Introduction to this Topic by the Editor
I need to give you a little background on Perryville so this will be more understandable. This prison was built in the early
Explaining the Shower Picture
This is an accurate sketch of a real shower in “B” yard, Santa Cruz unit. Do you see the loose wires hanging in the lower door jamb? I was told they were “live” because this shower light is still on. I won’t test this theory! I’ve tried to portray all the standing water in front of those wires. All the shower units have standing water because the drains are all plugged.
Standing water = black mold we see everywhere
When inmates complained about the condition of this shower, they just took off the door and left it open. In the shower next to this one (not pictured) is the same filth.
The regulators (hot and cold) will not engage so moving the handle from Hot to Cold does nothing. The temperature the DOC sets is what you get. In the winter the water is cold and in the summer, it’s hot. The water pressure would increase dramatically if they would soak the shower heads in Lime-aWay to remove 50 years of accumulated minerals.
Arizona Department of Corrections is experiencing a mass exodus of employees. Many have left to join the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Others have been forced to retire in the wake of recent scandals and exposed corruption. Still more refuse to work for an administration that treats it’s employees as harshly as the inmates they house. But whatever the reason for the departure, there are more leaving than entering. This staffing shortage is causing serious safety concerns for Perryvill’s inmate population.
This last week an officer expressed concern that only one guard was on duty to cover three different medium custody yards during the graveyard shift. Each yard houses 192 women; that’s a total of 576 inmates to one single officer. Each yard is separated by distance, fencing, and locked gates. The total distance from the first yard to the last is a quarter-mile so most of the time that officer was not even within shouting distance for at least 2/3 of the population.
Yes, the majority of the inmates are asleep during this time and all but the night work crews are locked down, but emergencies still arise … heart attacks, asthma attacks, suicide, seizures, falls, and fights happen at all hours, including the night. When these situations occur the inmate has no way of notifying staff except to wait for someone to walk by. There is no emergency call button, no magic signal to call for help. The irony and horror are that if the guard does happen upon an emergency that takes time to deal with and the other yards and women are left unattended.
As the shortage of officers increase the stress to the remaining and any newly hired guards rise and can cause harm to the employee. It also causes outrageous overtime costs to ADC.
A couple of obvious remedies for this problem, ould be to increase officer wages to entice more staff to stay on, but that would put more of a burden on the State and Arizona taxpayers. The other solution would be to release those inmates that have shown positive change and responsible behavior through their employment, positive behavior records, and actively seeking volunteer programming. Reducing the inmate population would allow the current ADC staff to be less overwhelmed, the inmate population to be safer, and the newly released inmates would be paying taxes, parole fees, and contributing to their communities.
There is no one solution to this problem. However, it is definitely one that needs to be addressed immediately as it affects the safety and well being of human lives.
Dateline Santa Maria – Townhall 9-11-19: Repair of the primitive and mold-infested, third-world showers the women have to use will be on hold until after new air-conditioning units are installed for the comfort of the staff.
The regulator valves that control hot-cold water are all shot. The maintenance man sets the temperature and that’s what you get. A woman NEVER goes barefoot in the shower because of slippery slime mold on the floor, peeling plaster, and crumbling concrete everywhere. Sometimes doors close and sometimes they don’t. Shower curtains look like swiss cheese or are shredded. Capt. Darby was quoted as saying “Shower curtains are out-of-stock.”
No wonder women feel stripped of their dignity.
Here are other stories about the shower conditions:
Maria Polletta of the “Arizona Republic” recently wrote an article titled “System used to track prisoners nearing “catastrophic” failure.” The article explains why inmate release dates are incorrect, pharmacy medications don’t follow inmates when they transfer to new locations, and a whole host of other problems.
I used to joke when I first got to Perryville (2010) that the prison’s computers are so fouled up that they might as well still be running DOS! EEK – I was right!
You can read the article here if you are a subscriber: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2019/09/06/arizona-prisoner-management-system-3-years-late-7-million-over-budget/2203020001/
Dateline Lumley Unit: Numerous women wrote in with very similar stories about Lumley's lawless behavior. Residents complain about out-of-control smoking; in line to the store, to the chow hall, in the chow hall, on the runs, in the rooms - everywhere! They say there...
We posted an article a few months ago about women prisoners being locked in fire traps. You can read it by clicking here. We have been investigating fire safety in Perryville since then and what we find is shocking! There are no fire alarms in many of the buildings,...
On the same day in early June as Director Ryan came to visit Santa Cruz, Warden Dorsey demanded the Porta-cooler be unplugged and given to staff. That left patients at the Cruz clinic to endure 100-degree heat without any cooling. This Porta-cooler was put there as...
UPDATE While the overcrowding crisis has not significantly abated, vans are no longer being turned away. However, intake cells are housing more women than they are designed for. A 1-person cell is housing 2 women, both of whom sleep on mattresses on the floor. A...
UPDATE At intake, women are now being issued one pair of USED underwear, one blanket (I supposed they swapped one of the blankets for the underwear since its Summer and there is no cooling ), one toothbrush, a half a bar of soap, and a towel when entering prison. No...
Why is it that the media is only concerned that the men will be locked up for 8 months without a working key system? We women have 72 cells (144 women) on Santa Cruz that have to be individually keyed out because there are no spare parts to fix the locks. This has...
On Santa Cruz, 16 yard, upper "B" pod, the shower floor moves under our feet! This is the same area that water constantly runs from the top floor, through the cement onto the floor below. The steel girders are rusted out, debris is falling to the ground in chunks. We...
Original plans called for one kitchen per yard, about 192 inmates. Around 2009 the prison population reached critical mass. Two kitchens per unit ( on a 4-yard unit) were gutted so they could move in bunk beds and stack human beings like cord wood. This left only two...