True Stories of Women Behind Bars


Women Suffer in Heat With No A/C

Extreme temperatures of 118°F happen in Goodyear where Perryville is located. The following units are without air conditioning and are “cooled” with swamp coolers; Santa Maria, San Pedro, Lumley, and Santa Cruz.

Of course, evaporative coolers do not work at all after the dewpoint reaches 55° or more, which is common during Monsoon. Evaporative coolers do not work when the temperatures exceed 106°F either. The heat is rough on all ages, but especially the elderly and the pregnant. The next time you hear the news anchor say “Keep your elderly and pets in air conditioning today” think of us without it.

The only thing that stands between the women and heatstroke is a little 8″ fan you can buy at Walmart for $12 but costs inmates $22. This is how one 70-year old woman makes it through the Summer. Soak a sheet. Wrap it around your body like a mummy. Point the fan at self until dry. Repeat until September.

Almost all the women here over 60 are on medications that make them susceptible to heatstroke.

From the Editor



AZ DOC and its medical contractor Corizon (a new contractor takes over on 7/1/19) seem to be more focused on getting a lot of money from Taxpayers and delivering as little health care as possible to inmates. We post true testimonials from Perryville women on their immeasurable misery, pain, and suffering. See “Health Horror Stories.”

Under our heading “Prison Food” we spotlight for-profit food companies like Keefe/Trinity, contracted by AZ DOC. Anything an inmate eats comes from this company. This monopoly victimizes not only the prisoners, but it’s a multi-billion dollar industry aimed at enriching their profits by bilking the inmates’ families.

We are adding a page on “Censorship” in this prison because there’s a war on the written word. Prison officials and their lawyers can find some way magazines and books might have an obscure effect on prison order and efficiency. I personally had a book censored because it showed an 1863 map of slaves’ underground railway on the East coast. The reason? The censor form said “escape routes from AZ .”

The “Smoking” page focuses on Arizona’s shocking disregard for the Supreme Court’s decision that calls second-hand smoke a “violation of the 8th Amendment for cruel and unusual punishment.” Imagine, if you will, a non-smoking prisoner locked in an 8′ x 15′ cell with no windows, subjected to smoke from 3 adjoining cells that share the same ventilation system. That is a gas chamber from which there is no escape

I’m sure there are some out there who think inmates should be punished every day for their crimes. Are you the sum total of your worst moment? Should they pay with their lives? I saw a chart in the paper that shows women in Perryville have a mental illness rate of 82%. I’ve talked to these women for a decade now, and almost all have been subjected to severe mental and physical abuse. The majority of ladies have committed non-violent crimes. Arizona sentences a lot of them to “flat-time,” which means no time off for good behavior – period! Arizona is one of the worst in the nation for recidivism. Arizona is a prison state that makes its money off taxpayers, inmates, and their families. Hopefully, this website will convince you to support prison reform

Only 1 Bill out of 17!

As reported by Molly Gill, Vice President of Policy, FAMM “The Arizona legislative session has ended and bills have been signed, and here’s what you need to know.

Lawmakers introduced 17 criminal justice reform bills this session, but only two made it to the governor’s desk for signing — and ultimately only one was signed.

Gov. Ducey signed SB 1310, which will reduce the time-served requirements for marijuana possession offenders who complete drug treatment programs. Unfortunately, Gov. Ducey vetoed SB 1334, a modest bill that would have ensured that some first-time offenders aren’t sentenced like repeat offenders.

I’m disappointed to see so few criminal justice reform bills gett he committee hearings and votes they deserve, and that Gov. Ducey vetoed a bill that was reasonable and necessary for the state.”

Picture This… by D.B.

Your sister is getting married. Such a joyous occasion. Everyone is there … parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and of course Grandma. There’s laughter, dancing, champagne — all are having a good time. But then it’s time to say goodbye and head home. Who could foresee that so much joy could end up in heartache?

You see, as Granny is driving home she gets into an accident. When the police arrive they discover that her blood alcohol level is a bit too high. Not a lot, but still too high. She is arrested and taken to jail. Your loving, beautiful, petite, 70+-year-old grandmother now has to go through the arduous legal system of Arizona.

When the legal battle ends, the unthinkable begins … Granny is sentenced to prison time. “Oh, that would never happen to an elderly person.” you think. Oh, but think again! It does happen, quite often, I recently spoke to 2 such women. One, a 71-year-old with an 8-year sentence. The other 76 with a 2-year sentence. Neither of these women has ever been in trouble before, not even a speeding ticket. Both readily admit they were in the wrong. One even said, “If only I had waited for an extra 30-minutes, only 30-minutes.” To make matters worse, both of these women have been placed on a medium/maximum security unit by ADOC staff.

Any time for a 70+-year-old woman at Perryville becomes a possible death sentence. The conditions are generally inhumane at best. Severely lacking health care, poor nutrition, cells that become sweat boxes, with temperatures of over 100 degrees in the rooms during the summer, and showers filled with black mold all possess health risks. But that’s not all, there’s danger from other inmates, and danger from corrupt or insensitive and overworked guards and staff.

Each of these beautiful women broke down in tears, partly for the regret of the actions, but also because of the fear that is their constant companion, and the memory of the horrors, degradation, and humiliation they have had to suffer.

There are some of us here at Perryville who try to protect and care for these lovely, fragile women. We try to help them feel safer and not so alone during the day. But at night, when the doors slam closed, they once again are alone and at the mercy of whoever ADOC has housed them with.

What is wrong with Arizona’s legal system that these women were sentenced to prison? Was there no alternative? Probation? House arrest? Ankle monitor? Loss of driver’s license? Is mass incarceration so important to this state that they are now taking our elderly too? Shame on the prosecutors who insisted on prison time. Shame on the judges who allowed it.

So next time there is a family celebration, keep an extra eye on your grandparents. Give them a ride home, because you never know when Arizona’s mass incarceration efforts will strike next.

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We believe that God is present in the darkness before dawn In the waiting and uncertainty Where fear and courage join hands, Conflict and caring link arms, And the sun rises over barbed wire. We believe that God is with us; A God who sits down in out midst to share our humanity. We affirm a faith that takes us beyond the safe place Into action, into vulnerability, and into the street.
We commit ourselves to work for change And put ourselves on the line, To bear responsibility, take risks, Live powerfully and face humiliation; To stand with those on the edge, To choose life, and to be used by the Spirit For God’s new community of hope.


  1. Melissa Gomez

    They left me on my period for 3 years and while waiting for surgery… I caught another case and had to get a court order for hysterectomy because doc didn’t want to pay for it… now my son in Florence is sick for 4 months and lost 40lbs and still no tests… god help all the Arizona inmates.. Charles Ryan and the medical contractor need to go

  2. F

    These stories are heartbreaking. I came across this site per chance, never knowing it existed. I suspect most people have no clue it’s here, or that the treatment of inmates at Perryville is so inhumane. You should try to bring this site to the attention of E.J. Montini or someone at the Arizona Republic or better yet, New Times. Good luck.

  3. Carla M Jerrel

    How much is the not enough “Insulin Related to the commissary you get every week?

  4. A concerned citizen

    Please keep this website going. People on the outside need to be made aware of what is going on instead of things continuing to be covered up and lied about. There are things called “civil rights” and “humanity” and “love for fellow humans” that need to be addressed. It’s not happening in there. Why should people come out of a situation like that changed when they are treated like this? This will only teach people to become angry, and then when you can’t get a meaningful job when you get out of prison because you have a record for whatever may have happened, you will be right back in there. We can do so much better as a state and as human beings. Keep these stories coming and we will keep distributing them to the world. It is the only way to make change. Let these women know that we really do care about them, all of them. I will ask all of my friends to distribute this website all over the country. How can we help? Let us know.

  5. S B

    I happened upon this website after a story on the news about Perryville. Unfortunately I have spent some time there as an inmate. Some of these stories shock me and some I have witnessed first hand.
    I was put in the Behavior unit for a 8 days because I got lice from more than likely my intake cell at Lumley. A cell that is NEVER cleaned thoroughly between inmates arrival and departure!!! NEVER in my life have I had lice before. Upon arriving at the Behavior unit I was given a lice shampoo and a little tiny comb. However I was NOT offered a shower to use this shampoo nor was I given the follow up shampoo that is supposed to kill the eggs. I had to wash my mid back length hair in the sink and used the comb provided with the lice shampoo to “comb” the lice out. Of course the prongs broke on the comb almost immediately. I wasn’t given another one. Three days after arriving in the CTU unit I was allowed to shower. I was shackled and cuffed as I was escorted to and from the shower. I came from a low risk yard and for time in CTU was treated worse than the person in the concrete cell next to me who was apparently in the behavior unit because she got into a fight with 3 people on her yard. Only after I shaved my head and begged for a nurse to check me for lice was I allowed to leave this unit and went back to the low risk yard I came from. The cells in the CTU are all concrete as are most individual cells. I was in this unit in late June. The west facing wall was so hot I couldn’t even touch it for pretty much most of the day. There is NO air conditioning and getting cold water from your sink is NOT going to happen. When I went back to the yard I came from I had to wait 2 days to get my things back to include my clothes which I had to wash immediately just in case they had lice on them. It was the most horrifying experience I have ever had. To say I was treated poorly is in understatement. If I hadn’t have begged and cried to keep my Bible with me I would have lost my mind I have absolutely no doubt. I realize there is a need to separate an inmate with something like lice but to be treated like that is absolutely inhumane!!!

  6. Concerned is a understatement

    My friend c . Cannon was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in Perryville I looked at her Facebook a lot over the last 3 years and I just now came across this website. I too have been to jail not prison but when I went on her page today and actually took the time to re search this place I came across this website. Hot boxes? No AC? Women sentenced to 8 years with no record? No gloves? Nor do you get any medical attention until it it’s too late? I get it Iv been to jails but THIS!? This has to be against some type of law legal or a huge legal issue here? Please hang in there take deep breathes in threw your nose out threw your mouth and keep telling your story!! They can try and tell your story for you but you just take it and tell it LOUDER girls! With love D.P

  7. Sue Jones

    I could write a book about the current problems within the walls of Perryville but I’m busy writing a book about Estrella first! Change needs to happen.


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