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IssaEl21 IssaEl21 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Question Lie #8: “The prison will bring economic development to your town.”

Lie #8: “The prison will bring economic development to your town.”

Decades worth of research proves that prisons are not good economic growth for towns.

In states with at least one private prison as of 1990, prisons have been shown to reduce the number of jobs overall in a community. You might get prison jobs, but you won’t get other kinds of jobs that pay better.
Private prisons pay less, which means that state prisons have to compete, driving wages down for everyone.
As mentioned previously, relatively few corrections officers live in the same town as the prison where they work, which means they spend their money somewhere else. One study estimates that up to two-thirds of potential tax revenues and other economic benefits leave the host community in this way.
Having a prison nearby is not a draw for other kinds of businesses, and in many cases will scare them away. Who wants to build a housing development or school near a prison? Many Arizona towns are cultivating tourism due to historic landmarks and buildings, natural beauty, or scenery—what happens when you plop a huge prison with hundreds of feet of razor wire down in the middle of a historic area or pristine natural landscape?
One need go no further than Florence, AZ to see the true economic impacts of being a prison town. You can bet they heard the exact same sales pitch when those prisons were proposed. Where is the economic boom they were promised? Where are the stores? The industry? The housing developments? If prisons are so great for local economies, why doesn’t Florence have a thriving downtown?

The bottom line is, once you have prisons, all you will ever have is prisons.

One final note: Several residents noted during the hearings that Arizona is in a very sorry state when the only type of economic development offered to people is from an industry that is so harmful to our communities in so many ways. One retired firefighter at the Goodyear hearing put it this way: “Our fire station budget was cut and many firefighters were laid off. But we don’t go around saying, ‘we need more fires.’”
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