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.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Governor Brewer: Help Prisoner Tripati.

This fellow's name came to my attention not long ago and I began doing some research on his case, trying to figure out how best to help him. This is from Brian Wilkins' blog, Operation Nation. I think this is the first I've seen of it. I'll have his post about the protest to link to as well.

Anyway, check out Tripati's story - I've seen some of the documents associated with it - explicit orders to restrict his access to legal services, etc. because what he has to say can be damaging to the ADC. Boy is Ryan going to be done with me. You wouldn't believe how many of these folks are coming out of the woodwork now. We could profile a new prisoner every week. And everyone says the same thing about the ADC tearing up their cells and confiscating legal documents that might be used against them. That seems to be the standard M.O. there.

Now, who’s the dangerous criminal, here?

I think the legal system is far too slow when it comes to getting relief for these guys. I don't know who to call for help. Hit the DOJ up again for another CRIPA investigation? I think this tactic of characterizing prisoners' grievances and lawsuits as harassing annoyances to be disappeared instead of problems for the ADC to fix has a lot to do with the institutional culture that allowed Marcia Powell to die at the hands of 16 ADC employees. At some point the public just needs to start holding htese people accountable, and stop waiting for "justice" to do right by them. Justice has already discarded them.

I can say that we're watching what happens to Mr. Tripati now, as are our allies (identified in the letter to Byron Chubbuck's warden, below). Writing him off as crazy won't phase me - I know lots of crazy people who are right on about what the state's up to. Really, the fact that there's been so much effort put into discrediting and silencing Tripati – straight from the director's office - tells me there must be something to what he has to say. So, I'm going to keep researching. Anyone who knows anything about this guys' case - or others like it - drop me a line. Mrs. Tripati – let us know how we can help.

I would expect the ADC to take real good care of Mr. Tripati, now, so it doesn't appear as if they're just retaliating again. If they haven’t done anything wrong, he should be free to communicate with others and proceed with his legal case against them. Isn’t that what the cops always tell us – why hide anything if you’re innocent?I think some of us should start writing to him to show our support, and make sure we know he’s okay – I’ll post his contact info soon.

I also think it would help if a few people printed this post  up and mailed it to the governor’s office, so they know some of us are following how they deal with Mrs. Tripati’s request. It should put them on notice that we expect them to be responsive and responsible, and will document their follow-through. At the very least, they could answer her appeal to at least release him to the Fiji government to serve out the rest of his sentence there (see the pdf link to her past letter). This woman is pleading for her husband's life.

As for the Governor and the legislators the Tripati family has appealed to – shame on all of you. Don’t you have any idea how often  people are getting really screwed by this system? Your system? Arizona citizens are appealing to you for help, and you’re just ignoring these people and their families whenever they surface. How can what Tripati has to say about the county attorney’s office be any less believable than the truth we see unfolding in Maricopa County politics today? 

Have you even bothered to turn these letters you’re getting alleging criminal conduct at the ADC over to the feds? Even to the state police? Isn’t it your legal duty as an elected official or public servant to report possible abuse of institutionalized persons when it comes to your attention? That means more than just giving Ryan’s office a heads-up and telling him to deal with it. You can't just be filing these away, are you? Burying them?

People suffer and die in your prisons unnecessarily, and you appear to keep walking on like they were irrelevant – just like the guards who ignored Marcia Powell. So it’s not just the ADC, I guess – it’s the whole lot of you who have dismissed this man. Democrat, Republican – doesn’t matter. Anyone who has blown this guy off is invested in protecting the state before the people.

That’s why you all have to go.

What follows is directly from Operation Nation’s blog.

UPDATED 1/15/2010: Ryan Accelerates Attempts To Murder Tripati...And Cover It Up

One day after Mrs. Kristnamma Tripati sent a letter to Governor Jan Brewer and the state legislature, ADC Director Charles Ryan seems to have ordered his goons to withhold food from Mr. Anant Kumar Tripati until he starves to death. Ryan will then tell media that Mr. Tripati was on a "hunger strike" to justify the murder. Mrs. Tripati wrote a second letter to the governor, also detailing how ADC employees are now stealing and destroying legal documents pertinent to Mr. Tripati's continued appeals.

Here is the entire text of Mrs. Tripati's second letter to the governor.


January 14, 2010

Honorable Governor Brewer,

Immediately after I wrote to you to draw your attention to mistreatment by the AZDOC that almost killed my husband Anant Tripati 102081, Special Security Unit (SSU) Staff Murphy, Sgt. Turner and a female officer seized all legal documents (3 boxes) that my husband had, including confidential legal communications between my husband and his legal counsel. I can only assume that this was ordered by superiors in the AZDOC in retaliation for the letter that I wrote to you.

SSU Murphy then went on to make copies of these documents and provided these copies to ADOC’s legal services without his authorization since the documents contained confidential legal communications between my husband and his lawyer.  My husband became aware of his missing documents when he was provided with a receipt with Officer Soto’s signature documenting that SSU Murphy and Turner had taken away his legal material.

To further aggravate the situation, instead of implementing treatments ordered by doctors, the AZDOC director Charles Ryan has ordered that my husband shall be treated as being on a ‘hunger strike’. According to my husband, threats were made by Deputy Warden Anna Jacobs, who told him if he does not eat whatever is provided, he would be segregated.

As stated in ADOC Department order 1101.13, it does not give the department Warden the power to determine these matters but sets forth a process that must be followed. Prison rule states only health service staff can make such decisions.

I request all originals and copies made by SSU Murphy to be returned forthwith to my husband and appropriate disciplinary actions be taken against SSU Murphy, Turner and others involved. Furthermore, I request this retaliation to stop immediately.


Krish Tripati


Post by Brian A. Wilkins

In a letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and several Arizona lawmakers (see entire letter in PDF format here), Mrs. Kristnamma Tripati is demanding her husband be given the medical treatment he needs to survive what appears to be an attempted murder by the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Mrs. Tripati is the wife of Mr. Anant Kumar Tripati, the man being held in a state prison because he discovered documents proving race-based law enforcement in Maricopa County back in the early 1990s. He was sentenced to 52.5 years in prison back in 1992, even though all the alleged "evidence" Maricopa County had against him has been completely debunked. And beyond this fact, Mr. Tripati was arrested in the early 1990s by Maricopa County attorney's Richard Romley, Gunn McKay, and Donald Conrad when he was working and living in Los Angeles, CA; which is obviously out of the jurisdiction of Maricopa County; and county attorneys do not have the power to arrest anyone even in their own jurisdictions.

This past Saturday, Operation Nation learned from Ms. Aradhna Tripati, Mr. Tripati's daughter, that her father's blood pressure had dropped to 70/35, which is about as close a human being can get to being dead without actually dying. Then yesterday, we received a copy of the letter Mr. Tripati's wife sent to the Arizona legislator, which puts the "Interim" Director of the AZ D.O.C., Charles L. Ryan, on full notice of his malfeasance, and frankly, his attempt to murder a man who holds the keys to a possible federal criminal investigation (or a revolution by the people, which is more likely) into the practices of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the A.Z. D.O.C.

To quickly summarize the letter to the governor, Mr. Tripati's wife confirms the obvious: that this Ryan character has been "outright deceitful" about Mr. Tripati's condition and medical treatments, and that Ryan, "has incentive to be deceitful, as the behavior of him and his employees are the subject of complaints." The letter further states that Mr. Tripati is being denied his special diet (which is a prisoner's right), which is the cause of his declining health. A few other highlights from the letter are as follows:

-The Arizona D.O.C.'s obvious policy of destroying documents which incriminate them.

-The condoning of the use of death by overriding doctor’s orders, specifically by Corrections Officer Gene Greeley, as a tool of last resort for permanently covering up falsification of  evidence by the State Agents.

-The Arizona D.O.C. is "cowardly" for saying Mr. Tripati is "uncooperative" because he refuses to allow them to stick needles in him to allegedly draw blood (this sounds all too familiar to me...obviously there is no telling what these people will try and inject into Mr. Tripati).

Before all the Maricopa County and Arizona government apologists come to Intern Ryan's defense, and accuse Mrs. Tripati of being out of touch, paranoid, or whatever other adjectives they may use, let's look at who this Ryan character really is.

Those of you living in Arizona will remember the story of Marcia Powell, the 48-year-old woman who was left to cook and die in a Perryville Prison outdoor cage for over four hours without water or shade back in May of 2009, when temperatures were well over 110 degrees.

I realize that Ms. Powell is not very attractive, nor is she a dog or cat stuck in a tree...just a human being convicted of prostitution, so few people, especially media and government, will care about her. What makes her life even more important is the fact that Intern Ryan ordered the de-facto murder….

…I assume Mrs. Tripati's letter will be ignored by Governor Brewer and the state legislature, as these people all cover for one another and all are striving for higher paying positions with more power. I also realize many people just assume if someone is in prison, they deserve it, so will discount the true story of Mr. Tripati.

But for those who refuse to accept the obvious truths about Intern Ryan, his policies, and his training are part of what I call the blind patriotism in which tyranny depends on to work. Welcome to The USA, the land of blind patriots.


Anant Kumar Tripati, Maricopa County Race-Based Justice, and My Situation (updated 10/19/2009)

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