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5 East Valley cities consider private jail company

Gary Nelson
The Arizona Republic [1]
Monday, April 26th, 2010

Five East Valley cities are considering hiring a private jail company in hopes of saving millions of dollars they now pay to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

The idea has been kicking around among East Valley police departments since Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, citing his tight budget, closed three satellite jails in Mesa and the West Valley in late 2007. It surfaced last week in a meeting of a Mesa City Council committee, which was told the five cities will soon seek proposals from private jail companies.

Arpaio called the idea “ridiculous” and said it is likely to anger taxpayers who already pay a special county sales tax for the jail system.

“I’m against privatization,” Arpaio said. “Jails should be a function of government, run by government. All the private companies want to do is make it nice so more people will check into their facilities.”

Full article here [1]