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:


Friday, November 27, 2009

Criminalization of Human Migration

Immigrants, Criminalized

New York Times
November 27, 2009
Editorial
 
A bedrock premise of smart immigration reform is the sharp distinction it draws between criminal aliens and Americans-in-waiting. While it acknowledges that illegal immigrants need to get right with the law, it treats illegal status as a civil matter to be resolved by the machinery of naturalization, not by the police and prisons.

To hard-line opponents of legalization, illegal immigrants are irredeemable lawbreakers by definition, and the only thing they should be waiting for is deportation.

The administration’s job, as it works on a long-overdue reform bill next year, is to resist that view. So it was disheartening to hear Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, boast recently about identifying “more than 111,000 criminal aliens” through a jailhouse fingerprinting program called Secure Communities.

That was misleading. The program, now in 95 cities or counties in 11 states, will ultimately require all local police agencies to check federal immigration databases for anyone after an arrest. It has so far identified a few thousand serious criminals, rapists and burglars, the kinds of people whose removal from the country must be part of any sane immigration strategy. But it also uncovered minor traffic infractions and visa violations.

It is easy to understand that the administration wants to sound as tough as possible as it gets ready to battle deep-seated resistance to real immigration reform. It is encouraging that Ms. Napolitano recently repeated the president’s insistence that a clear legalization path must be a pillar of reform. That makes it all the more important for the administration to avoid conflating illegal immigration and serious crime.

Laws must be enforced, but doing it this way hurts the innocent, creating a short line from Hispanic to immigrant to illegal to criminal. Having brown skin, speaking Spanish, seeming nervous in the presence of flashing police lights — none of those things say anything about whether you are here illegally or not, are deportable or not. But any one of them can be enough to get you pulled over in jurisdictions across the country.

In Arizona, it can get you jailed. We know of citizens whose homes were mistakenly raided by reckless federal agents on Long Island, day laborers who were targets of indiscriminate sweeps in California, and others who were singled out at roadblocks in upstate New York.

This hurts public safety. If you want to know the consequences of turning the police and jails into instruments of deportation, ask the law-enforcement officials who have complained about programs that muddy the line between local crime-fighting and federal enforcement, and make immigrants fear and shun the police.

President Obama has repeatedly assured 12 million illegal immigrants that he will fight to give them the chance to earn the right to stay. His administration should not undermine that noble effort by carelessly lending credibility to the view that the future citizens living and working among us are a class of criminals.

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