For years, the Arizona Department of Corrections (recently renamed Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry), has demonstrated a deeply rooted culture of dehumanization and has failed to provide even basic medical care to people. Under this agency’s watch, people have died and have endured intense suffering due to a lack of adequate medical attention. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to excarbeate the situation inside Arizona prisons. The ACLU of Arizona, the ACLU and the Prison Law office, alongside family members of incarcerated individuals, are extremely concerned about how ADC and it’s private healthcare provider Centurion, will be able to protect those in its care. Swift action must be taken to ensure the health and well-being of the incarcerated persons, as well as correctional, health care and other staff members.
In an emergency motion filed on March 16, 2020, we are asking a judge to order the Department of Corrections to immediately work with an independent medical expert to develop and implement a plan to prevent and management a coronavirus outbreak. The emergency motion also seeks for ADC to suspend monetary charges for hygiene supplies, fees for medical screening, unblock alcohol-based sanitizer as contraband, and to come up with a plan that includes:
Screening, testing, treatment, and housing for inmates
Provision of hygiene and cleaning supplies
Health care and custody staffing plans
Coordination with local hospitals
Reduction in the density of prison population for inmates with heightened risk.
You can read the emergency motion here:
Read more about how jails and prisons can protect incarcerated individuals here.