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:


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Remembering murdered prisoners and their families


Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. The victims' rights organizations that assured this day would be recognized and murder victims remembered have done a good job of representing families destroyed by homicide.

My job, however, is to remember those families of prisoners killed in the care of the state who don't even have the standing as "victims" under our state constitution. Marcia Powell didn't even earn standing as a "victim", for all the suffering she went through before her death. I imagine that's so the state doesn't admit liability for neglect by acknowledging the special class of victims they create through neglect and abuse. Maybe if our constitution inferred that the same level of humanity exists in "people in custody for an offense" they wouldn't be getting killed by the desert in outdoor cages or ignored when being mutilated by cellmates so often.

A couple of these men were themselves in prison for murder or had otherwise seriously harmed others, but not most of them. None were sentenced to be executed. I have heard from or read messages left by many of their traumatized loved ones - their families were destroyed once by their convictions and imprisonment, now again by their murders.

I've also read a bit by family members of their victims, and from the victims of others. These deaths often open wounds for them, as well, including those not yet healed. I hope this doesn't have that effect for any of them.

I'll put together a later piece with links to relevant documents or blog posts on each of the murders I've researched. Today I'm just remembering homicide victims in prison, not what they did to get there. On some level, the public has already bargained that most prisoners get what they have coming to them. They don't. Most of the truly evil criminals aren't even in prison - some are actually running this show. A lot of people go to prison who never should have because they're just too poor to fight it.

I've decided that I'm going to ask the victims' rights organizations for help on this issue. Prisoners deserve safety, too, and are far too vulnerable to victimization - especially those who have been abused and exploited already.

I need to run this final list by the AZ Department of Corrections Monday to see if they can give me any more information from their own investigations, as the media did almost no follow-up on any of the ADC reports. I have more posts following the Hawaiian prison homicides than I do on the Arizona ones. This is a high prison homicide rate (national average 4/100,000 state prisoners per year), regardless on how those suspicious deaths pan out. The Phoenix New Times did good coverage of this issue after the four in 2008 - I hope someone in the media picks it up again.

The prisoner homicides that have been reported by the Arizona Department of Corrections in the past nine months alone follow. Our condolences to their loved ones. Please contact me if you want to share your story, connect with other prisoners' families, or think there's anything else I might be able to do.

If you contact the Department of Justice about your loved one's homicide, address your correspondence (always keep a copy; I certify my mail them, too) to:


Judy Preston, Acting Director
US DOJ Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Please specify that you want a CRIPA investigation into your loved one's death and the pattern of homicides and suicides at the AZ Department of Corrections, as well as into the death of Marcia Powell.


Anyone can write to them, by the way, and support a CRIPA investigation for us as easily as this:

1. Print out this blog post, and write "PLEASE CRIPA this state!" across the top. Also write in your own name and contact info.

2. Photocopy your final work, then put it in an envelope.

3. Address the envelope to the DOJ.

4. Put appropriate postage on the original and mail it.

It would be a big bonus if you send me a copy of your CRIPA request so I can post that here, too. All my contact info is in the column to the side.

Thanks,

- Peg

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Prisoners Murdered in the Care of the State of Arizona, 2010.
National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims (September 25, 2010).

Shannon Palmer, 40 (9/10/10) ASPC-Lewis/Buckley Transitional

Dana Seawright, 26 (7/7/2010) ASPC-Lewis/Stiner

Albert Tsosi, 35, (6/16/2010) ASPC-Lewis/Rast

Alexandru Usurelu, 23 (1/25/10) ASPC-Eyman/SMU

Ulises Rodriguez, 22 (1/25/2010) ASPC-Tucson/Cimmaron


Also reported as suspicious in that time with no media follow-up (post updated 11/04/10):

Carl Cresong, 49 (1/3/2010) ASPC-Lewis/Buckley (suspected accidental drug overdose by ADC records reviewed by me on 10/30/10)

Christopher Francis, 39 (8/17/2010) -ASPC-Lewis/Stiner (reported as accidental opiate overdose by ADC records reviewed by me on 10/30/10)

Armando Lugo, 36 (3/26/2010) - ASPC-Lewis/Morey (reported as homicide by ADC records reviewed by me on 10/30/10)


Not reported in media, but discovered in ADC records reviewed by me as suspected homicide:

James Jennings 59 (9/05/10) - ASPC-Eyman/Meadows (cause of death believed to be secondary to a fight with another prisoner who was angry about Jennings' psychiatric symptoms.)
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This does not count the Hawaiian prisoners in the custody of CCA facilities in Arizona, as they are not prisoners of the AZ Department of Corrections. The people of Hawaii are welcome to contact me, however, if you're organizing to have some of your prisoners sent home - and all of them kept safe. You clearly can't count on your government officials to act in victimized prisoners' or their families best interests - though at least your media has been covering the murders more closely. There's also that little thing about subjecting your citizens to the death penalty - if it's okay in Arizona, why not bring it to the Islands?

I'd really like to hear from some of you out there. Contact me at prisonabolitionist@gmail.com (phone 480-580-6807).

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