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. firstname.lastname@example.org
until all are free -
MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The restoration of Jerry Kulp.
I looked and looked this week for memories in the ether from Jerry Kulp's short life. All I could find were his court and ADC papers. Jerry was a 17-year old prisoner on the Minors Unit at ASPC-Tucson last May when he committed suicide.
Jerry hadn't even been in prison a week; he must have just been terrified. How could anyone on the Minors Unit miss all the signs he must have been broadcasting that he wasn't going to last long inside?
Jerry wasn't a gang member, from what I can tell. He was a seriously mentally ill child.he was only 15 when he was charged as an adult, and Jerry was so mentally impaired at the time that he required a guardian to make his legal decisions for him, and had to undergo several rounds of competency exams and "restoration treatment" in Joe's Jail over the course of 6-9 months to be fit for trial.
Does anyone else out there find that troubling? There seems to be a pattern here with mentally ill people being inappropriately prosecuted - kept in jail the whole time their trials are being postponed - (as if they already know that they're guilty and doing the time anyway) - while they medicate them into health. Once so restored, they promptly plead guilty and get sent to prison where they end up neglected or assaulted and killed.
I can't believe we prosecuted a mentally incompetent child as an adult, and then threw him into prison, but I guess we do that all the time. That can't possibly be legal. Why was this kid sent to prison instead of to a hospital, anyway? To teach him some kind of lesson? He seems to have suffered plenty enough. To scare the rest of us at his expense? No wonder we're so soul sick.
I'd like to speak to Jerry's friends and family, if you're out there. Some of us are organizing to make sure this doesn't keep happening to people like Jerry and me in Arizona's state prisons. My phone number is 480-580-6807. My email is email@example.com. Peggy Plews.