s the Arizona’s Department of Corrections (ADOC) suffers daily staff shortages and critical mass situations, the control of the agency has fallen under the control of Republican legislators and our Governor who occupy the offices that funds and oversees such public services. Within this email, I want to relay some concerns that demonstrates the emasculation of our correctional forces and the tempting desire to destroy it for reasons that point to the proliferation for more private prison services.
While the services of correctional services have long been inadequate and insufficient for public and employee safety, there has been a weak attempt to recruit and select qualified personnel of integrity and honor needed to fill such positions. In the meantime, the agency has replaced and purged qualified and good men and women with strong integrity & values from administrative ranks and replaced them with individuals who share the desire of the power brokers to devastate the agency into ruins and allow privatization to pick up the tab for public safety of our prisons.
Since 2009, we have endured the increasing influence of new politically correct guidelines but was ultimately given one that was simply too offensive to the men and women in key administrative and mid-level supervisory positions, creating a mass exodus of qualified people through early retirements or resignations.
In the meantime, we are under assault of more PC directives that are insufficient to protect the lives of staff and inmates and directly impacts good public safety. We should all take notice. The director took a sworn oath of office to uphold the state constitution and the US Constitution. This oath has been denigrated and indicates that the governor needs to re-evaluate his positon on public prisons and remove the current director from office.
A purge of experience is never good. If it continues, what will the agency be like in a few more years?
Whenever this matter comes up, the union and every officer, are told not to talk to the media or press about the staff shortage situation as well as the deterioration of the agency from within as infra-structures are seriously suffering major damages and no repairs are in sight for such recoveries. They are purging everyone and if you want to keep your job just keep your mouth shut. Now this trend appears to be accelerating.
Since Charles Ryan took office, former Governor Brewer and present governor Ducey have given him free rein in destroying the agency for the betterment of privatization. The more the public prisons failed, the better the private industry looks from their view. Things have gotten so bad during this purge that people are starting to speak out about the atrocities and mismanagements when silence was kept intact before.
Today there is a deliberate attempt to reshape our prison systems and the change or reform will be justified through administrative or management failures. Every day, they are removing those who don’t follow or adhere to the new policies written to appease failure. This administration protects their own with stalled requests for public document information and investigations.
In an election climate that reeks of economic chaos, we may be overlooking a greater threat to our future. Diversity has been replaced by division of the rank and file. Employees wounded or injured in workplace violence or attacks are being denied reasonable accommodations to heal and return to full duty in an effort to identify as the workplace violence as an acceptable condition of employment. This includes blunt trauma, sharpened instruments or prison made knives, rapes, physical and sexual assaults and many more.
Under the leadership of Charles Ryan, the agency has suffered as never before. He instituted an insane policy which has caused an unprecedented number of staff and inmate suicides and PTSD rates among our state employees and depression and anxiety in their families. The public is unwise and heeds no attention to the failures related to the Parsons vs. Ryan healthcare lawsuit but the families of these victims have reached out to many legislators, attorneys, or some news reporters, to have someone help their sons and daughters inside prisons.
The officers are being grossly neglected. They haven’t received a raise since 2007 and more cuts are coming, and the administration actually admits losing more than 500 officers in the past years and re-arranges staffing patterns to pat the numbers on paper but leaving officers dangerously low or short on shifts. This loss is blamed on legislative cuts but in all reality, the culture of the agency drives people away and hampers legitimate recruitment attempts to hire new employees.
Just as frightening is the lack of experience or expertise in the agency. Leadership is lacking and poor decisions are made by those on the front lines responding to critical incidents that result in life and death situations.
Through their silence on the matter, a majority of the media are complicit in the cover-ups of events happening inside our prisons. Add those legislators who turn a blind eye to the matter and we should think, that should be enough – and refusing to at least give it a shot to investigate this deficiency in our state prison system is scandalous.