Advocates for inmates say they are worried they could run out of time to persuade Governor Doug Ducey to avoid a larger Coronavirus outbreak by releasing some of the 42,000 people who live in close quarters behind bars.
The Republican governor has insisted he will not free prisoners in response to the pandemic, even as other states are reducing prison populations to increase social distancing behind bars.
Ducey has not explained why he won’t release inmates. Corrections officials say the health and safety of staff, inmates and communities are their top priority.
Meanwhile, local authorities across Arizona have released at least 300 nonviolent inmates from county jails.