Former Arizona prisons chief indicted after drunken armed standoff with cops
Judge with Gavel (Shutterstock)

On Monday, the Phoenix New Times reported that Charles Ryan, the former director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, has been indicted four months after an incident in which he reportedly engaged in an armed standoff with police for hours while severely intoxicated.

"In early January, Tempe Police Department dispatchers received a call from Ryan’s wife, Kathleen. She told them her husband was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was armed, Phoenix New Times first reported," reported Elias Weiss. "Ryan, who had downed 'half a large bottle of tequila,' according to a police report, barricaded himself inside his Tempe home near Rural and Warner roads that night. After Tempe called in its SWAT team and negotiators, Ryan surrendered."

According to the report, Ryan faces up to four years in prison if convicted — three years for armed disorderly conduct and one year for unlawfully firing a weapon.

The report notes that even prior to this incident, Ryan left office in disgrace.

"Ryan abruptly ended his decade-long tenure at the department after a scathing report said he brushed off constant security breaches involving busted prison cell locks, endangering inmates and correctional officers in 2019," said the report. "A number of other scandals afflicted Arizona's prison system while Ryan was in charge. Among them were an incarcerated man's suicide caught on videotape, a botched execution, and a continued failure to improve a dysfunctional prison health care system, which cost the department more than $1 million in court fines."

Arizona has been a hotbed of complaints about inmate treatment; most famously, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was eventually held in criminal contempt of court and pardoned by former President Donald Trump, forced inmates in his jails to wear pink underwear, eat rotten food, and live in tents in the scorching desert.