No matter how private companies profit on prisons, privatizing incarceration puts the pursuit of profits over the needs of taxpayers, prisoners, and prison employees. This was the topic of discussion among three AFSC staff members during a one-hour Google Hangout on Air held July 17, 2013.
February 15, 2012 the American Friends Services Committee’s Arizona office released an extensive report reviewing the safety, quality, and cost of private prisons in Arizona – including six prisons operated by Corrections Corporation of America but not under contract with the state. The report reveals widespread and persistent problems in private facilities around safety, lack of accountability, and cost.
Arizona has enthusiastically embraced prison privatization, with 13% of the state prison population housed in private facilities (the 11th highest percentage in the nation). Motivated by a belief that private enterprise could build and manage prisons safely and at lower cost than the state, the legislature has mandated construction of thousands of private prison beds. Little was done over the years to test actual performance of private prisons or to determine their cost effectiveness.
Since AFSC filed for an injunction in Arizona to prevent the state from signing contracts for 5,000 additional for-profit prison beds before a legally mandated review is complete, media outlets throughout the state have run stories on the issue.
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. Learn more
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AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.