Letters from Kevin Walsh in the Arizona State Prison

At Rincon Unit they donít get their moneys worth from the slave labor

  4 October 2005

Dear Ganesh,

Thank you for writing, and thank you for the news summary you send me.

You ask what they make me do everyday. The answer is very little. We go to breakfast, get a sack lunch served in our cell, and go to dinner. Sundays, Wednesday, and Fridays we also have recreation and showers. Apart from that we are locked in our cells all day unless we are in some kind of program or have a work assignment. I have neither, so I spend most of my time reading or watching television.

I am not considered too dangerous to work. There just arenít enough jobs available on the Rincon Unit for those who want to work. The CO III told me that only about one inmate in eight here has a job. Tom, my cellmate, has a job cleaning the dining hall floor. He works a split shift seven days a week for a total of about 40 hours. For that he earns 25 cents per hour, but they deduct 45% from his paycheck for restitution he owes the victims.

I have applied for a job as a teacherís aide, which pays 45 cents per hour. There are four other people applying for that one opening, however, and I am handicapped by only having a few more months to do. If I donít get the job, I may sign up for Bible study just to get out of my cell for a little while (note: Kevin is an atheist and doesnít believe in the Jesus myth).

I am sorry to hear you will be losing your job. I hope you find something else soon.

The administrator here is screwing up my paperwork. I completed a telephone call list when I got here but somehow it got lost and now I have to resubmit it. I have been here since 17 August, and I have been unable to telephone my family. At least my mother was approved for visitation. I hope to see her soon.

I read in the newspaper that there was recently a large anti-war demonstration at 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. Itís good to know the anti-war movement isnít dead.



P.S. They donít have any spare price lists now, but Iíll try to get you one.

From these Arizona laws I grabbed off the web it seems like the people that run the Arizona State prison are by law required to either work the inmates as much as possible as slave labor or put them into programs to make them better people or give them better job skills. It seems they are doing neither of these at the Rincon Prison.

Here are the laws I grabbed off the web:

State Prison

(a work week of OVER 40 hours is required)

ARS 31-251.

The director has the authority to require that each able-bodied prisoner ... engage in hard labor for not less than forty hours per week

"hard labor" means compulsory physical activity

no prisoner given a work assignment ... shall be considered an employee or to be employed by the state or the state ... whether the prisoner is compensated or not

ARS 31-253

The director ... shall use prisoner labor to the maximum extent feasible in the construction of all prison facilities.

(a maximun wage for prison slaves)

ARS 31-254.

Each prisoner who is engaged in productive work in any state prison or institution ... shall not exceed fifty cents per hour

(slaves get punished for filing lawsuits)

If the prisoner initiates a lawsuit, twenty per cent from all deposits to the prisoner's spendable account until the court fees are collected in full.

(slaves have to pay for their room and board)

Thirty per cent of the prisoner's wages for the room and board costs of maintaining the prisoner at the facility.

From Arizona Revised Statutes Title 31


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