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Brewer, Arpaio and CCA

Over the summer reports started to emerge that revealed that two key advisors for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had close ties to Corrections Corporation of America.  Specifically local CBS affiliate KPOH reported that "two of Brewer's top advisers have connections" to private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Lawrence Lewis, writing for the Daily Kos, reported that "Paul Senseman, Brewer's deputy chief of staff, is a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife continues to lobby for the company. Meanwhile Chuck Coughlin, who leads her re-election campaign, chaired her transition into the governorship, and is one of the governor's policy advisors, is president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which lobbies for CCA.  Lewis also noted that it just so happens that CCA has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement "to lock up illegal immigrants picked up in Arizona" and obviously sending millions of dollars into the coffers of this company.

      CCA currently operates a total of six correctional facilities in Arizona in two small towns, Florence (where there are two facilities) and Eloy (which has the other four).  These towns are located within a short distance of Phoenix.  Several mention the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of their "customer base"; for one - the Eloy Detention Center -- the Bureau is their only customer.  Altogether, these six facilities house more than 12,000 inmates, some from other states (such as California and Hawaii).  CCA operates a total of 60 facilities with some 75,000 prisoners in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

     On the Rachael Meadow show on September 1 reported that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has decided to stop advertising on the station that has been reporting this story, KPHO, because of the "credibility of their journalism" -- they admitted it was because of the investigation into Brewer's ties to CCA.  It has become obvious that CCA stands to gain from the enforcement of the recent anti-immigration law.

     Related to this story is another one concerning the hard-line controversial Sheriff of Phoenix, Joe Arpaio.   The Department of Justice has filed suit against him for "refusing to cooperate with an investigation into whether it discriminated against Latinos while trying to catch illegal immigrants," and engaging in racial profiling, according to the Los Angeles Times. This is the first time in 30 years that a local law enforcement official has withheld documents pertaining to an investigation.  Arpaio's officers have been involved in an intensive effort to enforce the recent law by patrolling neighborhoods where Latino immigrants live and checking on their status. (This comes at a time when the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border has declined from a high of 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2009, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report.

Keywords: Arizona, privatization, Randall Shelden

Posted in Blog, Political Landscape

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