Last push to block Arizona prison deal

Elected officials, educators, religious groups unite to urge Brewer to halt 1,000 new beds

By Craig Harris

The Arizona Republic

In a last-ditch effort, private-prison opponents called on Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to scuttle a contract that is expected to be awarded Friday for 1,000 medium-security beds for men.

A coalition of elected officials, educators and faith leaders sent an open letter to Brewer, saying the beds are costly and unnecessary. They also contend the five out-of-state companies bidding to run a new prison facility have histories of questionable management practices and safety problems.

“We know this is an uphill battle, but it’s still well worth fighting,” said Caroline Isaacs, program director for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group and watchdog organization. “I know we are the underdog.”

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