Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Legislative Democrats call for special hearings to investigate cause of private prison break

12 days since prison break, and Brewer still has not released "security review" report

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House and Senate Democrats are calling on Speaker Kirk Adams and President Bob Burns to conduct special hearings on the recent private prison debacle that resulted in three convicted convicts escaping and the subsequent murder of an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico.

Democrats said they hope that, at these hearings, Governor Jan Brewer will share a "security review" her spokesman said has already been conducted. The "security review" report has not yet been released to the public but was mentioned by Brewer's spokesperson in an August 10 Arizona Republic article. To read the interview, go to this link: (the security review is discussed in the second to last paragraph).

Democrats sent their Republican counterparts a letter containing the text below (a signed copy of the letter is also attached):

"Dear President Burns and Speaker Adams,

On July 30, three extremely dangerous inmates escaped from a privately-run prison near Kingman. One fugitive is still on the loose. The escapees are tied to a violent crime spree following their prison break, including kidnappings and the murder of an innocent couple from Oklahoma who were visiting New Mexico.

The public deserves answers and accountability. We urge you to immediately hold legislative hearings to investigate the causes of the escape, review security at Arizona’s private prisons, and address the assignment of violent criminals to low security facilities inside private prisons. We need to find out how this situation was allowed to happen and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.

We ask that the Legislature also call on Governor Brewer to share the findings of the “security review” her spokesperson states in an August 10, 2010 Arizona Republic article was already conducted following the escape. To date, this important report has not been made public and the public deserves answers.

The Legislature should determine what went wrong and do so without further delay. We hope you will join us in our call for hearings right away."

Members of both the Senate and House Democratic Leadership teams signed the letter.


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