By AFSC-AZ Staff |
We’re excited to report that, since Wednesday, we’ve delivered 46 boxes of gloves, 360-plus bars of soap, 1,500-plus tampons, 1,100-plus pads, 1,800-plus masks and more than 1,900 rolls of toilet paper to men and women incarcerated at state prison complexes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry (ADCRR) personnel at both the Perryville women’s prison complex in Goodyear and the Pima Reentry Center (PRC) complex in Tucson accepted the donations, delivered by AFSC-AZ staff and volunteers as part of its ReFraming Justice Mutual Aid effort. ADCRR personnel have agreed to update AFSC-AZ when the hygiene supplies have been distributed directly to incarcerated people.
“One of the core values of our work as an organization is that safety, health and wellness begins and ends with community,” said Grace Gámez, Ph.D., coordinator of AFSC-AZ’s ReFraming Justice Project, which works to engage people who are directly-impacted by the punishment system and build community through their leadership. “We belong to each other, we are responsible for one another, and we don’t throw people away. And that is because there is Light in all of us.”
Families and loved ones across Arizona can purchase these hygiene supplies via an Amazon Wish List through Wednesday, May 13th. The first and second haul were delivered to PRC and Perryville on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, at the direction of ADCCR personnel. AFSC-AZ’s goal is to provide these supplies to men and women at all 15 state prison complexes.
At the time of this release, ADCRR has reported that 34 people incarcerated in its facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, with 46 test results still pending. These numbers are especially alarming considering that less than .5 percent of the total prison population has been tested to date, including zero tests conducted at the Perryville women’s prison, which houses more than 4,100 women.
On Wednesday, AFSC-AZ’s partners at FWD.us released a projection of the number of infections that are likely to ravage the state prison population without intervention from Governor Doug Ducey.According to the FWD.us projection, approximately 41,000 incarcerated people and 3,100 ADCRR employees will contract the virus within three weeks, unless Gov. Ducey releases at least 10,000 people from state prisons in the next week.
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.”
AFSC-AZ began receiving hundreds of reports in March 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 effort, but were also the basis for efforts earlier this month – led by AFSC-AZ – to compel the Arizona Department of Health Services to inspect all ADC facilities for compliance with CDC guidelines. AFSC-AZ will post updates on the status of our mutual aid effort as we receive information from ADCCR.