I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, November 12, 2010

Brewer: Please sack Chuck Ryan.

This letter to Governor Brewer, received in a roundabout way from the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, confirms some of my suspicions. Way to go Tixoc and the ACPOA.

I'm glad they have as many problems with the falsification of records and shabby treatment of prisoners as I do. Their website is an interesting resource, and I imagine they probably have members who would willingly provide eyewitness testimony to institutional patterns of abuse, neglect and deceit to anyone investigating the ADC. Corrections' employee websites and blogs are the bomb. The ACPOA has had a running commentary from the president about the dictatorship of Chuck Ryan for quite awhile, and now they're bordering on insurrection. In fact, it looks like they're already there.

One problem, however, is that the appeal to sack Chuck Ryan goes to the very person who wanted him there to bully everyone into submission in the first place - this isn't just how Chuck runs his department, it's how Brewer runs the state. She asked that man to come run the ADC for a reason, so I'm not entirely optimistic that this appeal will make much of a difference with her - especially given her overwhelming victory in the elections. But it's still a message worth sending.

Good luck in your battle, folks. Let me know if I can help.


November 10, 2010

Governor Janet Brewer,

We, the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, represent all members of the Arizona Department of Corrections to include: correctional officers, correctional officer IIIs, correctional sergeants, correctional lieutenants, correctional captains,correctional nurses, correctional majors, non-uniform staff and many others that proudly serve the citizens of the State of Arizona. We respectfully submit this letter as our official notice regarding a majority vote of no confidence in Agency Director Charles Ryan.

We, the AZCPOA, write this letter with great hesitation, and only after much discussion and contemplation. We hesitate because we consider ourselves a team of professional, dedicated and educated individuals, and it goes contrary to our traditions to break the chain of command. We also hesitate because we fully believe that if this letter does not have the desired result, there will most certainly be retaliation. We will most certainly pay a high price for doing what we know in our hearts to be the right thing for the State of Arizona, its citizens and its employees.

Over the past year and a half, we have been disheartened by the actions of Director Charles Ryan. He has tested our willpower and confidence in his skill to adequately lead this agency. Under his leadership, staff morale has plummeted to depths never before seen at this agency. This is a direct reflection of our lack of confidence in Director Ryan as he has not taken any steps to improve the spirits of the members of this association or members of this agency. If anything, attitudes have continued to deteriorate within the department forcing an exodus of many well respected individuals and members of our Association.

Employee issues in question regarding the leadership qualities of Director Ryan include: lack of communication in the day to day operations of the agency where information is not disseminated through his subordinates who are responsible for ensuring compliance with polices and procedures. To illustrate this point, there are many unanswered questions regarding staff rotation and why the methodology is inconsistent from complex to complex with apparent disregard to employee needs and fairness.

Furthermore, the agency has experienced a large amount of disparate punishment for similar offenses in the past and suspect there are employees that are being targeted for political reasons or just purely disciplined on emotion rather than facts or evidence at hand. It appears the merits of the investigations have no bearing on the sanction imposed thus poor judgment is used to handle these matters. It is our opinion Director Ryan fosters an atmosphere of workplace bullying and intimidation of employees to maintain a micro management type of control over the agency.

There exists, within ADOC administration, a well-known pattern of obstructing the disclosure of hazards in time to prevent accidents, injury, illness, and deaths. Tragically, in these instances, danger is not "imminent" - it is past, and too late to respond. Employees are routinely ordered to falsify documents and when they proactively seek to report identified hazards, they face punishment and retaliation. Obtaining an accurate account of the range and extent of violations will be difficult from records alone. It is unlikely that ADOC will disclose information without well-planned intervention by authorities. There is no evidence of any health and safety program existing, even on paper. There is no identifiable health and safety officer or other person bearing that responsibility and essential training is lacking to assure staff can perform certain assigned tasks safely and equipped with appropriate equipment e.g. cell extractions, transports, etc.

The entire department is devoid of any active programs for: Fire Prevention, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection, Medical Surveillance, Record keeping, Ventilation, Emergency Evacuation Procedures, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Response, Training, or Education. Failure of ADOC administration to respond has resulted in secondary risks and complications - now endangering, not just the prison population and employees, but the public at large. Appropriate identification of risk requires your immediate intervention. Another day must not go by without initiating an investigation.

We as institutional line staff are expected to hold a very high standard within the institutions and community, we expect that our Director and his administrators to be held to the same standard of conduct and the same standard of punishment if those standards are violated.

In closing this matter, we would like to remind you that we are not troublemakers, malcontents, or disgruntled employees. We are members of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association who have given our hearts and souls to serve the agency and the State of Arizona. Our agenda is strictly based in the well being of the agency so that we may appropriately serve the communities that depend on us for public safety.

Based on these circumstances we tender this letter of No Confidence in Director Charles Ryan and ask that Director Ryan be removed from his position.


Tixoc Munoz
President and Executive Director
Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association

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