The actual cost and performance of privately run prisons is the theme of next week’s New Hampshire speaking tour featuring Caroline Isaacs, who has conducted original research and written extensively about for-profit prisons in Arizona.

From September 4 through 6, Isaacs will speak at public events in Concord, Keene, Nashua,  and Lancaster.

The New Hampshire Departments of Corrections and Administrative Services, with help from a private consultant, are currently evaluating proposals from four private companies to build and operate New Hampshire’s prisons.   Although the contents of the bids are still confidential, the names of the bidders and some details of their proposals have become public.  Three of the four bidders -- Corrections Corporation of America, the GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation -- run prisons in Arizona.  The fourth, LaSalle, has also proposed to operate prisons there.

As Program Director in the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Arizona office in Tucson, Isaacs researched and wrote “Private Prisons, the Public’s Problem: a Quality Assessment of Arizona’s Private Prisons,” released in February 2012.  With detailed information about the performance of CCA, GEO, and MTC in that state, Isaacs’ report revealed “widespread and persistent problems in private facilities around safety, lack of accountability, and cost.”

“The record these corporations have created is the best way to predict what would happen if any of them gained control of prisons here,” said Arnie Alpert, the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program Coordinator.

MGT of America, the consulting firm helping the state departments review the private prison bids, is expected to complete its report by October 5.  Any contract with a private prison company would have to be approved by the governor and the Executive Council.  

Isaacs’ speaking tour, sponsored by the New Hampshire office of the AFSC, will visit regions of the state that CCA is considering as potential prison sites.

At this time, the speaking tour includes:

Tuesday, September 4

Noon - CONCORD - UNH Law School, Doug Wood Board Room, 2 White Street, sponsored by UNH Law School Social Justice Institute.

7 pm - KEENE - Mountain View Room, Keene State College Student Center, sponsored by KSC Criminal Justice Department.

Wednesday, September 5

7 pm - NASHUA - Nashua Unitarian Church, 58 Lowell St., sponsored by Nashua Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee.

Thursday, September 6

9 am - CONCORD - Tad’s Place Auditorium, Heritage Heights, 149 East Side Drive, sponsored by NH League of Women Voters.

6 pm - LANCASTER - Lancaster Town Hall Auditorium, 25 Main Street, sponsored by NH State Employees Association.

All events are free and open to the public.   

Isaacs will also be a guest on “The Attitude” with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN Radio at 11 am on Tuesday, September 4.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who believe in social justice, peace, humanitarian service, and nonviolence.  Its New Hampshire Program, based in Concord, conducts public education and advocacy efforts on many issues, including prison privatization.  

Click here for a short description of Caroline Isaacs.

Click here to read the full contents of or an executive summary of Private Prisons, the Public’s Problem: a quality assessment of Arizona’s private prisons.

Click here to download a photo of Caroline Isaacs.

Click here for a commentary by Arnie Alpert about the New Hampshire prison privatization debate.