On Monday morning a group of community leaders, advocates and legislators met at the Capitol for a press conference and rally demanding more accountability and an independent investigation of the for-profit, private prison system.
People from across the state joined a growing chorus calling for the governor and the Department of Corrections to cancel the bidding process for the new private prison beds that Republicans in the state have committed to build.
Last week, the Department of Corrections announced it delayed the deadline for bids on a new private prison for two months while officials investigate this most recent incident.
This news came after Democrats in both the Arizona House and the Arizona Senate called for a delay in this process, but community leaders and advocates remain skeptical that 60 days is enough time to complete a thorough investigation. Additionally, the governor is allowing the DOC to investigate itself. This is unacceptable; especially since the riot, which left 16 people injured, occurred in the same facility that allowed three inmates to escape who then went on to kill two people.
People are publicly expressing doubts about the DOC’s ability to investigate itself - and for good reason. For years, House Democrats have urged for more accountability for all prisons including private facilities. Republicans instead have pushed for more facilities while reducing oversight by repealing a state law that required 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.
The for-profit, private prison system clearly has problems. And Arizonans are demanding accountability. People across the state continue to #AskDuceyWhy these profit-driven facilities are still getting state support from Republicans despite ongoing concerns about safety and responsible use of taxpayer money.