From: Middle Ground Prison Reform
Date: Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 7:41 PM
Subject: Investigation Required
The below letter was sent to me by an anonymous source. The underlining is mine, as well as the spelling out of what "ACA" means. The letter was authored and distributed to the membership by Anthony Spears, President, ACA. Please scroll downward to read the letter.
The portions I underlined strongly suggest the need for an independent investigation, audit and/or hearings. Middle Ground Prison Reform is a prisoner rights organization, but we certainly understand the perspective of staff who believe they are being lied to, asked to cover-up liability issues, falsify records, and to risk their own safety while Department administrators sit at their comfortable Central Office desks.
It is time for the Governor and the Legislature to conduct comprehensive hearings and an unbiased, INDEPENDENT investigation into the claims made by the "boots on the ground." If any of these individual allegations are credible, then the seriousness of the allegations demand a serious and formal investigation.
As we see it, the CORE of the problem is the reference to "ghost" posting rosters, which implies that the DOC is short-staffing shifts of guards, and later -- when reporting is required for some reason (such as a lawsuit or a request from a legislator who has received a complaint) -- someone is deliberately altering the rosters to indicate that more guards were on duty than were actually on duty on a certain shift or day. Hence, this would explain why inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate assaults are occurring and increasing. It would also suggest illegal tampering with public records documents and other liability for the DOC, not to mention a host of other serious issues.
Mr. Spears has made some serious claims. Investigation into these claims would clearly expose him either as a crackpot or a responsible leader of his organization. The allegations he makes are so serious, it would be almost criminal not to investigate -- the Legislature must not be complicit in these matters. The pubic needs to know.
Middle Ground Prison Reform stands ready to support the efforts of ACA to obtain a resolution to these serious problems and accusations. Even if it involves wrong-doing at the highest levels, llegislators have a responsibility not to turn a blind eye to these matters.
Donna Leone Hamm, Judge (Ret.)
Executive Director, Middle Ground Prison Reform
MIDDLE GROUND IS ARIZONA'S PREMIER ADVOCACY AGENCY PROTECTING THE
CONSTITUTIONAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS OF THE INCARCERATED SINCE 1983
Fighting for the Safety of DOC Officers
As the membership is well aware, the officers at the Department of Corrections are being subjected to serious safety concerns resulting in numerous officers being viciously attacked, injured, and abused without a blink from the AZ DOC's management. Our research has revealed shocking and disturbing patterns of poor staffing, alarming increases in prisoner on prisoner and prisoner on staff assaults, increase in officer disciplines for officer's compliance with DOC policy which conflicts with ostensible unlawful managerial directives, discipline/administrative reprisals for reporting deficiencies or wrong doing, request from management to rewrite official documents skewing the facts and the truth to avoid liability, ghost posting rosters which are deceptive and seemingly unethical in violation of public records laws, and a complete lack of transparency and accountability on behalf of the AZ DOC managerial staff. The corruption bubbling, slithering and oozing down the chain of command from the top is alarming.
Despite our best efforts and desires to work through these serious personnel and safety issues with management, the ACA (Arizona Corrections Association) has exhausted all of the internal methods to resolve problems brought to us by our membership. Unfortunately, the internal methods have been met to no avail, leaving the ACA with no other option than to seek resolution through other means. The ACA, through its President and Board, have enlisted the assistance of our State organization, the Arizona Police Association (APA) and Judicial Watch. The ACA has requested that the serious safety issues be taken directly to the Governor's Office. We believe that only an external examination of the policies, staffing model, actual staffing schedules, disciplinary policies and managerial retaliation upon employees reporting wrong doing, the lack of availability of post orders and other governing policies, managerial accountability, in concert with investigations into the reasons for staff and prisoner assaults are examined with great care and that an unbiased, external review will see beyond the veneer of deceptive, "sound good" vernacular and self-preservative explanations currently promulgated by the director and managerial staff in an attempt to cover-up the serious mismanagement occurring at DOC and have now caught the attention of the legislature and the media.
As usual, the ACA is staying engaged in these issues and will keep you posted on the progresses made.
Arizona Corrections Association President
Arizona Corrections Association, 1102 West Adams Street , Phoenix, Arizona 85007
From the ACA's website
as of 02/10/2014
The ACA has listened carefully to your concerns regarding staff safety. When those concerns appeared to fall on deaf ears within the department, the ACA along with APA Executive Director Levi Bolton brought your concerns regarding staff safety and staff assaults to the attention of the Legislature and the Attorney General’s office. Now your concerns are the concerns of the Judicial Watch.
Because no one is above the law!
VIA & CERTIFIED U.S. MAIL
October 18, 2013
Mr. Charles Ryan, Director Arizona Department of Corrections 1600 W. Jefferson Phoenix, AZ 85007
Re: Arizona Public Records Request
Dear Mr. Ryan:
Pursuant to the provisions of the Arizona Public Records Law (APRL), AR.S. 39-101 through 39-221, Judicial Watch is requesting from the Arizona Department of Corrections access.to and copies of the following public records be made available for inspection pursuant to the Arizona Public Records Law, AR.S. § 39-121, et seq.:
- Copies of any Incident Reports, reports, memos, notes, and/or any documentation of the assault of COIl Boykin at Kaibab -Cell Block 2.
- Statistics on how many Correctional Officers I, II, III, Sergeants, and/or Captains have been assaulted by inmates throughout the State of Arizona in Department of Corrections from January 1,2011 through October 16,2013.
- Statistics regarding the level of security for the inmates who have assaulted Correctional Officers I, II, III, Sergeants, and/or Captains, including but not limited to, if the inmates were from SMU and designated as "1-5, MH 3+ inmates", from January 1,2011 through October 16,2013.
- Statistics on how many Correctional Officers I, II, III, Sergeants, and/or Captains have been assaulted when the "posts" have been "collapsed" from January 1,2011 through October 16,2013.
- Copies of any Incident Reports, reports, memos, notes, and/or any documentation of the assault of Lopez which occurred on or about July 24, 2013 during swing shift in CB2.
- Documentation on why the Arizona Department of Corrections is allowing staff at SMU to escort unrestrained level 1-5, Mental Health 3+ inmates.
Judicial Watch, Inc. also requests that copies of the above-referenced public records be mailed to it promptly pursuant to AR.S. § 39-121.01(D)(1).
For purposes of this request, the term "record" shall be given its broadest possible meaning and shall include, but not be limited to, any and all materials coming within the definition of the term "records" set forth in AR.S. § 41-151.18. It also shall include any and all electronically, magnetically, or mechanically stored material of any kind, any and all electronic mail or e-mail, meaning any electronically transmitted text or graphic communication created upon and transmitted or received by any computer or other electronic device, and any and all material stored on compact disc, computer disk, diskette, hard drive, flash drive, or other electronic storage device. The term "record" also shall mean any drafts, alterations, amendments, changes, or modifications of or to any of the foregoing.
If any responsive records or categories of records are withheld from inspection and copying, please provide an index of the records or categories records that have been withheld and identify the reasons that each record or categories of record has been withheld, pursuant to AR.S. § 39-121.01(D)(2).
Judicial Watch, Inc. is a not-for-profit, public interest organization. It does not seek copies of the requested records for any commercial purpose, as that term is defined by AR.S. § 39-121.03(D). In addition, Judicial Watch, Inc. requests a waiver of any copying or postage fees. Should its request for a fee waiver be denied, Judicial Watch, Inc. agrees to pay reasonable fees associated with the production and mailing of the requested records. If any fee is to be charged, please notify Judicial Watch, Inc. in advance if the expected fee is likely to exceed $350.00.
Please note that, pursuant to AR.S. § 39-121.01(E), access to a public record is deemed denied if a response to a request for inspection and production of a public record, or an index of any record or categories of records withheld from inspection and production, is not provided promptly. Pursuant to A.R.S. 39-121.01.3.D, these records related to these requests must be furnished promptly. Please provide us a prompt written response and records.
If you do not understand this request or any portion thereof, or if you feel you require additional information or clarification in order to respond to this request or any portion thereof, please contact me immediately at (602) 510-7875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very truly yours,
Southwest Projects Coordinator
Information contributed by: ACA and Mark Spencer
Last updated: 02/08/2014