True Stories of Women Behind Bars

 

From the Editor

Police on the Outside Aren’t the Only Ones Needing an Overhaul

Police on the Outside Aren’t the Only Ones Needing an Overhaul

This is the opinion of the editor, and no one else on staff.

“I have witnessed untold amounts of cruelty and abuse, of Correctional Officers, toward inmates in 11 years spent in Perryville. There was the murder (my opinion) of a woman named Marsha, who was left out in the July sun without shade or water. I have seen verbal abuse directed toward women, who are already traumatized by men, by male officers. I know one woman who had been beaten and left for dead (she flatlined 4 times) on the outside. She was shaking with fear, while a male officer yelled at her for some minor infraction (her shirt wasn’t tucked in).

These guards are not trained in skills to deescalate a situation. They want to bully their way to compliance. There are some seriously twisted people in the Correctional system.

I have attributed 7 deaths of women that died by direct indifference of staff. You have read some of those stories on this blog. I have watched over and over, as 5 beefy guys descend physically on a 100lb woman, and put handcuffs on her. Does it take that many? Really? If we had cellphone videos on the inside, as they do on the outside, the DOC would go bankrupt from lawsuits. But you see, the public doesn’t’ know, and the DOC wants to keep it that way.”


UPDATE: After the above Op-Ed was filed, we came across this tidbit that pertains to the story. 6-17-20 AM. “Reportedly, an officer was escorted off the yard for an alleged racial slur. Witnesses say the officer came to work with an American flag mask. An African-American lady asked about his mask, and he allegedly replied, “We need to make America white again.” Yep, cops are the same inside as outside prison walls.”

About PerryvilleWomen.com

 

The D.O.C. has a new health care contractor, Centurion, who took over from Corizon on July 1, 2019. However, Centurion has faced similar accusations of inadequate health care arocc the country.  See what our women endure in “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 added 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

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Affirmation

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.

14 Comments

  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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  3. Carla M Jerrel

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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!!!

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  8. Roxane

    I don’t know how I came across this page, but I was an inmate at Perryville for a out 4.5. I recently went back and thanks to all you wonderful ladies out here they were doing better on the hygiene issues. I’m so happy I came across this.

    Reply
    • Dominic James. Passarelli

      I was hoping for better word of living conditions, this makes me sick and now that I have to have this heartache for my fiance on the outside, this is gonna make me feel worse.
      Sherry Urban I love you. San Carlos.

      Reply
      • J. Weideman

        I was recently released from Perryville. It amaze2me at the horrible treatment these women go through. Medical services are awful, and finding staff that is willing to really help is almost impossible… The Officers who would help inmates address concerns have either left and moved on, or have been terminated for one reason or another.

        I was on San Carlos unit for over a year and a half. It took over 6 months to get told that I have a heart problem, that us why I was moved from Rosa to Carlos. I was left basically untreated. I was given Pop’s and had to go to pill call. Upon my release I looked up the medications that the ‘providers’ had prescribed dor me only to discover they were only masking my symptoms not really treating the problem. I also found out the combination of meds that were prescribed to me carried some serious interactions with the meds as well as diet.

        I feel for the women that are left behind the gates of this facility, as well as any inmate in ADCRR. I pray for things to change… I pray that there will be a true investigation into this cruel environment.

        Reply
    • Amelia

      Fear can be debilitating. However, your voice is the freedom that NO ONE can ever take away. I feel the power behind your affirmation. I know sometimes change seems like it will never come but I can assure you it will, continue to have have faith.

      Reply
  9. Laura

    I was just released from Perryville prison on 4/15/2020 and I’d love to tell you all about what’s really going on in there with this mess! First, let me say there IS No social distancing and their idea of monitoring is to ask you if you have a fever, not to check. Also if you ask for soap they will come to search your house before you’re allowed to have it. You have to get it at the yard office.

    As far as the five people in medical at one time, that’s a joke as you know. On San Carlos there are 1400 + girls and the lines are taking at a minimum of an hour when the officers do come on shift. Yes, they have face masks but most were around their neck. They still stand over your bunk and yell. They do not wash their hands. They take the mask off to talk to you if it happens to be on their face, which is only on if a Superior officer is there. If you are running a fever and you go to medical you are being told to put in an HNR. Never have I seen an officer wash his hands. They are not offering us sanitizer. They are coming in to clean the bay area’s once a week, Wednesday morning. This smells like water. There’s never any sprayed uncommon areas like the walls that separate our cubes! They’re still doing yard to yard movement. They’re still bringing officers from other units over to work San Carlos unit which happens to be the largest unit in Perryville. When we asked questions we are told they are taking precautions, yet we don’t see them.

    The girls who work are no longer allowed to go outside Cruz which means they have lost their income and puts us all together, even more. The girls who work in garment are still working and making face masks. We are not offered masks. They are working 7 days a week

    Reply
  10. Jeremy

    An ex girlfriend of mine was in Perryville for 3 years. The stories she told me about that place were shocking. For one thing, like any prison, most of the drugs are brought in by guards. Then they’re traded for sex to the inmates. The male guards at Perryville are always having sex with the inmates. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as to the corruption and abuse that goes on from the male guards to these women.

    Reply
  11. Robert Allen

    These officers are disgusting. I read the deal about Helena trying to sleep. this officer needs the same thing happen to him. Such a joke, from what I have learned he thinks he can run over anyone and get away with because he is a officer. Something needs to be done about him.

    Reply

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