Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign
AFSC-Arizona staff are amazing advocates for prisoners - and as such, are true blessings to our communities. Spend time on their site - lots of resources.

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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Marcia Powell: Sixteen ADC employees disciplined

I agree with Director Ryan on the seriousness of the abuse - and I'm glad he actually used that word: some administrators might try to avoid it. But I'm not sure how we ever get transparency out of the ADC, since employee discipline is legitimately protected. I think given the potential consequences, though, prisoners' rights should be given deference. 

This wasn't entirely a failure of policy, either: it all began with implementing policy. So, I have more questions than anything. Like: how far up the chain does responsibility go? Who disciplines the policy-makers when they're careless?

And who deals with that judge that gave her 27 months for prostitution in the first place? She was so incompetent as a result of her mental illness that she had to have a guardian.

From KPHO's website, where you can find previous articles and videos on Marica's death. :
--


16 Prison Workers Disciplined In Inmate's Death

POSTED: 5:24 pm MST September 22, 2009
UPDATED: 5:51 pm MST September 22, 2009

PHOENIX -- Sixteen Arizona prison workers have been disciplined or fired for the death of an inmate left in an outdoor cage.


Three of those disciplined were fired, two stepped down in place of being fired, 10 received suspensions ranging from 40 to 80 hours, and one was demoted. Two others will be disciplined after they return from medical leave.

Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan announced the moves Tuesday, calling the death "the most significant example of abuse" of an inmate that he's aware of within the department.

"That is an absolute failure," Ryan said Tuesday. "The inmate should not have been left in the enclosure that length of time.


Ryan declined to provide the names of the corrections employees who were disciplined, saying it would be inappropriate considering they have the right to appeal their punishments.

Marcia Powell, 48, died last May, about 10 hours after she collapsed in an outdoor, unshaded holding cell at the Perryville prison in Goodyear.Her body's core temperature had risen to 108 degrees, according to the autopsy report.

The autopsy revealed Powell had first and second-degree burns on her face, chest and arms.The report also turned up traces of medication in Powell’s blood for treating Parkinson’s disease and depression.Ryan said at the time Powell was left in the cell nearly twice as long as she should have under department policy. He placed three officers on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation.

Ryan said Powell's cell was 20 yards from a staffed control room from where corrections officers should have been watching her.

Powell arrived at the Perryville prison in August 2008.

Powell was placed alone in the cell while being moved to an onsite detention unit after seeing a prison psychologist. Ryan said a disturbance at the detention unit prompted Powell's placement in the holding cell. He would not elaborate on the nature of the disturbance.

Ryan said officers gave Powell bottled water, as required under prison policy. Investigators will try to determine how much water she was given and whether she drank it.

Officers did not remove her after two hours as they should have done under department policy, according to Ryan."It is intended to be temporary," Ryan said. "It is not intended to be a place where they are held for an inordinate amount of time."Powell had been in and out of state prisons and had a long history of mental illness, Ryan said.


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