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Rights group wants records of Mesa private prison contract talks


MESA, Ariz. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona wants the city of Mesa to provide records detailing talks about a proposed contract to house its low-level offenders in private prisons.

The ACLU said Tuesday it wanted records of communications between city officials and prison operator CoreCivic or its lobbyists. The company formerly known as Corrections Corp. of America runs prisons nationwide, including in Eloy and Florence.

Mesa’s city council was set to vote on a three-year contract with CoreCivic on Monday. According to city documents, the company would provide booking services, medical treatment and house accused and convicted misdemeanor offenders now sent to jails run by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

The meeting’s item agenda included cost:

The annual expenditure is estimated to be $4,000,000. With additional capacity for variances within the number of misdemeanants processed, the Police Department and Purchasing recommend awarding the contract to the highest-scored proposal, CoreCivic, at $5,000,000 annually.

The civil rights group said CoreCivic had a long history of problems and noted that 15 people have died at the Florence immigration detention center since 2003.

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