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The Governor of Arizona recently signed a bill into law that will allow for Arizona States Maximum Security prisons to be privatized. The governor did this in an attempt to save funding and cut the state budget, though the savings is estimated to be only between 1 – 2% of the budget. Bill Richardson a former Master Police Officer of Mesa, AZ wrote an interesting article in the Casa Grande Dispatch about the dangers of privatized prisons and how over 30% of Arizona prison inmates are gang affiliated and have influence in and outside of the prisons. This has involved targeting city officials and private officials and families in attacks outside of prison walls.
The article goes on to mention that private prisons often don’t have guards armed with guns and because the private prison guards are not true law officers they are much more limited in scope in what they can enforce and perform. This combined with the fact that privatizes prisons actually tend to pay prison guards a lower per hour wage makes it even more of a liability for people employed as private prison guards.
My own opinion is that when it comes to dangerous criminals there should not be anything but a government law agency involved, in my own right I don’t feel it is the right decision to turn over any law enforcement agencies to private corporations. I feel the same with the military hiring Blackwater Security forces for overseas assignments as well. The bottom line is people become trained in law enforcement and are bound by state and government laws and private corporations just are interested in keeping costs operational so they have a profit, if the private prison goes bankrupt we could be in serious trouble. The same holds true if a private prison were to cut safety protocols and procedures in the name of cutting costs and saving money.
It is a serious breach of security to start allowing maximum security prisons to become privatized in Arizona, and as a citizen of Arizona I fear this will only cause an increase in crime both within prison walls and outside prison walls.