Chad Campbell Seeks Charles Ryan's Hide, as Female Corrections Officer Brutally Beaten in Winslow Prison
Earlier this year, Ryan revealed on ADC's website that "in the past four and a half years, there have been 640 staff arrests," of which, 433 "were for behaviors like domestic violence, fighting, assaults, harassment, drug use and possession, and drinking-related offenses."
Ryan wrote that ADC staff arrests were on the rise, "averaging almost eleven arrests per month."
The good corrections officers, at least some of them, are bailing. In 2011 former New Times staff writer Paul Rubin reported on how a respected ADC corrections official at Buckeye's Lewis Prison Complex decided to resign after the horrific murder of a mentally ill inmate there by his cellmate, who slashed his throat and cut off his penis.
Lieutenant Chuck Bauer told Rubin that the murder of the mentally ill inmate didn't have to happen.
"For one thing, we were short-staffed to the max, as we have been for a long time now," Bauer explained, "and couldn't keep an eye on those inmates like we're supposed to -- simple matter of numbers. It was like a nightmare, and it could have happened to one of my officers just as well as to that poor guy."
Those words are particularly haunting considering the CBS 5 report on Benavidez. That woman is lucky to be alive.
I should also mention the class action lawsuit filed in 2012 by the ACLU of Arizona and the Prison Law Office, which accuses ADC of denying inmates adequate health care and of placing thousands of inmates in solitary confinement to the detriment of health and sanity.
The complaint reads like something out of medieval Europe during the plague years. Take this passage, from the ACLU's statement announcing the suit:
"In one particularly tragic case, a prisoner at the state prison complex in Tucson died last year of untreated lung cancer that spread to his liver, lymph nodes and other major organs before prison officials even bothered to send him to a hospital. The prisoner, Ferdinand Dix, filed repeated health needs requests and presented numerous symptoms associated with lung cancer. His liver was infested with tumors and swelled to four times its normal size, pressing on other internal organs and impeding his ability to eat. Prison medical staff responded by telling him to drink energy shakes. He died in February 2011, days after finally being sent to a hospital but only after his abdomen was distended to the size of that of a full-term pregnant woman."
The responsibility for this wretched state of affairs falls upon all Arizonans. There is a mentality in this state, which holds that inmates of either jail or prison deserve their fates, no matter what their crime.
But considering the state of "justice" here in Sand Land, just about any one of us could end up in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails or ADC's prisons and be at the mercy of the same indifference to suffering and deadly surroundings.
Even if you think you'll never grace the inside of an incarceration center during your existence, there is the possibility someone you care about might.
Or you could find yourself another unlucky member of the public, like that couple killed in New Mexico.
The dismal state of corrections in Arizona threatens all of us.
For Campbell's part, he has a legitimate issue of concern that he can make hay out of, both as a state representative, and as a likely 2014 candidate for governor.
I just hope he can gain some traction on it, beyond the confines of the Democratic Party.