Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dora Letter #1

Dear Ms. Schriro,

We would like to introduce ourselves as the Arizona Prison Wives Club (AZPWC). We are a non-profit, letter writing campaign club made up of women whose husbands, boyfriends, sons and friends are incarcerated in the Arizona State Prison Complexes and private prisons contracted with the Arizona Department of Corrections. Our mission is to promote positive ideas and support efforts that help inmates, through their families, bridge the communication barrier with the Arizona Department of Corrections about concerns and issues that we face while going through this trial of imprisonment. AZPWC was established recently by a group of women that want to have their voices heard. We all, in one way or another, have ties to the prison system. We have experienced "the good, the bad and the ugly" of the Arizona Prison System. We have cried and complained to each other and to our loved ones in prison and realize this is a wasted energy. We have called and complained to correctional officers, Sergeants, Deputy Wardens, and Wardens in the facilities. At times, this has resulted in nothing but retaliation. We are now being pro-active and are focusing our attention directly to you, Ms. Schriro. As the director of The Arizona Department of Corrections you have the ability to implement changes. Who, but the wives, mothers and friends of these inmates, knows better than anyone what these men need? We believe that you truly have the best interests of both the inmates and the community in mind. We have researched your "Parallel Universe" plans from Missouri. We have read articles about your "V-8" moment with your grandfather. We want our men to use their time in prison for true reform, as we think you do. We understand that you are trying to change a system that is not used to change. We understand that you are going up against a lot of government officials (i.e.: Wardens, CO’s) that want to keep the "good 'ole boys" policies in force. We want to work with you, to help you see what is actually going on within your organization. We see the corruption and break down of your policies; the Correctional Officers that usurp their authority on both inmates and visitors, the Wardens that undermine your authority, the lack of follow through with reform, the price gouging with the inmate store, vending machines and collect phone calls, the lack of education, programming, medical attention and the underlying truth that the department doesn’t want the public to know about deaths in the prison, the way the correctional officers wrongfully play the inmates against each other, the lack of true security through visitation intake and the focus being more on petty issues. These are some of the issues we will be writing about monthly.We are here to hold the prison system accountable for the tax dollars used to support the prisons, the unfair treatment of these inmates, the basic warehousing of people that is creating a vicious cycle. We are asking for a genuine effort in prison reform, restoring these inmates to the best of their ability to enter back into our homes and society, and lowering Arizona’s high recidivism rate. We will be writing every month, about a different issue or topic that we feel needs your attention. We will be writing about suggestions that might be helpful in implementing some positive policy changes. We are adding members daily and each of us have our own voice. These letters will be personally signed by each member of the club and it is our hope that you read these letters and have a genuine interest in our concern for the agency you control. We are here for the long haul in helping you help us. We are here to have our voices heard once and for all. As long as you have inmates you will have the Arizona Prison Wives Club backing them up.Thank you for taking the time to get to know the Arizona Prison Wives Club. Our next letter is scheduled to go out June 1st 2008.

Thank You,


Arizona Prison Wives Club Member

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