Arizona prisons are near capacity and growing. Every year they ask the legislature for more beds either private or public, they are planning growth rather than shrinkage. Arizona is in the prison business as they are locking up more people than most of the other states who are reducing prison populations.
Prisons are being filled with non-violent first time drug offenders and other low risk criminals to make the bed count. Seems the state wants to be the national leader in prison growth and management. They are fueling a formula for disaster as they currently meet the diabolical triangle of disaster by being overcrowded, under staffed and leaving many prisoners idle.
Saturated with a serious multiple gang war, the tension is mounting. The Arizona prison boss promises better security but the homicides keep happening and the gang warfare is still on the verge of a full blown race war. Kept in check by a shaky truce it could break any day with the assault or murder of one or the gang members on the open yards. The mayhem is silently buried under the cloak of secrecy that hides the violence and other management failures. Clearly the malfeasance is in the prison management style.
Max custody beds are full – more are being requested but nothing is being done to reduce the violence except for changing the wording in some of their policies. The culture is pro-violence and staff assaults are higher than ever indicating who really in charge of these prisons on any given moment or day. Inmate on inmate assaults are rising while prison rapes are becoming a cultural norm that everybody accepts as acceptable.
Prison management has failed in three areas – security due to inept staffing patterns imposed – program idleness due to a severe reduction in inmate activities and treatment services – delayed medical and mental care that impacts communal public health risks and safety as there are prisoners released with communicable diseases and spreading them in the community.
In the meantime, the Governor, the legislature and the Attorney General are content with the way the prisons are being operated and refuse to get involved in turning things around back to sound security practices and sound correctional procedures to ensure public safety, staff safety and a secure environment for inmates and visitors.