Arizona Town Hall President Tara Jackson has organized community discussions all over the state. But Thursday was different. “We’ve never done anything like this," Jackson said. "The Department of Corrections has never done anything like this.” Participants gathered at the Eagle Point Second Chance Center, a lower security facility at the Arizona State Prison Complex – Lewis in Buckeye.
In a visitation room decorated with murals depicting the history of flight, space exploration, Frida Kahlo, American industrialism and the military, groups of people sat on plastic chairs around plastic tables, and talked. It was a community meeting held by Arizona Town Hall, an organization that focuses on one significant issue each year and brings together experts, policy makers and residents. Their 2018 topic is Criminal Justice in Arizona. They’re holding gatherings around the state.
There’s an unlikely group of men in Arizona helping to rehabilitate and train wild horses and burros captured by the Bureau of Land Management. The trainers aren't your typical cowboys wearing cowboy boots and hats. Instead, they’re dressed in orange and make no more than 80 cents an hour. With giant fences and guard towers, you’ll find these trainers hard at work about 65 miles away from Downtown Phoenix at the State Prison in Florence.
It started out as just another day at work for Gloria Waddell in the kitchen at the Hayden Senior Center. While eating something, a piece of food became lodged in her throat. She found herself unable to breathe or communicate with her fellow workers. The other people working in the kitchen saw what was happening but panicked and did not know what to do. Gloria was turning blue and felt herself, going limp and about to blackout. “I thought, this is it. I’m going to die,” Gloria said. At that time a prison inmate worker, Louie Ojeda, who was working in the back of the kitchen, came to her rescue. Louie is a prison inmate from Arizona State Prison in Globe.