After months of debate, the Arizona Department of Corrections is expected to award a contract today to a private firm to build a medium-security prison for men, says the Arizona Republic. A coalition of elected officials, educators and faith leaders lobbied against the contract in letters to Gov. Jan Brewer this week, 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.
The first 500 beds would come online in 2014, while 500 more would be added the following year. 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.