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AFSC-AZ COALITION DEMANDS HEALTH DEPT. INSPECTIONS OF ARIZONA PRISONS

By AFSC-AZ Staff |

Today, a coalition of criminal justice reform advocates and healthcare professionals, led by AFSC-Arizona, has formally requested that the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) and Director Dr. Cara Christ conduct inspections of state prisons, aiming to ensure their compliance with CDC guidelines on COVID-19.

For two weeks, AFSC-AZ and our coalition – which includes the Prison Law Office, FAMM Foundation, the S.T.A.R.T. Project and many other local and national organizations – have collected evidence from people who are incarcerated, their families, and disgruntled prison guards that the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry (ADCRR) is not responding adequately to this very serious crisis. ADCRR is not providing comprehensive information on a regular basis to people who are incarcerated, their families, the public, or even to state elected officials. It is not consistently implementing the full scope of recommendations from the CDC for protection of people who live and work in our prisons. 

Numerous accounts – many of which were gathered by directly-impacted leaders of AFSC-AZ’s ReFraming Justice Project – show serious inconsistencies between what ADCRR has publicly announced it is doing to adhere to CDC guidelines and the reality of what people who live and work in these facilities are seeing. 

The deficit between what the CDC recommends and what is actually being done or provided in our prisons will likely mean the difference in the impact on the spread of the virus and mortality rates. 

“If COVID-19 begins to spread inside our state prisons, it will endanger entire communities where those prisons reside,” said Caroline Isaacs, program director for AFSC-AZ. “Tens of thousands of people across this state will be impacted: Correctional officers, their families, the businesses in their communities, as well as people who are incarcerated and their loved ones.

“This is a public health crisis that will uniquely impact an extremely vulnerable population which is literally at the mercy of the state,” Isaacs said. “DHS and Dr. Christ must take action now to help prevent, or at least contain, a serious outbreak.”

[Read letter to Dr. Christ, Director of Arizona Dept. of Health]

[Review Evidence of Critical COVID-19 Risk to Arizona Incarcerated]

Categories: Uncategorized

4 replies »

  1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Us as family members of someone incarcerated have no idea what’s going on. We definitely need action immediately to make sure our loved ones are safe and in good hands.

  2. Thank you and I hope they did go inspect the prisons . I’ve wrote the governor over and over and not a word. I know he doesn’t care. Someone needs to see what our loved ones are saying in letters and on phone calls. Again thank you

  3. Please, please… Do something, o please God. I have my precious baby in there. He’s 39 years old but I still feel about him the way I did when I first held him. He’s a husband, a father… He has A-fib & been diagnosed with diabetes. He’s not a risky, not-violent person. Please help us family out here, release our loved ones to us. Please.

  4. I want to express my deep gratitude to AFSC-AZ as well the Prison Law Office, FAMM Foundation, the S.T.A.R.T. Project and the many other local and national organizations who continuously work so hard to help and protect those who have loved ones in AZs prison system.

    As of June 3rd, 2020, neither the health department nor Governor Ducey nor Director Shinn have met any of the basic humane requests you asked for to keep our loved ones safe. Governor Ducey and Director Shinn know how poorly they mishandled the Corona-19 in AZ prisons. Their continued lack of transparency sends a loud message. The first hand accounts of the inhumane conditions and lack of care Arizona inmates are receiving is clear. It is my opinion that they will never state the truth to the public in fear of a public investigation, mass lawsuits, and the end of their political careers.

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