NO HUMAN INVOLVED
Tonight No Human Involved screened from my basement in New Jersey to over forty people in Arizona. After the screening I was invited to a Q&A. Experience has shown that often viewers want to know if the cages at Perryville Prison are still operating (Marcia Powell died in a cage in more than 107 degree heat in May 2009). They also want to know about the actions of current administrators in the prisons and governments.
To prepare I read the following.
Study: Arizona prisons get an F for COVID-19 response (an article from Sept 9, 2021, Arizona Republic). The Prisons Policy Initiative reviewed over 30 metrics to give grades across the country-New Jersey got a C perhaps-and Arizona failed. People have not been released from systems of incarceration at all in Arizona, inmates have been cut off from their loved ones because visits are cancelled, vaccination rates are low and health care over all is not protected.
Lawsuit: in 2012 while I was filming No Human Involved, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections regarding lack of health care. In 2014 the department settled the case agreeing to improve health care and conditions. In 2018, a Federal Judge found the Arizona Department of Corrections in contempt for failing to provide adequate health care and fined the department $1.5 million. Earlier this year the Department was fined a second time for an amount of $1 million.
The cages: in 2019 women in Perryviille sent an anonymous letter documenting a new cage in a yard at the prison. "right in the center of the Santa Cruz main yard, where just last year we gathered to remember Marcia, a new cage now stands. Just in time for summer, the ADOC has erected a new cage in which closed custody prisoners will be placed for “main yard rec.”
The Newish names: the current director of AZ DOC is David Shinn. He replaced Charles Ryan who resigned in 2019. Before taking the position he limited (severely) prisoners' access to books and letters. In the job as Director of Arizona Department of Corrections, he has been exposed by a whistleblower for preventing the use of protective masks in the prisons. The current governor Doug Ducey has banned Arizona cities and counties from enacting vaccine mandates for government workers.
Some of the Q&A: This is not a complete list of questions. At tonight's Q&A I was asked, "what is the situation in Perryville now?", "is the administrative over-ride still being used?" and "what can we do to make a change.