PO BOX 20494


Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Peggy Plews

This site is to monitor conditions in Arizona's institutions of incarceration, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist's perspective. Abolitionism is an anti-colonialist articulation of a vision of racial and economic justice, an optimistic endeavor which strives towards collective moral and social evolution, such that alternatives to incarceration are embraced and the root causes of criminalization and incarceration are addressed. There is no need or room for prisons in a truly liberated, just society.

Prison abolitionism argues that we don't simply need to shut down the prisons: we need to rewrite the way the rules around perpetrating harm against people and property are made in the first place, so that humanity, not politics or profit comes first. The current system doesn't prevent people from being victimized as it is - it simply prescribes rules for who does and doesn't get hurt or get to violate others, and mostly punishes the poor and people of color. That's not a good enough foundation for a system based on achieving true justice.

From re-prioritizing our world, our ideas around what is crime and how to punish it would look much differently...Critical Resistance is a good source for more info on that.

I'm just a freelance writer and activist, by the way, but if you are the loved one of a prisoner and need help, feel free to contact me - I'll help if I can. Emailing me works best: but 480-580-6807 is ok too.



Petition by the family of Tony Lester, victim of suicide in AZ DOC custody.

Prisoners and Families: Send your SOS to the DOJ!

We really need those of you out there who have been in an AZ prison, have lost a child or other family member in an AZ prison, or have a loved one in an AZ prison now, to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (that one is mine) about the need for a federal intervention here, and send me a copy, with a nice photo, if you have one, of the beloved prisoner - I don't have to post your letters and pictures, but please tell me if I may, with or without names.

If you need some motivation, see what the Governor had to say to him about the swell state things are in here. Don't let her pass that BS off on him unchallenged.

When the truth of prison rape and violence is made public and appeals for relief come directly from those affected, the rest of the community identifies better with prisoners as people, and it puts more pressure on the feds - as well as the governor- to act. And you are the ones with the most at stake here. So, please back me up on this argument I'm making, folks. If the feds listened to me, they'd have been here long ago - I need your support!

And don't just "like" me on Facebook or the Daily KOS - SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!

US Attorney General Eric Holder
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20530

Send word to your loved ones in prison to write the AG as well, and to send me copies if they want me to post their letters, too.

THE I-Files: Teens in Solitary Confinement

Published on Jun 26, 2014

"Alone" was produced Daffodil Altan. It was reported by Altan and Trey Bundy, edited by David Ritsher and Andrew Gersh, and filmed by Marco Villalobos. The senior producer was Stephen Talbot. The executive producer was Susanne Reber.


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Teacher victimized in AZ DOC prison rape files claim for $4 million.

Arizona teacher files $4M claim in prison rape

Craig Harris, The Republic |  
5:03 p.m. MST July 18, 2014

A teacher who was assaulted and raped after being left alone in a state prison classroom with convicted sex offenders earlier this year filed a $4 million claim Thursday against the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Department officials declined to comment, but prisons Director Charles Ryan has previously acknowledged that the woman was "brutally assaulted."

Inmate Jacob Harvey was indicted in May on charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Jan. 30 attack.

In the notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, the woman's attorney alleges the teacher was in a room with seven sex offenders on the day of attack with no supervision from correctional officers. The claim says the state engaged in gross negligence and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon the woman.

The claim says the woman typically would teach inmates in the visitation room at the Meadows Unit, which houses sex offenders, at Eyman Prison in Florence. That area was monitored by security cameras and correctional staff.

Yet, on the day of the attack, because of a special event, she was sent to a classroom that wasn't monitored by security cameras and for 90 minutes "not a single corrections officer entered the classroom to perform a security check," the claim says.

At the end of the teaching session, six of the inmates left the classroom, but Harvey remained behind. He stabbed the woman repeatedly with a pen, choked her, slammed her head into the floor, tore off her clothes and raped her, the claim states.

"The lack of basic security measures provided Harvey the opportunity to rape and assault (the victim) that he never should have had," the claim says.

The Arizona Republic does not publish names of sexual-abuse victims.

"They handed her a radio and said: 'If anyone acts out, let us know,'" said Scott Zwillinger, the woman's attorney. "The guy who raped her should have never been in a medium-custody unit."

The teacher told investigators she screamed for help, but none arrived. Afterward, Harvey tried to use her radio to call for help. It had apparently been changed to a channel the guards didn't use, so Harvey let her use a phone.

A medium-custody unit is the second-lowest classification for inmates held in the Department of Corrections.
Harvey is now in a maximum-custody unit.

Harvey, 20, was originally serving a sentence until 2041 after being convicted of sexual assault, kidnapping and dangerous crimes against children.

Zwillinger said Harvey was convicted of raping and beating a woman in front of her toddler during a home invasion.

The claim says the DOC failed to provide a safe environment for the teacher and created a situation "where a violent rapist was left alone wholly unsupervised in a classroom with a teacher who did not have sufficient training, expertise and equipment to manage the inmate and protect herself."

The claim says that if the state does not settle, the woman will file state and federal lawsuits, and that "it is likely a judgment will be obtained that, in total, will exceed 10 million dollars."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mexico Hearts Chuck Ryan, while AZ DOC insists on keeping non-English speakers ignorant.

I have been accused of spreading propaganda about the Arizona DOC on more than one occasion by Chuck Ryan, Jan Brewer's most favored perpetrator of punishment (I think Terry Stewart actually has something on her, to tell you the truth - that's the only reason she could possibly still be standing by her man). All I do, though,  is tell folks what prisoners and their families and the DOC staff are telling me - and when hundreds of people are saying the same thing about something they see, I think that has more weight than the witness of the perpetrator who is denying not only responsibility, but the existence of a problem to begin with.  I dont need a huge budget for my blogging - nor have I ever been sued - because all I do is tell the truth. Ryan, on the other hand, has to pay a whole crew to spin his leadership failures for the public as success. That should tell you something.

So should the way the DOC packaged and promoted this story about the books from Mexico last week in all the local and national media they could. Talk about propaganda! If I was a prison director anywhere else in the country I would be pretty pissed off at the Arizona Department of Corrections' claim that their "education programming is among the most robust for corrections departments throughout the United States." What arrogance to suggest that this state is seen as a role model for other DOC's anywhere. In truth, the AZ DOC is INFAMOUS across the country for being the most brutal, abusive place to do time, and one of the most dangerous systems to work in: the heroin traffic, gangs and violence are raging out of control and prisoners are dying all over the place of neglect.

The AZ DOC cares so little about the educational needs or rights of their Spanish-speaking prisoners that they haven't even bothered to translate a single of their policies into Spanish, despite having over 5,000 foreign nationals in their prisons. Spanish-speaking prisoners have to rely on bi-lingual prisoners to translate for them if they are filing a grievance, appealing  a disciplinary action, trying to obtain medical care, or even speaking to a medical professional about their prostate cancer. That means they dont have fair access to the courts, or resources, or anything in prison. AZ DOC makes us all look like hypocrites, living in a true sham of a democracy.

THAT's why the Mexican Government donated textbooks for Arizona's Spanish-speaking prisoners. And if any of those books are for educating their citizens about their legal rights as prisoners, you can bet they'll hit the incinerator before they see a single AZ prison library shelf...unfortunately they all look like children's books. Great.  DOC is going to be teaching adult prisoners how to "See Spot run" instead of how to make sure they get through their incarceration and make it back home alive. God forbid a foreign national should be allowed to read about his own rights in the custody of a hostile captor.

photo from the YUMA SUN, courtesy of AZ DOC

--------------------from the Director's Desk at the AZ DOC-------------------


Textbook Donation

The government of Mexico has graciously donated more than 1,600 Spanish-language textbooks to the Department of Corrections.

These are now being distributed to our prison complexes throughout Arizona, where they will be made available in prison education libraries.

This donation goes beyond generosity. It addresses a fundamental need for this department, because books of this kind are an essential part of helping every inmate get an education.

Our commitment to inmate education is something that some people may not be fully aware of. ADC's education programming is among the most robust for corrections departments throughout the United States.

In a typical month, approximately 6,000 inmates are enrolled in some form of educational program such as functional literacy, career and technical education, special education or high school equivalency.

This is in addition to the tremendous amount of programming we provide to address substance abuse issues, promote self-improvement, and help inmates develop job skills that will help them become productive and law-abiding members of society when they're released. But without an educational foundation, inmates will not be able to make progress toward that goal.

A significant portion of our inmates speak Spanish as their primary or only language, and it's important that they have the resources they need in order to fulfill their responsibility to get an education.

This donation represents the best kind of partnership between two countries because it meets a substantial need and it will get tangible results. Sincerely,

Charles L. Ryan

Scott A Bowers: Next President/COO of Corizon HealthScare.

I think I'd like to interview this fellow, if I can, and do a bit more research before I say much of anything about him, so stay tuned. Just found it interesting that there's yet another change in leadership there right now.

In the meantime, folks having trouble with accessing adequate health care services at the AZ DOC these days might want to check out these blog posts:

Corizon and the AZ DOC: Prisoners & Families, Know Your Rights (03/05/13)
Corizon's deliberate indifference: fighting back (05/30/13)

"DEATH SENTENCE": KPNX's Halloran and whistleblower expose depth of negligence at Corizon/AZ DO (05/22/14) 

Corizon's Cruel and Unusual Greed: follow the money with Prison Legal News (06/21/14)

PHOTO Credit: Nathan Morgan 
Nashville Business Journal

-------------- from Corizon's corporate website (as of 07/16/14)-------

Corizon News: Corizon Health Names Scott A. Bowers President and Chief Operating Officer

BRENTWOOD, Tenn., July 07, 2014 – Corizon Health today named Scott A. Bowers as its President and Chief Operating Officer, effective Aug. 4, 2014.  Bowers, who was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of United Healthcare Community Plan of Tennessee, brings 18 years of healthcare management experience to his new role...

FYI: I believe the new president can be sent certified mail as of Aug 4, 2014 at:

12647 Olive Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63141
United States

Monday, July 14, 2014

Upcoming Conference: “Not 1 More: Human Rights in the Migrant Rights Movement”

The Puente Human Rights Movement and the US Human Rights Network invite you to attend the first annual Arizona Human Rights Conference on August 2-3, 2014, including a human rights training and hearing. The theme for the first annual Human Rights Conference will be: “Not 1 More: Human Rights in the Migrant Rights Movement”. The convening will be held at the new Puente space located at 1937 W. Adams Phoenix, AZ 85009.
The Arizona Human Rights Conference aims to call attention to the human rights violations against the undocumented and others in the state of Arizona.  The State of Arizona has been notorious for its human rights abuses towards the migrant community that include border militarization, record deportations, Joe Arpaio, SB1070, the expansion of punitive laws that aim to destroy our communities.
July 29, 2014 will mark the four-year anniversary of the passage and implementation of SB1070. Further, on a statewide level stand unsolved cases of murdered immigrants, as well as human rights violations and inhumane jailing conditions for immigrants in detention. Now more than ever is the time for all our organizations to come together and work to restrategize the migrant rights fight to one that demands Human Rights.
Below is a schedule of events for the Human Rights Conference:

Human Rights Hearing
Thursday July 31st | 2 pm – 6 pm
Organizations from around the state of Arizona and The US Human Rights Network will convene a Human Rights Hearing to document the testimonies of Arizona residents whose human rights are being denied through the actions of government. Organizations and individuals will reveal reports and testimonies of human rights violations in front of a panel of experts. Together we will collect testimony and organize around the upcoming reviews of the US for their international mechanism and treaty commitments – International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD, August 2014), as well as the Convention Against Torture (CAT, November 2014), and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR, April/May 2015), as well as follow-up to the ICCPR (March 2014) – in order to call for immediate attention to the immigration crisis and other human rights violations in Arizona. The tribunal is open to the public.

Migrant Rights Tour/ Border
Friday August 1st 6 am – 5pm
On Friday we will be going a tour of the Arizona borderlands that will educate and expose organizational leaders to key organizations that protect migrant rights. The purpose of this tour is to familiarize migrant rights organizations to the human rights issues that exist in the borderlands. Further, we will also visit the Tucson coroners’ office and Operation Streamline. Due to limited space we are inviting one representative from each organization to join us and come on this tour.
Arizona Human Rights Conference
Saturday, August 2nd | 8 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday, August 3rd | 10am -4 pm
The Saturday and Sunday will be designated for the convening portion of the statewide Arizona Human Rights Conference. During the convening, there will be allocated time for keynote speakers, workshops, and statewide round table discussions. This will also include the US Human Rights Network who will conduct the Human Rights Training for social justice organizations and the communities they work with in Arizona. The training provides insight on how to hold our government accountable to human rights laws and standards that include protections for racial discrimination, immigrant rights, border killings, torture, and other inhuman or degrading treatment.
We would love to have you and your staff/membership attend the conference. To register please click on the link: last day to register is Monday July 21st 2014 at 5pm

For information, contact 
Tia Oso
(c) 602-750-3399

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ASPC-Lewis: Another Murder in "The Promised Land": Homicide of Gordon Lee (UPDATE)

UPDATE July 9, 2014

It's my understanding, from more than one source, that Gordon Lee was strangled to death in the ASPC-Lewis Bachman shower by three other prisoners, who then dragged him back to his cell, dressed him and put him in bed. Staff allegedly slept through the murder happening 15 feet away from them, and didn't do their 4am count. He was found dead the next day. I dont know why tyey killed him - there are plenty of more horrible pedophiles in Protective Custody, which is what the Bachman yard he was killed on is. PC has become an increasingly dangerous place these days.

According to my sources,  Lee was assaulted a couple of weeks before this attack, and told a nurse what happened to him but she failed to report it to anyone. Its unclear whether or not he also formally applied for additional protection after that - the investigation, if conducted honestly, should show his protective custody requests (many prisoners need to PC up from Protective Custody yards like Bachman because of drug debts or repeated victimization, so that wouldnt be unusual for him to request). 

I believe that Wendy Halloran at Channel 12/KPNX is on the job trying to get records, so I'll be tuning in to them for follow-up.

peggy plews 7/9/14

From original POST (7/7/14 6:53PM) 

This man was murdered on ASPC-Lewis/Bachman, the same yard Alex Clark was just killed on. Seems like Protective Custody (AKA "the Promised Land" by the guys in the process of getting there) is as dangerous as the rest of the prison system these days. That's a big warning sign, Arizona. 

Think the Governor is paying attention yet? Maybe she notices, finally - the problem is that she still just doesn't care. This guy was in for child molestation, anyway, so no one will care that he's been murdered. He's one of the few who get long sentences who fessed up, interestingly - his plea was apparently not to avoid dying in prison - usually these long sentences are reserved for those who deny their guilt, like the truly innocent convicted at trial.  About 8-15% of sex offenders, by at least one prominent exoneration study, are likely to be innocent.

Gordon Lee's plea deal pretty much guaranteed he would never again be free, in fact - and maybe he felt he shouldn't be. You'd be surprised how many men who perpetrate these kinds of crimes against children are remorseful and want only to not hurt anyone again. Some mutilate themselves, and many commit suicide to protect the world from the monsters they fear they have become. Some even beg their judges to lock them away forever, castrate, or execute them. Many of them know what it's like to be violated, as survivors of childhood sexual abuse themselves; they never wished to become what they abhorred. Gordon Lee may have been a  sick human being to do what he did, but at least he didn't make the victim and her family go through a trial, or call her a liar in court. He owned his crimes against that child, when so few people ever do. There must have been some humanity in him somewhere.

Condolences, by the way, to anyone who cared for this man. Thoughts go out to his victim as well, who will likely relieve certain feelings all over again and have unexpected ones as well, in light of this news...  

(Remainder of post EDITED out - it was all speculation inviting people to contact me)

If anyone has any additional information about this homicide or this mans life, please contact me. He had no known close friends or family contacts outside of prison.

Reach me at 480-580-6807