TUCSON, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) today sent a letter to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey regarding his increased budget request for the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR) despite the state having the lowest prison population in a decade and in addition to the many concerns that linger at ADCRR. Governor Ducey’s budget proposes ADCRR to receive at least $1.5 billion in funding, making it the third largest budget in the State and comes during a time when the prison population is closer to 2005 levels.
In the letter, Rep. Grijalva also calls out the lack of transparency and accountability within ADCRR and its private prison affiliates. ADCRR is the only state agency without independent oversight and has no oversight over private prison companies.
Rep. Grijalva urged Governor Ducey to remove the conflicts of interest and profits from the prison system: “A budget is a representation of our values and commitment to our constituencies. ADCRR’s budget is overly bloated and has failed to properly provide rehabilitation services to individuals despite it being a major component of its statutory mandate… I am gravely concerned that your increased budget request for ADCRR does not represent the best interest of incarcerated individuals and Arizonan taxpayers. Removing profits from our prison system and ensuring individuals have access to rehabilitation programs, proper healthcare and safety will end misguided mass incarceration policies in our nation and allow us to focus on policies and opportunities to reduce recidivism and promote thriving communities in Arizona.”
Outside organizations such as Just Communities Arizona also expressed their disappointment with the direction the Governor is taking the state prison system:
“Having monitored the for-profit prison industry in Arizona for two decades, I’m disappointed to say that this recent budget is a clear indicator of the Arizona Governor’s preference for more privatization, more of our taxpayer dollars lining the pockets of out-of-state corporations and their shareholders, and less accountability to the people of Arizona,” said Caroline Isaacs, Executive Director of Just Communities Arizona.
The full letter can be found here.