Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...

This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.

I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.

In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.

I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ADC: Who Decides who Lives and Dies?

On August 3, 2009 Bennie Tucker (090399) passed away on the Manzanita Unit at the Tucson state prison complex. Not a peep out of the ADC about it; nothing on Google, even. Now, I try to give my friends at the ADC the benefit of the doubt, but as this story unfolded I became increasingly disturbed.This is the second ADC prisoner death I've heard about in three weeks (Michael Broom, Kingman, July 20) that wasn't announced on ADCs website.

Perhaps there was no fanfare over Tucker because he was doing time for multiple counts of child molestation and they figured no one would care. Maybe his family asked to keep it low key - I don't know. Nevertheless, for the sake of institutional transparency it seems that if the ADC is going to post some death notices, they ought to post them all, lest they leave us with the impression that either there aren’t as many in-custody deaths as there really are, that some prisoners deserve to be neglected, or that the ADC is culpable in some of these deaths. The way Tucker died demands that the ADC provide some sort of public explanation. As is noted below, there were no medical staff even on a unit of terminally ill men, while it was my understanding that every prison had medical personnel someplace on the grounds 24/7.

This does not bode well for transforming that whole place into a prison for people with medical needs.

I discovered this in a prisoner’s blog, by the way, which I'm posting excerpts of below so as not to identify the author. I have also left out the name of the CO who refused to help him: but I’ll be sharing that with the ADC. Either they are not aware of COII “B”s actions in this matter, or they don’t think they constitute serious enough of a concern to suspend and investigate him. In either case, in addition to posting this I’ll be forwarding it on to ADC administration with a request for clarification on whether or not it is acceptable practice to withhold medical attention from dying men if one finds their crimes to be hideous enough. I think they will agree that it is not.

--------------(Prisoner's blog below)-----------------------------

Another Death on Manzanita

Another prisoner on Manzanita Unit has died. Despite Housing Unit 6 being a medical unit with dying inmates, no medical staff were on the unit to help. Ironically, the deceased worked in HU6, but lived in HU4. The orangeman who passed, I had known for many years and although not a 'friend' of mine was a friendly man who was opposed to drugs and was a peaceful, passive guy. The following account of the incident is based on numerous witness statements:

On August 02, 2009 at around 11:15 p.m., inmate Tucker approached the HU4 control room clutching his chest and told COII “B” that he was having chest pains and his left side was partially numb. Tucker requested medical care. COII “B” did not get Tucker medical attention, essentially dismissing him.

At around 12:50 a.m., Tucker woke his bunk mate and asked him to get COII “B”. Tucker was feeling bad and thought he was experiencing a heart attack. His bunk mate immediately went and told COII “B” about Tucker's medical problem. “B” told Tucker's bunk mate that if Tucker was having problems, Tucker needed to tell him, himself. Tucker's bunk mate told “B” that Tucker needed immediate medical care; “B” did nothing.

Meanwhile, another COII entered the door to do his nightly security walk. Tucker's bunk mate informed this COII of Tucker's medical emergency. This COII immediately checked on Tucker, who was unresponsive, and began CPR; he also directed COII “B” to call 911. “B” did nothing, while another COII responding to the medical emergency the 2nd COII initiated, dialed 911.

After half an hour of being revived by CPR multiple times by the COII and being unconscious for around an hour, Tucson Fire Rescue arrived.

Tucson fire rescue took measures to save Mr. Tucker's life, but were unsuccessful. It was to late. Tucker was dead.

COII “B” did NOTHING to prevent Tucker's death.

On August 03, 2009, less than 24 hours after callously disregarding Tucker's life and health, “B” was working HU1 control room (where I live).

Local news has announced that the ADOC plans to relocate thousands of Tucson complex prisoners in order to make the Tucson complex a "Medical / Mental Health" hub for ADOC. Not only is this complex severely lacking trained security staff able to deal with the seriously ill inmates, lacking medical / mental health staff adequate to manage the general population, let alone an ill population, but the conditions of the units themselves are atrocious.

Top state officials are doing and will do anything to pinch a penny right now; everything except releasing non-violent offenders who post little risk to the public. Shame!

It would be interesting to see what amount of tax-dollars are being spent on Tucson Fire Dept. responding to the Tucson prison complex to provide emergency care to prisoners that ADOC neglects. TFD is at the prison complex often enough to have a station across the street. I guess it is cheaper to let Tucson Fire and Rescue provide care than to let ADOC do it... at least for ADOC it is.

No comments: