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Arizona Judge Rejects Temporary Halt to For-Profit Prison Contracts

Photo: Michael Tam / Creative Commons via flickr

AFSC is dismayed by Judge Arthur Anderson’s denial of its request for a temporary restraining order to halt the award of contracts to for-profit prison operators for 5,000 new prison beds in Arizona.

We filed an injunction Monday, September 12 in Maricopa County Superior Court to prevent the Department of Corrections from awarding any contracts for new private prisons until the state completes a statutorily required review of the performance of for-profit prisons.  The Department of Corrections has said it might award the contracts as soon as Friday, September 16.  AFSC therefore asked the court to grant a temporary restraining order to halt the contract awards until the court can hold a hearing on AFSC’s request for the injunction. 

The hearing on the injunction has been set for September 20. 

AFSC calls on the Department of Corrections to voluntarily hold off on awarding contracts until the hearing can be held.  AFSC’s Arizona Program Director Caroline Isaacs said, “We hope that the Department recognizes that its failure to follow the law in awarding contracts is a serious matter that warrants a hearing. We ask that they show respect for the process and for the seriousness of this issue and simply wait a few extra days.”

She expressed confidence that, once the facts have been aired and objectively evaluated by the judge, the injunction would ultimately be successful.

 “There should be an airing in open court of the issue of the department’s  non-compliance with the required review. It could be embarrassing and costly to the state to have to rescind contracts later, if the Department of Corrections is found to have violated the statute,” she said.

Learn more about this case.