AFSC Seeking Organizations, Faith Groups to Sign Letter to Gov. Ducey to Study, End Private Prisons in AZ

As you may know, the federal government, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, has recently taken steps to end its use of private prisons. It is critical that we take advantage of this moment to build momentum here in Arizona to follow suit.

So AFSC-AZ is circulating a SIGN ON LETTER to Governor Ducey, asking him to initiate an independent study of the performance of Arizona’s private prisons, and to cancel the contracts if they are found to be non-compliant. The full text of the letter is below.

We are asking for ORGANIZATIONS, churches, agencies and other groups to please sign on to this letter. Please forward on to any groups you think might be interested/willing to sign.

Given the short news cycle and the fact that the election is near, we are hoping groups can do whatever they can to expedite the sign-on process. We have set a deadline of Friday, September 16th for groups to sign on.

Please contact Caroline Isaacs at cisaacs@afsc.org to sign on or for more information. Or call 520.623.9141. Thank you!


Hon. Douglas Ducey, Governor of Arizona

1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

 

WHEREAS the United States Department of Justice has decided to phase out its use of private prison contracts after a two-year investigation concluded that the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government; and

WHEREAS the US Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will evaluate whether the immigration detention operations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement should move in the same direction; and

WHEREAS the State of Arizona does not currently have a statutory requirement to regularly monitor the cost, safety, performance and/or quality of the private prisons under contract leaving elected officials and the public with no way to ensure that these prisons are safe or effective; and

WHEREAS previous such studies showed that private prisons were not saving the state money and were not providing higher quality services; and

WHEREAS Governor Ducey was recently forced to cancel one contract with a private prison operator due to substantial non-compliance, contract violations, and mismanagement that put the health and safety of incarcerated people, prison staff, and the community at risk; and

WHEREAS this state is investing millions of taxpayer dollars in private prison contracts, at the expense of other critical programs and services;

We, the undersigned, call on Governor Doug Ducey to immediately undertake a systemic, independent, and transparent assessment of all of the Arizona Department of Corrections’ contracts with for-profit prison corporations.

This assessment should:

  1. Be conducted by an impartial, independent third party with expertise in these matters
  2. Incorporate the methodology and performance measures outlined by the United States Office of the Inspector General in its review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ contracts; those used in previous assessments in Arizona; as well as any recommended by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee of the Arizona State Legislature or the Office of the Auditor General
  3. Incorporate existing audits, monitoring reports, grievance and assault data, and other relevant materials from the Department of Corrections or other state agencies
  4. Include the costs and associated issues related to litigation and legal settlements
  5. Allow for the input and interview of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their families
  6. Allow for the input and participation of a diverse and representative group of stakeholders
  7. Be transparent and accountable to the public in every aspect, including making all materials, reports, and documents accessible to all
  8. Be completed in six months or less

Should this review demonstrate that one or more for-profit prison operators are not in compliance with the terms of their contracts with this state, or are not providing cost savings to the state, we respectfully request that you phase out these contracts.

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