ACLU-Arizona: "Demolish the Prisons"
Ringed by the names of those who have died in AZ State custody
of neglect, suicide, and violence since Jan 2009.
Phoenix, AZ (April 25, 2011)
The National ACLU had already made the misuse of isolation and detention for managing symptoms of mentally ill prisoners a national priority, so this shouldn't be a surprise for the ADC...nor should the fact that they're interviewing some of my correspondents. Apparently their arrival is causing quite a stir, though - the guards are the ones who called Fathi "Big Daddy". They had a bit of cleaning up to do for their arrival, I imagine.
No deal is done yet - they're still just exploring the evidence and talking to possible litigants and witnesses, as far as I know. They need to see that there's a social movement here that will support their intervention, so step up with the actions and agitation. Remember to come to the following events:
MI in the CJ System Roundtable:
Punitive or Restorative Justice?
ASU Art Museum
1th St/Mill Ave
Sunday, May 1: May Day Rally.
REALLY, REALLY FREE Store 11:30
Margaret T. Hance Park
south of the Phoenix Public Library, Central St, Phoenix
PRISONER RIGHTS ARE WORKERS RIGHTS!!!
Those of you in prison but not at Eyman, take heart - we've got a whole lot going on both out here and behind bars now, and you won't be left behind. Be persistent keeping me posted about how things are in there - but by all means, direct your eyewitness correspondence about conditions of confinement to the ACLU-AZ (PO Box 17148, Phoenix, AZ 85011), not me, right now. I have the ACLU's assurances that they won't lose any letters, and they'll no doubt try to help me find solutions to the things they can't address, to the extent that such a role is appropriate for them.
Learn to grieve things properly, and keep the frustration and violence down. Help each other out more than usual; you need to not only get through this, but you need to be vocal and visible, now that there's a light shining in there, and responsible with your complaints.
Thanks go out to the prisoners willing to put themselves out there for the rest of the folks right now, as well as to Dan Pochoda and Darrell Hill at the ACLU-AZ, and Mary Lou Brncik, Carl Toersbijns, Patti Jones, and Ken Jacuzzi, especially, for being such aggressive advocates for prisoners with serious mental illness.