Arizona inmates ask Gov. Ducey for early release due to coronavirus fears

Apr 20, 2020, 4:25 AM | Updated: 8:51 am

(Getty Images/Scott Olson)...

(Getty Images/Scott Olson)

(Getty Images/Scott Olson)

PHOENIX — A group of inmates at one of Arizona’s private prisons is asking Gov. Doug Ducey to release them early, citing fears over the coronavirus.

About 200 inmates at the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility signed a letter sent to the governor earlier this month.

Rene Maldonado Dominguez, an inmate at the prison, wrote the letter obtained by KTAR News 92.3 FM. He said 60 to 120 individuals live in “very confined spaces.”

“Perhaps, in normal conditions, this system has worked,” Maldonado Dominguez wrote.

“However, during this pandemic, places like these represent nothing less than a time bomb.”

The private prison near Tucson, under contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry, provides custody and substance abuse treatment for 500 adult male inmates.

As of Monday, five inmates at the prison had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the department’s coronavirus dashboard.

Monica Coronado, Maldonado Dominguez’s wife, said she thinks that number is higher.

“It’s terrible what they are having to go through in there,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

She said inmates are only getting one bar of soap that’s supposed to last them two weeks. She added their cells are disinfected but not often.

Her husband is serving a two-year sentence and is set to be released in August.

She worries her husband could get infected with the coronavirus and is asking Gov. Ducey to release him early, along with other low-risk, nonviolent offenders.

“All of those people who are incarcerated are sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, and grandparents,” she said.

“I don’t want to lose my husband,” she added. “I’m asking the governor to consider releasing him.”

In early April, Ducey said during a press conference he would not be releasing any inmates.

The governor said state prisons are taking measures to protect inmates from the coronavirus, including testing correctional officers.

“If they do have COVID-19, they are put on leave so they do not infect inmates,” he said.

Ducey added inmates who show symptoms of the coronavirus are also getting tested.

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Arizona inmates ask Gov. Ducey for early release due to coronavirus fears