Turn Out the Lights
After the Arizona House of Representatives voted Thursday to adjourn sine die, the 2020 legislative session is officially over. Sadly, this only confirms what we’ve been saying for weeks now: There will be no passage of sentencing reform legislation, including HB 2808, until at least 2021.
The good news is that the main reason why legislation like HB 2808 and other reforms did not pass this year has far more to do with the pandemic than anything else, and the future looks bright for impactful reforms. The other good news is that bad bills, like SB 1556 and the backwards mandatory-minimum bill, HB 2036, did not pass, either.
Rumors continue to swirl that the legislature will reconvene for a short COVID-19 special session that will focus on the budget. There may be some related legislation that addresses people incarcerated inside prisons and jails. If this comes to fruition, AFSC-AZ will be sure to provide additional updates.
In the meantime, this is our final weekly email update for 2020. We’ll be sending out occasional updates on the Second Chances Act (more on that below), COVID-19 in prisons, and other items on mass incarceration and criminalization.
On the Ballot
Many of you have asked about where the Second Chances, Rehabilitation, and Public Safety Act initiative stands and how you can help. The good news is that we are forging ahead. We remain 100% committed to this effort and we are going to qualify for the ballot and WIN in November!
The campaign has continued gathering signatures safely and legally, and we are proud to share that it is on pace to turn in 237,645 valid signatures on July 2.
Beginning this weekend, you, your families, friends and all those eligible to vote can add your names to the petition by stopping by one of three petition “drive-thrus” around the state Saturday, May 23, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Palabras – 1738 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006
Healthcare Rising – 7776 Pointe Pkwy. W., Phoenix, AZ 85044
Tucson IBEW Hall – 750 S Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716
**Note that these stations are shared with three other initiatives: Smart and Safe, Invest in Education, and Healthcare Rising Arizona.
All locations are practicing social distancing and other precautions. Volunteers will wear masks and gloves, and you are encouraged to do the same. Please bring your own pen.
For more information on the ballot initiative or tomorrow’s drive-thru events, click here.
Protect People In Yuma!
While the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Director Dr. Cara Christ have promised to ramp up testing for COVID-19 inside ADCRR facilities and provide greater oversight to ensure CDC compliance, the situation at ASPC-Yuma has become increasingly alarming for so many people incarcerated there, as well as their loved ones.
You’ll find news on the developments in Yuma in our In The News… section below. But rest assured that AFSC-AZ and our coalition partners – including the ACLU of Arizona, FAMM, the S.T.A.R.T Project, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and many other organizations – will continue to urge accountability and transparency from ADHS and ADCRR.
We’ll have updates on our communications with ADHS next week, so be sure to follow our website on WordPress, as well as our social media profiles.
We Got Answers
A few donations to our ReFraming Justice (RFJ) Mutual Aid campaign have been trickling in the past week, most of it being feminine hygiene products.
Those we have received here in Tucson have been delivered to The Earnest House, transitional living for formerly incarcerated people that’s owned and operated by one of our RFJ Leaders, Danny Howe. And those we continue to receive at our central delivery point in Phoenix will be delivered to the Navajo Nation, which has been hit especially hard by this pandemic.
Since the conclusion of the RFJ Mutual Aid campaign, we’ve received lots of questions about mutual aid and how we’re working to ensure that ADCRR distributes your donations to people incarcerated in Arizona state prisons. You can find answers to those questions here.
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…
More Than 900 Correctional Officers To Be Tested for COVID-19 at Yuma Prison
May 21st, 2020 by Jimmy Jenkins, via KJZZ-Phoenix NPR
Prison Commission Demands Answers on COVID-19 at Arizona Prison
May 20th, 2020 by Yoohyun Jung, via Honolulu Civil Beat
Reducing Prison Population During Pandemic Is a Matter of Public Health, Not Politics
May 20th, 2020 by Aaron Horowitz, via AZCentral
COVID-19 Numbers Quickly Rising in Arizona Prisons
May 19th, 2020 by Dave Biscobing, via ABC15-Phoenix
‘Complete Chaos’: Yuma Prison On the Brink as COVID-19 Infections Spread
May 18th, 2020 by Jimmy Jenkins & Lauren Gilger, via KJZZ-Phoenix NPR
Corrections Officers Call for Better Protections in Yuma Prison
May 18th, 2020 by Crystal Jimenez, via NBC11-Yuma
Categories: Weekly Update