“Prison companies had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.”

Remember AZ SB1070? Laura Sullivan shows us the greedy plotting behind it.

In the first of two reports, Sullivan exposes the murky connections between Arizona’s legislators and the private prison companies, and how they manufactured a legal landscape to profit form locking up immigrants.

Basically, there is a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC. It is “a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.”

In December 2009, ALEC convened in Washington D.C. and in cahoots with Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, wrote a piece of model legislation that four months later was adopted almost unmodified as an Arizona SB1070.

“As soon as Pearce’s bill hit the Arizona statehouse floor in January, there were signs of ALEC’s influence. Thirty-six co-sponsors jumped on, a number almost unheard of in the capitol.  According to records obtained by NPR, two-thirds of them either went to that December meeting or are ALEC members.”

“That same week, the Corrections Corporation of America hired a powerful new lobbyist to work the capitol. […] At the state Capitol, campaign donations started to appear.”

“Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.”

An absolute scandal.


I have celebrated Sullivan’s reporting before.

Her three-parter on the inequalities and injustices of the bail system is heroic:

Part One: Bail Burden Keeps U.S. Jails Stuffed With Inmates
Part Two: Inmates Who Can’t Make Bail Face Stark Options
Part Three: Bondsman Lobby Targets Pretrial Release Programs


Reporting such as Sullivan’s is, in simple terms, essential. Which brings the illogic and limelight-obsessions of these idiots’ calling for the defunding of NPR into sharp focus.