I really feel for all the folks who develop new heroin and meth addictions behind bars due largely to the despair and tedium, with the lack of any meaningful activity. DOC knows about their drug epidemic behind bars, but simply puts prisoners in the hole when they get busted with dirty urines or need to leave a yard due to a drug debt - never offering them treatment options. This press release below, I suspect, is actually a response to my repeated criticisms of the AZ DOC's lack of treatment for addictions, and their waning support for even allowing 12 step groups to come in and help.
Below is an example of one of my recent complaints to AZ DOC Director Charles Ryan about a young mentally ill/addicted prisoner who needs protective segregation due to being targeted for extortion after he got into trouble with drug debts and chased off a yard. I was pretty angry when I wrote it...
"Director Ryan: July 24, 2014
I have written to you previously about XX. According to Ms. Crabtree's email below, the AZ DOC is knowingly returning this dually-diagnosed young man to a hostile situation where he will likely be again victimized, his family having already been targeted for extortion that clearly is organized across the prison system, and extends beyond collections on the original drug debts. That's deliberate indifference to this prisoner's safety, as well as to his mother's.
Based on Ms. Crabtree's report alone of this guy's issues (my own assessment as emailed to you June 17 was much more thorough), the DOC has a duty to at LEAST provide this young man with meaningful substance abuse treatment and a relatively clean and sober living environment - are folks you capable of doing that much? Is there ANYWHERE in the DOC system where this kid has a real chance to make it? Or do you plan to house him on a yard where he can more easily obtain heroin than a job or psychiatric and substance abuse treatment? What will you do to assure X is able to get the support he needs to resist or avoid the proliferation of drugs, despair, and gang violence in your system? And what has your Criminal Investigations Unit done to investigate the extortion attempts his mother has reported? X's mother is in the CC line and I believe she at least deserves a reply to those concerns. So do those legislators in the cc who are supposed to represent her interests.
Thank you for your time and attention to this prisoner's safety and welfare.
(Ryan ignored this email, needless to say - but his media people sure didn't!
Gotta make it look good, now, because the above email was cc'ed to some legislators...)
---------from the AZ DOC website----------
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
1601 W. JEFFERSON
PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85007
JANICE K. BREWER
CHARLES L. RYAN
| For more information contact:
|Wednesday, August 13, 2014
In that period, 2,052 inmates concluded various substance abuse treatment programs, and another 1,123 inmates finished Level I and Level II DUI treatment programs.
“Addiction treatment programs are vital to the work of the Department of Corrections,” said Director Charles Ryan. “Typically in recent years, more than 20 percent of the inmates incarcerated in ADC facilities have been committed for a drug-related offense. Many other crimes can be traced to some involvement with illicit substances. And we are all familiar with the tragic consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Therefore, it is very important that substance abuse treatment programs are made available, and that they are effective.”
Arizona is among a small number of states in which all inmate addiction treatment groups are provided by licensed substance abuse counselors.
Karen Hellman, the department’s Counseling and Treatment Services Administrator, notes this is an essential component to the program’s success. “It’s essential to have professional counselors who can work through the treatment process with the inmates,” she said. “In order for inmates to transition back to society, as we expect them to do, they need the best possible assistance, and using licensed counselors goes a long way to reaching that goal. Having more than two-thousand inmates complete this important step for addiction treatment and another 1,100 for DUI programming in the past fiscal year is a great achievement.”
Addiction treatment programs operate on a six or 12 month timetable and require inmates to participate in two hour sessions twice a week.