the New Castle Correctional Facility are assessing the emergency response costs and damage to the prison following the riot, which slightly injured two staff members and seven prisoners. Donahue, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said "it would be total speculation" to estimate the riot's costs at this time. Trina Randall, a spokeswoman for GEO Group Inc., said it could take a few days to assess the expense of sending emergency squads, county police and Indiana State Police to the prison to end the fracas, which involved about 500 inmates from Arizona and Indiana. "They're going from housing unit to housing unit today doing that estimate. We're responsible for the costs of the riot, and I'm assuming that includes overtime," she said. During Tuesday's riot, prisoners from Arizona and some from Indiana set mattresses and paper afire in a prison courtyard, destroyed furniture and broke windows, officials said. Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group assumed management of the medium- security prison about 45 miles east of Indianapolis in January 2006 under the terms of an earlier contract. Last month, the Indiana DOC and GEO Group signed a contract specifying how the company would handle inmates Indiana had agreed to accept from Arizona. As of Wednesday, about 630 Arizona inmates had been moved to the prison. The remaining transfers to the prison, which already houses 1,050 Indiana prisoners, have been temporarily halted. Under that deal, Indiana agreed to pay GEO Group at least $314,212 per week for housing up to 1,200 inmates from the Western state. Last month, Indiana signed a contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections under which Arizona agreed to send up to 1,260 inmates to Indiana. Arizona officials agreed to pay their Indiana counterparts at least $536,256 per week for housing up to about 1,200 Arizona inmates. Indiana House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said Wednesday that the state should cancel that contract. He said Arizona officials knew the arrangement was problematic before the riot and were aware that Indiana bans smoking in prisons, while Arizona permits it. Randall has said many prisoners were upset by the policy, which might have contributed to the disturbance. "They're not our prisoners; they're Arizona's prisoners. They ought to be sent back," Bauer said. Earl Goode, the chief of staff for Gov. Mitch Daniels, released a statement urging Bauer to stay focused on working to complete a new state budget before the current legislative session ends Sunday. "It would be best for all Hoosiers if the Speaker stayed on task and let Commissioner Donahue continue to run the Department of Correction," Goode said in his statement. Indiana's contract with GEO Group states that it has the right to terminate that agreement "whenever, for any reason, the agency determines that such termination is in the best interest of the State of Indiana." The contract between Indiana and Arizona's corrections agencies covers one year but can be renewed for up to three one-year terms if the parties agree. Arizona can end the contract any time after that one-year period ends, while Indiana can end it at any point if Arizona "fails to make timely payments" specified under the agreement.

April 25, 2007 The Star Press
Capt. Ron Deaton, a 22-year corrections veteran, was one of two guards injured Tuesday in a riot inside the New Castle Correctional Facility. A second prison employee was treated and released from Henry County Hospital on Tuesday. His name wasn't released. Deaton's wife, Twilla, said her 53-year-old husband was beaten by inmates and "has a lot of abrasions and bruises" on his face, arms and legs. Twilla gathered with other members of her family in a waiting room at Henry County Hospital while doctors took her husband for X-rays. For years, Twilla said she didn't question or worry uncontrollably about her husband's safety at work. But she also knows that guards inside the prison have become increasingly nervous about conditions recently. "I'll be honest. They all have concerns. (Ron's) always worried about his officers," she said. "They have been understaffed." In the past six weeks, the prison has added 630 inmates to its population, thanks to an agreement with the Arizona Department of Corrections. As soon as that agreement was signed, the prison began an aggressive campaign to increase its staff. Twilla said she knows things aren't always rosy behind bars, but she said for the most part, her husband doesn't talk about work at home. And even despite Tuesday's riot and his minor injuries, she doesn't expect that to change. She didn't expect to get a full riot report once the two were reunited. Ron Deaton has worked at the prison in New Castle since it opened in 2002. Before that, he worked at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, his wife said.

April 25, 2007 The Indianapolis Star
Visibly shaken after barricading himself from rioting prisoners at the New Castle Correctional Facility, officer Larry Savage said he felt outnumbered Tuesday and feared for his life. We're just understaffed right now. . . .We're lucky to get out of there," he said as he left the prison. Savage isn't the only one concerned about staffing. Arizona officials -- who last month began sending the first of more than 1,200 prisoners slated for the facility -- raised concerns about that issue after officials visited New Castle last week. Dora Schriro, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, told the operators of the New Castle prison that she was going to halt the transfer of inmates until staffing issues were resolved, said Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for the department. "There were serious security concerns," Decker said. Decker said only 37 correctional officers were assigned to the 630 Arizona inmates at New Castle on Thursday. Decker could not say what that number should have been but said 131 officers would have been required if all 1,260 Arizona inmates had been transferred. She declined to comment on whether those staffing levels could have contributed to the riot but said officials are re-evaluating their agreement with Indiana. "Is the facility going to be capable of housing the inmates we have there? Are the things that caused this going to be addressed? There's a variety of things we're going to be looking into and saying, 'Where do we go from here?' " J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said Tuesday the state facility, which is operated by a private contractor, GEO Group of Florida, is not understaffed. He declined to elaborate. About 270 corrections officers oversee about 1,668 inmates, including those from Arizona. Donahue acknowledged hearing of Arizona's concerns about staffing. But he said it was a mutual decision not to take additional prisoners from Arizona while both sides evaluate the arrangement. Nevertheless, Donahue said he saw no reason to end the relationship. Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday the troublemakers should be sent back to Arizona. While pledging to review the out-of-state arrangement, he also warned against a rush to judgment. Savage, meanwhile, described a chaotic scene inside the prison, where for a time guards and other prison workers had to barricade themselves in a staff room to keep inmates from entering. "They beat up one of our captains and took his keys," said Savage, who has worked at the prison about eight weeks. Savage said the riot began because some Arizona inmates took off their shirts and were not dressed properly in the food line. He said the Arizona inmates had been threatening some sort of action for several weeks, but he's not sure what set them off Tuesday. "They did not really have any demands," he said. "They were just trying to get a point across that they could take the facility over, and that's what they did."

April 25, 2007 The Star Press
More than $37 billion is spent on incarcerating inmates in the country's jails and prisons each year, and critics of the private prison industry said Tuesday that riots like the one at the New Castle Correctional Facility are often sparked by cost-cutting measures. "You get what you pay for," said Kent Kopczynski, director of the Private Corrections Institute, a group critical of the private prison industry and the privatization of prisons. Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative agreed. "As a general matter, private prisons cut corners," Wagner said. "Private prisons cost as much as public prisons, so the only way they can make a profit is to cut corners." Inmates at the New Castle facility rioted Tuesday, causing injuries to two guards and damage to the facility. The prison is run by the GEO Group. Under the name Wackenhut, the company considered locating a facility in Delaware County in the late 1990s. When guards call in sick, services or recreation programs can be cut, Wagner noted, causing unrest among inmates. Officials on Tuesday cited the role of inmates from Arizona in the riot. More than 600 Arizona inmates -- housed at New Castle after an arrangement among the two states and GEO Group, which operates the privatized state facility -- were housed at the facility this week. As many as 1,260 Arizona inmates were to have been housed in the prison, which has a capacity of 2,400 beds. The prison also housed 1,050 Indiana inmates as of Tuesday. Kopczynski said importing inmates from another state -- such as the Arizona inmates at the New Castle prison -- can also increase the possibility of disturbances. "It's run like a hotel," he said. "They've got to fill the beds. If they can't fill the beds with Indiana natives, they've got to bring them in from elsewhere. You bring in inmates from out of state, and you have a blow-up between inmates." The prison industry in the United States is a big one. CNNMoney reported in March that $37 billion is spent on corrections each year in an effort to keep more than 2 million inmates incarcerated. Kopczynski said the problem of "understaffed and underpaid employees" was common in private prisons. "In a public facility, the staff is reasonably paid, you have health insurance, retirement," he said. "The privateers don't have that. At one GEO facility when the company was still Wackenhut, less than 10 percent of employees participated in the retirement plan because the company paid so much less than they did."

April 24, 2007 Indianapolis Star
State officials will temporarily halt the transfer of Arizona prisoners to the New Castle Correctional Facility after a riot Tuesday that prompted calls for an end to housing another state's inmates in Indiana. Department of Correction officials said nine people -- two prison employees and seven inmates -- suffered minor injuries in separate disturbances involving Arizona and Indiana prisoners during a two-hour period Tuesday afternoon at the facility 50 miles east of Indianapolis. Commissioner J. David Donahue said the Arizona prisoners may have been upset because Indiana prisons have different rules, including a ban on smoking and limits on personal items inmates can have in their cells. The Arizona prisoners are kept separate from Indiana inmates. Tuesday's disturbance is the latest example of riots led by prisoners shipped to other states for incarceration. At least two other uprisings since 2003 involved Arizona inmates held in out-of-state prisons. The riot also prompted a key legislative leader to call for the state to cancel the Arizona deal. "The idea of bringing in people from another state who bring along their gangs, allegiances and different alliances immediately was a mixture that was bound to bring trouble," said House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend. Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday night the inmates specifically involved in the incident "need to go home" and that he will review the entire out-of-state arrangement today with Donahue. But even before Tuesday's riot, Arizona officials had decided to stop sending inmates to the New Castle prison because a recent visit raised "serious security concerns." Dora Schriro, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, visited the New Castle Correctional Facility on Thursday and found insufficient staffing for her state's 630 inmates, said Katie Decker, a spokeswoman with the department. Schriro also was concerned about where officers were stationed. "She advised the operators of that prison that she was going to halt the transfer of inmates until these issues were resolved," Decker said. "There were serious security concerns." Decker said only 37 correctional officers were assigned to the Arizona inmates Thursday. She could not say what that number should have been but said 131 officers would have been required if all 1,260 Arizona inmates had already been transferred. She declined to comment on whether those staffing levels could have contributed to the riot. Arizona is paying Indiana $6.1 million to house its inmates. Daniels and others supported the deal in part because the prison was only about half full. The New Castle prison is state-owned, but Indiana contracts with GEO Group of Florida to operate it. The first 104 prisoners arrived March 12. Decker, the Arizona corrections spokeswoman, said Arizona would prefer to keep its prisoners in-state but can't accommodate the growing inmate population. Arizona also sends some inmates to a prison in Oklahoma. It had sent about 1,500 to private prisons in Texas, but those contracts were canceled late last year. Decker said the future of the contract with Indiana is in question. "Is the facility going to be capable of housing the inmates we have there? Are the things that caused this going to be addressed? " While the riot raised concerns about the deal with Arizona, it also prompted questions about the state's contract with a private firm to manage the facility. The state signed a contract with GEO Group in September 2005 to run the prison for four years with an option for three two-year extensions. Officials with the company declined comment Tuesday. Daniels said the fact that the prison is privately managed did not have anything to do with the riot, and his office released a history of disturbances at Indiana correctional facilities to help support his point. "In fact, the management there responded beautifully, as did the public authorities," said Daniels, who has sought to privatize parts of state government. But Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker disagreed and said privatization of the prison likely contributed. "What happened today is a tragedy. I think it all ties back to the fact that (the governor) has privatized essential government services," Parker said. House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, cautioned people not to rush to judgment. "It's too early to make any rash judgments about what happened in New Castle," he said. "I think we need to find out exactly what happened, who is responsible and how prison officials reacted. This is not the first prison riot in national history, nor is it the last." Tuesday's trouble began about 2 p.m. as a group of Arizona inmates became defiant as they were being moved from a dining hall to their cellblocks, said Donahue, the DOC commissioner. Donahue said many of the inmates began removing their shirts, apparently in a show of solidarity for the "noncompliance," and one guard was either knocked or pushed to the ground. A group of Indiana inmates -- who do not mingle with the Arizona prisoners and are kept separate by fences -- became aware of the disturbance, and about 500 of the prison's 1,668 inmates became involved, he said. Rioters broke scores of windows and set several fires in outdoor recreation areas before guards used a chemical agent to quell the disturbance after about two hours. Guards first isolated the areas of disruption, giving inmates time to decide who was going to participate and who was going to be bystanders rather than rushing in, Donahue said. "We don't rush to judgment," he said. "We don't want to put additional folks at risk. We didn't have anyone in harm's way." It's not unusual for tensions to flare up at a prison that's privately run and has prisoners from different states, said Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the watchdog Private Corrections Institute. For one, prisoners often end up far away from their relatives and friends, making visits difficult. "How do you expect the family to stay in touch," he said, "when they're in Arizona and they have to fly all the way to Indiana?" In addition, companies such as GEO Group subject prisoners to different rules, based on the contracts they have with different states. For example, prisoners from one state can have food more times per day or access to reading materials or better medical care than prisoners from another state. Guards did keep the prison populations apart, as all management companies are required to do, but that rarely stops the flow of information, Kopczynski said. Once one group finds out the guards are treating another group better, prisoners can become resentful, angry and violent. That kind of unequal treatment doesn't usually happen in public prisons, because the prisoners are from the same state. But transferring prisoners from state to state is becoming more and more common as states run out of beds and decide it's cheaper to ship prisoners to other states, rather than build a prison of their own. Prisoners' rights' advocates said that the arrangement is a recipe for disaster from the start. Donna Leone Hamm, director of Middle Ground Prison Reform, an Arizona-based nonprofit inmate advocacy group, said she is not surprised that violence broke out at the prison. She said her organization has been contacted by inmates and their family members who said prisoners were shipped off to Indiana against their will and with little notice, including some who said they were roused from their beds in the middle of the night and told to pack. Because Arizona transports prisoners deemed least likely to cause trouble, well-behaved inmates felt they were being punished for playing by the rules, Hamm said. In addition, some couldn't bring along personal property, including televisions, she said.

April 24, 2007 WISH TV
Indiana State Police have confirmed a disturbance at the New Castle Correctional Facility. Troopers have been dispatched to the scene. New Castle Mayor Tom Nipp calls the disturbance a "full scale riot." According to Indiana State Police there was some sort of argument between the inmates from Indiana and the prisoners from Arizona that the facility has been housing since early March. The facility has confirmed two staff members have been injured and one of those staff members is in the emergency room at Henry County Memorial Hospital. So far reports are cell houses D, I, or J were involved in the incident. The riot erupted around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. Local law enforcement arrived by 2:15 p.m. Chopper 8 flew over the scene and witnessed at least three burning fires set around the facility. "Prisoners were trying to tear down some fence," said Nipp. "The exterior fence is electrical wire. The police department has been fully mobilized." A perimeter has been established around the facility to ensure that if anyone did manage to get over the fence, measures are being taken to ensure the public's safety. Facility staff and personnel say they are managing the situation professionally and applying procedures including tear gas to return the facility to stable conditions. "New Castle is quite secure. All due precautions are in place to maintain that security," said Nipp. GEO Group manages and operates New Castle Correctional Facility. In a phone interview with GEO Group Spokesman Pablo Paez, he said they are working to bring the situation under control. Paez said there are over 1,000 inmates from Indiana currently at the facility and they are in the process of taking in inmates from Arizona. There are currently 630 inmates from Arizona at the facility. That process stared at the beginning of March. Katie Decker of the Arizona Department of Correction confirmed that 630 inmates from Arizona have been transferred to the facility so far. Transfer of additional prisoners is on hold for right now.

Pima County Jail
Pima, Arizona
 
Correctional Medical Service (formerly run by First Correctional Medical)
July 3, 2009 Arizona Daily Star
The mother of a 28-year-old man who hanged himself in the Pima County jail has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Correctional Medical Services, the company that provides medical care at the facility. Keith Kehl, 28, was found dead in his cell a little after 4 a.m. Aug. 1, 2007. He was hanging from a bedsheet tied to the upper bunk. According to a lawsuit filed in Pima County Superior Court, Kehl was not placed on suicide watch despite the medical staff knowing he was having visual and auditory hallucinations telling him to harm himself. On June 30, 2007, Kehl's depression was rated at 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, the lawsuit states. He was also known to be having suicidal thoughts. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted in April to settle a claim filed by the family, agreeing unanimously to pay $125,000 to Rose Martin, Kehl's mother.

May 2, 2009 Arizona Daily Star
A Pima County jury acquitted a registered nurse Friday on 10 charges alleging that he sexually abused three female inmates while working at the Pima County Adult Detention Center. Christopher Erin Johnston, 36, was accused of touching each of the women's breasts inappropriately, rubbing his genitals on a woman's back and forcing the same woman to touch his genitals. Lauren Murata, one of the eight jurors on the case, said the jury was initially split 6-2 in favor of not guilty but after some discussion reached its ultimate decision. The jury deliberated four hours. "We believe the state didn't sufficiently prove its case," Murata said. "There were several possible witnesses and items we would like to have seen that would've helped support the state's case."

November 18, 2008 Zonie Report
The mother of a Tucson teenager claims officials at the Pima County Jail ignored several warning signs about her son’s suicidal tendencies, leading to his death just days after he was incarcerated. Daryl Marie Kramer is suing the county, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis-based government contractor that administers medical care in the jail, on behalf of her deceased son, Brian Kramer. In November 2007, Daryl Kramer grew concerned about her son’s mental health while he was on probation, the complaint states. It does not mention the details behind his probationary status. She called her son’s probation officer and told him to return Brian to the jail as an act of “tough love.” She claims she told the officer that Brian had attempted suicide three times recently, including once in the previous week. She claims she asked the officer to put him on suicide watch. When Brian Kramer was admitted, jail officials noted that he had a small wound on his wrist that he had purposely re-opened, according to the complaint. This and other jail reports revealed several “red flags” that should have alerted the jail to Brian Kramer’s problems. He was placed on suicide watch initially, the complaint claims, then removed and put into the general prison population a few days later. The complaint also claims that he was not receiving Zoloft or other medical treatment for his mental health. Two days later, Brian Kramer tried to hang himself in his cell. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced brain dead upon arrival, after which he was taken off of life support and his organs were donated for transplants. Daryl Kramer is suing for negligence and wrongful death. She is represented by Tucson lawyers Michael and Jack Redhair. The case is before Judge Michael Miller.

July 15, 2008 The Arizona Daily Star
Conmed Healthcare Management Inc. on Monday signed a $220,000 transitional contract with Pima County to provide medical services for inmates at the county jail. The contract will allow Conmed to develop a plan for the jail to switch from its existing provider of medical, dental and behavioral health services by Aug. 1, the company said. The Board of Supervisors approved a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the current provider, Correctional Medical Services, in 2006. Citing poor quality and lack of contract compliance -- such as meeting staffing levels and providing timely care -- the county decided to drop the provider. Conmed, based in Hanover, Md., said it currently serves jails and prisons in 31 counties in six states, including Arizona.

July 2, 2008 Arizona Daily Star
Citing poor quality of care and lack of contract compliance, Pima County will drop Correctional Medical Services as its medical-care provider at the Pima County jail. Correctional Medical Services is the largest provider of detention medical services in the country. The Board of Supervisors approved a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the St. Louis-based company in 2006. The contract represented an 18.6 percent increase over the previous contract with Tucson-based First Correctional Medical, which had served the jail since 2002. At the time, Supervisor Richard Elías said he was concerned about cost-cutting measures in the contract and complaints made against the company in other states, but County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said he was satisfied with the company's answers. However, two years later, Pima County officials say the company has failed to meet basic expectations laid out in its contract, including meeting staffing levels and providing care in a timely manner. "Our feeling is they have not met our requirements for quality care at the jail," said Dr. Fred Miller, Pima County's chief medical officer. In a memo to the supervisors, Huckelberry said CMS had five administrators and four corporate liaisons in the 26 months of the contract, leading to inconsistent leadership. The company failed to collect $1.3 million from the contract because it didn't meet staffing requirements. And court officials recently expressed concern about the quality of psychiatric care provided in the jail, including psychological evaluations done by a nurse practitioner. The qualifications of those doing evaluations at the jail came up during a recent hearing involving a murder suspect. In a bench conference in Pima County Superior Court, Judge Nanette Warner said she had big problems with the company. "I have huge issues with the quality of the staff, the quality of the care. It has been a frustration for the court," she said. "Their whole goal is how not to do any work," she said at a later point in the conference. In a ruling issued Thursday, Warner said the court had been told that CMS had hired a psychologist and two psychiatrists to start doing evaluations. She declined to comment further. But by the time the company acted, negotiations apparently had already broken down. In the memo, Huckelberry said Pima County sent CMS a final contract offer on June 13, and the company changed aspects of the contract without discussing the issue with the county. He said the company was not prepared to meet Pima County's requirements. The supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the CMS contract for one month, until the end of July, to allow an orderly transition. They also voted to give a one-year, $9 million contract to ConMed Healthcare Management, a Maryland-based provider of detention medical services. Dennis Douglas, deputy county administrator for health services, said ConMed approached the county some time ago and periodically provided information about its services. He said that's why the county decided to go with ConMed in the short term. He said the county may develop a competitive process to look at other providers along with ConMed by the time the contract is up. Elías said he hopes the county avoids similar problems with the new provider. Douglas said he did not think the problems with CMS could have been avoided through a more careful contracting process because the company looked good on paper. "It was a good contract, a reasonable contract, but they didn't live up to it," he said. Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, said the company negotiated in good faith with Pima County, as evidenced by the fact that it continued to hire people and provided good services. "Correctional Medical Services has well-established policies and procedures that are based on years of experience working in hundreds of facilities," he said. "That experience is brought to every community we serve, including Pima County."

October 16, 2007 Arizona Daily Star
An employee working at the Pima County jail has been accused of sexually abusing female inmates while on the job, according to court documents. Christopher Erin Johnston was charged with five counts of sexual abuse and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct, according to an indictment in Pima County Superior Court. The indictment says Johnston, 34, had sexual contact with three female inmates without their consent between July 30 and Aug. 5. On three occasions, Johnston touched the women's breasts and in one of the incidents he rubbed his genitals on a woman's back and forced her to touch them, according to the indictment. When the incidents occurred, Johnston was working for Correctional Medical Services, a company hired by the Pima County Sheriff's Department to provide health care to inmates, said Sgt. James Ogden, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. Ogden said he did not know what kind of work Johnston performed at the jail, 1270 W. Silverlake Road. He said Johnston did not work directly for the county and that he is no longer employed at the jail.

April 5, 2006 Arizona Star
Health care at the Pima County jail soon will be the responsibility of one of the nation's largest private providers of medical care in jails and prisons. The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an $18.5 million, two-year contract Tuesday with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services. The company will replace First Correctional Medical, the Tucson-based company that has provided medical care at the jail since 2002, at the end of April. The contract represents an average 18.5 percent increase in the yearly cost of providing care at the jail. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the increased cost was driven by several factors, including medical costs rising 7.5 percent a year, the jail population increasing 7 percent to 9 percent a year and the addition of seven full-time employees over the previous contract. Supervisor Richard Elias voted no after raising concerns about aspects of the contract. For example, the contract calls for medications to be distributed two times a day instead of three, a change that will save the county $300,000. Elias wondered what would happen to inmates with chronic conditions if they needed medication three or four times a day. "I just want to make sure we're not creating more liability by creating a situation where people aren't getting their meds," Elias said. Elias said later he also was worried about accountability and records transfers when dealing with an out-of-state company. "I have a lot of concerns about Correctional Medical Services," Elias said. "In the end, I would have been a lot more comfortable with a local provider." Correctional Medical Services runs 320 facilities with 250,000 inmates in 25 states. Former inmates and family members have accused the company of providing inadequate care and cutting corners to save money. Karen Russo, president of the Wrongful Death Institute, has served as a clearinghouse for those accusations. She said the company has a "facade" of providing health care. A 2000 audit by the South Carolina Legislature found problems with distribution of medicine, lack of planning for discharge of mentally ill patients and workers who did not have the right qualifications. Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical, said many of the allegations were years old and false.

April 29, 2005 Tucson Citizen
The woman who hanged herself Sunday at the Pima County Jail was showing psychotic symptoms, a jail official said, and told a jail nurse that she had been taking prescription drugs for chronic pain and depression. Vickie Logan never saw a doctor in the jail who could have prescribed the medications for her, even though that is standard jail procedure, a jail official said. She also never saw a psychiatrist in the jail, even though inmates sent to the jail's mental health unit - as Logan was - routinely see a psychiatrist for a follow-up screening, the official said. Instead Logan, 42, was put in isolation - in a cell where she had contact only with jail staff and where her meals were delivered. She also was not put on suicide watch, even though she was "hearing voices and talking to people who were not there," said jail supervisor Capt. Judy Hendrickson. After 61 hours of isolation, Logan hanged herself Sunday and died Monday. The county jail's medical and mental health services are provided by First Correctional Medical Inc., a local private contractor. The nurse ordered Logan into isolation because she was "hearing voices and talking to people who were not there," Hendrickson said. The nurse who interviewed her didn't think she needed close supervision and so did not put her on suicide watch, which would have required jail personnel to check on her every five minutes, instead of every 15 minutes. Hendrickson said.

March 26, 2004
A woman whose son died when she went into premature labor and gave birth at the Pima County jail has begun the process of filing a million-dollar lawsuit against the county and the company that provides medical care at the jail.  An attorney for Valerie Lopez, 23, began sending notices of claim, legally required before a lawsuit can be filed, Wednesday to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, whose department runs the jail; the county, including the Board of Supervisors; First Correctional Medical and the various nurses and corrections officers involved in the September 2003 incident.  The $1.75 million claim says Lopez's rights were violated by inadequate medical care and that she suffered serious injuries and emotional trauma when officials ignored her complaints of pain for 10 hours. They finally took her to the medical unit, where she pulled down her pants and gave birth on a table with only two Tylenol to ease her pain.  (Arizona Daily Star)

October 19, 2003
Valerie Lopez says she had problems convincing authorities at the jail that she was in labor. Changes are being made.  Valerie Lopez lay on her bunk at the Pima County jail. Nearly six months pregnant and just arrested for fighting with her brother, the 23-year-old didn't want to be in labor.  She called for help, the third time that night. But instead of being taken to a hospital, Lopez says she was moved to another cell because she was disturbing her cellmate, told to calm down and stay off her feet, and given only an aspirin for the pain.  Fifteen minutes later, she felt her son coming into the world.  She cried out again and says corrections officers and nurses finally believed her. They took her to the medical unit, where she says she pulled down her pants and gave birth after 10 hours of labor. And, there, Juan Carlitos Long, a boy with perfect fingernails and a tiny, beautiful heartbeat, died.  Jail officials say the Sept. 29-30 incident should have been handled better; that mix-ups helped cause it and they've made changes. They'll even ask the County Attorney's Office if criminal charges are merited.  But most of the decisions were made by nurses with the private company that cares for inmates under a contract with the county, a company with no major problems since taking over jail care in March 2002, amid allegations of improper care by previous workers.  Officials at First Correctional Medical defend their standards of care and point to a recent new accreditation the local operation received to show it provides a high level of care here. Still, Lopez wants to know why she wasn't taken to a hospital and why instead of the birthday parties she'd envisioned for her son, she had to plan a funeral.  (Yahoo News)

Prescott Valley, Arizona
Management & Training Corporation

October 18, 2007 The Daily Courier
The town council will not support plans by a Utah-based company to consider the outskirts of town for a private prison. Overwhelming vocal opposition to a 2,000-bed, minimum-security prison for nonviolent male inmates apparently persuaded the council Thursday against proceeding with endorsing the prison. Opponents expressed concerns to the council about Prescott Valley having the label of "prison town," and facing declining property values and other negative effects. The council met Oct. 4 with representatives of Management and Training Corp., a Centerville, Utah-based company that proposed a 100-acre site a mile north of Highway 69 and parallel to Old Fain Road. The council did not take any formal action during the work/study meeting Thursday, but Town Manager Larry Tarkowski indicated he would not put a letter of support on the agenda for next Thursday. The sole support for the prison on the council came from Mary Baker, who cited the benefit of 500 jobs. Opponents in excess of 10 people dominated a packed council chamber. Council members also indicated that prison opponents bombarded them with e-mails and phone calls. "We had so many people who said 'no,' and I have to go with that," Mayor Harvey Skoog said after five people spoke out against the prison. Two people spoke in favor of the prison. "I am not worried about the prisoners that are escaping, but I am worried about the factor of the money you would lose on your house," opponent Frank Shank, a retired diesel mechanic and Teamster union representative from Detroit, said after the meeting. He said that he lost $50,000 on a house in Jackson, Mich., a number of years ago because of the presence of a prison. Prison supporter Linda Shimmin, a retired restaurant owner, faulted the review process for killing the prison plans. "I think the (council) decision is fine," sh