LOCKED DOWN: Nationwide search underway for director of Arizona Department of Corrections

Updated: Sep. 13, 2019 at 5:39 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Corrections is without a permanent director as the search for Charles Ryan’s replacement is underway.

Ryan's retirement comes after the release of an independent investigation into the ADC found security issues at multiple facilities.

KOLD News 13′s Shaley Sanders has been reporting on the issues facing the ADC for more than a month. In her series titled Locked Down, Shaley has reported on the conditions inside Arizona’s prisons, battle to the reduce the recidivism rate and under-staffing problems that keep getting worse.

Ryan and the ADC are also fighting a $1.4 million fine for failing to meet certain inmate healthcare standards.

ADC staff received a letter earlier this week from Gov. Doug Ducey’s office about the changes coming to the department.

It reads in part, “the role of director is a position we take seriously, and we are currently conducting a national search to ensure we select the best leader for the Department of Corrections moving forward. During this time, Deputy Director Joe Profiri will temporarily serve as Acting Director.”

American Friends Service Committee-Arizona, which pushed for Ryan to step down, released a statement on his last day on Friday, Sept. 13.

The organization said it was ready for a new chapter but, “Mr. Ryan’s departure leaves in its wake a string of First and Eighth Amendment violations; contempt findings in the Parsons v. Ryan class-action prison healthcare settlement that last year cost taxpayers $1.4 million; a sharp increase in suicide rates and unnecessary deaths; and fiscal mismanagement leading to dilapidated facilities, water shortages, broken cooling systems at some of the hottest prisons in the country, and even cell doors that don’t lock.”

The AFSC-Arizona had compiled of list of recommendations and requests for Gov. Ducey to achieve systemic following a town hall on prison reform.

The first item on that list was the removal of Charles Ryan.

In a letter the ADC staff received this week, the governor’s office thanked Ryan for his years of service to our state and country.

We asked the governor’s office for comment on the ADC appealing the contempt-of-court ruling that came with that $1.4 million fine for failing to meet inmate healthcare standards set forth in the Parsons v Ryan settlement.

The governor’s office said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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