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:


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Police Brutality Watch: Gerster February update.

UPDATED UPDATE: Here's the record of Gerster's Feb 10 court appearance. There's a comprehensive Pre-trial Conference, March 11, 8:15am, Maricopa County Superior Courthouse (W. Washington St.)

Been taking care of my family today and didn't make it to Kevin Gerster's pretrial conference as planned. There doesn't appear to be any news coverage on him from the past week, and the notes from today's proceedings aren't posted to the Superior Court website yet, so if anyone else out there knows what may have transpired this AM, let me know. I'll post the time/date of his next hearing once it shows in the record. No news yet on the charging of officer Alan Keesee for his assault on a prisoner in the psychiatric unit.
As far as I know, he's still on paid leave with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

What I can tell you is that - much to my surprise - the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has not only not swept this under the rug, but they've been hitting Gerster with allegations about historical priors and multiple counts for offenses committed on separate occasions - they filed those last week, apparently (see here, here and here). I still think class 6 felonies are too low for what he did (below is the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1204 description of aggravated assault). But kudos to Montgomery and crew for going after him on allegations as doggedly as they go after the rest of us...

Damn. I shouldn't be encouraging vindictiveness or prosecutorial excess; this is really a perfect opportunity to talk about what transformative justice could look like when applied to state agents like Gerster and Arpaio - the people I really want most to see get punished. I'll work on that and get back to folks once it perks for awhile. Send me your thoughts.

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ARS 13-1204. Aggravated assault; classification; definition

(L10, Ch. 241, sec. 1 & Ch. 276, sec. 2)

A. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203 under any of the following circumstances:

1. If the person causes serious physical injury to another.

2. If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

3. If the person commits the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part or a fracture of any body part.

4. If the person commits the assault while the victim is bound or otherwise physically restrained or while the victim's capacity to resist is substantially impaired.

5. If the person commits the assault after entering the private home of another with the intent to commit the assault.

6. If the person is eighteen years of age or older and commits the assault on a child who is fifteen years of age or under.

7. If the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203, subsection A, paragraph 1 or 3 and the person is in violation of an order of protection issued against the person pursuant to section 13-3602 or 13-3624.

8. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is any of the following:

(a) A peace officer, or a person summoned and directed by the officer while engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(b) A constable, or a person summoned and directed by the constable while engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(c) A firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, emergency medical technician or paramedic engaged in the execution of any official duties, or a person summoned and directed by such individual while engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(d) A teacher or other person employed by any school and the teacher or other employee is on the grounds of a school or grounds adjacent to the school or is in any part of a building or vehicle used for school purposes, any teacher or school nurse visiting a private home in the course of the teacher's or nurse's professional duties or any teacher engaged in any authorized and organized classroom activity held on other than school grounds.

(e) A health care practitioner who is certified or licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 13, 15, 17 or 25, or a person summoned and directed by the licensed health care practitioner while engaged in the person's professional duties. This subdivision does not apply if the person who commits the assault is seriously mentally ill, as defined in section 36-550, or is afflicted with alzheimer's disease or related dementia.

(f) A prosecutor.

(g) A code enforcement officer as defined in section 39-123.

(h) A state or municipal park ranger.

9. If the person knowingly takes or attempts to exercise control over any of the following:

(a) A peace officer's or other officer's firearm and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer employed by one of the agencies listed in paragraph 10, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this subsection and is engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(b) Any weapon other than a firearm that is being used by a peace officer or other officer or that the officer is attempting to use, and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer employed by one of the agencies listed in paragraph 10, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this subsection and is engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(c) Any implement that is being used by a peace officer or other officer or that the officer is attempting to use, and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer employed by one of the agencies listed in paragraph 10, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this subsection and is engaged in the execution of any official duties. For the purposes of this subdivision, "implement" means an object that is designed for or that is capable of restraining or injuring an individual. Implement does not include handcuffs.

10. If the person meets both of the following conditions:

(a) Is imprisoned or otherwise subject to the custody of any of the following:

(i) The state department of corrections.

(ii) The department of juvenile corrections.

(iii) A law enforcement agency.

(iv) A county or city jail or an adult or juvenile detention facility of a city or county.

(v) Any other entity that is contracting with the state department of corrections, the department of juvenile corrections, a law enforcement agency, another state, any private correctional facility, a county, a city or the federal bureau of prisons or other federal agency that has responsibility for sentenced or unsentenced prisoners.

(b) Commits an assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is acting in an official capacity as an employee of any of the entities listed in subdivision (a) of this paragraph.

B. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault by either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person, intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury or knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure the person, and both of the following occur:

1. The person intentionally or knowingly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by obstructing the nose and mouth either manually or through the use of an instrument.

2. Any of the circumstances exists that are set forth in section 13-3601, subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.

C. Except pursuant to subsections D and E of this section, aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 or paragraph 9, subdivision (a) of this section is a class 3 felony except if the victim is under fifteen years of age in which case it is a class 2 felony punishable pursuant to section 13-705. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 or subsection B of this section is a class 4 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 9, subdivision (b) or paragraph 10 of this section is a class 5 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 or paragraph 9, subdivision (c) of this section is a class 6 felony.

D. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 2 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 3 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 8, subdivision (a) of this section resulting in any physical injury to a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 5 felony.

E. Aggravated assault pursuant to:

1. Subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section is a class 2 felony if committed on a prosecutor.

2. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section is a class 3 felony if committed on a prosecutor.

3. Subsection A, paragraph 8, subdivision (f) of this section is a class 5 felony if the assault results in physical injury to a prosecutor.

F. For the purposes of this section, "prosecutor" means a county attorney, a municipal prosecutor or the attorney general and includes an assistant or deputy county attorney, municipal prosecutor or attorney general.

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