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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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Free Davon Acklin.

Davon's in a no-win situation: this can't be the way we all intended for things to work out for kids like him - first prison, now Hep C. He's pretty ill, too; Julie's been getting the run-around from some of the folks at the ADC, but she has his medical records now and knows better what she's dealing with. Davon's getting sicker, fast, and there's no more time to mess around with these people.

Anyway, I'm posting the Hopeworks Community write-up on Davon because I'm so close to him that I've been having a hard time blogging about him; this really breaks my heart. But he's easy to write to (here are the ADC mail policies), and he usually draws something awesome on his letters and envelopes for me. So, as the author of this post suggests, drop him a line.

I don't think Julie or Davon would mind me saying that he can always use a few bucks, too, for medical co-pays, stamps, and food/vitamins if you can spare it - the ADC doesn't exactly have healthy menus (they just replaced tomatoes with pickles as an equivalent). Even cancer patients have to worry about paying for their own nutritional supplements in Arizona's prison; "special diets" that actually have any improved nutritional value are considered "special" to prisoners mainly because they're so hard to get. Everything "extra" (like health care) has to be paid for, and if you're poor - as in the "real world" - you're SOL.

Here's Davon's story. Writing a note or sending a postcard to him will be time well-spent. If you send a money order or certified check, make it out to the "Arizona Department of Corrections for Davon Acklin (223880)", then tuck it in the envelope. No need to be extravagant - $10 is a lot of money when you have none. It will be deeply appreciated.

Governor Brewer's office a line in the meantime, too, letting her know you want to see this kid treated or home ASAP. Follow emails up with snail mail on your letterhead. You guys work on her for now; we'll work on the Board of Executive Clemency and the ADC. If we need help with them, as well, we'll let you know.

----------------------from Hopeworks Community------------------

Free Davon Acklin

By hopeworkscommunity

Davon Acklin didn't just fall between the cracks. He lives there.

He is 23 years old and an inmate of the Arizona prison system. Like many people with severe mental illness he found out that a system which offers inadequate or no services at all to people with serious emotional problems leaves many of them in prison and too many of them in a hell which ultimately destroys their chances for recovery and any kind of life worth having.

He may be dying. He has hepatitis C courtesy of the prison environment he lives in. His liver has been affected and without serious medical attention his chances of making it much longer are virtually nil. He has 10 months left to release. His mother has appealed to the authorities to give him compassionate release. She only wants to be with her son and if he must die she doesn't want it to be in a hell hole with people who look upon him as only a number and less than a person. She wants him home. She just wants him home.

He was convicted originally of assault with a deadly weapon. He was psychotic, had stolen a battery. Two security guards ran after him. In a panic he brandished a box cutter at them. His first year was spent in solitary confinement in a Super Max prison. He found out that his punishment for being sick, being scared, and being psychotic was to have a planned, brutal attack on the tattered shreds of his sanity. Imagine what one year in solitary confinement would be for you. Now imagine if you were already emotionally ill.

There is some treatment available in the prison, but the state of Arizona has a protocol to decide who should get it are not. Davon doesn't meet the criteria.

He “committed” a crime, but he is not a criminal. His family was trying to find placement for him before anything happened. His illness struck first.

His mother tells me he has given up. He sees himself as being alone and powerless against a system which seems determined to get its pound of flesh. But you can help.

Take a few minutes out of your day and write him. Let him know you care. Let him know he is not alone. His contact information is ….

Davon Acklin (223880)

ASPC-Tucson/ Manzanita

PO Box 24401

Tuscon, AZ 87345.

It will be the best few minutes you spend tomorrow. Please act.

Please spread the word and tell others. Share this post with as many people as you can. This is a horrible injustice. Mental illness should not be a capital crime. There are many, too many Davon’s. Please stand for him.

In the next couple of days I will have additional posts telling about other concrete things you can do. Please spread the word…. And please, please, please HELP FREE DAVON ACKLIN!!!!!