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:


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BJS: Mortality in local jails (2000-2007)

The DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics puts out a lot of pretty interesting stuff, but sometimes you have to dig into the data to find out what it really means. This is just a press release for their latest report. Curious that they make no reference to deaths due to accident, negligence, abuse, or homicide. Technically, I believe, Marcia Powell's death was considered an "accident"; how do they track when such accidents are caused by law enforcement?

Good news that suicides are down - now the suicide rate in jail is only three times that of the general population.

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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2010 Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://BJS.OJP.USDOJ.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-0556

MORTALITY RATES IN LOCAL JAILS CONTINUE TO DECLINE

WASHINGTON – Mortality rates in local jails declined over the period from 2000 through 2007, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, announced today. A total of 8,110 jail inmates died in custody of local jails over the study period, during which the mortality rate declined from 152 deaths per 100,000 jail inmates in 2000 to 141 per 100,000 in 2007.

During any given year of the eight-year study, more than 80 percent of the approximately 3,000 jail jurisdictions nationwide had no deaths in their custody. During the entire eight-year study period, more than four in 10 jails (42 percent) had no deaths. Among jails reporting at least one death during the entire study period, the majority (83 percent) reported only one death.

Suicide was the single leading cause of death in local jails, accounting for 29 percent of all jail deaths. Between 2000 and 2007, the suicide rate declined from 48 to 36 per 100,000, continuing a longer decline from 129 per 100,000 in 1983.

Deaths from any illness-related cause accounted for more than half (53 percent) of all deaths in local jails. Heart disease was the single leading illness-related cause of death, accounting for 22 percent of all deaths in local jails. Deaths from AIDS-related causes accounted for five percent of all deaths in jails.

During the eight-year period, the largest jails (those with an average daily population of 1,000 inmates or more) held 49 percent of the total jail population and accounted for 52 percent of all deaths in jails. The smallest jails (those with an average daily population of fewer than 50 inmates) held four percent of the jail population and accounted for seven percent of jail deaths.

Smaller jails had the highest mortality rates largely due to suicide. In jails holding an average of fewer than 50 inmates, the mortality rate of 284 per 100,000 inmates was almost twice the national average (145 per 100,000). Suicide rates were highest in smallest jails (169 per 100,000) and lowest in the 50 largest jails (27 per 100,000).

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of jail deaths occurred within two days of admission; more than one-third (38 percent) within the first seven days; and more than half (56 percent) within 30 days.

Suicide rates in jails were more than three times higher than in the general population. Between 2000 and 2006, when comparable data were available, suicide was the only cause of death that occurred at a higher rate in local jails than in the general population (47 per 100,000 vs 13 per 100,000), after adjusting for differences associated with age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin.

BJS collected these data on deaths in local jails in response to the Deaths in Custody Reporting Act (DICRA) (P.L. 106-297). DICRA required the collection of individual-level records of deaths occuring in jails, in state prisons and during the process of arrest. BJS collects data on deaths in local jails and in state prisons through its Deaths in Custody Reporting Program and on arrest-related deaths through its Arrest-Related Deaths collection.

The report, Mortality in Local Jails, 2000-2007 (NCJ 222988), was written by BJS statistician Margaret Noonan. Following publication, the report can be found at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov.

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS Web site at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.