The Truth About Terry L. Stewart

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer's Letter to DOJ | My Letter to U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer | U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer's Apology Letter

Terry Stewart’s stellar reputation in public service has been assaulted many times, but those assaults never leave a mark because the facts always serve as an impenetrable shield.

Nothing has changed since Stewart retired as Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. His critics – usually felons or friends of felons — re-appear once in a while, armed with lies and innuendo, and nothing more.

Some time ago, the internet began to fill up with negative stories about Stewart’s corrections career. The motivation for these stories was a letter from U. S. Senator, Charles Schumer to the U. S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) listing a number of allegations about inmate lawsuits that were filed against the Arizona Department of Corrections (READ). As a result of these original allegations, left-leaning, irresponsible bloggers world-wide began to inappropriately connect Mr. Stewart to the infamous abuses that were perpetrated at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Mr. Stewart responded directly to Senator Schumer in a detailed letter (READ LETTER) that addressed each of the allegations. Many of the incidents that gave rise to alleged abuse occurred before Mr. Stewart was appointed Director of the agency. Mr. Stewart’s letter culminated with the threat of legal action, if Senator Schumer did not take some action to mitigate the damage his allegations did to Stewart’s career.

The allegations were fully investigated by the USDOJ Inspector General, Glenn Fine, and were fully debunked in his report “A Review of ICITAP's Screening Procedures for Contractors Sent to Iraq as Correctional Advisors” - dated February 2005 (READ REPORT).

As a result of the detailed letter produced by Director Stewart and coupled with the findings in the USDOJ Inspector General’s report, Senator Schumer penned this apology letter (READ APOLOGY). His staff insisted Mr. Stewart agree not to pursue further legal action in exchange for the letter.

Nonetheless, many irresponsible bloggers and reporters continue to rely on “headlines and highlights” of the Schumer allegations without fully researching the court derived facts surrounding the alleged misbehavior. Senator Schumer came to understand he could not continue repeating the allegations and neither should responsible bloggers and reporters.

The facts about the corrections career of Terry L. Stewart are:
  • He implemented a tough, but effective, Security Threat Group (Prison Gangs) policy that effectively reduced gang activity on the Arizona prison yards and in the Arizona communities where they try to operate.
  • The ADC was under six Federal court orders or decrees. These Federal orders and decrees were costing the Department of Corrections and the state taxpayers millions of dollars a year in operational costs and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in litigation costs. All were eliminated during Stewart’s tenure.
  • He renegotiated private prison contacts to require the capital facilities (prison buildings) to be amortized over the life of the contact and become property of the state of Arizona rather than remaining the property of the private company.
  • He privatized inmate food services in the state prison system and saved $15.2 million over five years.
  • He innovated design improvements on Arizona State Prison Lewis that saved $21.4 million in construction and operational costs.
  • He implemented Telemedicine in the prison system that saved $1 million a year.

According to the Court Monitor quoted in a Pace Law Review article in the DOES v Stewart Protective Segregation lawsuit, created a protective custody system “that is among the most enlightened in the nation.” He was the impetus for the creation of national staff safety committees by the American Correctional Association and the Association of State Correctional Administrators to promote standards for staff safety in correctional institutions.

He served as an advisor on corrections issues in 2003 to the U. S. Departments of Justice, State and Defense in Iraq and co-authored "Prisons and Detention Centers In Iraq: an Assessment and Recommendations For Prisons in a Free Society" which was used by coalition forces in the re-establishment of the Iraq prison system.

He served as an independent contractor in Haiti for the U. S. Department of State and produced an assessment of the Haitian prison system entiled, “Strengths and Vulnerabilities Report: Haitian Prison System. ” in 2004

Internet lies and innuendo aside, that undoubtedly sounds like someone who served the public with honor and professionalism.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer's Letter to DOJ | My Letter to U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer | U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer's Apology Letter