There is now a website that informs the citizens of New Hampshire about the looming possibility of prison privatization in the Granite State — nhprisonwatch.org.
While political attention is focused on the end of a contentious legislative session and the beginning of a busy election season, a momentous decision is being considered behind closed doors in the Department of Administrative Services.
There, Administrative Services and Department of Corrections staff are reviewing piles of documents from four corporations interested in taking over the state’s prison system and running it for profit. If a contract with one of the private firms emerges in late summer or early fall, only then will policy-makers and citizens get to know the details of a deal with profound implications for public safety, the state budget, job quality and the constitutional obligation to support the rehabilitation of offenders. Continue reading on The Concord Monitor here.
- With no direct vote by the legislature
- With little input by the community
- With almost no public discussion of pros and cons
News Release Issued July 9, 2012
NHPrisonWatch.org ─ Web Site Sheds Light on Prison Privatization Debate
A website devoted to the issue of prison privatization in New Hampshire launches days before the Executive Council votes on a contract propelling the process forward.
Concord, NH, July 9, 2012 – A new website, NHPrisonWatch.org is up and running. It is the result of input from numerous local, state and national organizations opposed to prison privatization and the monumental consequences that the state could face if the plan goes forward.
No other state in the country has initiated as broad an experiment as the one proposed in the Request for Proposals (RFP) initiated by the Department of Corrections and the Department of Administrative Services.
NHPrisonWatch.org is an extensive website of detailed information gleaned from research and input from state and local organizations, criminal justice organizations and faith-based groups. The website is being hosted by the local organization, SEA/SEIU Local 1984, on behalf of those organizations and groups opposing New Hampshire’s prison privatization plans.
“The people of New Hampshire have been left in the dark about the enormous and dangerous consequences down the road, if privatization were to occur,” said Arnie Alpert, American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program Coordinator. “The new website is intended to open up the process.”
The site contains background on all four private for profit companies that have submitted proposals to run the state’s prison system, including their individual track records of continuous failure in areas of safety, cost containment, staffing inadequacies, as well as human rights violations. The site also explores the surprisingly high costs and negative consequences of privatization already being felt by states around the country.
“This is bad policy for New Hampshire. The people of this state certainly deserve a say in this matter. It has far reaching economic and moral consequences,” said Diana Lacey, President of the State Employees’ Association. “New Hampshire does not abdicate its responsibility for major government functions; we should finance our needs as we traditionally do and preserve our independent authority — for all future generations.”
The proposals from the multi-million dollar corporations are lengthy and complicated. As a result, a second RFP was posted for an individual or firm to assist the State with its review of all four proposals. Only one entity responded to take on the job of reviewing the proposals. the resultant contract that may be considered for approval by the five members of the New Hampshire Executive Council at the next Governor and Council meeting, which is taking place next Wednesday, July 11th at 10 a.m.at the Christa McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. All Executive Council meetings are open to the public.
To learn more about the campaign to prevent private prisons visit, www.nhprisonwatch.org .