BUCKEYE, Ariz. - The Arizona Department of Corrections said Monday it has begun transferring some inmates from Lewis prison in Buckeye as the facility addresses lock issues on the cell doors.
The department said close-custody inmates are being moved to other state-run prisons in Arizona, and more inmate transfers are expected.
The ADC said the goal is to reduce the number of inmates housed in cells with padlocks, which were a temporary solution after inmates began tampering with their cell doors so they could be opened from the inside.
In a letter, the fire marshal said the padlocks do not follow fire code but would be an acceptable temporary solution.
The prison units are also conducting ongoing daily drill exercises to ensure response readiness, according to the ADC.
The moves follow concerns raised by the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, which said poorly kept facilities have created conditions that put officers and prisoners at risk. The association released surveillance video of corrections officers struggling with inmates at Lewis prison.
Carlos Garcia with AZCPOA says one prisoner was killed and several officers have been injured because of doors that were not properly secured.
Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey announced an investigation into prison security. Ducey said former Arizona Supreme Court Justices Rebecca Berch and Ruth McGregor would lead the investigation.
On Monday, ADC Director Charles Ryan sat down with correctional officers representing all 10 state-run prison complexes to have a conversation about prison conditions.
Some have called for Ryan to be fired amid the investigation into prison security.
The ADC said in a release that the top issues discussed at Ryan's meeting with correctional officers were a possible pay package to raise officer salaries and ensure officer retention, and the door and lock issue currently being addressed at the Lewis complex.