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AZ Prison Blues

In Arizona prisoners are allowed a TV, stereo, typewriter, fan, electric razor, reading lamp and a hot pot. Yet the Director of Prisons claims that it is the hot pots which use the most electricity thus he is banning hot pots! He also wants to start using the Activities and Recreation fund for purposes other than those which were the intent of the legislature. In taking the hot pots, the director is also discontinuing all items on the prison store which are used in conjunction with the hot pots.

The director, Samuel Lewis, has a complete disregard for society. Lewis ordered district warden Crist to open a new prison unit before it was completed, by this I mean placing prisoners in a unit when the security fence was not even completed! This is a medium security unit. Warden Crist objected to placing prisoners on an unsecured yard, citing the possible dangers to society. Lewis informed Crist he didn't care about his objections and Crist then resigned. Lewis then ordered Deputy Warden McFadden to open the new unit (Eyman Complex, Meadows Unit, Florence, AZ) and the unit was opened. When the unit was first opened the main gate was not in place, I mean the fence just ended with a space for the gate which was wide open, the prisoners were forced to eat meals sitting on the visitation room floor as the chow hall was unfinished, there was no law library for two months and construction continued on every phase.

B.S. Florence, AZ

[Editor's Note: With his letter this reader sent a memo dated January 31, 1994, issued by AZ DOC Director Lewis. In the memo Lewis states the DOC will use recreation funds to pay for the replacement or repair of any state property damaged through intentional activities or neglect by prisoners. Medical costs associated with personal injuries inflicted by prisoners on each other will also be paid for from the fund. In addition to discontinuing hot pots Lewis states that the DOC will introduce legislation to charge prisoners a nominal fee for the use of electrical appliances. He will also seek to charge prisoners for routine medical expenses. In a memo, later rescinded, Lewis also banned all publications with a sexual theme, i.e. Playboy, Penthouse, Playgirl, Hustler, Fox, etc.]

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