Story last updated at 1:33 p.m. Thursday, May 9, 2002

No to private prisons
Dear Editor,

Our state House passed HB-498, bringing Alaska one step closer to a tremendously expensive monument to the special interest influence of Cornell Corrections, Veco and their team of lobbyists. They've obtained the best legislation that money can buy. They're one step closer to the largest heist of state money ever, right in the middle of a budget crisis which could soon result in the loss of our permanent fund dividends and new taxes for every citizen unable to defend themselves with their own team of special interest lobbyists.

I commend those legislators who said no. They understood the people of Alaska did not want to finance a prison with public funds, operated by and for a private for-profit operator. They understood the corruption involved in creating a profit entity, which had successfully lobbied for creation of its own industry today and then could lobby tomorrow for more beds and longer sentences to further their goal of making profit. They understood that there were no real cost savings and that the loser in this deal would be the people of the state of Alaska. Justice and fiscal responsibility took a back seat to pure greed when this special interest legislation was passed.

To the 24 legislators who voted for this legislation, I'd like to say that I hope that the people in your districts do not forget your action. The people in Anchorage, Delta Junction, Kenai and Wrangell all said no. Every time the facts were laid out before the voters, the clear answer was no. What part of no didn't you understand?

Clearly, this project is designed for no other purpose than transferring state tax revenue to a private operator, who'll transfer money back to their favored legislators. It's a sole sourced, non-competitively bid pork project with a projected cost in excess of a billion dollars, not to mention the cost in human misery. If this bill is passed into law, our state will be paying for this huge mistake for a very long time.

Please contact the Legislature and express your outrage over this bill. Please do so now!

James Price, Nikiski

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