This comes from Jon's Jail Journal - the post for January 3, 2010. I'm giving you the lead and linking you back there for the rest, because if you haven't checked out his blog, you need to now. It's a blogspot for bloggers from jails and prisons - with a special focus on our own Tent City and Joe Arpaio. I also have copies of the zine "Tenacious", with art and writings compiled by Vikki Law from women in prison, which has Renee's story about Marcia's death in it. Contact me if interested.
I know Director Ryan will be seeing this post soon enough, and hunting down the blogger who wrote it. I hope she's able to maintain contact with the people she's in touch with, so we all know she's not experiencing any kind of retaliation. The sounds of the new DW is troubling. I would expect Director Ryan would want to make a point of assuring that Renee isn't harassed or punished for expressing herself on the issue - perhaps if his office was more directly involved in what prisoners had to say instead of trying to have them silenced, they wouldn't be finding out what's going on there from blogs. He should actually follow this up as an anonymous complaint, one likely shared by many too fearful to say anything. Leave Renee alone.
Get word inside that we hear them, and to keep writing - but be low key (not like me). Women's resistance is worth making the extra effort to pay attention to. We need to figure out how to support them, which starts with letting them know we're here, listening. They just need to be mindful that everyone else is listening, too. Hopefully, the visibility of blogging will protect them. But we can't promise anything; prison is not a safe place to be when you complain about it.
Hang in there, sisters.
Changes at Perryville Women’s Prison (Part 1 by Lifer Renee)
Renee – As a teenager, Renee received a 60-year sentence from a judge in Pima County. 15 years into her sentence, she’s writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.
After Marcia Powell died because of the guards, so much has happened. I went a round or two with depression. Her death was a slap in the face of what the reality of my life is. All of us who reside in this prison felt it. It was hard to deal with, but life goes on.
Her death has changed the dynamics of life here drastically. There are now larger “rec enclosures” no longer to be referred to as cages. In the guards’ inner circles, they are referred to as “play pens.” There are mister systems and shade structures.
There is a new administration: DW [Deputy Warden], ADW [Assistant Deputy Warden], and captain. The DW is out of control. If you have an opinion, something to say and it goes against what he says, you’ll find yourself moved to the hole in the blink of an eye. This has happened to several women. They also move you into the kitchen with 56 other women if you ask for a room change because you do not get along with your roommate, and this is escalating the fighting....
Back to Jon's for the rest. It's kind of big.
Thanks, Shaun, for being there to amplify the voices of so many prisoners. And thanks, Renee, for taking the chance to get word out about what's going on these days. Keep writing.