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Jodi Arias Trial - Life Behind Bars In Arizona

The jury is expected to return to their deliberations later this morning in the Jodi Arias death penalty trial.  They have deliberated for more than 7 hours without reaching a unanimous verdict.  While I find this concerning, as I pointed out in yesterday's post, this can happen in death penalty trials - and the "Allen" instruction Judge Sherry Stephens read to the jury yesterday is the exact same instruction the Wendi Andriano jury was read when they appeared to initially be hopelessly deadlocked. They ultimately continued deliberations, and after four days came back with a sentence of death.

In my April 27, 2013 post, I wrote about what life would be like for a female serving a life sentence in the Perryville Prison Complex in Goodyear, Arizona - and what life on Death Row would be like.  Considering the jury could potentially decide to show Jodi Arias the mercy she failed to show Travis Alexander and sentence her to life in prison, I wanted to take another look at the conditions Arias would face if sentenced to either natural life or life with the possibility of parole after serving 25 years.

The level of activities an inmate has access to likely depends on their classification.  When an inmate is received into the prison system, they go through an "Inmate Assessment" and take part in an orientation and are classified under the Offender Classification System. Upon entering the Department's custody, each offender is assessed for security and custody risk and for special services such as medical, mental health, substance abuse or sex offense treatment and/or programming needs such as education, vocational training and work skills and other placement considerations.

The classification profile consists of an offender's custody classification and internal risk level as well as programming needs. Offenders are reviewed on an annual basis. Classification scores are adjusted based on information received during the review period and include behavior, time left to serve and overall history. An offender's placement is changed when the custody classification indicates the offender no longer meets the custody/security designation of the current unit assignment.

All inmates serving a natural life or life w/possibility for parole:

  • Life sentence with 0-2 years served = Maximum Custody
  • Life sentence with 2-5 years served = No less than Close Custody
  • Life sentence with 5+ years served  = No less than Medium Custody
As you can see, the custody level could become less restrictive as her sentence plays out and with good behavior, after 5 years served she could be in Medium Custody.  Let's take a look at the custody levels:

Maximum Custody:  Inmates who represent the highest risk to the public and staff and require housing in a single-cell setting. These inmates have limited work opportunities within the secure perimeter and require frequent monitoring. These inmates require escorted movement in full restraints within the institution.

Close Custody:  Inmates who represent a high risk to the public and staff. These inmates shall not be assigned to work outside the secure perimeter of an institution. These inmates require controlled movement within the institution.

Medium Custody: Inmates who represent a moderate risk to the public and staff. These inmates shall not work outside the secure perimeter of an institution and require limited controlled movement within the institution.

Minimum Custody:  Inmates who represent a low risk to the public and staff. These inmates may work outside the secure perimeter of an institution, to include community work crews, and do not require controlled movement within the institution.

This information was taken directly from website.  I'm wondering if under "Close Custody", Arias would still remain in a single-cell situation.  I believe she thinks she will be free to congregate with among the women in the general prison population - it's unclear if she would have that option, at least for the first several years of her incarceration. Arias' high profile status may make her a prime candidate for some type of segregation - although she truly seems to believe she is a likeable person, there may be other inmates who won't take to her diva-like ways or the nature of her crime.

Visitation for Maximum Custody inmates is limited to one 2 hour block per week. Close Custody inmates visitation varies, depending on their "phases" - anywhere between one "block" per week to three "blocks" per week. There appear to be three such "phases" for Close Custody inmates. Medium Custody inmates can receive anywhere from one "block" per week to four "blocks" per week.  Minimum Custody inmates receive anywhere from one to four "blocks" per week as well.  Certain holiday allowances are made for visitation for all custody classifications.

All custody levels of inmates receive a minimum of 6 hours of exercise time per week.  There are "hobby and craft" services available for inmates, depending on their "Phase" classification. UURRGHH, it appears that inmates who participate in the hobby/craft activities are afforded the opportunity to SELL their work through the Arizona Prison Arts And Trades Outlet! The more I dig into the prison system services for non-death row inmates, the more it appears that Arias may end up having a lot more access to the things that drive her ego.  I'm in no way implying that incarcerated women shouldn't have access to education, work, exercise and other activities that may help them serve out their sentences while gaining valuable skills that may help them when they are released - it's just that if Jodi Arias is given what I would consider the ultimate and unwarranted gift of life, it sickens me to think of her furthering her "artistic" ventures and having these opportunities that Travis Alexander will never have.

Inmates have access to a maximum of 16 television channels, based on local availability and as determined by the Warden. They include major channels such as NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS as well as Discovery Channel.  Also listed under "Recreational Activities":  outdoor exercise, athletics, Unit intra-mural activities, Complex intra-mural activities, in-house hobby crafts, cultural activities and special events. All of this, in addition to potential work programs!  If Arias had acted differently before, during and after her trial, I may have a different view on what a suitable punishment for her would be. She claims to want "everybody's pain to stop", yet each time she plops herself down for another self-serving media interview, she assaults the Alexander siblings all over again. For somebody who claims the media is one of the reasons she has not received a fair trial, she is directly responsible for creating the media circus this has become.

She really seems to see herself as some sort of reality star, and this is her show.  I think her poorly timed and ill-advised media blitz was prompted because she knows when the sentencing is handed down, she is not likely to get these kind of opportunities in prison.  She's heading to prison either way, it's just a matter of whether she will sit on Death Row or not. If she could be handed down a life sentence with no possibility for parole, and serve in max custody for her entire sentence that would be A GIFT.  A gift that many people don't feel she deserves, given the lives she has ruined.  I know that sentencing her to death will not bring back Travis Alexander. But Jodi Arias has shown the world who she really is over the course of this trial.  It's just a plain shame that this jury hasn't had the opportunity to see who they are sentencing, and I'd expect they may have some remorse if they give her the gift of life after they see how she has conducted herself during these proceedings.

They may feel angry, upset and duped! I think a system that allows someone like Jodi Arias to use the media to further her own selfish reasons, while she cites it as a major factor around her receiving a fair trial is severely damaged and in need of reform.  The networks need to take a moral stand!  I think Ryan Owens is the only interviewer who called Arias to the mat, asking her the tough questions and not tap dancing around what really happened, her lack of remorse and the absent apology during her allocution to the jury. The other media outlets seemed to cater to her diva-like demands, even providing her with makeup.  Just when you thought you'd seen it all......

Will the jury come back with a unanimous decision today, ahead of the 5 day weekend ahead?  Will the state be forced to begin the costly and difficult process of finding another 18 jurors who could make this final sentencing decision?  I am praying she receives the most severe punishment available to the jury.  I think we are all with Steven Alexander in that we don't want to see Travis Alexander's murderer any more!!  What do you think?  

Have a fabulous day!

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