The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has been a leader in the battle against privatized prisons, arguing that such institutions care more about profits than rehabilitation. Now, as community sentiment and mounting costs fuel efforts to reduce prison populations, AFSC is warning of a new threat against the same foes.
Companies that profited the most by operating privatized prisons are now expanding into the areas of community corrections. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Geo Group now offer services such as healthcare, mental wellness and probation services.
Emily Verdugo, an American Friends Service Committee Arizona staff member, will speak on this new topic in a 3:00 p.m. lecture on Thursday (April 27) in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room.
According to Verdugo, he same patterns of neglect and abuse AFSC has documented in privately operated prisons are now being observed in the post-prison treatment parts of the criminal justice system—warehousing, medical neglect, abuse, violence, escapes, and mismanagement.
An Arizona native, Verdugo grew up in Pinal County, where she was an elected city council member for the City of Coolidge and has served on various boards and committees, including the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism and the Arizona Community Action Association.
Honored as one of Chicanos Por La Causa’s 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40, and named one of the Top 20 Latino Democrats to Watch by the Houston Chronicle, she is fully bilingual and active in numerous coalitions statewide.
Founded in 1917 by pacifist Quakers as an alternative to military service during World War I, the Service Committee has grown to an international organization with programs in 15 countries around the world and 37 offices in the US. Since opening in 1981, AFSC Arizona has focused on the movement to end mass incarceration.
Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer