We're still concerned about what's been happening to the guys at Ely State Prison in Nevada - both the medical neglect and the abuse they've been experiencing. I'll be posting more on that soon with a request I'll be writing to the DOJ for a CRIPA (Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act) investiation due to a pattern of civil rights violations - but they don't need an official request from anyone to start such an investigation. We'll know it's happening once the prisoners tell us and the DOJ requests the letters held (most published on the blogs, guys) by several prisoner rights activists - so far no one seems too interested in what they have to say but the ACLU.
Anyway, here's a link to their stories on Ely prison - this will take you to the mother of a prisoner who died of esophageal cancer due to lack of medical care. It's only eight minutes: give a listen. Hear her voice. Shoot an email or drop a postcard in the mail to the DOJ Civil Rights Division and ask for a CRIPA investigation of the Nevada Department of Corrections. Refer them to Arizona Prison Watch, Nevada Prison Watch, and Make the Walls Transparent. Most of the prisoner letters are there - some Ely prison letters (like the recent one from Ikemba) have also been published by the San Francisco Bay View. If they know that a few people (other than the usual suspects) are paying attention, maybe they'll do something. We'll keep you posted.
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)