As we briefly mentioned last week, the Arizona Department of Corrections has finally added a COVID-19 dashboard to help the public track the spread of the virus in state prisons. This is, in large part, thanks to our friends at The S.T.A.R.T. Project, FAMM, and the Prison Law Office, who pressured ADC Director David Shinn for weeks to get it done.
That said, the dashboard is only proving what AFSC-AZ, families, and other organizations have been saying since the outbreak of the pandemic: Shinn and ADC are failing to #ProtectPeopleInPrison. In a little over a week, 22 positive cases within the prison population have been reported.
That number is especially concerning since
- Testing is producing up to 30-percent false negative results;
- ZERO tests have been conducted at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville, which houses more than 4,100 incarcerated women; and
- the dashboard does not report the number of positive cases of ADC personnel, including guards.
Shinn offered up a nonsensical argument earlier this week for not releasing the numbers of guards who test positive (which Governor Doug Ducey then supported): He claims it’s a privacy issue, as ABC15-Phoenix’s Dave Biscobing reported earlier this week.
As always, AFSC-Arizona will continue to advocate on behalf of incarcerated people and their loved ones until these systemic issues are corrected.
The RFJ Mutual Aid Project
We’ve learned a lot during this pandemic, including the proper way to wash our hands, sanitize our homes, and practice social distancing. Now it’s time we learn how to build a reliable, self-sustaining network across Arizona to protect ourselves, build safe communities & protect vulnerable people inside our state prisons.
Through May 13th, thanks to the hard work of our ReFraming Justice (RFJ) Leaders, you can donate to AFSC-Arizona’s RFJ Mutual Aid Project and help protect people in prison by supplying them with soap, tampons & pads, toilet paper and paper towels.
Every week, our staff and volunteers will deliver donated supplies that you can purchase via this Amazon Wish List to ADC headquarters near the Arizona Capitol. ADC personnel have assured AFSC-Arizona that the department will accept these donations and distribute them to incarcerated people statewide. Count on AFSC-Arizona to hold them accountable!
AFSC-AZ will continue to focus on how to best help those impacted in our state prisons. You can contribute to the RFJ Mutual Aid project, amplify our work via social media, or TAKE ACTION with organizations from here in Tucson, around the state, and across the country.
Right now, you can help FAMM tell Gov. Ducey to grant clemency to the most vulnerable people in prison!
Tell Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel to get people out of dangerous jail conditions now, by sending her a message via the ACLU of Arizona!
And you can join The S.T.A.R.T. Project for a “drive around protest” on Thursday, April 23, from 1p-1:30p outside the Pima County Adult Detention Center in Tucson!
In The News…
Current And Former Arizona Legal Officials Urge Gov. Ducey To Release Inmates
April 16th, 2020 by Jimmy Jenkins, via KJZZ-Phoenix NPR
Arizona Department of Corrections not releasing number of positive tests of officers
April 15th, 2020 by Dave Biscobing, via ABC15-Phoenix
Minimum Custody Arizona Inmates Plead For Early Release From Prison Over Coronavirus Fears
April 14th, 2020 by Jimmy Jenkins, via KJZZ-Phoenix NPR
ADOC officer speaks out after testing positive for coronavirus
April 14th, 2020 by Dave Biscobing, via ABC15-Phoenix
Pastors: Protect prisoners from COVID-19 to live out the Easter value of redemption
April 12th, 2020 by Dr. Warren Stewart & Pastor Reginald Walton of the
African American Christian Clergy Coalition, via Arizona Capitol Times
Governors Are Too Cowardly To Solve The Coronavirus Outbreak In Prisons
April 10th, 2020 by Angelina Chapin, via Huffington Post
Categories: Weekly Update