Which is why Arizona’s strategy, as reported by the Arizona Republic, is much more effective than California’s Realignment strategy, which the California-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation critiques.
An excerpt from the Arizona Republic article.
“The state Department of Corrections plans Friday to award a private prison contract for 1,000 medium-security beds for men, citing a lack of beds for violent offenders and a projected increase in the overall inmate population.
“Five out-of-state companies are vying for the contract. The value of the deal has not been disclosed while the state reviews the bids, but it likely will be worth millions of dollars annually. Sites being considered are in Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, San Luis and Winslow.
“The contract comes even though the state’s overall prison population is expected to remain flat the next two years and increase only slightly thereafter. State records also show it’s more costly for taxpayers to have private businesses run prisons.
“According to state records, there currently are about 2,000 empty beds in Arizona’s prison system, which houses 39,876 male and female inmates. Critics of the prison expansion point to those empty beds as a key reason why the state doesn’t need to spend more money on beds.
“State Corrections Director Charles Ryan acknowledged the empty beds but said the state has a shortage of permanent medium-security beds — an 11-bed deficit as of Friday. Most of the empty beds are in minimum-security or women’s facilities, and the populations cannot be mixed.
“Ryan said the shortage will get worse by 2016, when the total prison population is projected to increase by about 600 more inmates, to 40,477 prisoners. Ryan said the increased projections are based on historical growth trends from the past five fiscal years. He added that the state doesn’t foresee a significant decline in sex offenders or violent criminals, who would be housed in medium-security prisons.”