Appropriations lawmakers question more private prisons

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By Craig Harris, The Republic | azcentral.com

State Corrections Director Charles Ryan made his pitch Tuesday for a new 3,000-bed private prison, but some members of a legislative budget panel were skeptical, with one asking him to cut spending to free up money for education.

Ryan, whose proposal has the support of Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, told the Senate Appropriations Committee the state needs more prison beds to combat current overcrowding and accommodate a projected increase in inmates.

Ryan’s staff told lawmakers that despite a decline in inmates the past few years, more are now violating their probation and being remanded into custody. Ryan projects the state will house an additional 80 inmates a month for at least the next two years, so he is seeking another medium-custody prison.

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