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:


Thursday, September 24, 2009

PHX New Times: Ryan Resign

Marcia Powell Cage Death: Gov. Jan Brewer Backs Charles Ryan at ADC, Despite Ryan's Ordering Plug Pulled on Powell

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Charles Ryan, known to detractors as "Darth Ryan," has the full confidence of Arizona's lame -- if not yet lame-duck -- Governor Jan Brewer  

Charles Ryan may have pulled the plug on Macia Powell too soon. He may have overseen an ADC staff that denied her water for hours in a shadeless wire cage, a staff that allowed the severely mentally ill Powell to defecate on herself in captivity, that allowed her to perish in 107-plus degree heat while under the influence of psychiatric drugs, making her even more vulnerable to the heat. But he still has the support of Arizona's Governor-for-the-moment Jan Brewer.

According to Brewer's top flack, Ryan -- who is currently ADC's Interim Director, despite describing himself as ADC's official "Director" on ADC's Web site -- remains Brewer's pick to be ADC's top administrator. Never mind him stepping over a dead inmate to grab the brass ring.

"He was not submitted or confirmed in the last session," wrote Brewer flack Paul Senseman in e-mail Wednesday. "It is expected that he will be submitted to the legislature and likely confirmed in the next legislative session."

(How Ryan's current bureaucratric supremacy will play with the possible sale/leaseback of the state's prisons is unknown.)

Asked whether Ryan should resign his interim position because of the way he's mishandled Powell's grotesque demise in state custody, Senseman was positively blithe.

"I'm not aware of any independent person or organization who is suggesting otherwise," tut-tutted Senseman.
Senseman did not reply to follow up questions inquiring if the Governor was in any way remorseful over Powell's death, why she remained confident in Ryan's abilities in spite of his obvious bungling, and if she supported Ryan ending Powell's life support without consulting with Powell's court-appointed guardian, Maricopa County's Public Fiduciary.

An extensive search by the fiduciary's office after Powell's death found a living relative -- Powell's adoptive mother, and the possibility of other relatives yet to be located. Though Powell's adoptive mom did not wish to take custody of Powell's remains, one wonders what her response would have been if she had known earlier that her estranged daughter was on life support.

The Arizona Republic has apparently snagged a copy of the 3,000 page ADC report on Powell, describing the morbid details of Powell's last hours on this earth. The persistent neglect of some ADC employees for Powell's welfare is evident. But are those fired and disciplined by Ryan simply the fall-guys?

According to what the Rep is reporting, there's plenty of blame to go around. An ADC sergeant failed to report the fact that Powell had collapsed. Powell's fellow inmates said she was denied water while in the human cage. Powell's request to be taken back to her indoor cell was ignored. And so on.

One person definitely not taking responsibility for Powell's death is Ryan.


Here's a novel idea for the former Bush administration flunky, used to overseeing Iraqi prisons for the U.S. State Department: Do the honorable thing and resign.

Otherwise, may the ghost of Marcia Powell forever haunt you...

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