TELL ADC and GOV DUCEY: NO MORE PRISON BEDS!

IMMEDIATE Action needed! 

Tell the Department of Corrections and Governor Ducey NO MORE PRISON BEDS!

The Arizona Department of Corrections has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 2,000 more prison beds to be contracted out, most likely to a for-profit corporation. The contract will be SIGNED by July 1, 2016.

We don’t need more prisons. Crime rates are down in Arizona and the prison population is likely to decline due to low numbers of new court commitments.

The annual cost for the initial set of 1,000 beds is projected to be $24.2 million, beginning in FY2017. HOW MANY K-12 STUDENTS WOULD THIS MONEY SUPPORT?

No private prison company should make a profit while Arizona is slashing its education budget and social services. SAY NO TO NEW PRISON BEDS!

PLEASE CALL ADC DIRECTOR RYAN AND GOVERNOR DUCEY AND TELL THEM TO CANCEL THE RFP!

(Calling is always more effective than email, but any contact is better than none.  Make your voice heard!)

Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan: 602-542-5225, cryan@azcorrections.gov

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: Phoenix: 602.542.4331; Tucson: 520.628.6580

**Governor Ducey does not make his email address public. You can fill out this comment form via the website: http://azgovernor.gov/governor/form/contact-governor-ducey

More spending on prisons is unnecessary, costly, and unsafe:

  • Arizona already spends $1 billion on prisons every year—siphoning dollars away from education, health care, and needed services.
  • We don’t need more prisons! Crime rates are down in Arizona and the prison population is likely to decline due to low numbers of new court commitments.
  • There are cost-effective and safe alternatives to incarceration that save money and do more to reduce recidivism. Sentencing reforms like those in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Utah would save taxpayers millions while lowering crime rates.

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.

Welcoming Emily Verdugo

Emily Verdugo, AFSC Arizona Program CoordinatorAFSC Arizona is thrilled to announce Emily Verdugo has joined the Tucson team!

An Arizona native, Emily grew up in Pinal County, the epicenter of prison privatization in Arizona. She first met AFSC staff when she spoke out against a proposed private prison in Coolidge, Arizona. Emily served as City Council member for the City of Coolidge and has served on various boards and committees, including the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism and the Arizona Community Action Association.

Currently, Emily sits as Vice-Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party and Chairwoman of the Arizona Democratic Latino Caucus. Emily was hired as Outreach Director for the Pima County Democratic Party two years ago, and ran a successful 2013 City Council Coordinated campaign and a successful 2014 Latino Get Out The Vote effort. Emily has also been integral in the success of several political campaigns through her political consulting firm. Honored as one of Chicanos Por La Causa’s 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40, and one of the Top 20 Latino Democrats to Watch by the Houston Chronicle, she is fully bilingual and active in numerous coalitions statewide.

Emily is also very engaged in the education of her sons Court and Jackson. She serves on their school’s PTO and volunteers at every event. Emily holds concurrent degrees in Political Science and History with an emphasis in Latin American Studies from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Administration with an emphasis in Government/Public Policy.

At AFSC Arizona, Emily has already begun laying the groundwork for a campaign against the treatment industrial complex and the prison industry behind it, both here in Arizona and across the country.

AJA Action Alert: SAVE SB1390! Ask leaders for a 3rd Read!

SB1390 would release more people into the Transition Program, which provides 90 days of behavioral health programming and reentry assistance to non-violent offenders. The program has existed since 2003 and has a proven track record of success in reducing recidivism.

Eligible individuals are released from prison 90 days prior to their earliest release date (which is 85% of their sentence).

If passed, this bill would potentially release 3,500 individuals this year and 5,000 annually thereafter, greatly reducing the need for the proposed 3,000 new private prison beds and allowing critical state funding to be preserved for other important areas.

The bill will die if it is not given a 3rd read immediately.

Take Action!

CONTACT THESE MEMBERS

Tell them to GIVE SB1390 a THIRD READ!

Senate President Andy Biggs: (602) 926-4371; abiggs@azleg.gov

Sen. Steve Yarbrough, Majority Leader: (602) 926-5863, syarbrough@azleg.gov

Sen. Katie Hobbs, Minority Leader: (602) 926-5325, khobbs@azleg.gov

Suggested Talking Points:

  1. SB1390 has widespread bipartisan support, with unanimous votes in both Judiciary and Appropriations
  2. The recently passed budget includes funding and authorization to expand the Transition Program by 300 participants
  3. The Transition Program has proved to increase pub safety:
    • Year 1 post release…..39% reduction in recidivism.
    • Year 2 post release…..41% reduction in recidivism.
  4. This is NOT a “get out of jail free card.” Individuals are placed into housing and programming, not on the streets.

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.

BUDGET UPDATE: Still time to stop new prison beds

Thanks to everyone who responded to our 11th hour action alert yesterday. Unfortunately, House Appropriations passed the bill 8-5 on a party-line vote. However, we are hearing that there are many Republicans who are still unhappy with the budget and are delaying its passage. This buys us a little more time to contact legislators with our message.

Note: Several people were given misinformation when they called in to their legislators. They were told that there’s no money for private prisons in the FY16 budget. While this is technically true, the budget does require ADC to sign a contract this year, which means the new beds are guaranteed.

The budget bill released this week would require the Department of Corrections to award a contract for 1,000 medium security prison beds to open on July 1, 2016, to be expanded to 2,000 beds (total) in subsequent years, with legislative approval.

While the FUNDING for these beds wouldn’t come through until FY17, if a contract is signed this year, WE WILL BE ON THE HOOK FOR FUTURE FUNDING. We must stop a contract from being signed.

There are a number of Republicans who are not in favor of the current budget. WE STILL HAVE TIME TO MAKE THIS BUDGET BETTER!

Take Action!

CONTACT THESE LEGISLATORS

Tell them NOT to approve ANY new prison beds, now or in the future!

House Speaker David Gowan:  (602) 926-3312, dgowan@azleg.gov

Senate President Andy Biggs: (602) 926-4371, abiggs@azleg.gov

House Appropriations Chair:  Rep. Justin Olson, (602) 926-5288, jolson@azleg.gov

Senate Appropriations Chair:  Don Shooter, (602) 926-4139, dshooter@azleg.gov

These are some of the “holdouts” on the budget. Contact IF YOU ARE IN THEIR DISTRICT!

Rep. Noel Campbell, D1. (602) 926-3124, ncampbell@azleg.gov

Rep. Karen Fann D1. (602) 926-3160, dfann@azleg.gov

Rep Chris Ackerley, Sahuarita -D2 – 602-926-3077; jackerley@azleg.gov

Rep. Brenda Barton, D6. (602) 926-4129, bbarton@azleg.gov

Rep. Bob Thorpe, D6. (602) 926-5219, bthorpe@azleg.gov

Rep. Franklin Pratt, D8: 602-926-5761; fpratt@azleg.gov

Rep. Thomas Shope, D8: 602-926-3012; tshope@azleg.gov

Rep. Heather Carter, D15. (602) 926-5503, hcarter@azleg.gov

Rep. Doug Coleman, D16 (602) 926-3160 dcoleman@azleg.gov

Rep. Jill Norgaard, D18 (602) 926-3140, jnorgaard@azleg.gov  

Rep. Bob Robson, D 18 (602) 926-5549 brobson@azleg.gov  

Rep. Paul Boyer, D20 (602) 926-4173, pboyer@azleg.gov

Rep. Rick Gray, D21 (602) 926-5993. rgray@azleg.gov

Rep. Michelle Ugenti, D23 (602) 926-4480, mugenti@azleg.gov 

Rep. Russell “Rusty” Bowers, D25 (602) 926-3128, rbowers@azleg.gov

Rep. Kate Brophy-McGee D28 (602) 926-4486 kbrophymcgee@azleg.gov  

If you don’t know who your representatives are, click here:

http://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp

Suggested Talking Points:

  1. More prison beds are a long-term fiscal burden:
    1. Although this budget bill delays the funding for the beds until FY2017, signing a contract this year commits future legislatures to funding the beds.
    2. A new prison contract would burden the state with a 20-year commitment, most likely with a guarantee to keep the prison 90% full or more.
  1. There are effective alternatives either currently in place or being proposed that would make the new prison beds unnecessary.
    1. The Transition Program allows all non-violent prisoners to be released 90 days before their 85% release date. In 2013, the program saved taxpayers $1,087,494. There is currently a bill moving through the legislature (SB1390) that would potentially release 3,500 people next year and 5,000 people every year thereafter, making new beds unnecessary.
    2. A modest adjustment of Truth in Sentencing laws would potentially allow for the release of 9,500 people, with a potential cost savings of $207,493,375 per year.
  1. Arizona voters do not want new prisons. They want the state to prioritize education. A statewide poll found that 76% of Arizonans favor releasing nonviolent prisoners into community-based treatment programs.

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.

NO NEW PRISON BEDS FOR ARIZONA! HEARING TODAY (3/5)! CALL NOW!

The budget bill released yesterday would require the Department of Corrections to award a contract for 1,000 medium security prison beds to open on July 1, 2016, to be expanded to 2,000 beds (total) in subsequent years, with legislative approval. 

Corrections is already the third largest state agency budget, absorbing 11% of General Funds. Corrections’ total budget for FY2015 is over $1 billion. Yet Arizona’s recidivism rate is between 40-50%. Since recidivism means future crime, our prisons are clearly failing in their mission to preserve public safety.

Arizona’s budget priorities are completely misaligned. Historic underfunding of K-12 and deep cuts to higher education shortchange our kids and make Arizona less attractive to businesses. The state’s failure to care for the poor or treat substance abuse and mental illnesses only serve to undermine public safety.

Fortunately, new prison beds are totally unnecessary. Some existing programs, like the Transition Program, are underutilized. This program saved Arizona Taxpayers over $1 million in 2013 alone. There is already a bill (SB1390) that is progressing through the legislature that would potentially release 3,500 people in FY2016 and 5,000 every year thereafter, rendering new prison beds unnecessary.

And changes in Arizona’s criminal justice policies, such as Truth In Sentencing, could allow the state to potentially save over $200 million per year. These types of reforms have been undertaken in most other US states—including very conservative ones—and these states have seen greater drops in crime than Arizona has. 

The House Appropriations Committee will hear this bill TODAY (3/5) at 3:00pm. They need to hear from YOU RIGHT NOW!

Take Action!

CONTACT THE GOVERNOR AND THE MEMBERS OF HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS

Tell them NOT to approve ANY new prison beds–Not now, not EVER!

Governor Doug Ducey:         (602) 542-4331 (Maricopa County and Phoenix); (520) 628-6580 Tucson; (602) 542-1381 Fax

House Appropriations Chair:  Rep. Justin Olson, (602) 926-5288, jolson@azleg.gov 

Vice Chair: Rep. Vince Leach, (602) 926-3106, vleach@azleg.gov  

Rep. John Allen, (602) 926-4916, jallen@azleg.gov  

Rep. Russell “Rusty” Bowers, (602) 926-3128, rbowers@azleg.gov 

Rep. Ken Clark, (602) 926-3108, kenclark@azleg.gov 

Rep. Mark Cardenas, (602) 926-3014, mcardenas@azleg.gov 

Rep. Rick Gray, (602) 926-5993. rgray@azleg.gov

Rep. Stefanie Mach, (602) 926-3398, smach@azleg.gov

Rep. Eric Meyer, (602) 926-3037, emeyer@azleg.gov 

Rep. Warren Petersen, (602) 926-4136, wpetersen@azleg.gov 

Rep. Tony Rivero, (602) 926-3104, trivero@azleg.gov 

Rep. Andrew Sherwood, (602) 926-3028, asherwood@azleg.gov 

Rep. David Stevens, (602) 926-4321, dstevens@azleg.gov 

Rep. Michelle Ugenti, (602) 926-4480, mugenti@azleg.gov 

Suggested Talking Points:

  1. More prison beds are a long-term fiscal burden:
    1. These new beds could cost Arizona over $100 million in just the first few years.
    2. A new prison contract would burden the state with a 20-year commitment, most likely with a guarantee to keep the prison 90% full or more.
  1. There are effective alternatives either currently in place or being proposed that would make the new prison beds unnecessary.
    1. The Transition Program allows all non-violent prisoners to be released 90 days before their 85% release date. In 2013, the program saved taxpayers $1,087,494. There is currently a bill moving through the legislature (SB1390) that would potentially release 3,500 people next year and 5,000 people every year thereafter, making new beds unnecessary.
    2. A modest adjustment of Truth in Sentencing laws would potentially allow for the release of 9,500 people, with a potential cost savings of $207,493,375 per year.
  1. The Department of Corrections’ funding should be tied to realistic performance standards similar to those expected of other state agencies.
    1. The Arizona Department of Corrections reports that its recidivism rate is 42%. However, ADC also reports that 48.8% of inmates have served time in the Arizona prison system before.
    2. Recidivism is basically future crime. If the purpose of Corrections is to preserve public safety, Arizona prisons have a 40-50% failure rate.

 

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.

AJA ACTION ALERT: YES on SB1390!

Senator Steve Pierce has introduced a bill that would require the Department of Corrections to release more people into the Transition Program, which provides 90 days of behavioral health programming and reentry assistance to non-violent offenders. The program has existed since 2003 and has a proven track record of success in reducing recidivism.

Eligible individuals are released from prison 90 days prior to their earliest release date (which is 85% of their sentence).

If passed, this bill would potentially release 3,500 individuals this year and 5,000 annually thereafter, greatly reducing the need for the proposed 3,000 new private prison beds and allowing critical state funding to be preserved for other important areas.

The bill has a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee THIS THURSDAY (2/19). They need to hear from YOU today!

Take Action!: CONTACT THE MEMBERS OF SENATE JUDICIARY

Tell them to VOTE YES ON SB1390!

Sen. Adam Driggs (Chairman): (602)926-3016, abiggs@azleg.gov

Sen. Nancy Barto (Vice-Chair): (602)926-5766, nbarto@azleg.gov

Sen. Bob Worsley, (602)926-5760, bworsley@azleg.gov

Sen. Lupe Contreras, (602) 926-5284; lcontreras@azleg.gov

Sen. Andrea Dalessandro, (602) 926-5342; adalessandro@azleg.gov

Sen. Martin Quezada, (602) 926-5911; mquezada@azleg.gov

Suggested Talking Points:

  1. SB1390 expands on an existing and successful program. The Transition Program has proved to increase pub safety:
  • Year 1 post release…..39% reduction in recidivism.
  • Year 2 post release…..41% reduction in recidivism.
  1. Passage of SB1390 could reduce the need for new prison beds, saving taxpayers $100 million over the next three years. That money would be better spent on education and other programs.
  1. This is NOT a “get out of jail free card.” Individuals are placed into housing and programming, not on the streets.
  1. Under the Transition Program, ADC retains authority to determine who is a risk to the public and who can be safely placed in the program.

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.

AJA ACTION ALERT: NO NEW PRISON BEDS FOR ARIZONA!

AFSC Urgent Action Header

Gov. Ducey’s budget for FY2016 proposes 3,000 new medium-security for-profit prison beds—beds we don’t need. The Governor’s budget estimates that these new beds will cost taxpayers over $100 million over the next three years.

Corrections is already the third largest state agency budget, absorbing 11% of General Funds. Corrections’ total budget for FY2015 is over $1 billion. Yet Arizona’s recidivism rate is between 40-50%. Since recidivism means future crime, our prisons are clearly failing in their mission to preserve public safety.

Arizona’s budget priorities are completely misaligned. Historic underfunding of K-12 and deep cuts to higher education shortchange our kids and make Arizona less attractive to businesses. The state’s failure to care for the poor or treat substance abuse and mental illnesses only serve to undermine public safety.

Fortunately, new prison beds are totally unnecessary. The Department of Corrections has the authority to release thousands more prisoners every year into a Transition Program. This program saved Arizona Taxpayers over $1 million in 2014 alone.

And changes in Arizona’s criminal justice policies, such as Truth In Sentencing, could allow the state to potentially save over $200 million per year. These types of reforms have been undertaken in most other US states—including very conservative ones—and these states have seen greater drops in crime than Arizona has.

The Arizona Department of Corrections will present its budget to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees next week (2/3-2/4). They need to hear from YOU today!

Take Action!

CONTACT THE GOVERNOR AND THE CHAIRS OF APPROPRIATIONS

Tell them NOT to approve the new prison beds and instead invest $100 million in the things that truly make us safer!

Governor Doug Ducey:         (602) 542-4331 (Maricopa County and Phoenix); (520) 628-6850 Tucson; (602) 542-1381 Fax

Senate Appropriations Chair: Sen. Don Shooter, (602) 926-4139, dshooter@azleg.gov

House Appropriations Chair:  Rep. Justin Olson, (602) 926-5288,   jolson@azleg.gov 

Suggested Talking Points:

  1. 3,000 more medium security prison beds are overly expensive and unnecessary:
    • These new beds would cost Arizona over $100 million in just the first few years.
    • The Arizona Department of Corrections claims it needs the best due to population growth. But ADC’s own records show that the increase in prison population may be due not just to more people entering the system, but also to prisoners staying longer. The number of people being released decreased by 7.5% between 2009 and 2014, while at the same time the average length of a stay in prison has increased by 19%.
  1. The Department of Corrections’ funding should be tied to realistic performance standards similar to those expected of other state agencies.
    • The Arizona Department of Corrections reports that its recidivism rate is 42%. However, ADC also reports that 48.8% of inmates have served time in the Arizona prison system before.
    • Recidivism is basically future crime. If the purpose of Corrections is to preserve public safety, Arizona prisons have a 40-50% failure rate.
  1. There are effective alternatives either currently in place or being proposed that would make the new prison beds unnecessary.
    • The Transition Program allows all non-violent prisoners to be released after serving 85% of their sentence. In 2012, the program saved taxpayers $1,038,224. Yet even after statutory changes expanding eligibility and an ADC review of its criteria and procedures, the program is being underutilized.
    • A modest adjustment of Truth in Sentencing laws would potentially allow for the release of 9,500 people, with a potential cost savings of $207,493,375 per year.

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.