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AZ DOC Takes Weights

In December, 1994, the Arizona DOC completed its project of removing all weight lifting equipment from its prison system. The weight equipment was donated by the DOC to various schools and non profit organizations with athletic programs. This is part of the long running campaign by Arizona DOC Director Sam Lewis to strip Arizona prisoners of as many privileges and rights as possible. The "reason" cited by Lewis in the weights removal was claiming that $600,000 was spent in medical care treating weight lifting injuries among prisoners. Given the fact that Arizona spent $31 million on prison health care, which was recently found constitutionally inadequate with horrific conditions detailed by a federal judge [see PLN, Vol. 5, No. 8] this seems unlikely.

Arizona prisoners have filed suit in federal court claiming that the DOC lacked the legal authority to give away their weights because the weights were all bought with funds from the prisoners' welfare fund and not state funds. They also claim that the seizure violated their right to due process of law because no hearing or prior notification was given before the weights were taken. We will report any victory for prisoners on this issue.

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