In the first 2 1/2 years of his tenure, Chuck Ryan presided over 28 suicides. That's almost one per month. During that time the prison population remained relatively stable - even dropping a bit last year. In the 2 1/2 years that preceded Ryan, under Dora Schriro, there were only 12 suicides - less than 1 every two months.
Additionally, both Shannon Palmer and James Jennings were murdered by their cellies because Shannon and James were psychotic and isolated with intolerant cellies (in Shannon's case, his cellie was also psychotic).
Then there are the cases of outrageous neglect: Marcia Powell was left to die in her feces with burns on her body in an outdoor cage while on a 10-minute suicide watch; Huberta Parlee died after two days of begging for treatment for a perforated ulcer; Brenda Todd sought medical attention repeatedly before being found dead in her cell one morning last winter. The list goes on.
These are not just isolated incidents or the consequences of budget cuts made years ago. Chuck Ryan decides how to distribute resources, and sets the tone for how prisoners are to be treated through his policies, practices in disciplining staff, and promotions of bullies like himself. His administration has reduced rehabilitative programs to negligible levels, has increased medical co-pays while decreasing prisoner earnings, has eliminated things like a suicide prevention program that trained prisoners as aides, has compromised positive community and family support to prisoners by implementing fees for visitors, and has allowed rates of violence to skyrocket unchecked...
It is no wonder that so many prisoners have grown so demoralized that they've killed themselves in his custody in record numbers. One of many questions is why there's such a racial disparity in those suicides.
July - June 2010 (9 suicides in 12 months): Erick Cervantes (MexAmer, 30) Douglas Nunn (W, 33), Hernan Cuevas (MexAmer, 18) Monte McCarty (W, 46), Patricia Velez (MexAmer, 24), Jerry Kulp (AfAmer, 17), Jessie Cota, (MexAm, 28) James Adams (W, 46),Eric Bybee (W, 32)
July - June 2011 (14 suicides in 12 months): Tony Lester (NA, 26), Robert Medina (MexAm, 29), Geshell Fernandez (NA, 28) Patrick Lee Ross, (AfAmer, 28), Lasasha Cherry (AfAmer, 23) Rosario Bojorquez-Rodriguez (MexNat, 29), Duron Cunningham (AfAmer, 40) James Galloway (W, 54), Ronald Richie (W, 42) Susan Lopez (MexAmer, 35), Michael Tovar, (MexAmer, 20) Carey Wheatley (AfAmer, 49), Michael Pellicer (AfAmer, 35) Luis Moscoso-Hernandez (MexNat, 28)
Condolences to all the loved one's of AZ state prison violence, neglect, and suicide...
State to investigate medical allegations
The Arizona Republic