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Governor Doug Ducey: Report from investigation into broken locks inside Arizona prisons complete

Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 21:22:55-04

Governor Doug Ducey said a report from an outside investigation into broken locks inside Arizona prisons is complete and has been delivered to his office.

The investigation was ordered by the governor three months ago, following an ABC15 investigation exposing how many cell doors inside the state’s Lewis prison complex didn’t properly lock.

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“I’m told by my staff that the report arrived yesterday,” Ducey said Tuesday at a bill signing event. “They’re reviewing and summarizing it and making certain that there’s not anything in there that would put any component of public safety in harm’s way, and then it will be released to the media.”

The investigation was conducted by Ruth McGregor and Rebecca Berch, retired Arizona Supreme Court chief justices.

The two where charged with investigating the genesis and response to the broken lock issues and whether those problems exist at other state prisons, according to a contract obtained by ABC15.

The retired justices were also tasked with providing proactive measures to prevent a similar situation in the future

“Once we were exposed to the videos of what was happening inside the prisons, we knew we needed an independent third-party investigation,” Ducey said. “We think that will provide a road map for action that needs to be done.”

The governor did not provide an estimate for the report’s release. A follow-up email to his staff was not immediately returned.

Union leaders also told ABC15 that the justices seemed to still be working as of Friday, when they made a visit to the Winslow prison.

Regardless, the delivery of the justices’ report to the Governor’s Office came one business day before Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan abruptly announced his retirement.

On Friday, Ryan told the Governor’s Office and his staff that his last day will be September 13.

Governor Ducey thanked Ryan for his service on Tuesday, and told reporters that the state will be conducting a nationwide search for his replacement.

“I want to say thank you and congratulations to Director Ryan on his retirement. We’re going to do a national search. We are going to try and find the best possible person. This is a big agency, and these are big shoes to fill,” Ducey said.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at