Editorial: Communication should be first approach to prison proposal
Prescott Valley residents have an opportunity to make a decision that will affect the community for years to come. So it stands to reason that we should approach it calmly, with all the facts in hand.
Management & Training Corporation of Centerville, Utah, which already has two prisons in Arizona, is trying to respond to a Request for Proposals from the State of Arizona. The firm wants to build a self-contained prison on 100 acres in the proposed industrial park east of Fain Road near the old Fain Road. The prison, Marks said, would be the cornerstone of the proposed 600-900-acre industrial park.
The Prescott Valley Tribune called representatives of Kingman and Marana, where MTC already has prisons similar to the one it is proposing for Prescott Valley. These communities were enthusiastic about the way MTC has conducted its business in their towns, and the way inmates have improved the quality of life there through their community service.
In both communities, inmates have cleaned rights-of-way, painted town buildings, trained rescue dogs, and performed setup and cleanup for rodeos and air shows.
There have been no escapes, said Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan, and the prison has turned out to be a good neighbor.
Mohave County Assessor Ron Nicholson said the Kingman-area MTC prison hasn't had a negative impact on property values.
"Land surrounding the prison was selling for $2,000 before the prison versus $20,000 now," he said. Since it is located in an industrial area there are few residences around it, but the prison hasn't caused their value to go down, he said.
Prescott Valley residents have plenty of good questions, and one good example is today's letter to the editor from resident Douglas Kearney. Town officials must carefully consider the proposal from MTC with all the facts in mind, and they must listen and satisfactorily answer what has already become a barrage of questions from residents.
On the other hand, residents should listen and ask, and then carefully consider the facts about the proposed prison without jumping to conclusions. Prescott Valley needs to diversify its job base, and a proposal that promises 400-500 jobs at a starting wage of $15 per hour is one that bears at least careful thought.
Prescott Valley residents appreciate our quality of life, and now is a good time to show we can keep our wits about us and make a quality decision about our future.