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:


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Should Director Ryan Resign?

This would be the coverage to follow, and posits some of the questions I'd ask: 

-------------

Marcia Powell Cage Death: Charles Ryan Fires Three, Disciplines Others, but When Will He Resign?



Less than a month after the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Arizona Department of Corrections inmate Marcia Powell's May 20 human cage death an "accident," ADC honcho Charles Ryan has fired three employees, forced the resignations of two others, and disciplined 11 more. This according to an ADC news release issued today.

Specifically, the release states that Ryan "dismissed five employees, two of whom resigned in lieu of dismissal, demoted a captain to an officer and suspended another 10 employees" because of Powell's death from being left in a shadeless, waterless outdoor cage at Goodyear's Perryville Prison. Powell collapsed May 19 after at least four hours in the blazing Arizona sun. Ryan later made the decision to suspend her life support, even though Powell, 48, had been assigned a guardian by the court  -- Maricopa County's Public Fiduciary.

None of the names of those fired and disciplined have been released. In addition to news of the firings, ADC also announced that it had "completed a criminal investigation into the matter," which had been reviewed by the Department of Public Safety, then submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on August 20.

Ryan's quoted in the release as saying of those disciplined, "These supervisors and officers to varying degrees failed to properly perform their duties." Left unsaid is any mention of the fact that Ryan ordered Powell's plug pulled before consultation with her guardian. Ryan has stated that he did not know Powell had a guardian at the time.

Should Ryan fall on his sword in this matter? After all, couldn't it be argued that Ryan failed to do his duty by not ensuring that Marcia Powell was treated safely and humanely during her 27-month stint in prison for prostitution?

Donna Hamm of the advocacy group Middle Ground Prison Reform said she wasn't ready to demand Ryan's resignation. Hamm said she first wanted to see the results of ADC's internal investigation, which is not yet public.

"The critical thing for us is whether there are going to be criminal charges brought," Hamm told me this evening. "Everything we know about this incident seems to point to the elements for negligent homicide. It's very hard to imagine how Michael Jackson's death is ruled a homicide and this one is ruled an accident. I don't really understand the difference, except in politics and coroners."

Powell's cremains were eventually turned over to Middle Ground after an investigation by the fidiciary's office could not locate next-of-kin willing to take custody of them. (Powell's adoptive mother is alive, but she told the fiduciary's office she did not wish to get involved.) Powell's cremains were committed June 28 at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix.

No comments: