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AFSC and ACLU of Arizona to Deliver Thousands of Petitions to Governor Brewer to Stop Plans for 500 Solitary Beds
April 2, 2013
Alessandra Soler, ACLU of Arizona, (602) 773-6006 (office) or (602) 301-3705 (cell);
Matthew Lowen, AFSC, (520) 623-9141 (office), (520) 869-6392 (cell)
PHOENIX - The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona will deliver 378 postcards and a petition with over 2,300 signatures directed at Governor Brewer at a press conference on Wednesday, April 3rd. The petition is part of the “Arizona is MAXED Out” campaign, which the groups launched last summer to highlight abuses in the Arizona prison system, raise awareness about the dangerous practice of solitary confinement, and demand an end to the construction of 500 more maximum-security prison beds.
“Across the country, states are making the wise decision to use public resources on proven policies that promote safe communities and fair treatment, and are successfully reducing the use of solitary - at the same time saving their states millions and reducing violence in the prisons,” said Alessandra Soler executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “Inexplicably, Arizona continues to take a backward approach to prison management and solitary confinement,” she added.
"Although the plan to build these 500 beds has been quietly moving forward, Arizonans are clearly saying they do not think this is a good move for the state,” said Matthew Lowen of AFSC. “We are calling on the Governor to halt the construction process, and for the Legislature to reject additional spending for this facility and do what is right and necessary to prevent additional needless human suffering,” he added.
Patti Jones, the aunt of Tony Lester who tragically died in a state prison will also speak at the event highlighting the need for adequate mental health care for people in state custody.
AFSC’s report, Lifetime Lockdown, based on interviews with 44 recently released prisoners who spent some or all of their time in supermax units and details the impact of isolation conditions on reentry and recidivism is available here: lifetime-lockdown-report
The ACLU of Arizona’s lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) over unconstitutional conditions in supermax prison units, as well as system-wide denial of medical and mental health treatment is available here: issues/prisoner-rights
WHO: Patti Jones, aunt of Tony Lester who died tragically in state prison; Matthew Lowen, Program Coordinator of AFSC; Alessandra Soler, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona.
WHAT: Press conference calling for the halt to maximum-security prison expansion.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Arizona Capitol Complex (Senate Lawn)
Click here to read the letter to Governor Brewer from the ACLU-AZ and AFSC.