With the 3rd largest appropriated budget in the State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR) is once again straining credulity and pushing the boundaries of human decency. In Director David Shinn’s first budget proposal, which was sent to the governor’s office on September 1, 2020, Director Shinn outlines the top priorities contained within the budget.
Item 4 is titled Prison Construction & Operations Fund Backfill. The opening paragraph reads:
“Due to persistent revenue declines over the past seven years and a structural deficit, a $1,826,100 shortfall is estimated in FY2021. This shortfall will prevent ADCRR from paying for critical services such as inmate food and health care.”
Let us sit with this stunning statement for a moment. With a budget of close to $1.3 Billion in appropriated funds and close to $1.4 Billion in non-appropriated funds – the ADCRR is stating that for the wont of $1.8 Million in funds, less than one-sixth of one-percent (0.14%) of the total budget, they will be unable to provide food or medical care for the approximate 40,000 incarcerated humans in the state of Arizona?
How is this possible? It is possible because there is no independent oversight of ADCRR. No one outside of the prison system is designated or even allowed to keep watch over ADCRR. ATAC is committed to changing this. We are working to establish an independent, citizen’s oversight and advisory committee and corrections ombuds that will be chartered by the legislature to hold ADCRR accountable to all Arizonans. Arizona families and taxpayers deserve better.