CO who exposed unsafe conditions at Ariz. prison found dead

Gabriela Contreras risked her position at Lewis Prison when she leaked videos that revealed cell doors that didn't lock

By Tim Balk
New York Daily News

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — An Arizona detention officer who leaked surveillance videos showing violence and busted cell locks inside the state’s Lewis Prison died Sunday, apparently by suicide, the police said.

Gabriela Contreras, 31, was found unresponsive at her home with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Goodyear Police Department.

Cops said they responded to the incident about 11:20 p.m. local time Sunday.

After leaking the materials to KNXV-TV last year, Contreras publicly revealed herself to be the whistleblower.

“I want (staff) not to be afraid and now is the time that they need to be together and make a change," Contreras told the news station in May. "We need to stand up, put our foot down, and say enough is enough.”

The channel’s investigation led to a statewide prison probe, and prompted lock repairs on 1,000 jail cells.

Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn, who was appointed in October, expressed his condolences to Contreras’ family.

“This is a sad day for us all, and tragic loss as she was a valued member of our team,” Shinn said in a statement.


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