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, December 10, 2009

Revive the Prison Abuse Remedies Act: Human Rights Day

Upcoming Events


December 10: International Human Rights Day.
December 17: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (Tucson Memorial).
December 18: Sex Workers Outreach Project Protest at the AZ DOC in Phoenix.
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This post is from October, but seemed appropriate to renew for Human Rights Day. We need to make sure the next session of congress deals with with the Prison Abuse Remedies Act.

Prison Abuse Remedies Act

Below is an editorial by the New York Times urging revision of the Prison Reform Litigation Act, which has been preventing prisoners from obtaining legal remedies to neglect and abuse since 1996 (another piece of legislative garbage he signed to repress resistance). The authors below make the direct link between the abuses of that law by prison officials, and the deplorable conditions in American prisons today. Let's make sure Congress passes the Prison Remedies Act ths year - before they full on into their 2010 campaigns.

Thanks to Lois at the Real Cost of Prisons Project for passing this on to us. Perhaps in the meantime the draft legislation could be used a the foundation for new state legislation to remedy prison abuse.

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Letter to the Editor: Abuse of Female Prisoners
Published: October 2, 2009
To the Editor: New York Times
Re “Prisoners’ Rights” (editorial, Sept. 24):


You are right to call for legislation amending the Prison Litigation Reform Act. We sued on behalf of female prisoners in the New York State prison system who reported that they had been sexually assaulted by staff members, and have been appalled to spend the last six years litigating whether these 17 women — each of whom bravely complained of her abuse to departmental officials — exhausted their administrative remedies sufficiently to satisfy the law.

As a result, New York State has been able to avoid addressing the prison system’s longstanding failure to protect female prisoners from sexual abuse, allowing more and more women to be victimized.

The Prison Litigation Reform Act was sold in Congress as a measure against frivolous litigation, but has served in reality to prevent the redress of the most serious violations of prisoners’ human rights. The time has come for reform, or better yet, repeal of the law.

Lisa Freeman
Dori Lewis
New York, Sept. 24, 2009

The writers are lawyers with the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society and lawyers for the plaintiffs in Amador v. Andrews.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/opinion/lweb02prisoner.html?_r=3&pagewanted=print_

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Editorial - NY Times
Prisoners’ Rights


Published: September 23, 2009

In 1996, Congress passed a law that made it much harder for inmates to challenge abusive treatment. It has contributed significantly to the bad conditions — including the desperate overcrowding — that prevail today. 
 
The law must be fixed.

 

Times Topics: Prisons and Prisoners

In the name of clamping down on frivolous lawsuits, the Prison Reform Litigation Act barred prisoners from suing prisons and jails unless they could show that they had suffered a physical injury. Prison officials have used this requirement to block lawsuits challenging all sorts of horrific conditions, including sexual abuse.

The law also requires inmates to present their claims to prison officials before filing a suit. The prisons set the rules for those grievance procedures, notes Stephen Bright, the president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and they have an incentive to make the rules as complicated as possible, so prisoners will not be able to sue. “That has become the main purpose of many grievance systems,” Mr. Bright told Congress last year.

In the last Congress, Representative Robert Scott, Democrat of Virginia, sponsored the Prison Abuse Remedies Act. It would have eliminated the physical injury requirement and made it harder for prison officials to get suits dismissed for failure to exhaust grievance procedures. It would have exempted juveniles, who are especially vulnerable to abuse, from the law’s restrictions.

The bill’s supporters need to try again this year. Conditions in the nation’s overcrowded prisons are becoming increasingly dangerous; recently, there have been major riots in California and Kentucky. Prisoner lawsuits are a way of reining in the worst abuses, which contribute to prison riots and other violence.

The main reason to pass the new law, though, is human decency. The only way to ensure that inmates are not mistreated is to guarantee them a fair opportunity to bring their legitimate complaints to court.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/24/opinion/24thu4.html?scp=1&sq=prisoners%E2%80%99%20rights&st=cse

This and other news about women and mass incarceration can be found at www.realcostofprisons.org/blog/

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