Feathered Bastard

No Abu Ghraib in Arizona, Yet: Governor Brewer Appoints Interim Director to Replace ADC's Dora Schriro

Governor Jan Brewer's office has announced an interim replacement for Arizona Department of Correction's chief Dora Schriro, naming corrections veteran Charles Ryan to the post of Interim Director and appointing Charles Flanagan as Ryan's Interim Deputy. You can read the full press release below this blog post. 

As you may recall, a previous post of mine speculated that Terry Stewart, former ADC chief and an adviser to the Bush administration on Iraqi prisons, might replace Schriro. Stewart is reviled by prisoner rights activists, and his name has been linked to the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq. An e-mail campaign was jump started earlier this week by the Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee, to try to head off the possibility of Stewart taking over ADC.

In one e-mail, the AFSC wrote, "No rumor is more concerning to prisoners, their families, or prison reform advocates than the specter of Terry Stewart returning to run the department."

The fact that Ryan was named in an interim capacity seems to leave open the possibility, at least, that Stewart's hat may still be in the ring. Governor's spokesman Paul Senseman has refused to comment on possible candidates to replace Schriro long-term.

Schriro was known as a reformer, but was by no means universally admired by prison reform advocates. As for Ryan and Flanagan, Donna Hamm of Arizona's Middle Ground Prison Reform, offered differing appraisals of both men.

"Ryan has written some things about how he feels that chain gangs are a very effective way of rehabilitating offenders," remarked Hamm, noting that Ryan has been in the prison game for many, many years (30, according to the governor's press release). "So there's a mentality there that's worrisome from a prisoner's rights perspective."

Hamm was also concerned about Ryan's possible connections to the private prison industry. She noted that he had been Terry Stewart's deputy director when Stewart was head of ADC, and that Middle Ground had experienced "a lot of uncomfortable moments" with Ryan.

"He's a very hard-line cop [personality] that's not necessarily very well-versed in corrections, human corrections," said Hamm. "There is a very direct conflict between someone who is an ex-cop and someone involved in corrections. So we're going to take a wait and see attitude...to see what changes will be made."

Regarding Flanagan, Hamm observed that Flanagan, who had been teaching and doing administrative work for Cochise Community College, was almost the polar opposite of Ryan.

"He seems to be a person that's very progressive about inmate rehabilitation and fair treatment of inmates," said Hamm. "So it will be very interesting to see how Flanagan and Ryan get along with each other."

Hamm wondered if Ryan was appointed because Stewart was not available, but said she had no direct knowledge of this. Hamm's been no fan of Schriro, by the way, and opined that Schriro had "spread pixie dust" on serious issues, such as prison gangs, which have become a worsening problem for the ADC, according to Hamm.

So no Abu Ghraibs in AZ, for the moment, though Hamm's characterizations of Ryan's views on incarceration are troubling. Did AZ dodge the bullet on Stewart? Or is there something just as nefarious slithering our way?

Governor Names Interim Directors for Department of Corrections

PHOENIX - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today named Charles L. Ryan as Interim Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and named Charles Flanagan as his Interim Deputy. Both appointments are effective today.

Charles L. Ryan has thirty years of experience in the field of corrections, having served most recently as a corrections consultant on the national and international levels. He has also served as Assistant Program Manager for the Department of Justice, as Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, as a prison warden and as a prison administrator. He possesses in-depth, hands-on institutional skills developed at entry-level, supervisory, administrative and executive level positions from minimum to super-maximum security.

Mr. Ryan has extensive experience in the development of correctional institution policy including the formulation of the inmate classification system, the staffing and activation of various prison complexes and the development of budgetary requirements all presented to the executive and legislative branches of government. He has also been instrumental in developing operational processes designed to enhance inmate accountability and safer prisons and detention facilities. He has executive experience in human resources and inmate
management processes at an agency employing over 10,000 personnel and the custody and control of more than 31,000 inmates.

Charles Flanagan has extensive and diverse experience in correctional leadership, academic/work-based education leadership and correctional industries administration. He has over 23 years of professional correctional experience, having been promoted from officer through warden and Assistant Division Director, with fourteen years of experience in executive positions and an additional five years experience in supervisory and senior security positions. Prior to his appointment by Governor Brewer, Mr. Flanagan served as Director of the Correctional Education Division of Cochise Community College in Arizona, as well as program co-chair of the college's Administration of Justice Studies program.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons