The note below was sent to me on a list-serve by the Arizona Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform - their links are at the bottom of the post - good people to connect with if you want to work on sentencing reform and other criminal justice legislation. They're also nationally involved.
I want to post this because it's good to bring Sunbelt Justice to legislators' attention as many ways as possible - they need to brush up on their AZ Department of Corrections history, and this offers a couple of useful other links.
To our Arizona Legislators:
Prisons: Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment - Mona Lynch and Torture in American Prisons including Arizona.
I urge you to take the time to watch the video and read the book about important information that impacts all of those living or visiting Arizona and determining whether to start businesses in the state.
This is a must-read for anyone concerned Criminal Justice and Corrections, the cost to society and the taxpayers. It is unsustainable. It's time to downsize incarceration, restore rehabilitation, vocational training and education. "Tough on crime" needs to be replaced with "smart on crime" -- starting with eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing which is the "hammer" used by the prosecutors to get their convictions and overload the court system, jails, prisons and detention centers. We say NO to Private Prisons and the Celling of Arizona. There are solutions. The state has NO money. It's time to release inmates -- the innocent and wrongfully convicted, non-violent, first offenders who are no harm to society, elderly and chronically ill and dying.
"Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment" - Mona Lynch
Video: Torture in American prisons - a British documentary
Arizona Maricopa County jail featured and detainee deaths of Norberg, Crenshaw and more.
Arizona Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform
NCCJR National Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform
Arizona Director - Freedom March for the Wrongfully Convicted -2009
PETITION: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Scheme is Morally Unacceptable
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. email@example.com
until all are free -
MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)