Tell Arizona Lawmakers that We Need Independent, External Oversight of ADCRR

Members of the Arizona Legislature

Men Inside a prison

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry (ADCRR) houses appx. 33,600 men and women at 10 state complexes and six private prison facilities located throughout the state.

Currently, there are approximately 9,000 state workers as well as contractors, vendors, and volunteers entering our prisons every day. The ADCRR in its current form was established in 1968 as an executive agency and has never had independent, external oversight as do most of the other large state agencies.

The ADCRR is failing nearly every metric and its mission as a whole. Its current failing state is a threat to the incarcerated women and men housed in our prisons, the staff, contractors and volunteers, and the public.

In 2021, the United States District Court of Arizona determined that ADCRR has and continues to violate the Eighth Amendment rights of the incarcerated by failing to provide constitutionally adequate healthcare, mental health treatment, and through the excessive use of solitary confinement.

Moreover, through investigative reporting, whistleblower accounts, and acknowledgment by ADCRR, a long series of substantial threats to internal and public safety, failing infrastructure, lack of programming, and a near catastrophic level of staff attrition have been revealed.

The response by the administration to these urgent and dangerous matters was to clamp down on transparency and to mislead the public, lawmakers, and the press as to the conditions inside our prions.

Arizona desperately needs independent, external oversight of ADCRR so that the Arizona taxpayers know how their $1.5 billion annual appropriation is being managed and allocated. The ADCRR is in systemic failure and the threat to the safety of the incarcerated, staff, and the public is real and growing everyday we don't have independent, external oversight of ADCRR.

To: Members of the Arizona Legislature
From: [Your Name]

Arizona can no longer operate the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry (ADCRR) without creating and implementing independent, external oversight.

The ADCRR is failing nearly every performance metric and its mission as a whole. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the dysfunction inside ADCRR and hope that this failing agency finds its way. Arizona taxpayers are spending over $1.4 billion on this bloated, dysfunctional agency that is rendering greater threats to safety, increasing recidivism rates, and ensuring continued decline.

Our prisons must not be lawless zones of chaos and anarchy; rather, they must conform to the highest standards, be transparent, and provide the services needed to ensure safety of the incarcerated, the staff, and the public.

I and my fellow Arizona citizens want you to pass legislation to create independent, external oversight of the ADCRR. It is time to restore public trust in the ADCRR and ensure the safety of those inside and outside our prisons.