- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - The Florida-based company taking over the operation of Arizona’s state prison in Kingman says there will be no major layoffs when they begin operations in December.

At a luncheon Tuesday, GEO Group officials said there will be a new warden and other managers when they take over Dec. 1, but rank and file employees will keep their jobs, the Kingman Daily Miner reports (https://bit.ly/1Q5t9FF).

Officials also addressed concerns about cutting corners to keep profits up, a practice Vice President Tony Stepp said will not happen under GEO’s management.

“Our CEO (George Zoley) has the strong belief that profit comes from one result - sound operations,” Stepp said. “We won’t cut corners. We’ll maintain sound operations and with that comes the revenue, and we’re very proud of that.”

The Arizona State Prison-Kingman has been under scrutiny after several inmate riots in early July. After the riots, Gov. Doug Ducey announced the state was severing its long-term contract with Utah-based Management and Training Corp.

Nearly $2 million in damages was done to windows, electrical systems, plumbing and security equipment in two units. A number of prison guards were injured during the unrest,

Vice President James Black said he could not say unrest won’t happen once GEO takes over, since there are no guarantees.

“Bad things happen in good prisons,” he said. “We’re not pointing fingers at MTC because it can happen to us at any time, but we will not fall asleep at the wheel.”

Stepp did say that MTC had failed to be transparent with the community. GEO is a publicly traded company that must abide by sunshine laws that apply to government agencies.

Black said GEO will work with Kingman to establish community relations board to meet quarterly to discus the prison and its role in the area.

“I promise you we will be a good neighbor,” said Black.

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Information from: Kingman Daily Miner, https://www.kingmandailyminer.com

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