Arizona’s prison system has two death rows, says he Arizona Republic in the first in a series. One is made up of the 126 inmates officially sentenced to death. The other death row, the unofficial one, reaches into every prison in Arizona’s sprawling correctional system. No judge or jury condemned anyone in this group to death. They die as victims of prison violence, neglect, and mistreatment.
Over the past two years, this death row has claimed the lives of at least 37 inmates, more than five times the number executed from the official death row. Among them are mentally ill prisoners locked in solitary confinement who committed suicide, inmates who overdosed on drugs smuggled into prison, those with untreated medical conditions, and inmates murdered by other inmates. Correctional officers and other staff who work with inmates say many of these deaths are needless and preventable. Arizona will spend $1.1 billion this year to lock up its 40,000 prisoners.