The Arizona Department of Corrections is, for obvious reasons, a 24/7 operation. Our job description means we will have thousands of people working during the holidays operating prisons, overseeing offenders in community supervision, and ensuring that all support aspects of the system operate smoothly. I am once again reminded of the tremendous dedication shown by our personnel – many of whom sacrifice time with family and friends to do their jobs on holidays when many people get the day off. I want to take this time to thank our employees for a successful 2014, and wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. ~ Director Charles L. Ryan
On December 12, 2015, “Over the Edge” hosted its annual fundraiser for Special Olympics at the 27-story CityScape building in downtown Phoenix. As in the past few years, the Arizona Department of Corrections took an active role in this event. Anyone who wanted to rappel down the side of the Phoenix skyscraper needed to raise at least $1,000 for Special Olympics Arizona.
There is a debt that every American owes, and it goes well beyond any financial obligation. Every year, we pause to pay respect to an outstanding and deserving group of men and women to whom each of us in this great country owes an incalculable debt: our veterans. On this Veterans’ Day, please join me in honoring all those who have worn the uniform of the United States. And if you have the opportunity, please tell a veteran “thank-you.”
The Department of Corrections is serious about promoting educational opportunities for all of our employees both for personal and professional growth. The State of Arizona has scheduled two Education Fair’s this month—one in Phoenix and one in Tucson. Employees will be able to engage with representatives from major universities, colleges and Career and Technical Education schools about degrees and certificate programs. They will also receive details about financial aid opportunities.
With the close of the official 2014 Arizona wildfire season, I want to recognize the men and women of the inmate fire crews and their Corrections supervisors for their outstanding work. And I thank State Forester Scott Hunt for our partnership in ensuring these crews are used effectively. These crews have responded to a total of 163 incidents such as fires, fuel abatement and work projects in 2014. Of those incidents, there were 82 fire responses, 72 abatement projects that alleviated fire risk for more than 1,300 structures including homes, and nine work projects such as cutting firewood for the poor. Perhaps the most notable fire of 2014 was the Slide Fire, which affected a large portion of the Oak Creek Canyon area. Inmate fire crews were an essential part of the successful preservation of property and lives.
The State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) has begun for 2014. I am encouraging every employee of the Department of Corrections to consider being an active part of this campaign by setting up contributions to the charitable organization of your choice. Generosity among our personnel has always been a hallmark of this agency, and I’m sure that will continue in 2014. The SECC drive continues through November 28th. Every dollar makes a difference for the people of Arizona, especially those who are less fortunate.