Coming up at 10:00 AM - House Appropriations Committee agenda includes HB2167, a bill that would create an independent ombudsman and oversight committee to monitor the Arizona Department of Corrections - Watch Live:…
Background on HB2167…
Committee is live at this link…
Here we HB2167 is being heard now
.@mmgillwriter of @FAMMFoundation again testifying in favor of the bill, cites other states who make use of prison oversight committees - tells committee about our reporting this morning on the software program…
.@theWaltBlackman explains how his bill would create a new independent oversight committee
Rep. Blackman says "In order for use to be able to fix a broken system, we need to be able know what's going on." Blackman sites ours reporting: "There are folks sitting in DOC right now that should be let out - we're looking at lawsuits here."
Rep. Blackman: "The article today said there are over 100 inmates sitting in prison right now that have served their time and they are not able to let them out." Here is the story Rep. Blackman is citing:…
The Committee Chairman said they asked the current state ombudsman to take on this task and she was told it was too big of a task
.@DrRandyFriese asked Rep. Blackman if this kind of oversight committee would have prevented the problems we detailed in our story about the software bug keeping inmates in prison beyond their release dates - Blackman said it would have
Rep. Kavanaugh is saying the bill is too broad, says the bill would be "Publicly paid advocacy against our Corrections Department" - Kavanaugh says he's worried the oversight committee would dig up dirt on ADC that attorneys could use to file lawsuits against state
Rep. Friese cites another one of our reports about inmates being charged for health care while they were in prison. "Inmates are human beings" Friese said, he advocates for the need of a citizens oversight committee…
Rep. Fernandez also cites our reporting - brings up that the current software being used to manage inmates had more than 14,000 bugs - says she heard from constituents in 2020 that inmates were being held past their release dates
Rep. Friese thanks Rep. Blackman for bringing the bill - calls it a "human rights issue" - "There are many things that have gone astray in DOC that this kind of oversight committee would help us learn about earlier"
Rep Osborne said Blackman's bill has clearly hit a nerve, votes in favor
Rep. Cobb said there are a lot of things in the bill that need work, votes in favor
HB2167 Is approved with 10 in favor and 3 against

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More from @JimmyJenkins

22 Feb
EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblowers tell @kjzzphoenix a software bug is keeping hundreds of inmates in Arizona prisons beyond their release dates - Sources say Department of Corrections leadership has known about the problem since 2019…
According to Arizona Department of Corrections whistleblowers, hundreds of incarcerated people who should be eligible for release are being held in prison because the inmate management software cannot interpret current sentencing laws.
As of 2019, the Department had spent more than $24 million contracting with IT company Business & Decision, North America to build and maintain the software program, known as ACIS, that is used to manage the inmate population in state prisons.
Read 29 tweets
12 Feb
Don't Kill My Vibe: Arizona Inmate Alleges @kendricklamar CD Ban Is Unconstitutional In Appeal To 9th Circuit…
When an inmate receives a letter, magazine, book or CD in the mail, prison administrators review the materials first. If the items fall within one of several broad categories established by Department of Corrections guidelines, the inmate is denied the material.
Reasons for exclusion can include “depictions of street gangs” to “descriptions of drug paraphernalia.”

While the Department has made revisions, the guidelines for these publications have been repeatedly ruled to be unconstitutional in federal court because they were overbroad
Read 11 tweets
10 Feb
Starting in 2 minutes - Committee On Criminal Justice Reform in the House of Representatives at the Arizona statehouse… Image
HB2320 would expand the ability to seal arrest and sentencing records - @StevenScharbone just gave a really powerful statement on why he thinks it should be expanded to more formerly incarcerated people to help them with challenges they face… Image
Speaker raising concerns on behalf Phoenix Newspapers Inc, which publishes the Arizona Republic, states concerns about "wholesale sealing" of records Image
Read 15 tweets
23 Jan
Story Updated: Inmates in Arizona, California & New Mexico can't access stimulus payments because the IRS sent debit cards to the prisons. @ysalahi tells me it's "consistent with a pattern of the IRS failing to work with state correctional authorities"
More: The Arizona Department of Corrections just released this inmate notification: "The Internal Revenue Service has sent a large number of stimulus debit cards to ADCRR . . . there is no system in place to process debit cards."
More details from an incarcerated person in Arizona about the confusion this debit card debacle is causing:

"Here is the general problem. Whenever something is sent to a prisoner which would be prohibited, the prisoner should get a contraband form/notification . . .
Read 13 tweets
22 Jan
BREAKING: The Arizona Department of Corrections says it's unable to process the second federal stimulus payment for inmates because the IRS is distributing the money on debit cards. The Department says many other states are experiencing the same problem…
It was not immediately clear how many inmates in AZ state prisons have been affected. Several relatives of people in state prisons have contacted KJZZ in recent days, saying their family members, located at different prisons across the state, were told the money was not available
When asked about the payments, Arizona Department of Corrections spokesperson Bill Lamoreaux said “Whether or not an inmate has received or will receive a CARES Act payment is an issue between the inmate and the IRS.” - I am still awaiting a response from the IRS
Read 6 tweets
1 Dec 20
I've just received word that the incarcerated men I emailed for comment on this story have been contacted by prison staff and warned not to respond
Message from an inmate to their family member regarding my emails: "If you contact him, it's important he knows that everyone he contacted wants to respond but fears retaliation"
When ADC abolished inmate phone interviews with the press this summer, they pointed out that "media may exchange an unlimited number of emails" with inmates - now they're shutting down that communication as well
Read 4 tweets

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