AFSC-Arizona Launches Mutual Aid Effort to Protect People in State Prisons

UPDATE: The campaign has ended with great success. Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming kindness and compassion.

By AFSC-AZ Staff |

AFSC-Arizona has launched an online effort led by families across the state to provide necessary hygiene items to people who are incarcerated in state prisons and to help protect them and our communities from COVID-19.

The ReFraming Justice (RFJ) Mutual Aid Project will help thousands of people incarcerated in state- and privately-run prisons – from Douglas to Winslow, Kingman to Yuma, and all Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) prison complexes in between – to acquire soap, gloves, masks, tampons & pads, toilet paper and paper towels. Families and communities will assist this effort by ordering supplies through an Amazon Wish List that will be delivered weekly to ADC headquarters near the Arizona Capitol through May 14, 2020, and then distributed to people who are incarcerated throughout the state.

According to CDC guidelines, all correctional facilities in Arizona and across the country should “ensure that sufficient stocks of hygiene supplies, cleaning supplies, PPE, and medical supplies (consistent with the healthcare capabilities of the facility) are on hand and available, and have a plan in place to restock as needed if COVID-19 transmission occurs within the facility.”

For well over a month now, AFSC-Arizona has received hundreds of reports from those inside, their loved ones, and ADC staff that the department is failing to provide these CDC-recommended items to all people who are incarcerated, or keep these important supplies stocked throughout the state. These reports not only prompted the launch of the RFJ Mutual Aid Project, but were also the basis for last week’s efforts – led by AFSC-Arizona – to compel the Arizona Department of Health Services to inspect all ADC facilities for compliance with CDC guidelines.

“This pandemic has helped teach us the proper way to wash our hands, sanitize our homes, and practice social distancing. But we also must learn how to build a self-sustaining network across Arizona we can rely on to protect ourselves, build safe communities, and protect vulnerable people inside prisons, jails and detention facilities,” said Grace Gámez, Ph.D., coordinator of AFSC-Arizona’s ReFraming Justice Project, which helps to build the leadership capacity of people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, have conviction histories, or have loved ones within the punishment system.

AFSC-AZ will post updates on the status and effectiveness of our mutual aid efforts over the coming weeks. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected.

Categories: Blog

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