Moldy and dilapidated showers, broken doors that need to be opened with a key, and women
living with cancer for years before receiving help; these are only a few examples of why ADCRR needs an
independent oversight committee. Just like we do not have inmates overseeing inmates, we should not
have the Department of Corrections overseeing the Department of Corrections. ‘There has to be
accountability and visibility concerning healthcare, food, and living conditions. The public, family,
friends, and loved ones have the right to know and understand what is happening to the over 40,000
people currently residing in the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry facilities.
One of the scariest things that can happen to a person who is incarcerated is getting sick, being
mentally ill, or having a physical injury. The notion of health care inside Arizona prisons is a joke at best.
Women who are seriously mentally ill, are left to their own accord and dependent on the women
around them to help when they cannot help themselves. They will roam around in the night confused,
scared and delusional, yet medical will clear them, give them a bill of good health, sending them on their
way. lnmates will have seizures and urinate themselves and DOC does nothing. lf it weren’t for the
women around them helping and taking care of them, they would sit in their own urine for hours. Bones
are broken for days before X-rays are provided, a disease will rage inside a body for months before any
tests are conducted, and cancer will decimate for years until an oncologist has the opportunity.to see a
patient. Nothing changes if nothing changes. What will prevent ADCRR medical staff from proceeding in
the same manner? An oversight committee.
One of the saddest things to witness is someone that has no financial help and must survive off
the food provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections. The portion sizes provided are small
enough to be served in an elementary school cafeteria. There have been countless times when spoiled
and expired food has been served. At complex kitchen where the food is stored, there is a rat
infestation. There are rat traps in an attempt to subdue the infestation and it does not work. Kitchen workers are constantly being told to serve food that has rat feces in it. Even when brought to the
facility’s attention, nothing is addressed. There are many inmates that can testify to replacing expiration
labels, serving food that has fallen on the floor, and picking out insects to serve cereal or oatmeal.
Women stand in line for hours to get minuscule portions that are inedible to avoid the pains of hunger.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. What will prevent ADCCR kitchen staff from proceeding in the same
manner? An oversight committee.
One of the most fearful things an inmate experiences is their living conditions. The Santa Cruz
unit at Perryville complex has no working lock mechanisms. A key must be used to open a cell door. lf
there is an emergency within a cell, for example a fire, the inmate would have to wait for a correction
officer to physically open the door. This is dangerous, to say the least. The showers are covered in rust
and mold, and the rooms can get up to 110 degrees in the summer. On San Carlos Unit, there is
consistent smoking in the buildings with no repercussions. According to ARS code 36-601.01, “smoking is
prohibited in all public places and places of employment within the state of Arizona.” This
law is completely disregarded, let alone enforced. These circumstances put people at risk for
secondhand smoke and make the living environment hazardous for all inmates within the building.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. What will prevent ADCCR operations from proceeding in the same
manner? An oversight committee.
Every day, people are forced to live in disgusting conditions, eat inedible food, and are denied
adequate healthcare because of a decision they made on the worst day of their lives. Though actions
due require consequences, prison should be an opportunity for a broken individual to change the
behaviors that put them in their current predicament. There is nothing preventing ADCRR from
continuing operations that put thousands of lives at risk. There is nothing inducing ADCRR to provide an
environment where people can thrive and grow. lt is time for the public to understand the innerworkings
of the Arizona Prison System. lt is time for a change in the right direction. lt is time to
implement an oversight committee. Because, again, nothing changes if nothing changes.