Saguaro Correctional Center
The Saguaro Correctional Center (SCC) is a prison operated by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) located in Eloy, Arizona. The prison contracts with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. As of 2010 the prison, located in the Sonoran Desert, houses the majority of the State of Hawaii's male prison inmates. Saguaro, which houses multiple security levels, is on Arizona State Highway 87, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. The nearest city with food and lodging is Casa Grande.
SCC is a privately operated prison that contracts with the State of Hawaii to house Hawaiian state prisoners. SCC is not a federal, local, or state correctional facility. In the absence of orders from the State of Hawaii or another court of competent jurisdiction, SCC does not have the authority to release any prisoners. The state of Hawaii annually spends over $60 million per year to house prisoners at Saguaro. As of 2010 the 1,897-bed facility houses 1,871 male prisoners. SCC has stun fences and alarm systems that are designed to prevent escapes and false alarms. It also houses X-ray machines, metal detectors, and security cameras that, according to the prison administration, are "virtually impossible" to destroy. The facility was intended to serve male and female prisoners. CCA arranged for the prison to serve a menu catering to the tastes of Hawaiian prisoners. Louise Grant, the vice president of marketing and communications for CCA, said that the prison observes Hawaiian holidays, and the operations will accommodate Hawaiian religious belief practices.
The $95 million Saguaro prison was dedicated on Tuesday, June 26, 2007. The opening meant that the Hawaii Department of Public Safety could consolidate prisoners who were held in Corrections Corporation of America private prisons in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. When the prison opened, 160 employees were hired, and some employees had experience working with Hawaiian convicts. The staff members attended a "Hawaiian diversity training class" on the day of the prison's dedication. Louise Grant said that the prison was intended to have 300 employees.
In a two-year span, from 2008 to 2010, four Hawaiians died at the hospital after being involved in incidents occurring at Saguaro. 42-year-old Patrick Garcia died in May 2008. 60-year-old James Kendricks died in August 2008. An inmate named Cartel, while being transported to a nearby hospital, died in October 2008. In February 2010, 26-year-old Bronson Nunuha was murdered while under a 22-hour-per-day lockdown. 23-year-old Clifford Medina died on June 8, 2010. As of 2010, three Hawaiian prisoners, including at least one from Saguaro, are facing capital murder charges from crimes that prosecutors say were committed in private prisons on the mainland that house Hawaiian prisoners.
In 2010, Kat Brady, a coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons, argued that the State of Hawaii is not forcing CCA to demonstrate accountability and transparency while the state is paying CCA to operate the prison. During that year, Ron Thompson, the vice president of operations of CCA, responded to Brady's editorial, saying that the prisons are independently audited.
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- "Saguaro Correctional Center." Corrections Corporation of America.
- "Saguaro Correctional Center." Hawaii Department of Public Safety.