Hundreds protest Maricopa Reentry Center in north Phoenix

Posted: Updated:
Hundreds protested the Maricopa Reentry Center in north Phoenix on Monday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Hundreds protested the Maricopa Reentry Center in north Phoenix on Monday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Protesters said the facility is making their neighborhood unsafe. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Protesters said the facility is making their neighborhood unsafe. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Protesters want the facility shut down. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Protesters want the facility shut down. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Community members said they were never told about the center but ADC said that's not the case. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Community members said they were never told about the center but ADC said that's not the case. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Protesters said their community doesn't have the resources for the reentry center. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Protesters said their community doesn't have the resources for the reentry center. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Hundreds of people came together to protest the Maricopa Reentry Center in north Phoenix on Monday evening.

They held up signs and demanded Governor Doug Ducey and the state government do something about the facility near the Interstate 17 and Happy Valley Road.

The Arizona Department of Corrections opened the reentry center during the summer and is designed to help released offenders find a home or a job as they transition back into society.

In September, the ADC announced the facility would no longer house sex offenders. But that's not enough for those living in the community. They want the facility closed because they fear what offenders could still be there.

[READ MORE: Facing pressure, change made at DOC Reentry Center in north Phoenix]

"They could have committed any crime except a sexual assault or a sexual assault against kids, but that leaves a huge range of offenders from murderers to armed assault to burglary," said Julie Read, the co-leader of Block Watch Phoenix North. 

Read claims community members have been followed around a shopping center in the area.

"There's been incidents (of them) hanging out in Barnes and Noble next to kids story time," Read said. 

Parents said the Maricopa Reentry Center shouldn't be in their neighborhood because of all the kids around.

"I'm very concerned for my children and making sure they feel safe in their community at their sporting events at their schools. We need to take care of these kids, and MRC doesn't belong here," Tina Mickelson, a mother, said. 

[READ MORE: Angry homeowners plan to keep up fight with AZ Dept. of Corrections]

 Read claims the community supports reentry programs but their neighborhood isn't a good fit for the facility.

"We want to make sure reentry is made the right way. And by reentry being done the right way is looking at whether a facility is around other government agencies that can support them, whether or not they can afford housing and there's jobs around and up here in north Phoenix at Adobe Mountain is doesn't look like that at all," Read said.

[READ MORE: Phoenix homeowners considering protest, lawsuit against AZ Dept. of Corrections]

The ADC said it chose the area because it is isolated from residential and business areas with the nearest home or school being at least one mile away.

Many of the protesters said they didn't know about the facility until weeks after it opened. However, the ADC maintains the center was proposed in the Governor's State of the State address and that they held multiple public meetings about it. The agency also said it notified state lawmakers and posted about it in the Arizona Republic.

The ADC posted answers to frequently asked questions on its website to better inform the public about what takes place at the reentry facility.

You can see the information by visiting https://corrections.az.gov/about/directors-office/media-relations/frequently-asked-questions-about-maricopa-reentry-center.

There are no plans to close or relocate the center, said an ADC spokesperson.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family

Connect with CBS5AZ

 

Saw it on CBS 5 News