Arizona Department of Corrections Visitation

If you have never had the unfortunate experience of visiting someone in an Arizona State Correctional Facility just wait. With the current laws in Arizona, it's really only a matter of time before someone you know will spend time behind bars. Even if you think that it will not happen to you, don't be so sure. I never thought it could happen to anyone I know but it did.

This blog is a documentation of my own personal experiences with The Arizona Department of Corrections. A friend of mine is currently incarcerated and is serving his sentence in the Tucson Catalina Unit which is a Level-1 yard. Level-1 is supposed to be the lowest security level with the least restrictions. It is supposed to be a place where the incarcerated are learning the skills necessary to re-enter society as law-abiding citizens. The "transition program" as some refer to it, is part of the "parallel universe" that is constantly being touted by Dora Schriro, the Director of The Arizona Department of Corrections. Operating in the "parallel universe" under what is called "The Arizona Plan" means that the state's department of corrections "should operate as much as possible like the real world to which inmates return providing prisoners with ample practice living as civil and productive adults before they return to the community".

Since my friend has been incarcerated, I have spent a considerable amount of time in the Tucson Catalina unit and I can tell you first hand that there is no similarity whatsoever between the real world and what goes on there. I have also talked to several people who have had experiences with the ADOC visitation process both in Tucson and elsewhere in Arizona. Many of the stories are similar and the problems seem to be statewide. I have also found that very few people are willing to talk about their negative experiences for fear of retaliation against their loved ones. Shame on ADOC for allowing such behavior.

The first problem, as I see it, is with the Correctional Officer's (CO's) that work in visitation. It looks as if a lot of them do not have the people skills necessary to deal with the outside world. Many of them are rude and disrespectful to the visitors. They find fault with every little thing and appear to go out of their way to make the entire visitation experience unbearable for both the inmate and the visitor. They seem to forget that the visitor is not incarcerated and does not live at the prison with the inmate - that we are not criminals and should not be treated like second-class citizens. I don't know what qualifications a person needs to work in the visitation area but it seems to me that the CO's should have to undergo some sort of personality testing along with some "people-skills" training in order to work in visitation. Instead, it seems like the CO's that work in visitation are the CO's that they don’t know what to do with. It's almost as if there is nowhere else to put them so they just put them in visitation. CO Hayes at the Catalina unit is referred to by her co-workers as the “anti-Christ”. If co-workers can't even work with her, how can visitors be expected to deal with her every weekend?

Another problem with the visitation experience is the visitation area itself. Many of them are extremely filthy. Sometimes there is no water, other times there is no toilet paper, no paper towels, or soap in the bathrooms and there are NEVER any toilet seat covers. Often times the vending machines are empty or are broken so for six or seven hours you may not get food or water. Some of the CO's sit next to you in the visitation area (that is, at the same table), interact with the inmates and visitors, stare intently and you, your children and your family and listen to your personal and private conversations. Some of the CO's let the children play and some of them want the children sitting at all times. Others make you stand in the sun to see if they can see through your shirt and others turn away infants and toddlers if they are wearing brown or blue denim (a dress code that only applies to persons over eight years of age). Still others are paranoid and overreact to every look and mannerism displayed - innocent or not. All of them like enforcing the rules but NONE of them seem to know the reason behind any of the rules. Their mentality makes any sort of reasonableness or common sense judgment-call impossible. The attitude is simply, this is the rule and that's that. The rules vary by location, are often over-interpreted and are always taken to the extreme with no justification whatsoever except for "because I'm in brown and you are in orange". The CO's always back each other up even when one is wrong. If one CO says something incorrect, the other CO's will stand by it no matter how wrong it is.

Tucson-Catalina Unit (Level-1 yard)
When I first started visiting the Tucson Catalina Unit, it was being "run" by CO Smith. She was polite and courteous to all of the visitors as well as the inmates. She observed the visitation area respectfully and reasonably. She seemed to know everything that was going on. But then she left (I don’t know if she quit or if she transferred to another unit) and along came CO Hayes and CO Glenn. I know that CO Glenn also worked along side of CO Smith but he made no secret of the fact that he did not like her. CO Glenn is one of those people who by the sheer fact that an organization issued him a walkie-talkie feels like he can now go around and be as rude and as disrespectful as possible and never have to be accountable to anyone. The only time you see CO Glenn smile is when he is on his way to the side room of the chow hall to strip an inmate out. It's appears as if this part of his job gives him great pleasure. The rest of his day, he takes it upon himself to sit in the visitation area next to the inmates and listen to their conversations. He will sit 2 feet in front of you and watch you for a full 30 minutes before he moves on. It's almost like he only knows how to watch one table at a time. He also talks to himself a lot, he will mumble something and point to the sky and continue mumbling. It is all pretty bizarre. Most of the visitors can't stand him - in fact, his nickname around there is "Creepy G" since most of the time he is lurking around, acting creepy and blatantly staring at everyone including the kids. He does not observe the visitation area like CO Smith did, he goes out of his way to make sure that you feel as uncomfortable as possible. According to CO Glenn, part of his job is to listen to the conversations that are going on in the visitation area and to be close enough to see whether an "M&M” is actually an M&M". Those are his words, not mine - that is what he told one of the visitors directly. The thing that is the most peculiar is that the Catalina unit is the lowest level in terms of security but based on my conversations with other visitors, it seems to be the one unit where you are constantly watched and feel constantly on display. There is no sense of privacy whatsoever - it's impossible to have a private conversation with the person you are visiting, inmates cannot talk to their kids about how they are doing because the kids are scared that a "guard" is watching them and that they are doing something wrong. To be constantly STARED at is a very uncomfortable feeling. It's not like a situation that is being observed and monitored - this is full-on blatant staring to the point of creepy. CO Hayes and CO Glenn are really paranoid too. They are constantly checking the coin slots in the vending machines, and checking the area around the drinking fountain. They also rifle through your belongings at the table if you leave to go outside. One time, CO Hayes confiscated a visitors gloves when she left the table to go outside and then told her that she could not wear gloves into the visitation area in the winter because they are considered a "Class A Tool". Now, don't you think that is a little absurd?

I guess the bottom line is this: As a visitor, don't expect to be treated any differently than the way the inmates are treated at any prison facility. I don't think the way the inmates are treated is fair either but there is a lot less that we can do about it. The inmates are in the custody of the ADC but visitors are not. It's unfortunate that ADC makes the visitation process so difficult all the while publicizing how important it is to the recidivism rates to maintain relationships with family and friends, etc. One would think that by the time an inmate has made it to a Level-1 yard, he would be treated with a little more dignity. Even if an inmate has not earned his or her way to a Level-1 yard but ends up on one, it is usually because the crime that was committed was considered non-dangerous. These are not rapists, murderers and child molesters that we are talking about. Most of these people are drug abusers or are serving time for some other petty crime. One would assume that the CO's at these units would be empowered to use common sense and reasonableness when enforcing rules. One would think that the CO's would follow some code of professional conduct in its treatment of visitors. The sad truth seems to be that if a loved one finds him or herself behind bars, you will be treated like a criminal right along with them.

If you have a story to share about your visitation experiences with The Arizona Department of Corrections, post your comments here. You can do it anonymously if you are afraid of retaliation. Or you can e-mail me your response and I will post a comment for you. So far I have heard from visitors in Tucson, Goodyear, Winslow and Yuma. Keep them coming - it's amazing how venting about this stuff can make you feel so much better.


46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nightmare. I sympathize with your position and hope your frustration ends soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted this blog about the visitation at the Arizona Department of Corrections. My husband was in the Santa Rosa Unit in Perryville and it was a nightmare.

Much like your experience in Tucson, we started out pretty well with CO Senatore. Just like CO Smith, she seemed to know everything about visitation. She was friendly, polite and courteous to all of the inmates and the visitors. There did not seem to be any problems while CO Senatore was around. But then CO Sentatore was transferred to another unit and we ended up with CO Pivac and CO Troy that took over. CO Troy sat in the visitation admitting room training on the computer most of the time so he was not as hard to deal with as CO Pivac was. She was a real piece of work. The first problem with her is that she did not know the visitation rules. These rules were even posted in the chow hall (which was used for visitation) but she always said that the rules at the Santa Rosa unit were different than the rules at the other units and that the rules posted on the wall were no longer valid. The first rule that was different was that the inmates and visitors could not sit next to one another. You had to sit on opposite sides of the table. The second rule that was different was the the visitors could not lean their heads on their hands. CO Pivac considered this to be "lying down" which was against the rules. Another different rule was that while you could hold hands with your visitor, your arms could not actually touch in the process. These new rules were the epitome of nit-picking. At one point,CO Pivac pulled my boyfriend out of visitation to tell him that I was "mad-dogging" (those were her words) her and that was against the rules and if I didn't stop, he could lose his visits. I seriously don't know what she was talking about but I figured at this point, she was just trying to find something--anything to carp on. Another time, when visitation was over and the visitors were all clearing out of the chow-hall, she yelled loudly to everyone "YOU PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE". Still another time, she insisted on getting the social security number of an infant visitor and had the parents leave visitation to go get it. I know for a fact that social security numbers are not required for infants to be able to visit - all you need is the birth certificate and this infant visitor had already been put on the approved visitor list. The worst part was that she left all of the Id's sitting on the counter so that any inmate or fellow visitor had access to them. I find it horrifying that any inmate and/or visitor could have taken my driver's license at any time and would have had my home address, my driver's license number, etc. Her behavior was incomprehensible. It got so bad that I finally asked to talk to a Sergeant. It was Sergeant Moran and it only made it worse. I explained to Sergeant Moran that the people on the Level 1-2 yards are people that have worked there way there with good conduct and that there were certain privileges that we wanted to keep (sitting next to one another, etc.). Sergeant Moran said that while the sitting rule was not a standard rule at other yards, it was a standard rule at the Santa Rosa unit and must be abided by. When I asked him if I could get a copy of the rules for that particular unit since they seemed to be so different from other units, I was told that the rules were not written down but that they were "allowed" to verbally dictate them as they saw fit. Now, I don't know about anybody else but I don't see how I can reasonably be expected to follow a set of rules that are not posted anywhere and are not even written down. I really wanted to follow the rules too. The CO's can really make things difficult for you if you don't and things were difficult enough. The stress of visitation at that unit was so unbearable that I started to get physically ill before each visit. I can't tell you how relieved I was when my boyfriend was moved off of that yard.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience when my brother was in the Coronado Unit in Winslow, Arizona.
Coronado Unit in Winslow. It was a Level-2 yard and my brother was transfered there after being out of state for a while. Just like Tucson and Goodyear, it started out fine with CO Gossman. She seemed to know everything about visitation and things ran smoothly when she was there. She was polite and courteous and the inmates and visitors were very appreciative. Don't get me wrong, she was a stickler for the rules but she was never disrespectful while enforcing them. BUT...then CO Gossman was transferred to another unit and while they were trying to fill the open position, we had CO Laswell to deal with. CO Laswell was obsessed with the red-line rule. In the visitation area, there was a red line that was in front of all of the vending machines. If someone had so much as a big toe on the line she would run over and threaten to write a ticket if it was not removed immediately. When visitors would come into the lobby, she would take their quarters, dump them out on the visitation desk and count them in stacks of $2.50 each. You are only allowed to bring in $20 worth of quarters and she was going to make sure that you did not have 1 cent more than that. One time she asked an inmate who spoke Spanish to come out of the visitation room and talk to a visitor (who did not speak English) about her bra. See, sometimes the metal detector would go off if you wore an under-wire bra. That is..sometimes..not always. This male inmate translator was not related to this visitor but was asked to come out and talk to her about her underwear? This poor woman was really embarrassed. On yet another occasion, CO Laswell refused to let a visitor in because the buckle on her shorts went off in the metal detector. Even though she used the wand to make sure that it was, in fact, the buckle that was setting it off, she refused to let that person in and made a comment about the possibility of this girl carrying a knife in her bra. I don't know about you but everything she did and said seemed to lack all reason and common sense. Remember now, this is a Level-2 yard. This is supposed to be one of the lowest security levels and part of Dora's parallel universe. The risks and problems on the higher level yards don't really exist on Level-2 yards. There is not the same amount of drugs or fights or even racial tension. There is absolutely no reason for CO Laswell to treat anybody that way. A lot of the visitor's drove there from Phoenix - I know for me it was a 3 and 1/2 hour drive so to make that drive and then have someone pick on you or nit-pick every little thing was pretty difficult to deal with. It also took a MINIMUM of one hour to get in. The security line was extremely slow and long so by the time you got in, the visit was half over. If you were not in compliance what could you do? You would have to go somewhere in the town and buy something else to wear, come all the way back, wait in the long line again and if you were lucky - you would get a visit of 2 or 3 hours. It was absolutely ridiculous. I understand the whole security thing. I get why they need to search your car, have to dog search your car, etc. but for the life of me - I will never understand why these CO's feel the need to be so rude. It's not the mere fact of enforcing the rules that makes them rude - it's the fact that they take it so far - that they treat you so poorly and that they seem to celebrate turning visitors away - it's just sick.

Anonymous said...

I went to visitation in Yuma once. I can't remember the name of the facility but I know that it was the lowest level security yard they had. When I got there, I was told by CO Johnson to stand in the sun and turn around 3 times slowly to see if my shirt was see-through. The problem with that was that I had two shirts on - I always wore layers because I didn't want any problems getting into visitation. Then I was told that my shirt was too tight and that I needed to go to Target to buy some extra large t-shirts just to wear to visitation. My shirt was not tight at all but I was too freaked out to argue with her. She ended up letting me in but she told me that if I ever wore that shirt again, she would turn me away. She then made a note of the shirt I was wearing so that she would not forget. Even after I got in CO Johnson remained hypercritical. She wanted all of the women to make sure that both feet were on the floor at all times. We could not cross our legs and if we did we would risk losing our visits. When I asked her for a tampon out of the locked cabinet in the bathroom, she waited 45 minutes to get me one and then announced really loudly what she was doing to her co-workers. Was it really necessary to tell the other MALE CO's that she was going to get me a tampon? Was it really appropriate for her to ask me to turn around slowly 3 times in the sun to see if you could see through my shirt when I clearly had a shirt on underneath it? And if she needed me to stand in the sun in the first place, doesn't that tell you that my shirt was NOT see-through? I guess humiliating the visitors was part of the protocol in Yuma.

Heather L said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My 3-year old son could not wear small mittens on the coldest day we went to visit in Tucson this past Christmas. The wind was horrible and everyone was freezing to death and he could not wear mittens the size of my cell phone!!! I don't usually have problems actually in visitation because the female c/o likes my kid for some reason, but getting through the front is always horrible.

Anonymous said...

Ok first off why isn't this blog in every Arizona visitors email inbox?!
This site is amazing and should be reviewed to the CO's in every unit of every pod in the state of Arizona!

I'm truly sorry to hear some of the expierences that some of you had to endure. Remember why you go and who you are doing this for. Don't let them deture you away. By using this type of outlet is a really good resource and I'll be sure to get more Arizona people to view this.
I know it's something I wish I would have stumbled on sooner.

On a lighter note than most of you here. I have something positive to say about a CO.
I used to visit Rynning/Eyman in Florence (before it turned to a SO yard). Most of the vistation officers were good. You had a few ugly ducklings out of place but nothing quite like what you anonymous people here describe (phew).
I have to comend CO Presno for a minute. I have only been doing this visiation thing for coming up on a year soon so in a way I'm still a newbie (depends what you conisder newbie). Anyway CO Presno is by far the most respectable CO I have ever had contact with. He gave respect not only to the inmates but the visitors. For those 6 hours we were there it was like we forgot that we were in prison. He is truly a blessing to DOC and I'm so thankful that I can say something positive about a CO like him.
I only wish I could say that more CO's were commendable like him.

Should there be a day when I run into a CO that deserves a good vent this spot is bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

I visited the Tucson-Catalina Unit this past weekend and CO Glenn set up an "Officer's Station" where the CO's can sit without making the visitors feel wierd. That is a significant positive change and I could really tell that both the inmates and the visitors really appreciated not having to sit next to a CO and not feeling as if their every little move was being disected. It turned out to be a much more relaxing environment.

Anonymous said...

I have been there too and have seen the so called "Officers Station". They (well one of them) still sits at other tables and listens to your conversations. It is that and the staring that drives me nuts!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to share with all of you my experience this weekend when I went to visitation on Saturday. Man our visit was watched like a hawk this weekend. I was so frustrated with the CO this weekend. Fifteen minutes into our visit we got warned for touching. It was a subconscious touch of my leg he went in to tell me something close so I could hear him and he placed his hand on my leg. So CO comes running and pulls my man to the back of the visit and tells hims this is your last and final warning. I was like are you serious ok so we watched ourselves the rest of the visit since the CO was standing over us the entire visit with his arms crossed. So 20 minutes before the visit was over (after an 8 hour visit) I stretched my legs out!! Well when I stretched out my leg it got to close to my mans leg and CO runs over to our table and pulls my man aside to the rule board and tells him read #5. I was like what happened. I was lost didn't know what happened so I read the board and he was trying to say that our legs were intertwined with each other. He was all I am putting it in the computer!! I was so furious that an innocent stretch caused so much drama!!

The main reason I am upset is because he was so busy trying to make sure that we did not get close but there is so many other serious issues he should be worried about....what about the guys that are having their girls smuggle in the dope!! I was like what the hell!! If we were going to get written up or visits revoked we would have gone in for the long haul!! I would have went out with a bang. I am not trying to get my visits revoked for an innocent stretch 20 minutes before the visit is over!! Come on now!! I understand that they have rules!! But my man has been trying to do good he hasnt had a write up since 2001. He is working hard at becoming a phase 3 so we can enjoy more of each other!! I was like something so pety like that could hurt his chances of getting to a phase 3!!

I just needed to vent about my visit and for now on I guess we will just have to sit acroos from each other since we are offending the CO at visitations!!

Anonymous said...

This past weekend in Tucson was pretty bad. CO Hayes is so rude and CO Glenn is such a freak.
The only time they were decent was on Sunday when they had a bbq outside. As soon as they saw food they got happy but otherwise they were just miserable! I really hate being harrassed constantly! It's just wrong!

Anonymous said...

Special Visit?

I recently had a Special Visit with a friend I've known for many years, who just so happens to be housed with the ADC out at Manzanita. I would have to say that some of the CO's who work there might want to take a training course in basic social skills, but also how to act professionally on the job, along with a refresher course of some type, that reminds them most visitors are not felons and should be treated with dignity and respect. Something I always thought was a fundamental understanding, but evidently not.

When I arrived and was finally allowed to enter the area where the metal detector is, a rather "mascucline" Hispanic woman in the control booth wearing a ball cap glared at me and said nothing. Since I had not been there before, I wasn't sure what to do. I politely stated that I was there for a special visit, and while continuing to glare at me, I was told to sit down and wait. Nothing more. While sitting there I noticed some paperwork on a clipboard on a table. I then remembered that once when I had been to see my friend before at another facility I had to fill out paperwork. (I might see this man once a year if that), and I sought her attention and asked if I needed to fill out one of those forms. She continued to glare, nodded the affirmative, and proceeded to go about whatever she was doing.

A few minutes later an African American woman (CO) came through a door and held out her hand for my paper. (Good thing someone told me to fill out the form....NOT) She made no eye contact with me and said nothing. (I found myself wondering briefly if she was mute and blind) I then politely said, "Good morning" and smiled at her. (One of us needed to acknowledge the presence of the other) and again, without looking at me said "good morning". (Whew....what a relief to know she could verbally communicate). She then proceeded to process me in without conversation and I walked into what I assumed would be our visiting area, though she never told me to have a seat, or that my friend would be out soon, or made any other type of verbal communication that would have validated I was a human being there to visit with someone. I was left to sort of stand around and wait for my friend. There were no chairs to sit in at the time just a sea of tables. She did however, go outside and made what appeared to be very friendly conversation with a trustee (at least she talks to someone) and he and a few other inmates came into the visitation room and proceeded to put down chairs.

In short, after (7) hours of visiting with my friend, I can tell you this; Aside from my friend whom I drove over 150 miles to come and see, the only folks communicating with me that day were the trustees who milled about. They were polite and actually treated me like a human being. I work, (and have always worked) professionally in the Social Services field. If at any point in my career I had treated a client's family member, friend, associate, or otherwise involved party in the manner in which I was treated that day, I would have lost my job.

Shame on The Arizona Department of Corrections for hiring and sustaining the employment of CO's such as the ones I encountered that day. Their attitude leaves much to be desired.

Anonymous said...

When my loved one was in Barchey in Lewis prison, I'm glad that we were able to have a good experience with the CO's there. They certainly followed their guidelines and were polite to visitors. They didn't seem to harass anyone one while on visitation because it was quality time for the inmates and their families. Processing visitors at Lewis prison was pretty quick. The only thing I hated was riding the bus to the unit and from the unit. Other than that, it was all good.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that the CO's at the Arizona Department of Corrections have to follow a code of ethics?

"Department Order 501: Employee Professionalism, Ethics and Conduct" talks about the duties of the CO's when it comes to their interaction with the public.

The PURPOSE of the Department Order says "This Department Order affirms the dignity and worth of Department employees and ensures that the optimum level of professionalism is maintained. The Department expects of its employees the highest ethical standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality and conduct in their interaction with inmates, other employees and the general public. Employees' observance of law is required at and away from the job. These standards are necessary to merit continued respect and confidence from the public."

Maybe the CO's should read their own CODE OF ETHICS and start abiding by them. Maybe we can write them a ticket every time they are not in "compliance". Wouldn't that be nice?

DEPARTMENT ORDER 501
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
CODE OF ETHICS

The Arizona Department of Corrections is committed to a code of ethics that will guide the performance, conduct and behavior of its employees. This code will ensure that our professionalism is reflected in the operation and activities of the Department and is recognized by all interested parties. In this light, the following principles are practiced:

I shall maintain high standards of honesty, integrity, and impartiality, free from any personal considerations, favoritism, or partisan demands.

I shall be courteous, considerate, and prompt when dealing with the public, realizing that we serve the public.

I shall maintain mutual respect and professional cooperation in my relationships with other staff members of the Department of Corrections.

I shall be firm, fair, and consistent in the performance of my duties. I shall treat others with dignity, respect, and compassion and provide humane custody and care, void of all retribution, harassment, or abuse.

I shall uphold the tenets of the United States Constitution, its amendments, the Arizona Constitution, Federal and State laws, rules and regulations, and policies of the Department.

Whether on or off duty, in uniform or not, I shall conduct myself in a manner that will not bring discredit or embarrassment to the Department of Corrections and the State of Arizona.

I shall report without reservation any corrupt or unethical behavior which could affect either inmates, employees, or the integrity of the Department of Corrections.

I shall not use my official position for personal gain.

I shall maintain confidentiality of information that has been entrusted to me and designated as such.

I shall not permit myself to be placed under any kind of personal obligation which could lead any person to expect official favors.

I shall not accept or solicit from anyone, either directly or indirectly, anything of economic value such as a gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, or loan, which is or may appear to be, designed to influence my official conduct.

I will not discriminate against any inmate, employee, or any member of the public on the basis of race, gender, creed, or national origin.

I will not sexually harass or condone sexual harassment with or against any person.

I shall maintain the highest standards of personal hygiene, grooming, and neatness while on duty or otherwise representing the Department.

Have you ever met a CO that follows this code of ethics? I have not!

Anonymous said...

Ok ladies so I had visitation this weekend on saturday Rast Unit Lewis Complex. And due to the way things went the last visit we were completely on our best behavior. It also helped that his mom was there so we didn't have to many intimate moments alone. I sat my distance from him and made sure that there was no mistake of us getting to close, the extent of our touching was just holding hands with our arms extended from each other.

Can you believe that my man still got harrassed by the visitation C/O? Let's see he hadn't even made it into the visitation room and he had already got scolded by c/o to watch the contact. So needless to say we were watched like hawks the entire time. Ok we knew we would be watched so thats why we were on our best behavior. Well my man went to go throw trash and just said what's up to one of his friends and asked how was your visit well c/o jumped up and attacked him that he had to go back to his table. ok sir.....well my man was sitting at the table and leaned on his elbow so c/o came running to the table no slouching!! ok sir....so he sat up and again he leaned and again here comes c/o this is your last warning no slouching....so he sent my man off the deep end and he went to talk to him to tell him lets get the sargeant in here so we can resolve this issue that we have. he told him that he did not want to go through this every weekend with him. well sargeant came in and they all chatted and of course there was no happy medium and they told him the were documenting this and wanted to pull his visits completely. WTF??? He told them that how could they do that when all the issues that he has been harrassed about have been different issues. All the issues are quickly corrected and that everytime a new issue arises.

I just can't believe that they nit pick and provoke the guys until they snap. Why does it have to be this way?? I know that my man has been on his best behavior and has not had any infractions since 2001. He is trying so hard and they make it so hard for him!! Man I wish I could talk to somebody about this but I know that it would go in one ear out the other!!

Thanks ladies for letting me vent one more time!! The way it looks I might be venting a lot on visitation issues until the co gets tired of us correcting the problem and finds another couple to harrass!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the blog left i visit my love one every week and dont agree with the way the CO'S are. I feel that they should change a lot of things in the Catalina Unit especially the dress code.

Anonymous said...

This one does not have much to do with visitation, but I did not know where else to post this. A friend of mine told me about this blog, so maybe someone from the DOC will read this one and act on it.
I just got a letter from my fiance which is in the Manzanita Unit in Tucson, Building 4. In his letter he told me about an actual fistfight that happened between two female officers last week in the tower of his building. One accused the other of being to flirtious with the inmates and the other told her off. Which then resulted into some bad name calling and then into the fistfight. One of the officers got pretty bruised up and it was very noticable, but as of now, the DW, the acting officer or the SGT on duty have done absolutely nothing about this situation. Which now should result in punishment for everybody involved and those that ignored this very bad incident.
These are the same officers that come into our visitation room and accuse people of things, treat us and our loved ones like animales, are supposed to watch our loved ones, getting paid with Arizonas tax dollars, etc. I for one would love to find out, how they could get away with something like this, no punishment whatsoever, knowing that all the inmates and their family members know all about it. If it would be your inmate, I bet he or she would already be doing time in the hole and getting the TR date revoked.
So now am asking the Director of the Arizona DOC to punish everybody in the same harsh manner as she would an inmate.

Anonymous said...

I first went to the ADC for visitation in 1993.
AS I sat and read these blogs about prison visitation, I felt irritated as if I was there all over again!
I had to laugh too some of the comments were so true of every visitation that it was scary, as if they train for the position, and they probably DO have a personality test as another very insightful blog writer stated... it's a LACK of personality that gets the position filled! When I read the blog to a DW about the conditions at visitation that can cause disease and not just to inmates to the other CO's and so on... to maintain a clean and safe environment fit for humans is just common sense, and for a DW to admit NOT KNOWING I for one do not buy that response, if it were a law and it should be, ignorance is not an excuse... and furthermore what was happening there was so basic that not knowing for a DW is irresponsible and it ought to be a priority as a STATE EMPLOYEE. I too have been a STATE EMPLOYEE and when the employees I personally SUPERVISED did not follow olicy and procedure tha is written not verbal (get real)..I was made responsible!
When I read about the "creepy" CO I couldn't help but wonder if he has a true mental illness.
I worked for the behavioral health authority as a case manager in Maricopa County and I also worked at County Hospital Mental Health Annex and I have literally observed the behaviors of many of the CO's mentioned here who work in visitation right on locked units where they medicated and kept the patients away from the communities!
WOW so it appears that a solid mind isn't criteria for a CO.... scary isn't it?
My son is a current inmate, and if he and I are visiting, and a CO decides to STARE at ME or SIT next to ME I would call that voyeurism!!
If I am forced to "stand in the sun " for the pure enjoyment of a male CO, or a bi female CO that is absolutely sexual harassment. I haven't visited for a few years so I haven't seen this action yet!
When my cousin was on the AZ Death Row, I was restricted from visiting for a TRAFFIC TICKET!! it wasn't a DUI or even a crash, not a red light... that was just ridiculous!
When my cousin (after 20 years) on DR, DIED (of natural causes) I was NOT notified.
He published a book from DR, and it is now being read in many languages in many countries. But he didn't deserve to have his only family member that still wrote him and loved him notified.
My son was recently hospitalized and I was not notified. I found out because I logged in on the site!
So, here I am at nearly 6AM with insomnia, still up and writing this blog from the stress. This is a great outlet.
I hope I haven't bored anyone...
I enjoyed reading the blogs here because they are appropriate, written by articulate individuals with good observations, excellent insight,and they give relevant problem solving ideas and have VALID FEELINGS.
When a loved one is sentenced to prison it becomes an issue for the family, the children who are just victims of circumstance like my grandkids. They will now see their Daddy at a prison with CO's that are rude to their parents the inmate and the one who brought them be it a grand parent or a mother a father to see a mother etc..
They are seeing more than they need to and if it feels intimidating to us, and if we are hot and have no food or drink or warmth in the cold, it adds so much more to the equation. We cannot allow children to be neglected by tghe state itself! The state employees are responsible for the safety of the people there all of them. This includes being observant and a CO cannot observe a visitation room if he or she is sitting WITH a family!!!
I do hope that through communication such as this we can look forward to a better way of doing things in the future. We are human beings all of us.
I am afraid on many levels today for my son. I am, and have been a single mother, and grandmother. I carry a very heavy weight and when I go to visit at this place that my son has been sentenced to due to choices he made in the world.
Please don't punish me or my other children who miss their brother so much it hurts, please don't punish my grandkids for visiting their Daddy, and please don't punish me for loving my son.

Anonymous said...

What you people are all forgetting is.....ITS A PRISON!!!! It's not supposed to be comfortable. If your loved ones weren't dirtbag parasite criminals, you wouldn't have to go there.

Anonymous said...

What you are forgetting is that if the CO's weren't dirtbag parasite losers who aren't even qualified to get a greeter's job at Walmart, and therefore had to go get a job at the only place that would hire them, namely, the "end of the line" Arizona Department of Corrections, things would actually be done in the professional manner that one should demand from such a taxpay funded institution, and none of these problems would exist. Since when did society stop demanding professionalism and integrity from its tax funded employees, and simply say that mediocrity is ok, because it's done with respect to those "other people" that I don't like? To the idiot who posted the above comment, let's see how you feel next time you get pulled over for no real reason, and some asshole cop treats you with no respect whatsoever, and like one of those same "dirtbags." You will be talking a whole different deal then, and then we will see if only the dirtbag parasites get what they deserve. Numbers of CO's in the Arizona Deartment of Corrections get convicted of crimes themselves (including stealing the identities of inmates!). You are probably a CO yourself, and can't stand that the people in prison have other people that love them and come to visit them, when you don't have that yourself. Everyone thinks that other people deserve the bad that happens to them, but that they themselves are blameless and deserve no harm. Watch what standards you set for other people, Mr. Perfect. And, most people who talk all high and mighty like that are hiding something about themselves. Why don't you get your own life together, and go read in your Bible what Jesus says about how you should treat those who are in prison.

Anonymous said...

90% of inmates are dirtbags,raised by dirtbags,give birth to dirtbags and visited by dirtbags. keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

AZDOC takes care of HUMAN WASTE.

Anonymous said...

Mark Twain said it best when he wrote, "If you ever want to see the real dregs of society, go to your local prison at shift change and watch the men and women who butter their bread with the agony of others." AZDOC really does "take care" of HUMAN WASTE, by paying the wages of the dirtbag "corrections officers" who write truly ignorant comments like the above ones. I am sure those people are simply upset because their little lives consist of pretending to be real cops, while they really know that they are actually more like mall security guards. I mean, if your life is sadly at the point where it gives you some sort of satisfaction or comfort to insult and ridicule even children (see the ignorant comment above about "giving birth to dirtbags"), then you should sit down and take a long, hard look at just how pathetic your life truly is. You are the ones that hide behind the petty little technical compliance policy rules, enforcing every stupid minor infraction because you get off on the way it makes you feel; like you have the first little bit of power over other people in your otherwise impotent life. You perfectly fit the Mark Twain description of enjoying the agony of others. Whoever wrote that is likely a scared, sick, child abusing corrections officer, who feels angry and inadequate because the inmates have people in their lives that actually love them and come to visit. If 90% of inmates are dirtbags, then 98% of Corrections Officers are absolute loser scumbags (and I apologize to the 2%or so of ADOC corrections officers that actually do treat people like human beings, and with some dignity and decency, as there are actually a few; a LIMITED FEW). Just run a quick Google search and you can find thousands of stories of corrections officers who are fired or arrested because they commit crimes themselves (and in the case of many ADOC officers, sumggling drugs and contraband to the inmates, and even stealing the identities of THE INMATES THEMSELVES to commit fraud!). So don't be so judgmental; you probably just haven't been caught yet. Most of the time the only difference between you and the inmates is simply that you have a walkie-talkie and a plastic badge, and for some strange reason those little things go to your head. And also remember, all you corrections officers out there, about 95% of those inmates will be released from prison, and will no longer be inmates. But, YOU will still be stuck in that prison yourself, serving your sentence of having to work there for LIFE because YOU ARE THE DREGS OF SOCIETY, and you didn't have the intelligence or the abilities to get a job anywhere else. Next time, try to find at least a sliver of class, and leave the kids and family members out of it. Don't enjoy the misery and agony of others; and don't try to fill that void in your soul and in your life by harassing and torturing those that are suffering. It can never be filled that way; it will only grow larger.

Anonymous said...

The Az. Dept. of Corrections is one of the reasons we need to fight the Democratic Party, because every Govt. Agency will be staffed with incompetent personnel like they have at the Az. Dept of Corrections.
Our country is failing fast and it is only going to get worse when CO type personnel take over our health care and education.
God Help Us All!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow I went for my first visit at the catalina Unit and you wouldn't believe what I saw there. Check this out. People are allowed to do whatever they want I was really surprised seeing the officer at the gate hang on it's somewhere oh ok my paper co trejo yeah she was the one at the gate and wow pwoplw can get in with anything you want to wear. they don't care if your are according to there policy wear short shirts hell mine was so short when I bent over my tits showed for my man. and the guy in visitation was awsome when he leaves to the room closes the door the party is on. the other officer is usually just sitting in behind the computer or she was outside smoking with her buddy all the time. My visit was great I can't wait for my visit to happen again soon. anyone with family get them to catalina unit you will see what I am talking about. they have no rules!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

you people are rediculous... its prison. half of you don't even realize what goes on in there... sure you go visit your man... have a nice chat... then he goes back on the yard and continues with his homosexual activities. gambling, fighting, stealing, extortion, fraud. maybe if these INMATES were raised in a descent environment they wouldn't have to be babysat. oh they have it so bad... they play softball chess, bachi ball, volleyball, play in bands... please you think they are being punished... they are at a camp... they lie to you at visits and put on a show... don't be so blind... oh but maybe they found god... yeah until they get out and start stealing cars, doing drugs, or beating their wives and children. they're in prison... you all are lucky you even get to visit them at all!

jual parfum said...

Our country is failing fast and it is only going to get worse when CO type personnel take over our health care and education.
The Lord will help us

notebook said...

Glad to meet your article

pulsa jogja said...

This site is amazing and should be reviewed to the CO's in every unit of every pod in the state of Arizona!

jual alat musik said...

i like this blog

Anonymous said...

As someone who routinely visits an inmate housed at LEWIS, I have mixed feelings about the folks employed there. Some C.O.'s clearly have manners and a level of personal dignity which will not allow them to mistreat those of us not wearing pumpkin orange, and they have treated me with kindness and respect and it's always been appreciated. Then there are others who clearly have never left the barrio and/or ghetto that reared them, and they routinely disrespect visitors and treat them as though they too are convicted felons. Their obvious lack of self-respect, class, and breeding bleeds through their uniforms like ink on a letter in the rain. My personal favorite would be the masculine female C.O.'s who seem to have something to prove (not sure what exactly....maybe that they are really men in disguise?? or think they are??), who seem to think that aggression and ill manners somehow equals doing their job. They are laughable at best and really should be pitied. Problem is, most of us have to deal with them at some point and no matter how much we follow the rules and do what we are told, it's never good enough. I can only imagine the impossible expectations our friends, relatives, and loved ones must endure whilst living there. News flash to ADOC; Not everyone incarcerated came from disadvantaged, abusive, illiterate, and dysfunctional families. And not all of those incarcerated are "dirt bags" (as some narrow minded simpleton put it in an earlier post.) People make mistakes, poor judgment calls, blunders, and errors.(Thus, the human component to life.) One can only hope that those who abuse their positions of authority within the prison system, might one day be judged as harshly for their "mistakes" as the inmates they watch over.

Anonymous said...

As someone who routinely visits an inmate housed at LEWIS, I have mixed feelings about the folks employed there. Some C.O.'s clearly have manners and a level of personal dignity which will not allow them to mistreat those of us not wearing pumpkin orange, and they have treated me with kindness and respect and it's always been appreciated. Then there are others who clearly have never left the barrio and/or ghetto that reared them, and they routinely disrespect visitors and treat them as though they too are convicted felons. Their obvious lack of self-respect, class, and breeding bleeds through their uniforms like ink on a letter in the rain. My personal favorite would be the masculine female C.O.'s who seem to have something to prove (not sure what exactly....maybe that they are really men in disguise?? or think they are??), who seem to think that aggression and ill manners somehow equals doing their job. They are laughable at best and really should be pitied. Problem is, most of us have to deal with them at some point and no matter how much we follow the rules and do what we are told, it's never good enough. I can only imagine the impossible expectations our friends, relatives, and loved ones must endure whilst living there. News flash to ADOC; Not everyone incarcerated came from disadvantaged, abusive, illiterate, and dysfunctional families. And not all of those incarcerated are "dirt bags" (as some narrow minded simpleton put it in an earlier post.) People make mistakes, poor judgment calls, blunders, and errors.(Thus, the human component to life.) One can only hope that those who abuse their positions of authority within the prison system, might one day be judged as harshly for their "mistakes" as the inmates they watch over.

Anonymous said...

As someone who routinely visits an inmate housed at LEWIS, I have mixed feelings about the folks employed there. Some C.O.'s clearly have manners and a level of personal dignity which will not allow them to mistreat those of us not wearing pumpkin orange, and they have treated me with kindness and respect and it's always been appreciated. Then there are others who clearly have never left the barrio and/or ghetto that reared them, and they routinely disrespect visitors and treat them as though they too are convicted felons. Their obvious lack of self-respect, class, and breeding bleeds through their uniforms like ink on a letter in the rain. My personal favorite would be the masculine female C.O.'s who seem to have something to prove (not sure what exactly....maybe that they are really men in disguise?? or think they are??), who seem to think that aggression and ill manners somehow equals doing their job. They are laughable at best and really should be pitied. Problem is, most of us have to deal with them at some point and no matter how much we follow the rules and do what we are told, it's never good enough. I can only imagine the impossible expectations our friends, relatives, and loved ones must endure whilst living there. News flash to ADOC; Not everyone incarcerated came from disadvantaged, abusive, illiterate, and dysfunctional families. And not all of those incarcerated are "dirt bags" (as some narrow minded simpleton put it in an earlier post.) People make mistakes, poor judgment calls, blunders, and errors.(Thus, the human component to life.) One can only hope that those who abuse their positions of authority within the prison system, might one day be judged as harshly for their "mistakes" as the inmates they watch over.

Lucy said...

my name is Lucy. I have been visiting in the az. dept. of corrections for 20 years straight. I had the drug dog alert on me twice in that time. I filed an appeal the first time and got my visits back immediately. Turns out there was a problem with the dog and the officer. This time they wont give me back my visits so I am sueing D.O.C. What I need is cases where the drug dogs have alerted on you and then you either proved the alert was wrong or the officer just let you in anyway. Please email me at giltymom@yahoo.com Thanks. giltymom.

Sarah F said...

I recently visited my brother in Douglas. Everything that was mentioned in this blog happens there. There is a CO that is on the GILA Unit and she loves to make everyone's visit miserable. There are many inmates on GILA Unit that are within a couple months of release and she loves to pick on them the most. My family has had many problems with her over the past 3 years and we have contacted the deputy warden and warden as well as many other people within the prison about CO Rodriguez's (the witch) behavior. She has written tickets for no reason and they have been thrown out and it is always very stressful when we go to visit. My mother is a CO in Illinois IDOC and she has spoken with the warden at Douglas about the witch's behavior and suggested some sort of training in people skills. The warden was just as rude as the CO she was calling about. My mother has worked in corrections for 29 yrs and is appalled and embarrassed by many of the CO's behavior. It is unnecessary for the CO's to treat visitors the way they do and it is an obvious problem. It is so frustrating to deal with this especially after having to deal with a loved one going to prison. It is apparent that these CO's are inhuman idiots that were never taught basic manners. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are worse than others and inmates are serving their time. My brother made the mistake of being in a vehicle with a drunk driver when he was himself drunk and someone was killed. Now he has had to lose 3 yrs of his life, his daughter's life, and will have to deal with the fact that he was involved in the death of a friend for the rest of his life. Isnt that enough? He isnt a bad person who goes around killing people or hurting others on purpose. You would think that the CO's would notice the difference between a cold-blooded murderer and a kid who got himself in some trouble and is trying to be a better person. BTW... the witch got my brother's visitation taken away last week and last night he was thrown in the hole. He was supposed to get out in 65 days and now they are saying he is losing all his good time (9 months). I dont know what would cause my brother to get in trouble to the point of being thrown in the hole but i can guess it had something to do with a certain CO and her nack for pissing people off and causing problems. Good Luck everyone. Maybe someday karma will come back to bite these bad CO's in the butt!! and thank you to all the nice, considerate CO's out there that understand not everyone is horrible.

Anonymous said...

It is part of their jobs. If they were always friendly and something were to happen, you seem like the kind of person who would still complain. Remember, your friend broke the law, not the CO!

civil rights in question said...

My son was one of the 5 accused of beating a man. No hearing, they wont let them call wittness. And all of his belonging were taken by a officer.All his family pictures. Was told they the officers didn't know anything about it. The man that was beat up laughed when he heard who they had locked up and said he would testify for them. They are holding them with out investigating or any hearing. I have also made alot of calls. Thats a joke you can Never get any one to answer. Where can we turn to for help?

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about what occurred.

www.theinmatelookup.com

Anonymous said...

Wow. I go to visit my family member almost every week. I took the time to read the visitation policy DO911 before I went. I knew what I could wear and what I could bring with me. We are all adults and that means taking responsibility. My brother is in prison because he never has and he needed to be put there. I hope he grows up while he is there so he don't come back.

Anonymous said...

Well I work in visitation at a prison. I don't mistreat the visitors or the inmates. I suggest to all of you to read the visitation policy and follow all the rules it will save you from alot of the frustration you are reading about.

Anonymous said...

My husband has been in the AZ Doc since 2009 and he has been from Douglas, then shipped to Colorado, then all the way out to Yuma. We want everyone to know about the way they treat people and how bad racism is amongst the guards. We do not fear retaliation because they treat him bad anyways, and anything we say can't make it any worse than it already is. I believe we can call this a form of double jeopardy, these men and women are already serving time in a prison and then being punished on top of it by guards that don't give a damn. The guards are rude, in my husbands years being locked down, I have had to make more than 200 calls about complaints on these people. I do not drive over 8 hours to be treated like dirt, by people who don't like their jobs. I have been harassed many times, because they don't like my prison. Also after this many visits I would say I know all the rules " policies" except for those with exceptions for those that they like. I don't care what any guard says, they know about the faulty happenings behind those walls, as this is not anything new to anyone. They can't hold my husband forever and they won't break our spirits even though they try. I pray that these guards never face what we do on a daily basis, because best said in the very first post, don't think this will never happen to you. One day you might find yourself visiting a family member or friend or maybe you will be hoping to get a visit yourself. So to all the CO's reading this, treat others as you would want to be treated, all it takes is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and you yourself may be sitting in behind those walls.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE!! DON'T SEND THIS REPLY THRU MAIL, OR BY PHONE(MONITORED)TO ANY I/M. IT WILL JEOPARDIZE THE I/M.

In regards to any Az. prison, CO's must band together, or be left by themselves w/o any protection.
Meaning,"go along to get along".

If you ARE 1 of the conscientious, honest, respectable CO's, who DO believe their job does NOT including harassment, cruelty, lying, etc, & you use these values on the job, you will NOT get protection from some officers when you need it.

That's a fact. You are a threat.

Some staff went against the good old boys. They suffered the consequences EVERY time.

Here are my replies to your issues:

1.Gloves ARE a Class A Tool. NO ONE should be allowed to pass thru, w/ them. They can greatly jeopardizes the I/M.

2. CO's should walk, watch & hear their environment thru out their shift. They can sit nearby.
IF IN FACT, a CO is staring, or 'mad-dogging' an I/M etc, ask politely for the CO''s name, badge #, &/or ask for a supervisor to COME to visitation. You don't have to give a reason. Say it's of a confidential nature. DON'T do this @ other I/M's. The I/M could be endangered. Or, finish visiting, ask any CO you see, for a spvr immediately.
NEVER raise VOICES, HANDS, OR ITEMS, AT or AROUND ANY CO. I/M's MOST likely will LOSE their visitation.

Ask spvr to talk in private. Always politely take names, badge #'s, times, dates, etc. Any requests for names etc, should be handled appropriately.

REST ASSURED, NOT all CO's are as you've described. Many want to see changes made.

Write a kite.

When you get it, describe issues in SOMEONE ELSE's writing that CAN'T be traced back to you/-I/M.
Ask I/M to send you a 'kite'. This is tricky. Read carefully.
1st, ONLY fill out top, 'prison name' 'Visitation'. DON'T fill date/time. I/M can be traced by both.

1.Searches-MUST be made WITH I/M present or, if not, w/ 2 CO's present. Describe ALL issues HONESTLY(if not, you WILL LOSE credibility).

2.CO's can 'visit' w/ I/M. Meaning: standing/ briefly greeting/ speaking. Not sitting with, for any prolonged time. This is dangerous for all.

3.Describe issues w/ bathroom, food/water.

Be clear on all issues. If possible, have someone spell check it. DON'T type/print,HAND WRITE it.

4.When describing issues on staff, be TOTALLY honest. The facts WILL come out. You want them on YOUR side. Mention nick names mentioned earlier etc.

**5. Mention POSITVE, as well as negative FACTS.

NOTE:
1.There ARE dangerous I/M's housed on level 1 yards.

2.NOT ALL CO's back up the wrongs you describe. The OUTside is scary at times. INSIDE, it's ALWAYS dangerous for visitors, I/M's, & CO's. The negativity impacts all.

3.You KNOW your I/M pal/ relative. However, the I/M isn't ALWAYS RIGHT, inside the walls. They DO lie, steal, & break rules. Go to the dept web page. Look at the disciplinary violations. See for yourself.

I'm not knocking ANY I/M. I've stood up for I/M's when I KNOW they are right. I'll stand AGAINST ANY I/M that forces my or another officer's hand, WITHIN policy.

We are NOT God.

PLEASE ACCEPT MY SINCEREST APOLOGY on behalf of myself & the dept.

I NEVER act as you've described.

I've seen it, & reported it. I found myself set-up, & left w/o back-up when needed.

I never broke code or morals. I suffered the consequences, & still do, with pride, & with my morals intact.

Thank you.

'Someone Who's been There'.

Anonymous said...

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Awesome to know about this article,I suggest to all of you to read the visitation policy and follow all the rules it will save you from alot of the frustration you are reading about.

best laptops under 500 said...

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Anonymous said...

Inmates are just that INMATES! If it were your things that got stollen or your child that one of these dirtbags sold drugs to would you have the same feeling? They are the scum of the earth and the COs that have to deal with them deserve an award!

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to avoid this entire unpleasant situation is to behave. People tend to always forget that one little thing though.