Protest held in north Phoenix to oppose state-operated transitional housing for convicted criminals

Posted at 3:01 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 09:19:59-04

Hundreds of people are voicing their displeasure with a transitional housing facility for felons in north Phoenix.

A peaceful protest – organized by Together Advocating for a Safe Community – took place Monday afternoon near 29th Avenue and Happy Valley Road. A group of protestors consisting of residents, business owners, kids and teachers, hit the pavement to oppose the opening of the Maricopa Reentry Center in the area.

The MRC first opened its doors in July and shares state trust land with Adobe Mountain School, a juvenile correctional facility. The MRC operates as a rehabilitation facility for parole violators and homeless and drug addicted ex-convicts. Other ex-convicts check in with their parole officers who have offices in the center.

"We want the homeless offenders taken out of the facility," organizer Julie Read said. "We also want the day reporters taken out. We want to make sure reentry is done the right way."

According to a media release, the Arizona Department of Corrections is operating the facility illegally under the Arizona State Land Department commercial lease.

The lease states that the facility is only to be used as a rehabilitation center for juvenile prisoners, a TASC spokeswoman said.

The Department of Corrections operates a similar facility in Tucson, and held a community meeting prior to opening the facility. DOC officials maintain Adobe Mountain, which was being underutilized, is an appropriate place to reintegrate offenders into the community. Governor Doug Ducey announced the concept for the Phoenix facility in his State of the State address last January.