Arizona ends contract with private prison, saying it will save $15 million

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By Cameron Arcand | The Center Square

The state of Arizona ended its contract with a company that operated a correctional facility in Marana.

Gov. Katie Hobbs praised the move of the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry, arguing that it will save roughly $15 million — $5 million in fiscal year 2024 and $10 million in fiscal year 2025, according to the news release.

The news release said that the facility averaged 225 male inmates in recent years, yet the contract called for the state to pay for around 475 beds regardless.

“I applaud Director [Ryan] Thornell for his good stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Hobbs said in the release. “Because of the Director’s leadership, we are cutting down on government waste and saving Arizona taxpayers $15 million over two years while improving public safety. I look forward to ADCRR’s continued work to build a correctional system that is efficient and effective, and keeps Arizonans safe.”

The company, Management & Training Corporation (MTC), told The Center Square in an email statement that they’re concerned about the loss of jobs and said that made effective correctional efforts in the community. The Utah-based organization has locations in several states, including Texas and Florida.

“MTC is grateful to have been a part of the Marana community for the past three decades. We have had the privilege of working with outstanding local leaders who have supported us in our efforts to change the lives of the men in our care and to reduce recidivism in Arizona,” the company stated.

“While difficult, we understand the state’s decision to close the facility due to budgetary and operational considerations. Our deepest concern right now is with our staff who will be impacted by the closure. Our employees are our family, and we will ensure we support them during this difficult time,” they added.

The inmates will go to nearby prisons with “no impact” to those prisons, according to the release. However, roughly 50 employees were impacted, and the release states that will be “prioritize employment opportunities” for them at the Tucson prison or the other ones in the state system, some of which are also privately operated. 

“This is more than just good fiscal sense,” ADCRR Director Ryan Thornell said in the release. “It’s about using the totality of ADCRR’s state resources more effectively. The ADCRR is able to absorb the inmates from ASP–Marana, into other prisons here in Arizona. So not only are we demonstrating significant savings, we’re demonstrating, with actions, our ability to be more efficient with the resources already provided to us. The ADCRR is as committed to supporting and developing staff, ensuring inmates have access to quality programming that lends itself to rehabilitation and public safety, as much as we are committed to improved fiscal management.”

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.