At the ICE "informational" meeting with CCA and Southwest Ranches on November 5, 2011 it was asserted by CCA's Lucibeth Mayberry that studies show that property values are not adversely impacted by the siting of a prison. She was shouted down with demands that she tell us about the impact of a prison siting on affluent communities such as Southwest Ranches. There were shouts asking "what about Goodyear, AZ?"
NIC Informational Brief on Siting Prisons and the Goodyear Exception
Where does Ms. Lucibeth get her statistics? In part, she gets them from a National Institute of Corrections (DOJ) publication entitled An Information Brief -Issues in Siting Correctional Facilities published in 1992 which incorrectly states:
The study found that correctional facilities have no negative effects on property value, public safety, or the quality of life. Conversely, the study found that correctional facilities had important positive effects on the local economies. Perhaps most important, the study concluded that an agency's ability to site a correctional facility appears to be directly related to its ability to effectively manage public opposition.The devil is in the details. Wondering what was going on in Goodyear, a quick search of the web indicated that when the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville went up three miles away from an upscale gated community that property values declined by approximately $18,000. Looking deeper into the very brief cited above that Prison Inc. uses, we find this:
The impact of the correctional facilities on property values in the seven target areas was generally consistent. Over several years, sales prices for residential property in the target areas were not significantly different from those in the control areas. One exception was a high-income target area near the Arizona State Prison Complex at Perryville (ASPC-P), where lower property values occurred in the third of three years studied. Regression results indicated that location had a negative effect on the price of a house in this area, lowering the average value by about $18,000.That's not what Lucibeth tried to tell us all at the informational meeting! Is this exception the rule for Southwest Ranches? Perhaps CCA should research a bit more to figure out what's going on if they really cared about us. But, it's their job to propagandize and promote their position and make lots of money even at the expense of all their suppliers like Southwest Ranches, so why would anybody supportive of the prison look at the anomaly that is the rule for us? The data might prove them wrong.
Source Document -- FIU/FAU Study
The cited document is a brief. A brief of what? After substantial research and many months, we finally identified and obtained the source for this brief.
It hits all too close to home. The brief was derived from a substantial body of work published in July of 1987. Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University jointly published a paper under a grant from the Department of Justice entitled Impact Of Correctional Facilities on Land Values and Public Policy by Abrams, K.S and Lyons, W. We were surprised to find that this brief was so pervasive and widely circulated, but the source paper was not to be found in the libraries of FIU or FAU even though these institutions authored the study. Ultimately, we located the original paper and it was graciously provided to us.
Executive Summary Related to the Goodyear Exception
Well, let's cut to the chase. 3 sites in Florida, 1 in Tennessee, 2 in Arizona, in 1 Idaho were studied. The Goodyear, AZ/Perryville that has the most relevance to us. Look at a couple of the conclusions of this paper:
Executive Summary Page 3 Property Values: Facility impact on property values in the seven Target areas were generally consistent: with one exception, there was no evidence that the facilities had lowered values in the target area. ... The one exceptions was a high income Target Area where property values in the last of three years studied were lower than comparable property in the Control Area.Well, the characteristics of their exception seems to be very similar to our characteristics in west Broward. Driving up US27, you can see a number of private and public prisons and you quickly get the picture that most prisons are in rural areas and not major metropolitan centers like the greater Miami area. Who in their right mind would site a mega prison like this in a densely populated area? Who in their right mind would think the residents would gush all over the idea of it?
Executive Summary Page 7. It is possible, however, that persistant public opposition to a facility may depress a community's residential property prices. Further study of this possibility is indicated, although substantial difficulties in identifying facilities located near higher-income neighborhoods, and acquiring sufficient property value data first must be overcome. In the absence of more definitive data... it can be stated that the effect of public opinion on property values is not likely a direct impact of the facility itself, but more likely the result of public opposition that has not been responded to and managed adequately.This is an astonishing insight into the way eggheads think. The depressed property values reported are due to badly managed opposition to the prison rather than the prison itself. The pedestrian bunch of us think that there would be no badly managed opposition to a prison if plans for a prison didn't exist in the first place! The authors are trying to have us believe that the opposition is the problem and not the prison itself! This is fallacy as the presence of the prison caused the opposition; thus, caused the property drop. No prison, no property drop.
Programming the Residents
It is very clear from their paper that managing us to accept such controversial land use is the goal. As if we are mice in a maze that need to be trained and studied. Here's their game plan:
Executive Summary Page 7. The implications for correctional siting efforts are obvious: attention should be paid to developing public trust well before siting is contemplated.I guess Mayor Nelson and Attorney Poliakoff never got that memo. This is the process, say, Prison Inc. and their legislative leaders might use against to you program you to accept a prison 600 feet from your backyard. From lobbyist Poliakoff's "cone of silence", to the deaf ears, to the emails, to the Christmas time doubling of the facility last year, to the lies and lies and more lies that come from these people, they certainly have done everything possible under the sun to ERODE trust rather than engender trust.
...options aimed at correcting program deficiencies should be investigated systematically. Those used elsewhere for improving public participation and increasing public trust should be examined for their potential to improve the program in question. Examples include:Debbie Wasserman Schultz has clearly pushed the first point and we know that CCA was generous with their all expense paid "field visit" to their Potemkin village in Tennessee. What the congresswoman apparently forgot from her days as a Florida legislator, we do our meetings out in the disinfecting rays of the sunlight. She, on the other hand, prefers private meetings where moms and dads opposed to the prison are threatened with arrest. She apparently considers this democracy. Her so called advisory council is a sham.
- Formulation early in the planning process of a community advisory committee with broad-based membership from significant segments of the community;
- Use of "field visits" whereby community leaders make in-person or video tours of existing facilities, comparable to the one proposed for their area;
- Opportunities for community and neighborliness leaders to meet with their counterparts from an area where public participation options have been used successfully to site facilities.
As the author's wrote in the Page 11:
The goal of these efforts is, after all, to design a process for dealing with a controversial permanent land use that is proposed or existing. A correctional agency's design and use of a process that anticipates and responds to the public's concerns can help to determine whether those concerns become a wall of opposition or a door that opens for mutual benefit.We have rightfully become a "wall of opposition" to them. Power to the people. If they think we are vocal and mobilized now, they need to watch the countdown timer to election time. We are.
The Goodyear Exception
Southwest Ranches is currently an eclectic mix of equestrian and agricultural living with a population base of approximately 7200 residents and 2200 homes. The Town Motto is "Preserving our Rural Lifestyle." The per capita income of the residents and the median house price are among the highest in the state. ICE's statement of objectives states that they want to put between 1500 and 2200 low, medium and high security immigrant detainees in this facility. Many detainees have criminal backgrounds and mental health issues.
The Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC-P)i n Goodyear, AZ
The Arizona State Prison Complex -- Perryville is a large state-operated complex. As of July 1986, there were 1208 males and 192 females. The ASPC-P is located within the boundaries of the City of Goodyear, approximately five miles northwest of the city's central business district. Goodyear's 1985 population, as estimated by the city was 4,595. Most of the land surrounding the ASPC-P is agricultural except for residences directly to the west of the complex. Interstate Highway 10 is one-sixth of a mile south of the ASPC-P. Within one mile are an elementary school and a high school. Three and a half miles to the east of the complex is Litchfield Park, an affluent, planned community.This sounds a lot like Southwest Ranches with the major differences are that high value planned and unplanned communities are practically adjacent to the proposed site and there are more schools near the proposed site. The impact of this prison on the community most likely will be harsher.
Age of Property Value Data
The data is quite old. For the Goodyear analysis, data was not available prior to the facility's construction in 1981. Data were examined for 1982 through 1984. The data was also divided into low income and high income areas to determine whether or not these income areas were impacted differently. High Income Area Analysis (Page 88)
As in the low income area, the houses in the target area were significantly newer than in the control area. The average year built in the target area is 1974 and the average for the control was 1961.What this means is that the area associated with the prison had newer houses than the area associated with the control (or non prison area studied). One would expect newer houses to be more expensive.
Table 4-18 shows the simple correlation coefficients of the variables to price. Most the the variables were found to be significantly correlated with price. Location and price were also significantly correlated in 1984, but with a negative coefficient, indicating that, in general, selling prices in the control area (non-prison) were higher than in the target area (within 3 miles of the prison).Table 4-19 clearly demonstrates the author's statistical modelling shows that the property located near within the prison saw a $18,277.30 reduction in value owing ONLY to the location itself. Consider that the median housing price in the high value target/prison area in 1984 was $135,894 So, location near the prison correlates with a 12% reduction in property value.
Looking at the author's analysis we are told:
The presence of the facility affected the high income areas differently than the low income areas. For all three years, the houses in target and control high income areas differed only on age. The houses in the control area, however, were higher priced than those in the target area. The regression results indicated that by 1984, three years after the facility was built, location had a significant, although small, negative effecont of the price of a house in the high income areas. [We determined this to be 12%] The possible benefits from a correctional facility such as an increase in employment might not have occurred in the high incoe area because most of this employment demand would be for low to mid range wage labor.
There are a few reasons why one may expect our property values to decrease more than what was seen in Goodyear. The first being that our houses are much closer to the facility. The second being the soft housing market with many distressed properties on the market. It's a buyer's market and any negative aspect of the property will have a buyer look elsewhere.
So, we must all be aware and vigilantly protect our property values. It is likely that this prison siting could adversely affect housing prices substantially. We have had our property values hurt too much already in the past 5 years. Many mortgages are underwater and this will only exacerbate the problem. Our economic health will not improve until the housing problem is fixed.
Southwest Ranches' selfish desire for this prison is going to hurt your property values. This will lower tax receipts and could prompt yet another ad valorem tax increase. Southwest Ranches legislators have no interest or desire to estimate the impact this immigrant prison will have on property values and quality of life. This pig headed and selfish insistence on building this prison is a sight to behold.
We heartily thank Berger Singerman and Sam Poole for directing the authors back to Goodyear circa 2011. It seems that in the ensuing 30 years since this prison was built, it became apparent that the government lied and put in way more prisoners than was originally agreed to. We have internal SWR communications which say that they will do the same thing once the 1500 bed facility is produced.
So, now Boca Raton based Geo Group is looking to build a 4000 bed facility next to the Perryville facility. However this time the town commission directed the town attorney to try something novel like FIGHT the prison. However, our Lobbyist Keith Poliakoff is doing his damnedest to get the prison IN the town.
Check out the resistance and the actions of courage by the town commission:
Oh, and this is a message to Pembroke Pines and Weston city commissions too. Grow a backbone.