Arizona sheriffs critical of private prisons’ costs

redrockBy Craig Harris | The Republic |

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other Arizona sheriffs’ offices say the state is needlessly spending money to move inmates to a new private prison when they could be held in county facilities for millions of dollars less per year.

Arpaio and sheriffs’ offices in Apache, Pinal, Cochise, Navajo and Santa Cruz counties said they would be willing to take Department of Corrections prisoners after The Arizona Republic reported that the state this month would begin housing inmates at the privately held Red Rock Correctional Center near Eloy. The state guarantees owner Corrections Corporation of America a profit with an occupancy rate of at least 90 percent at the new facility.

CCA has become the third private-prison operator for Corrections, which has received direction from the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer to use private facilities to ease prison overcrowding.


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