Whistleblower alleges cover-up attempts at Lewis Prison over broken door locks

Posted at 2:44 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 17:44:39-04

The whistleblower who leaked surveillance videos obtained by ABC15 showing how many cells inside Buckeye’s Lewis Prison don’t lock is now revealing herself and alleging more corruption inside Arizona’s prison system.

Arizona Correctional Sergeant Gabriela Contreras released a “whistleblowing disclosure” that states managers at Lewis Prison instructed ADC employees to alter reports to “under-report the scope of the broken door problem” after ABC15's original story was released.

ABC15's Dave Biscobing is talking with Sgt. Contreras in an exclusive interview about the new cover-up attempts, tonight on ABC15 News at 6 p.m.


According to the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, falsifying public records can be a federal offense.

Sgt. Contreras says in the disclosure, addressed to Gov. Doug Ducey, that after the first report was released, she overheard Deputy Warden Travis Scott talk about firing her to several employees, including the Lewis Complex warden.

“I understand the only reason I wasn't fired is that the Lewis Complex warden is under the impression that your office [Gov. Ducey] warned ADC not to retaliate against employees.”

RELATED: ABC15 discovered that the broken doors led to one inmate’s death last year

Sgt. Contreras says she was originally hopeful that the issues being investigated would be resolved, but says the same people that failed to report the issues are still not focused on the safety of officers and inmates.

“Unfortunately, the same people who deliberately ignored Morey security issues are now interfering with your effort to address the situation.”

According to Sgt. Contreras, Deputy Warden Scott instructed security to not let employees leave until they made modifications to paperwork that disclosed deficiencies in the prison doors.

FULL COVERAGE: Broken prison cell doors exposed at Lewis Prison after ABC15 investigation

"He told us that we were only to count the cell doors that opened on their own when the padlock was removed - and that we should not have included cell doors that opened with a slight jiggle or push..."

She goes on to say that she believes the deputy warden is intentionally minimizing significant issues, “presenting you with false and/or misleading information and falsifying public records.”

Sgt. Contreras ends the disclosure by saying that if deficiencies are under-reported, her fear is that all of the broken cell doors will not get repaired, leaving officers and inmates exposed to “unacceptable and unsafe” conditions.

Read Contreras' full disclosure letter sent to Gov. Ducey here.