Here’s what KTAR News learned from overdoses, drugs in Arizona prisons

Mar 31, 2023, 4:35 AM

(Pexels Photo)...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — This week, KTAR News has spoken with state leaders on the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry, overdoses and drug use in prisons.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and ADCRR Director Ryan Thornell both expressed their desire to revamp a system they believe is troubled and neglected.

Here’s what we learned:

Overdose inside Arizona prison points to larger problem, concern for state leaders

Narcotics are making their way into correctional facilities and in some cases, leading to emergency situations.

The scope of overdoses and how the drugs are making it into prisons are top concerns for Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, who took office in January.

“I think this is why transparency is so important, because it sounds like a lot of stuff has happened that maybe has been tried to be covered up,” Hobbs, when told of the Lewis overdoses, said in an exclusive interview.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs speaks on prison priority, problems and plans for reform

Katie Hobbs has put the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry in her crosshairs since becoming governor in January.

In an exclusive interview with KTAR News, Hobbs spoke on why she has made state prisons a priority, problems she’s encountered and plans for reforming the system.

Arizona corrections director says drugs getting into prisons, has plan for reform

Newly appointed Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry Director Ryan Thornell acknowledges drugs are getting into to prisons and being used by inmates.

“We also know there’s substance use within our facilities,” Thornell said. “That’s an issue in corrections that we’ve been battling for decades.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of construction on a home with downtown Phoenix, Arizona, in the background. Phoenix has...

Associated Press

Phoenix becomes largest US city to successfully challenge 2020 census numbers

Phoenix has become the largest U.S. city to successfully challenge its population count from the 2020 census.

18 hours ago

Arizona State Route 87 was closed northeast of metro Phoenix on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, because of a...

Brush fire closes portion of State Route 87 northeast of metro Phoenix

State Route 87 was closed northeast of metro Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon because of a brush fire, authorities said.

18 hours ago

Tazbah Spruhan of Window Rock, Arizona, reacts after misspelling "Groenendael" during a preliminary...

2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee starts with 3 Arizona students

Three Arizona middle school students, including one from the Valley, qualified to compete in this week's Scripps National Spelling Bee.

18 hours ago

Booking photo for Marco Antonio Aguilera, who is accused of stabbing a Scottsdale Quarter security ...

Man accused of stabbing Scottsdale Quarter security guard

A man was arrested over the weekend after allegedly stabbing a Scottsdale Quarter security guard, authorities said.

18 hours ago

Booking photo for Iren Byers, the suspect in a murder spree in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, and Mesa ...

Kevin Stone

Here’s what Mesa police have learned about suspect in weekend killing spree

With a suspect in custody, police are piecing together the details of a weekend killing spree in Mesa and Phoenix.

18 hours ago

(Pexels Photo, File)...

Pedestrian crossing Glendale street on red light dies after getting hit by vehicle

A pedestrian died Tuesday morning after she was hit by a vehicle in Glendale while crossing a street on a red light.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Here’s what KTAR News learned from overdoses, drugs in Arizona prisons