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4th Avenue Jail

201 S. 4th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: (602) 876-1239

Interview with Leo

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Leo: My sentencing process took an entire morning and a little bit afternoon I recieved 7 years state prison with 7 years of probation to follow

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Leo: I was in a holding cell after sentencing and I was in such shock I dont think I moved for hours. They do not return you to your living quarters after court. You sit and wait for everyone else to be done. Then they chain you back together and take you back.

Located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix and serving the Maricopa county area, the 4th Avenue Jail is considered the crown jewel of prison facilities for an area that is known for being tough on crime. Opened in 2005, 4th Avenue Jail was built as part of the largest prison expansion in the history of the United States. The expansion of the prison system in Maricopa county was widely supported by the taxpayers of the county who supported the bonds for expansion in the interest of public safety. The sheriff of Maricopa county is Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is nationally recognized for his tough stance on crime. This philosophy helped to construct one of the most technologically advanced prisons in the nation. 

One of eight total jails countywide, 4th Avenue boasts a capacity of 2,064 beds, 288 of these spots are reserved for the highest security level inmates in the system. The prison has a fully staffed medical and dental clinic and offers education and religious services with in the chapel and classrooms located inside the facility. 

Life on the Inside
According to a July 2012 behind the scenes look at the 4th Avenue jail conducted by the local Fox Phoenix Channel 10, you are first brought to a large holding cell with other inmates until they are ready for you to me processed. The benches that you sit are are separated by curved rebar to prevent anyone from lying down and falling asleep. In the video of the behind the scenes look a woman tries to sleep on the floor but is quickly told to wake up and sit down, when she refuses she is brought to a holding cell where there is nowhere to sit. After waiting in the large holding cell you are then brought to have your fingerprints done and mug shot taken. You are moved from cell to cell as the process can take up to 20 hours. In the video an inmate is interviewed and explains that he hasn't been fed in hours. The Sheriff's department's response is that "jail isn't supposed to be fun". 

For more unruly subjects, the guards at the prison put inmates into safe rooms and strip them down while shooting them with paint ball guns full of peper pellets. These tactics have come under scrutiny lately resulting in several law suits and even a few deaths. Many of these law suits have been settled and have costs the tax payers millions of dollars. 

It is evident however, that the most dangerous criminals in Maricopa county find their way to the 4th Avenue jail. Because of the state of the art technology used at this facility it makes the community safer knowing that violent criminals will have a tough time trying to break out of this prison. This might explain some of the harsh treatment from the guards at this location. Recently in August of 2012 a jail wide shakedown revealed that many of the inmates were fashioning weapons out of metal rods that are used to for arm and leg braces. 

4th Avenue Jail offers a user friendly video visitation for the general public. The Maricopa County Sheriff's office believes firmly that visitations are a vital part to any jail system to allow prisoners an incentive to act appropriately. Most inmates can receive visitations based on their behavior while in jail. Additionally they give the inmates something to look forward to once their incarceration is completed providing them with an avenue to stay connected with friends and family. 

Visitation methods and times vary between jails in Maricopa county, be sure to contact the jail directly for more information about which times are available. 

Hours are typically Sun-Sat 8:00 am to 8:00pm with Fridays reserved for legal visits. For more information about visitation times and schedules you can contact the jail directly at (602) 876-1239. 

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