Nick Oza/The Arizona Republic
At the City Council meeting Tuesday (10/19/10), Council Member Steve Kozachik initiated a very thoughtful discussion about the high cost of jail incarceration and what the City might do to bring jail costs down while promoting better public safety outcomes.
High points included an excellent presentation from Adult Probation on the use of Evidence-Based Practices in sentencing, Council Member Ulich’s suggestion to bring together a collaborative planning body that could iron out differences between the City and County, and Council Member Romero’s heartfelt plea that the discussion not overlook the importance of alternative courts, such as the Veteran’s Court.
Unfortunately, one of the options placed on the table by TPD’s Assistant Chief John Leavitt was a “Private Prison RFQ.”
Apparently, this had been under serious discussion in the past, in this case, the management of a DUI facility (a favorite gateway drug for the for-profits). The fly in the ointment at the time was the fact that the private operator wanted a gender-segregated facility for men only. Women are simply too expensive to incarcerate, and for-profit prisons rarely take them.
While Leavitt acknowledged the for-profit’s propensity to cherry pick, he still touted the projected cost savings such a facility could generate.
We would suggest that our friends at the City Council talk with their counterparts in Brooksville, Florida. They recently took the Hernando County Jail back from Corrections Corporation of America, because they discovered that the county could run it more cheaply. (more…)