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Unlocked and Unsafe: Townhall addresses conditions inside Arizona DOC prisons

Posted: 10:50 PM, Jul 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-01 02:29:28-04
Lewis prison

PHOENIX — During a town hall to speak out about issues inside the Arizona Department of Corrections, a crowd of families, former inmates and advocates delivered a repeated and unified message: Fire state prison director Charles Ryan.

FULL COVERAGE: Lewis prison broken cell locks, fires investigation

“Director Ryan needs to be fired. He needs to be gone,” said Patti Jones, who’s nephew died due to negligence from prison staff.

More than 150 people attended the town hall held at the First Church UCC in downtown Phoenix.

The event was organized by the American Friends Service Committee, an criminal justice advocacy group that works to reduce incarnation and improve prison conditions.

AFSC has openly called for the removal and replacement of Ryan following ABC15’s investigation about broken cell doors locks and other media reports highlighting other failures inside the prison system.

“There is ample evidence of a consistent pattern of mismanagement, abuse, and neglect that stems from an organizational culture of dehumanization."

Dozens of people gave speeches that raised concerns about safety, security, conditions, and healthcare inside Arizona’s prisons.

The town hall was attended by two state representatives, Reps. Walk Blackman (R) and Diego Rodrigues (D), as well as representatives from the Governor’s Office and the Department of Corrections.

The government officials heard criticism that was sharp, passionate, and tense.

Some of the problems expressed by the speakers troubled the lawmakers, who each vowed to personally look into the issues.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dave@abc15.com .