Notorious For-Profit Prison Company Doing ‘Drug Sweeps’ Of Arizona Public School Students

Corrections Corporation of America, recently sued over its collaborating with violent gangs, is now partnering with police to conduct “lock down sweeps” in which high schoolers are locked in their classrooms while canine units search their possessions for illegal contraband. Via PR Watch:

An unsettling trend appears to be underway in Arizona: the use of private prison employees in law enforcement operations.

The state has graced national headlines in recent years as the result of its cozy relationship with the for-profit prison industry. Such controversies have included the role of private prison corporations in SB 1070 and similar anti-immigrant legislation disseminated in other states; a 2010 private prison escape that resulted in two murders and a nationwide manhunt; and a failed bid to privatize nearly the entire Arizona prison system.

And now, recent events in the central Arizona town of Casa Grande show the hand of private corrections corporations reaching into the classroom, assisting local law enforcement agencies in drug raids at public schools.

t 9 a.m. on the morning of October 31, 2012, students at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande were settling in to their daily routine when something unusual occurred.

Vista Grande High School Principal Tim Hamilton ordered the school — with a student population of 1,776 — on “lock down,” kicking off the first “drug sweep” in the school’s four-year history. According to Hamilton, “lock down” is a state in which, “everybody is locked in the room they are in, and nobody leaves — nobody leaves the school, nobody comes into the school.”

“Everybody is locked in, and then they bring the dogs in, and they are teamed with an administrator and go in and out of classrooms. They go to a classroom and they have the kids come out and line up against a wall. The dog goes in and they close the door behind, and then the dog does its thing, and if it gets a hit, it sits on a bag and won’t move.”

While such “drug sweeps” have become a routine matter in many of the nation’s schools, along with the use of metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies, one feature of this raid was unusual. According to Casa Grande Police Department (CGPD) Public Information Officer Thomas Anderson, four “law enforcement agencies” took part in the operation: CGPD (which served as the lead agency and operation coordinator), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Gila River Indian Community Police Department, and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

8 Comments on "Notorious For-Profit Prison Company Doing ‘Drug Sweeps’ Of Arizona Public School Students"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Dec 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |

    > While such “drug sweeps” have become a routine matter in many of the nation’s schools, along with the use of metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies

    yet another good reason to drop out
    in the Land of the Free

  2. Anarchy Pony | Dec 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    The Profit Motive; Always providing the best.

  3. smooth_operator | Dec 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

    If fascism was told in a short story, this is the story it would tell.

  4. InfvoCuernos | Dec 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm |

    Prison, school- its all the same thing so it makes a kind of sense to employ prison tactics in schools. I always felt that school yard bullies were practicing for when they go to big boys’ prison, so now maybe prison guard trainees can learn their abuse tactics in schools too.

  5. Gregory Wyrdmaven | Dec 18, 2012 at 8:05 am |

    And guess who these sweeps are meant to intimidate…yep…teh darkies. If I was not white and also 50 or older, I’d get the hell out of Arizona. There is evil there that doesn’t sleep.

  6. What can we expect from a government that has a former Monsanto lawyer, now turned judge, deciding Monsanto cases (and always finding in Monsanto’s favor).

  7. Exactly what age did the students give up their 4th Amendment rights?

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