Arizona To Assess All Private Prison Operators

Published: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 3:10pm
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(Photo by Matthew Casey - KJZZ)
Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan (right) answers questions from reporters on Aug. 26, 2015. Ryan announced the state is evaluating all private prison operators following the release of a probe into riots at a facility near Kingman.

State officials will evaluate all of Arizona’s private prison operators following the release of a blistering investigation of July riots at a facility near Kingman.

The same team that investigated the Kingman incident will assess privately operated prisons located in Phoenix, Florence, Eloy and Marana, said Charles Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. The reviews are part of a self-analysis of the Department’s approach to private operators. They are expected to take about 60 days.

“I think what we have to do is expand the approach to monitoring, to actually expand what we will be auditing or looking at,” Ryan said.

Management and Training Corporation, the operator the state wants out of the Kingman prison, also runs the Marana facility. Ryan said a review of that prison is already in progress.

RELATED: Arizona To End Contract With Private Prison Operator Following Riots

The American Friends Service Committee recently released its own report on the Kingman riots. Author Caroline Isaacs said she applauds the state’s decision to end the contract with MTC, but encouraged officials also reconsider plans to open another private prison.

“The last thing we want to do is to sign another contract with another for-profit prison operator and relive the same problem,” Isaacs said.  

Isaac’s Kingman report said the prison was understaffed, that guards were bringing drugs into the complex and assaults were common. It is based on prisoner letters, interviews with family members, a former staff member, media accounts and MTC website information.

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