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The Fair Care for All Campaign is a priority for the ACLU of Arizona. We seek to end Arizona’s reliance on incarceration by advocating for more humane and cost-efficient alternatives together with fair and equitable criminal justice reforms.
Arizona’s prisons are over-crowded, understaffed, and unsafe. Incarcerating more people in these unconstitutional conditions comes with a hefty price to taxpayers and does nothing to increase public safety. Arizona needs prison reform. And that reform must address the inadequate medical and mental health care, unsafe conditions, overuse of solitary confinement, and increasing reliance on privatization.
Unconstitutional and Inhumane Conditions in Arizona Prisons
The failure of Arizona prison officials to provide basic medical care has resulted in people suffering serious injury and even death. In March of 2012, a legal team led by the ACLU and the Prison Law Office filed a lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) demanding an end to solitary confinement and improvements to the provision of medical and mental health care for people in Arizona prisons. The deficiencies are systemic; ADC’s policies and practices put the health and safety of everyone in their custody at risk. In March 2013, Judge Neil Wake ruled that the case can move forward as a class-action lawsuit.
Stop Solitary Confinement
Solitary confinement is fundamentally inhumane, does nothing to make our communities safer, and wastes taxpayer dollars. Yet three thousand people are held in isolation in Arizona prisons each year. The overuse of solitary confinement is a national epidemic that is making our prisons more dangerous for prisoners, staff, and communities. We need to reduce the number of people held in isolation in Arizona’s prisons. Take Action: Stop the abuse of solitary!
More and more prisons and prison services in Arizona are run by private, for-profit corporations. Keeping more people locked up longer means greater profits, but not greater safety. Cutting corners on medical and mental health care, security officers, and rehabilitation programs make prisons more dangerous for inmates, staff, and communities. Contracts with for-profit companies do not change the state’s obligation to protect people in prison from cruel and unusual punishment or to ensure that contractors comply with the Constitution.
Stories from Arizona Prisons
These are the real stories of people who were incarcerated in Arizona and subjected to constitutional and human rights abuses including grossly inadequate medical care and inhumane conditions in solitary confinement. They are sharing their stories to highlight the need for greater accountability in the Arizona prison system.