Quakers and others organized private prison hearings in Tucscon

Churches don’t always sit quietly on their hands when there is injustice impending for their communities. Sometimes they help organize hearings in which pro and con are discussed and recorded, as the American Friends Service Committee did in Tucson last year.

According to Mari Herreras in Tucson Weekly, 26 October 2010,

The American Friends Service Committee, Private Corrections Working Group, UA Latino Law Students Association, and St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church have organized a series of private prison hearings across the state that kick off tomorrow in Tucson at Pima Community College, Downtown Campus at 1255 N. Stone Ave., in the Amethyst Room from 6 to 8 p.m., moderated by yours truly, Mari Herreras.

The public is invited to present testimony, but the AFSC has also invited representatives from the Arizona Department of Corrections, Corrections Corporation of America (expected to build a new prison in Tucson) and Management and Training Corporation (which manages the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility). Word is no one has responded from those organizations, but AFSC organizers know the following presenters will be there to provide critical information on the private prison industry: Stephen Nathan, editor of Prison Privatization Report International; Joe Glen, spokesman for Maricopa and Pima Juvenile Corrections Associations; Brent White, UA law professor; Jim Sanders, real estate appraiser; Susan Maurer, retired corrections commissioner from New Jersey; and Victoria Lopez, from ACLU of Arizona.

The hearing will include the following community leaders who will hear testimony and ask questions: Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias; Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik; Assistant Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda; Representative Phil Lopes; and Mark Kimble, former associate editor of the Tucson Citizen.

They even made sure both the basic positions and the actual debate would be recorded:
If you plan to attend and present testimony be sure to bring a copy of your remarks to enter into the record. The hearings will be video recorded to present to the state Legislature and the governor.

Somebody should be organizing this kind of actual debate right here right now in Lowndes County, Georgia, where the Industrial Authority wants to bring in a CCA private prison that will use tax money that could go to education while CUEE is trying to ramrod school unification as a bandaid for education. I’m looking at you, Chamber of Commerce: you could organize such meetings. Or if you want, how about some churches?