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.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


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Thursday, June 30, 2011

HUFFPOST's Salute to Martori Farms.

This popped up in the Huffington Post blogs...just a little background to the WalMart / Martori Farms relationship with prison labor.

Resistance Alley, Phoenix

June 3, 2011


"I Ain't Gonna Work On Martori's Farm No More"

Al Norman founder of Sprawl-Busters
Posted: 06/29/11 02:18 PM ET

For the past 20 years, Wal-Mart has fed its stores with agricultural produce from a company called Martori Farms. According to Hoover's profile of the company, Martori is "a fruit and vegetable grower, packer, shipper, and wholesaler and is the largest commercial agricultural company in Arizona.

The agra business was "hand-picked" by Wal-Mart, and in 2007, the giant retailer showcased Martori Farms as part of its "Salute To America's Farmers" program. The Martori farm operations took seed in the 1930s Arizona soil, later specializing in melons and broccoli. The company today has 3 major locations in Arizona, and one site in California. One of its holdings contains more than 15,000 arcres of farmland.

Wal-Mart has described its relationship with Martori Farms as an example of "fruitful collaboration." The retailer's first 35 superstores were stocked with organic cantaloupes from Martori Farms. "Our relationship with Martori Farms is an excellent example of the kind of collaboration we strive for with our suppliers," a Wal-Mart spokesman said four years ago. "Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we're proud to salute American farmers like Martori Farms."

But new allegations about the use of prison labor at the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Martori Farms could blight the fruitful relationship between the retailer and the farmer.

For almost 20 years, Wal-Mart has had a clear policy forbidding the use of prison labor by its vendors. "Since 1992 Wal-Mart has required its supplier-partners to comply with a stringent code of conduct," Wal-Mart said in a 1997 press statement. "This code requires factories producing merchandise for Wal-Mart to be automatically denied manufacturing certification if inspections reveal...evidence of forced or prison labor."

The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has supplied prisoner labor for private agricultural businesses for almost 20 years. For at least the last four years, the state of Arizona has fined employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. Farmers responded by calling up the ADC for workers. "We are contacted almost daily by different companies needing labor," the manager of the business development unit of Arizona Correctional Industries (ACI) told the Christian Science Monitor in 2007. "Maybe it was labor that was undocumented before, and they don't want to take the risk anymore because of possible consequences, so they are looking to inmate labor as a possible alternative.

One of those businesses that turned to prison labor was Wal-Mart's vendor, Martori Farms. According to a disturbing story published June 24th by, Martori Farms "pays its imprisoned laborers two dollars per hour, not including the travel time to and from the farm." Women from the Arizona state prison complex at Perryville Unit are assigned to work at Martori Farms." Arizona law requires that all able bodied inmates work.

One of the women prisoners at Martori Farms told Truth-Out: "We work eight hours regardless of conditions .... We work in the fields hoeing weeds and thinning plants ... Currently we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don't check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break we get a MAJOR ticket which takes away our 'good time'!!! We are told we get 'two' 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch like a normal job but it's more like 10 minutes and 20 minutes. They constantly yell at us we are too slow and to speed up because we are costing $150 an acre in labor and that's not acceptable... In addition, the prison has sent women to work on the farms regardless of their medical conditions."

Wal-Mart's focus on labor conditions has basically been in Third World producer nations, not on domestic shores. In 1997, Wal-Mart wrote: "The issue of global sourcing and factory conditions is very important to Wal-Mart and to our suppliers. Since 1992, we have spent enormous amounts of time and money to assure compliance with our standards and there has been much improvement."

Yet here in America, prisoners are working under intolerable conditions picking produce for Wal-Mart superstores. In its Standards for Suppliers, Wal-Mart acknowledges that "the conduct of Wal-Mart's suppliers can be attributed to Wal-Mart and its reputation." If for no other reason than to protect its reputation, Wal-Mart should take immediate action against Martori Farms. Such actions should include:

1. an unannounced inspection of working conditions at Martori Farms by an independent auditor

2. enforcement of the Wal-Mart's own Conditions for Employment, including fair compensation of wages and benefits which are in compliance with the local and national laws, reasonable employee work hours in compliance with local standards, with employees not working in excess of the statutory requirements without proper compensation as required by applicable law.

As long as Wal-Mart allows Martori Farms to exploit its prison workers, Wal-Mart is complicit in the scheme. This arrangement violates the company's ethical sourcing standards. Such working conditions are not right in Sri Lanka, not right in Bangladesh, and they are not right in Scottsdale Arizona either.

The next time you squeeze a melon at Wal-Mart, think about the prison farmworkers who got squeezed to produce it.

Wal-Mart's Global Ethics Office can be emailed at

Al Norman is the founder of Sprawl-Busters, and is the author of organizer's classic big box story, Slam-DunkingWal-Mart.


Anarchist Artwalk
Resistance Alley, Phoenix
June 3, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wal Mart, Women's Resistance, and Martori Farms

I've posted here and there already about Martori Farms and the news I was receiving from Perryville prisoners regarding the work conditions, but Vikki Law managed to unpack it, put it all into the larger context of women's resistance, and make sense of the women's complaints in a way I hadn't quite been able to. So, for those of you interested in the Martori Farms prison labor situation here in Aguila, Arizona, this is the best summary we have of it.

If you're interested in doing some organizing around these issues, please contact Vikki Law, as she's picking up the slack on this while I'm out with family matters. Vikki compiles the zine Tenacious for women prisoners, and can be reached at:

Victoria Law

PO Box 20388
Tompkins Square Station
New York, NY 10009

or e-mail:

She's on-line at her blog: Resistance Behind Bars, and you can order her book about women's resistance to the prison industrial complex through PM Press. Thanks again for this, Vikki...and to Truth-out for putting it up there.


Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier

Friday 24 June 2011
by: Victoria Law
Truthout | News Analysis

(Photo: Walmart / Flickr)

In 1954, an 18-year-old black woman named Eleanor Rush was incarcerated at the state women's prison. She was placed in solitary confinement for six days.

On the seventh day, Rush was not fed for over 16 hours. After 16 hours, she began yelling that she was hungry and wanted food. In response, the guards bound and gagged her, dislocating her neck in the process.

Half an hour later, Rush was dead.

The next morning, when the other women in the prison gathered in the yard, another woman in the solitary confinement unit yelled the news about Rush's death from her window. The women in the yard surrounded the staff members supervising their activities and demanded answers about Rush's death. When they didn't get them, the women - both the black and the white women - rioted.

The riot lasted three and a half hours, not stopping until Raleigh, North Carolina, police and guards from the men's Central Prison arrived.

The women's riot brought outside attention to Rush's death. As a result:

  • The State Bureau of Investigation ordered a probe into Rush's death rather than believing the prison's explanation that Rush had dislocated her own neck and committed suicide.
  • Until that point, nothing in the prison rules explicitly prohibited the use of improvised gags. After the riot and probe, the State Prisons director explicitly banned the use of gags and iron claws (metal handcuffs that can squeeze tightly).
  • The prison administration was required to pay $3,000 to Rush's mother. At that time, $3,000 was more than half the yearly salary of the prison warden.
  • The prison warden, who had allowed Rush to be bound and gagged, was replaced by Elizabeth McCubbin, the executive director of the Family and Children's Service Agency. Her hiring indicated a shift from a punitive model toward a more social service/social work orientation.

The women themselves testified that they had rioted to ensure that Rush's death was not dismissed and that the circumstances would not be repeated.

Fifty-five years after Rush was killed in solitary confinement, Marcia Powell, a mentally ill 48-year-old woman incarcerated at the Perryville Unit in Arizona, died. The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has more than 600 of these outdoor cages where prisoners are placed to confine or restrict their movement or to hold them while awaiting medical appointments, work, education, or treatment programs. On May 20, 2009, the temperature was 107 degrees. Powell was placed in an unshaded cage in the prison yard. Although prison policy states that "water shall be continuously available" to caged prisoners and that they should be in the cage for "no more than two consecutive hours," guards continually denied her water and kept her in the cage for four hours. Powell collapsed of heat stroke, was sent to West Valley Hospital where ADC Director Charles Ryan took her off life support hours later.

The ensuing media attention over Powell's death caused the ADC to temporarily suspend using these cages. Once the media attention faded, the ADC lifted the suspension.(1)

Abuses at Perryville have continued. The ADC has sent its prisoners to work for private agricultural businesses for almost 20 years.(2) The farm pays its imprisoned laborers two dollars per hour, not including the travel time to and from the farm. Women on the Perryville Unit are assigned to Martori Farms, an Arizona farm corporation that supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to vendors across the United States (Martori is the exclusive supplier to Wal-Mart's 2,470 Supercenter and Neighborhood Market stores).(3) According to one woman who worked on the farm crews:

They wake us up between 2:30 and three AM and KICK US OUT of our housing unit by 3:30AM. We get fed at four AM. Our work supervisors show up between 5AM and 8AM. Then it's an hour to a one and a half hour drive to the job site. Then we work eight hours regardless of conditions .... We work in the fields hoeing weeds and thinning plants ... Currently we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don't check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break we get a MAJOR ticket which takes away our "good time"!!!

We are told we get "two" 15 min breaks and a half hour lunch like a normal job but it's more like 10 minutes and 20 minutes. They constantly yell at us we are too slow and to speed up because we are costing $150 an acre in labor and that's not acceptable.

The place is infested with spiders of all types, scorpions, snakes and blood suckers. And bees because they harvest them. On my crew alone, there are four women with bee allergies, but they don't care!! There are NO epinephrine pens on site to SAVE them if stung.

There's no anti venom available for snake bites and they want us to use Windex (yes glass cleaner) for scorpion stings!! INSANITY!!! They are denying us medical care here.(4)

Although Martori Farms contracts with the local fire departments to provide medical attention for injuries on the farm, farm supervisors do not always allow women to stop work when they need medical care. When "N" complained of chest pains, the farm representative refused to allow her to stop working. The next day, an hour after returning to work, she began experiencing chest pains. The farm representative told her, "Come on, the big bosses are here. You'll be in trouble if you stop. It's not break time. Work, work, work." "N" complied, working while in pain, until the break. She resumed working for another half hour before she experienced even more severe pains: "I have a steady deep dull pain with sharp stabbing pains periodically ... Then all of a sudden, I can't even lift the hoe in the air. My arms are no longer strong enough. By now, the chest pains are so bad it's knocking the wind out of me. I'm straight seeing stars. I tell our substitute boss officer Sanders I can't do it no more. I'm having really bad chest pains. I can't even lift the hoe anymore." The man accused her of faking these pains, but allowed her to stop working. While the woman was receiving medical attention, another farm representative stated, "Oh, so now they're gonna start faking fucking heart attacks to not work. Great."(5)

In addition, the prison has sent women to work on the farms regardless of their medical conditions. "N" was sent to West Valley Hospital where an emergency room doctor ordered that she be exempt from the farm work crew and any other physical exertion for three to four days. However, when "N" was returned to the prison, the nurse told her that they could not honor the doctor's order and ordered her back to work.

Another woman concurs. "There was one woman that is on oxygen, in a wheelchair, has an IV line and cancer that they sent to the gate to work on the farm ... The captain asked if she could stand. She said yes. His reply was if you can stand, you can farm. She told him no and was issued a disciplinary ticket."(6)

The women have not accepted these abuses quietly. They have launched complaints to prison administrators:

"Women have made their complaints on inmate letters and verbally to the lieutenant, sergeant, captains, deputy warden, counselors, supervisors and the major. Their solution was to give us an extra sack lunch and agree to feed us breakfast Saturday mornings. UGH!! Really ... food is not what we were asking for. Though being fed on Saturdays is nice. Yah! They were not feeding us Saturdays because that's a day Kitchen opens late because they give brunch on weekends. No lunch, so we were getting screwed! But as of this past Saturday they said they would feed us before work! Let's see how long it lasts."

Women have also stood up to unfair demands from the bosses at the farm. One woman recounted:

On Wednesday I go to work ... it's the second day in a row we are doing weeds. [I'm] up to my chest trying to weed to save a minimal amount of watermelon plants. Needless to say, the work was excessively hard - to put it mildly. So I must confess the day before I was "on one," so to speak. My haunted mind was lost in the past and so I was just trucking through the weeds, plowing them down, not even connecting with my physical exertion and pain. So the next day I was completely exhausted and physically broke down!! I was in so much pain because the day before I did like double the work everyone else did. So anyways, the M Farm representative was pushing me so hard trying to get me to produce the same results as the day before ... [He] has everyone at minimum teamed up helping each other plow through these weeds. Well everyone but me that is. I repeatedly asked him to give me a partner. I kept telling him that I was in pain. I also went as far as to tell him that I don't think I can do this anymore, to PLEASE give me a partner also. His response was "No. You're strong. You can do it by yourself." I told him not true; I over-exerted myself yesterday because I was going through some things. Now I'm hurt and need help.... He thought my pleas were funny. I hated to degrade myself and plea so I stopped and continued.

After "N" had finished her assigned row, the farm representative demanded that she finish weeding two other rows that had been abandoned. When she again requested a weeding partner, stating that she was in pain, the representative replied, "When you get to the end, I'll think about it."

By this time, all the girls are finishing their rows because they're all teamed up with 2 or three girls per row. Except me. So there are only two whole rows left on the field by now and he already placed six girls per row. That's twelve women on two rows. And I can't even get one helper. That's RIDICULOUS ... I tell him "Mariano all joking aside, all the others are finishing. Can I please get a helper?" He tells me "Seriously, no joking. When you get to the end, I'll think about it." At that point I'm pretty upset and broke down. I looked at him and said "Is that right?" I paused staring at him waiting for him to stop his male chauvinist domination games or whatever he's playing. When he didn't say anything, but just stared. I told him, "Fine Mariano I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm hurt and struggling through this. After what happened to me before I would think you would provide me help when I need it. Since you won't look out for my health and well-being, I will. Someone has to. I'm done for today. I'm going to sit on the bus."

The supervisor demanded that she return to work, threatening to call the prison to have disciplinary tickets written up. She refused.

At this point I'm so angry that this jerk would make me lose everything because I'm not submissive and I don't obey him like the women back in Mexico do that I admit I blew up and acted unprofessional. I told him "Mariano, Fuck you and your tickets. Go write them if you want. In fact I'll write them for you to make sure you get the facts straight."...

At this point the two women who were on the bus got all riled up and were yelling, "That's not fair. She's your best worker and you're going to punish her with tickets!!!" "She's hurt I heard her asking for help all day!" "We've been sitting on the bus for over an hour and we're not getting tickets, why is she the only one getting a ticket?"(7)

Not only did "N" stand up for herself, but the other women defended her actions at the risk of being ticketed as well. Their combined efforts ensured that "N" was not issued a ticket in retaliation for standing up for herself.

Women have also alerted outside advocates and activists about these inhumane conditions, again at great risk to themselves. If not for their courage in speaking out, the outside world would remain unaware of the exploitation and abuse on the farm.

While the women both endure and challenge these abuses, those outside prison gates remain largely unaware of their struggles. Those involved in social justice organizing need to recognize that prisons and prison injustices are exacerbations of the same social issues in the outside world and recognize that these struggles intersect. Safe from the retaliation of prison authorities, outside organizers and activists can and should raise their voices and take action to help the women inside challenge and ultimately stop these abuses.


1. As of April 15, 2010, these cages (or "temporary holding enclosures") remain in use. Arizona Department of Corrections, Department Order Manual, Department Order 704: Inmate Regulations.

2. Nicole Hill, "With Fewer Migrant Workers, Farmers Turn to Prison Labor," Christian Science Monitor, August 22, 2007. Reprinted here.

3. Press release, "16-Year Relationship Between Wal-Mart and Arizona Business Grows, Thrives," September 7, 2007. The 2470 figure is as of August 1, 2007.

4. Letter from "N," dated April 24, 2011.

5. Letter from "N," dated April 24, 2011

6. Letter from "H," dated May 22, 2011.

7. Letter from "N," dated May 7, 2011.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Globe's prison town prospects: with what will crime pay?

This letter is a sorry reflection of all those "economic planners'" and "community leaders" who see only short term cash rewards from private prisons, and have little concern for the long term corrosion it brings to a community - look at what's happened to the City of God, Eloy...who planned all that, anyway? It wasn't the people - it was none other than Corrections Corporation of America and the politicians and businessmen they seduced. The Eloy mayor is even on their payroll.

Those prisons reflect on their host communities, you know, and it's pretty sad what becomes of prison towns once the mentality that abuse of prisoners is an acceptable externality of the market in today's society sets in. Even decent people become complacent with the illusion that they aren't responsible for changing such conditions - they are coopted even in the face of evidence of evil there in order to continue their income, pay rent, cover their health care, assure new books for their kids schools, etc.

This guy talks about how the community will profit from the rewards Emerald and the State collectively promise - but how will this pay? Most residents can't really wish for the children of Globe to be transformed by a prison-dependent labor sector into abusive, callous people capable of
torturing and raping others bound in chains - yet this proposal offers little hope for other ways for townspeople to support themselves that doesn't require that they buy into this racist, misogynistic, repressive system of "justice".

What a new prison will NOT bring is a healthier town, that's for sure. You begin to die the day you break ground. Don't trust anyone who tries to tell you otherwise - they're sucking the real profits off for themselves, and will leave your town to wither once the American prison boom goes bust.

So, good luck to the Resistance in Globe. Don't let the creeps at Corplan/Emerald rape your lovely community of its humanity, at least not while it sleeps. Wake your neighbors up, and fight their propaganda and politics back with everything you have...


EDC president responds to ballot initiatives on prison prospect

Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2011
Arizona Silver Belt

Letters to the Editor

There will more than likely be a public hearing in our area sometime before June 30, 2011 in response to whether the residents of the City of Globe are interested in having an additional prison built within the City limits. At this time none of us know exactly when or if this will be, we only know that the State plans to award contracts on or around July 1, 2011, which will add 5,000 beds into the Arizona State Department of Corrections (DOC) system.

The Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation has been working with Emerald Companies, a private corporation, along with their engineers, developers and the AZ DOC in an effort to bring 1,000 beds to our area. You might ask why the SGCEDC would continue to work on this project after hearing that 2,700 people are opposed to this project. Please let me offer our position on this project. We represent approximately 27,000 residents in southern Gila County and we strongly believe that we have heard personally from the majority who recognize the benefits of this project. While the SGCEDC has made an effort to keep the public informed on this project, we did not feel that it would be proper to debate this project in the media before knowing if it was even available to us.

At this time Emerald Companies have been asked to provide their Best & Final offer, which means that their proposal is being considered. We have assimilated a lot of information and have made this information available to the public at many past meetings, at my monthly Meet & Greet meetings, and a couple of advertisements in the local newspapers. Also Mr. Mickie Nye attended several radio programs with Mr. Jim Moss to thoroughly discuss this project. We have not withheld any facts about this project. The following information has been researched and compiled very carefully to bring you an accurate review of this project. We have heard from many residents and business that this project will offer many more assets to our communities than disadvantages.

A project this size will bring over 300 direct jobs and approximately another 100 indirect jobs. As of the end of 2010 Gila County was suffering with an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent which means that there were approximately 6,000 people either unemployed or actively looking for employment. We believe that this project will help our economy and better the life style of many of these residents. We recognized that this project will also relieve a large strain from our social programs design to help unemployed people. If you are currently unemployed and seeking work locally, please watch for the Public Hearing Notice and join the meeting to show your support for this project.

If a contract is awarded for our area, this project will be totally developed by Emerald Companies. This includes all of the financing arrangements. None of our local governments will be responsible for the financing. Emerald will build this property to the State DOC specifications and the operations will be stipulated by the DOC. Since this project is under an AZ State contract it is strictly regulated by the DOC. The construction of this project will bring a new sewer line through the City’s North East Corridor proposed development. This along with improvements to the water infrastructure will benefit the City of Globe by two million dollars.

What are the monetary benefits? The salary range is $29,000 to $200,000 annually. These are not minimum wage jobs. The current prison located in the same area provides approximately $3.5 million dollars in annual wages along with another half million dollars in local revenues. Economists will tell you that the dollar turns five to seven times before escaping local communities, which calculates out to $20 - $28 million dollars annually. This is a nice clean industry with continuous sustainability. We need these jobs!

I have heard so many stories about the bad things that come with private prisons and I will tell you that I cannot accurately respond about this because, like any private business, they all operate differently. However, I can tell you that we, as a team, have investigated Emerald Companies very thoroughly. They are a very good private prison operator. If they are awarded this contract for a 1,000 bed facility they will have to provide the same service and safety standards that are required within the state operated facilities.

In closing I would like to ask that if you are a registered voter within the City of Globe and are asked to sign any petition to put this issue on the ballot in March of 2012, please strongly consider saying no. This would be a tactic to interfere with the DOC process and the true feelings of the citizens of Globe would not be known until long after the contracts have been awarded. Some other community will receive this huge economic benefit. That would be a shame during these economic times.

Jerry McCreary

SGCEDC Board President

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Exile to the Desert: 3 more years of CCA abuse.

Shame on the state of Hawaii for continuing this contract after all the abuses (including torture and the sexual assault of a prisoner by a guard) that have occurred in Saguaro Correctional Center in the prison town of Eloy under CCA's watch. The people of the Islands should oppose this vociferously...your prisoners are just in for more abuse at the hands of Arizonans - especially your Indigenous. In fact, following this news article is a link to a decent piece by a friend of mine, Frank Smith from Private Corrections Institute, who's an expert on the private prison industry. He did some extensive research into the experience of Native Americans in private prisons - it's worth reading.


State Signs New Three-Year Arizona Prison Deal

Hawaii Reporter

June 23, 2011

BY JIM DOOLEY – The state has signed a new, three-year contract with Corrections Corporation of America to house up to 1,900 prison inmates at private prisons in Arizona.

The price carries a one per cent increase over the current contract with CCA, which expires at the end of the month. The Department of Public Safety will pay CCA $63.85 per inmate per day. The old rate was $63.22.

CCA is believed to have submitted the sole bid for the contract.

The new deal, which carries two possible one-year contract extensions, was signed as Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration is making plans to end the longstanding policy of imprisoning Hawaii inmates in out-of-state facilities.

Public Safety officials are drawing up a plan for the return of out-of-state prisoners, but its completion is sometime in the future and will depend on construction of new correctional facilities here and development of new community-based programs for men and women now locked behind bars.

The Hawaii State Auditor said in a report issued late last year the total cost of the private prison program more than tripled since 2001, from just under $20 million to more than $60 million.

The per-day charges under the new contract would total some $44.3 million, although there are millions the state must pay in associated costs which the contract with CCA doesn’t cover.

The actual number of Hawaii inmates now held at CCA’s Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona is now believed to have dropped under 1,800 as the state has stepped up efforts to bring certain categories of prisoners home.

Some 60 Hawaii inmates are also being held at CCA’s Red Rock Correctional Facility, next door to the Saguaro complex.

--------------------------Native Americans in Private Prisons------------------

Native Americans in Private Prisons.

Arizona Prison Watch
Friday, December 3, 2010

The following is the intro to a piece written by my friend Frank Smith, an expert on private prisons with the Private Corrections Working Group (where I dig up all those rap sheets on prison profiteers). Here's the testimony he gave to the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons several years back - which makes some good points still relevant to the violence and abuse of prisoners at CCA's Idaho Correctional Center, among other places.

Follow the link for the full text of the article, which I found posted to a great website on Lenape (Delaware Indian) culture and issues. The article was originally published as a chapter in the book "Capitalist Punishment: Prison Privatization and Human Rights" (Elizabeth Alexander, et al), a worthwhile text for any library on crime and punishment.


Incarceration of Native Americans and Private Prisons
By Frank Smith


There are currently slightly over two million inmates in local, state and federal jails and prisons. Of these, some 1.6 percent are Native Americans and Hawaiian Natives; in Federal institutions, Native Americans constitute 2 percent of the population, since the U.S. government is involved in criminal justice enforcement on reservations. Because approximately 6 percent of all U.S. inmates are held in private prisons, the total number of Native Americans in these for-profit prisons is comparatively rather small. For that reason, this article presents a picture of the conditions in which Native Americans are held given that limited experience.

Historical Perspective

In order to achieve an informed understanding of the current situation with regard to Native Americans in prison, it is necessary to place it within a larger historical and sociological context. While most residents of the US have the notion their country was founded on the principles of justice and freedom, closer examination reveals that perception is not accurate, particularly in the case of Native Americans.1

The more progressive of our founding fathers whom we remember so fondly as protectors of these ideals include Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Paine consistently referred to Indians as "savages", and used them as a negative comparative stereotype. Jefferson considered his contemporary Indians to be hindrances to colonial progress. The US only granted Natives citizenship in 1924, five years after women and 59 years after Black males were allowed to vote.

African Americans have undoubtedly been pervasively discriminated against in US history--their dehumanization was even embodied in the Constitution. Schoolchildren learn of the more egregious Supreme Court-approved violations of the rights of Blacks such as the Dred Scott decision or Plessy v. Feurgeson,2 and that the Civil War was fought in part over slavery.

They may have read the Emancipation Proclamation and even the Thirteenth to Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The sordid history in America of slave owning, in the north and south, of lynching, of Jim Crow, is discussed in most schools. The role of such historic figures as Frederick Douglas or Sojourner Truth is widely recognized. Martin Luther King Jr., is certainly better known than many mediocre presidents. Selma, Alabama, and Little Rock, Arkansas are familiar mileposts, as is Brown v. Board of Education. Students may even understand the meaning of racial profiling, of the immensedisparity between sentencing for crack cocaine, more prevalent in inner-city neighborhoods, and powdered cocaine, more favored by wealthier uburbanites.

They may possibly be aware that a Black adolescent has perhaps a 50 times greater chance of being placed in an adult penal institution than a white youth who has been charged with exactly the same crime,3 and that perhaps one of three young Black men has been subjected to some criminal sanction, such as probation, parole, jail or prison.

Yet how many Americans, young or old, fully understand that this same disenfranchisement; this same disproportionate treatment by the criminal justice system, has affected Native Americans since the Articles of Confederation were signed? How many realize that broken treaties have been the order of the day for over two hundred years? Do they know that the early settlement of this nation involved pushing indigenous peoples into ever smaller, less habitable reservations?

How many school children are taught the cruel facts behind the genocidal removal of the inhabitants of the post-Revolutionary Southeast? There is hardly a Native American tribe that does not have a history of broken treaties and persecution. What this long, troubled relationship between European Americans and Natives constitutes is deliberate disregard for and discrimination against Native culture. Theft of lands, exiles, dispossessions, and a prevailing condemnatory and paternalistic attitude provide the background for the problems of Native Americans in prisons, both public and private, today. It particularly pervades the conditions of confinement of Indians in private prisons...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ACLU-AZ: "In their Own Words" Detention abuse.

This broke my heart, and is sadly nothing new - except that it's so well-documented now. I have to say that the ACLU of Arizona has been earning their keep here recently...thanks to Dan Pochoda and crew for all their work. Sorry I don't always give you enough credit - you really did come through here. Victoria Lopez - you're especially amazing. You get our Human Rights Warrior award today.

------------from the ACLU-AZ website-----------

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contact: Alessandra Soler Meetze 602-418-5499 (cell) or 602-773-6006 (office)

PHOENIX – The U.S. government’s heavy reliance on immigration detention has led to inhumane conditions in Arizona’s five immigration detention centers, unnecessary and prolonged detention and abusive treatment of immigrants, according to a new report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. The 36-page report, “In Their Own Words: Enduring Abuse in Arizona Immigration Detention Centers." is the most comprehensive report documenting the experiences of immigrants detained by the federal government in Arizona.

“Many of the men and women that we spoke to are needlessly detained for many months to several years in terrible conditions that jeopardize their safety and well-being,” said ACLU of Arizona staff attorney Victoria Lopez, who authored the report based on 115 face-to-face interviews conducted with people detained in Eloy and Florence, Arizona over a two-year period from March 2009 through March 2011. “Until there is independent oversight and monitoring of facilities where immigration detainees are held, detainees have no choice but to speak up for themselves.”

As part of the ACLU’s documentation efforts, Lopez spent countless hours corresponding with detainees, interviewing their family members, and culling through hundreds of government records, including more than 500 grievances. The report illustrates the real stories of people, including vulnerable women and transgender detainees, who have suffered from abuses related to inhumane conditions and inadequate legal protections while detained.

According to the report, flawed immigration policies, including local immigration enforcement, have led to a 58% increase in immigration detention in Arizona over the past six years. In addition, because there are no legally-enforceable standards and the majority of immigration detention centers in Arizona are operated by either private corporations or a local county jail, there is very little oversight over the delivery of medical care, grievance procedures, and overall treatment of detainees.

One of the cases cited by the ACLU in its report documents the story of Leticia, a single mother of two U.S. citizen children with no criminal history who was detained for almost two years by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Pinal County Jail (PCJ), which is operated by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. During most of that time, she was not allowed contact visits with her children or outdoor recreation and endured deplorable conditions.

Despite statements by the Department of Homeland Security almost two years ago indicating initiatives to reform the immigration detention system, major failures persist in the Arizona facilities, the ACLU said. Among its recommendations, the ACLU-AZ called on ICE to terminate its contract with PCJ, which received “deficient” ratings in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and where the ACLU documented the most egregious examples of human rights abuses.

For example, in the winter 2010, ICE transferred hundreds of immigrant women out of PCJ after the women submitted petition letters complaining of abusive treatment by guards, insufficient hygiene supplies, and poor medical treatment. In the spring 2011, men detained at the same jail began a hunger strike to protest many of the same problems. Over the course of the past year, the ACLU-AZ has also received reports from PCJ involving excessive use of force against detainees and jail officials’ failure to accommodate detainees’ religious needs.

“No amount of cosmetic fixes will take care of the fact that immigration detention presents major fiscal and human costs for immigrants and citizens alike,” added Lopez. “DHS should take immediate steps to end its contract with Pinal County Jail officials who aren’t being held accountable and operate a facility that fails to meet even minimum constitutional standards."

With 3,000 people detained on any given day in ICE facilities in Arizona, the ACLU-AZ also called on the federal government to reduce the number of people subjected to detention in Arizona by utilizing more cost-effective alternatives to detention and ensure that conditions in Arizona detention facilities comport with basic human rights and needs.

Read the ACLU-AZ’s full report, “In Their Own Words: Enduring Abuse in Arizona Immigration Detention Centers."

Nuevo reporte de la ACLU de Arizona documenta condiciones inhumanas y políticas fallidas en los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona

El grupo insta a la terminación del contrato con la Cárcel del Condado Pinal

Jueves, Junio 23, 2011

Contacto: Alessandra Soler Meetze 602-418-5499 (celular) ó 602-773-6006 (oficina)

PHOENIX – El exceso de dependencia en la detención de inmigración por parte del gobierno de los Estados Unidos ha llevado a condiciones inhumanas en los cinco centros de detención de inmigración de Arizona, a la detención innecesaria y prolongada y al trato abusivo de inmigrantes, de acuerdo a un nuevo reporte de la Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles de Arizona (ACLU por sus siglas en inglés) publicado hoy. El reporte de 36 páginas, titulado “En sus propias palabras: soportando el abuso en los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona”, es el reporte más exhaustivo que documenta las experiencias de inmigrantes detenidos por el gobierno federal en Arizona.

“Muchos de los hombres y mujeres con los que hablamos son detenidos innecesariamente durante muchos meses hasta varios años en condiciones terribles que ponen en peligro su seguridad y su bienestar”, declaró Victoria López, abogada del personal de la ACLU de Arizona, quien redactó el reporte basado en 115 entrevistas personales con individuos detenidos en Eloy y Florence durante un periodo de más de dos años, desde marzo de 2009 hasta marzo de 2011. “Hasta que exista una supervisión independiente y un monitoreo de las instalaciones en donde los detenidos de inmigración son recluidos, los detenidos no tendrán otra opción más que hablar por sí mismos”.

Como parte de los esfuerzos de documentación de la ACLU, López pasó incontables horas manteniendo correspondencia con los detenidos, entrevistando a miembros de sus familias, y seleccionando entre cientos de registros del gobierno, incluyendo más de 500 quejas. El reporte muestra las historias reales de las personas, incluyendo las de mujeres vulnerables e individuos transgénero detenidos, quienes sufrieron a causa de los abusos relacionados a las condiciones inhumanas y protecciones legales inadecuadas mientras se encontraban detenidos.

De acuerdo al reporte, las políticas fallidas de inmigración, que incluyen la aplicación local de leyes de inmigración, han llevado a un incremento del 58 por ciento en las detenciones de inmigración en Arizona durante los pasados seis años. Asimismo, a causa de que no existen normas que se hagan cumplir legalmente y de que la mayoría de los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona son operados ya sea por corporaciones privadas o por una cárcel local de condado, existe muy poca supervisión sobre la prestación de cuidado médico, los procedimientos para presentar quejas, y el trato en general de los detenidos.

Uno de los casos mencionados por la ACLU en este reporte documenta la historia de Leticia, una madre soltera de dos hijos ciudadanos de Estados Unidos y sin historial de antecedentes criminales, quien fue detenida durante casi dos años por la Oficina de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos (ICE por sus siglas en inglés) en la Cárcel del Condado Pinal, la cual es operada por el Sheriff del Condado Pinal Paul Babeu. Durante la mayoría de ese tiempo, a ella no se le permitió tener visitas para tener contacto con sus hijos ni tener una actividad recreativa en exteriores, y soportó asimismo condiciones deplorables.

No obstante las declaraciones del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos (DHS por sus siglas en inglés) hechas hace casi dos años indicando iniciativas para reformar el sistema de detención de inmigración, persisten muchas fallas en las instalaciones carcelarias de Arizona, informó la ACLU. Entre sus recomendaciones, la ACLU-AZ hizo un llamado a ICE para que dé fin a sus contratos con la Cárcel del Condado Pinal, la cual recibió evaluaciones “deficientes” en 2007, 2008 y 2009, y en donde la ACLU documentó los ejemplos más atroces de abusos a los derechos humanos.

Por ejemplo, durante el invierno de 2010, ICE transfirió a cientos de mujeres inmigrantes fuera de la Cárcel del Condado Pinal (PCJ por sus siglas en inglés) después de que las mujeres sometieron cartas de petición quejándose de un trato abusivo por parte de los guardias, de no tener suficientes artículos para la higiene, y de un cuidado médico inadecuado. En la primavera de 2011, hombres detenidos en la misma cárcel comenzaron una huelga de hambre para protestar en contra de los mismos problemas. Durante el curso del año pasado, la ACLU-AZ también ha recibido reportes desde la PCJ que involucran el uso de fuerza excesiva en contra de los detenidos y la falla por parte de los guardias carcelarios de proveer acomodo para las necesidades de carácter religioso de los detenidos.

“Ninguna cantidad de remedios superficiales resolverán el hecho de que la detención de inmigración representa grandes costos fiscales y humanos para inmigrantes y ciudadanos por igual”, añadió López. “El DHS debe tomar medidas inmediatas para dar fin a su contrato con los funcionarios de la Cárcel del Condado Pinal, a quienes no se les está haciendo responsables y operan una cárcel que no cumple aún con las mínimas normas constitucionales”.

Con más de 3,000 personas que son detenidas en cualquier día determinado en las instalaciones de ICE en Arizona, la ACLU-AZ también hizo un llamado al gobierno federal para que reduzca el número de personas que son sujetas a la detención de inmigración en Arizona al utilizar alternativas que sean más rentables a la detención y que aseguren que las condiciones en las instalaciones de detención en Arizona se adhieran a las necesidades y derechos humanos básicos.

El reporte completo de la ACLU-AZ “En sus propias palabras: soportando el abuso en los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona”, está disponible en-línea en este nexo:

Solidarity with Snowbowl Resisters: ADEQ Protest.

If you knew how many Indigenous people we were imprisoning these days - many far from their homes - you'd know why it's so important to the fight for prison abolition to respect sacred places...their struggle for Indigenous rights, free exercise of religion, and to defend Mother Earth - without being marginalized or branded as eco-terrorists in the process - is also ours. We must stand in solidarity with them before they are imprisoned...

As asked by one defender of the San Francisco Peaks last week: How can the Dine' and other Indigenous peoples be trespassers on their own Holy Land?

Join us in Phoenix on Friday, June 24 at 7:30am to stand in solidarity with Indigenous resistance to the destruction and desecration of the Sacred: Demand that Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Change its Permission Allowing Wastewater to be Used for Snowmaking.




Friday, June 24th 7:30-9AM

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

1110 West Washington Street

Phoenix, Arizona 85007

On Thursday, June 16th six people were arrested for halting the construction of a water line, which would pump Flagstaff waste-water up to Snowbowl on the sacred San Francisco Peaks.

We’ll be showing up in front of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) office to stand in solidarity with those arrested, demand that ADEQ change its permission for allowing wastewater to be used on the San Francisco Peaks, and with all indigenous people who hold the Peaks holy.

ADEQ has never held any meaningful public process when it initially decided to allow wastewater to be used for snowmaking. Whose interests are they serving?

One of the protesters who locked themselves to the excavator on Thursday said “Snowbowl plans to spray millions of gallons of waste water snow, which is filled with cancer causing and other harmful contaminants, as well as clear-cut over 30,000 trees. The Peaks are a pristine and beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and endangered species of plants and animals.”

Another person who locked down said the “action is not isolated, but part of a continued resistance to human rights violations, to colonialism, to corporate greed, and destruction of Mother Earth.”

Please bring signs, noise makers, water and/or your voice!

Sponsored by Phoenix Anarchist Coalition (PAC) -

For more info check out and

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sad Solstice: Remembering Brenda Todd

Six months ago this week, on January 21, 2011, Brenda Todd died in Perryville state prison begging for medical attention that never came. That's part of a twisted pattern of neglect and gross indifference to human life at the AZ Department of Corrections - particularly at the AZ state women's prison.

Urged on by prisoners who were there when she died, we tracked down Brenda's father to make sure that her family members know to file suit because of the circumstances, though I don't know if he's in time to file a Notice of Claim against the state - there's generally a six-month deadline for grieving families to be on top of (and no one ever tells them that). I referred him to a good attorney who will find out, no doubt.

Brenda's dad isn't on-line and the family never saw the Phoenix New Times story or my blog posts about how she died - or all the letters we received from the other women about what happened - and the State only notified him last week that the death certificate is ready, so I think the courts should grant him an extens
ion to file. He had no way of knowing that her death was wrongful until now. It goes beyond simple negligence.

The family can still file suit in federal court, however, I believe under civil rights law. There's a two-year deadline for prisoners to file Section 1983 CR suits, at least, so survivors of prison violence who have missed filing deadlines for the state should still speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Do NOT wait for or trust the AZ Department of Corrections or the AZ Attorney General's office to give you timely, accurate information about your loved one's death - they're just trying to avoid your lawsuits. Unfortunately, it seems the only way they change is when someone wins in court - and we need to stop them from killing these women now, so please exercise all your rights to fight back.

Our condolences go out to all of Brenda's loved ones. Feel free to contact me (Peggy at 480-580-6807) if there's anything I might be able to do. If nothing else, I can put you in touch with other families who share your struggle - just let me know.

June 23, 2011: CORRECTION:

It's only been five months since Brenda died. That means that - thanks to my friend Matt's work - we're in time to help her family with a claim against the state. Unfortunately, litigation seems to be the only thing that makes them clean up the prisons, and Brenda's family has one hell of a suit...she could end up sparing a lot of other women from the hell she went through. From what I've been told, she'd probably give her blessings to that struggle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City of Hospitality: Globe's Prison town ballot initiative.

The Globe community group "Citizens Opposed to Becoming a Prison Town" just put out this press release today....Congrats to Jim and the rest of the gang out there. Save that little city from becoming another hell like Eloy, known for preying on and abusing prisoners...many of whom happen to be indigenous peoples far from their homes. That's got to be bad Karma for that community.

"Caging Arizona"
Arizona State University, NEEB Hall
Tempe, AZ (May 5, 2011)

Remember, people of Globe: in the end, all that you have is your soul. Please don't let the economic development people ever convince you that selling it would be a boost to your town's character or a blessing to your future and your youth...


Date: June 21, 2011

Press Release: 1,000 Signatures Collected on Ballot Initiatives --- Will Let Voters Decide the Prison Issue

From: Ballot Initiatives Campaign Chairman, Jim Moss

Update: As of Monday, 6-20, just under 1,000 signatures have been collected by community Volunteers to place TWO Initiatives on the ballot at Globe's next regular election in March, 2012. The two Initiatives deal with any new prison project proposed for the Globe community.

1. One Initiative will require Voter approval for any new prison project built within Globe City Limits.

2. The other Initiative will require Voter Approval for ANY Municipal money, resource, or infrastructure to be used in any way for a new prison project located inside, or outside, of Globe City Limits.

The minimum number of signatures required to place these Initiatives on the ballot was 582.

Citizens Opposed to Becoming a Prison Town launched a 10-Day Campaign over a week ago. Tomorrow they will submit 1,000 Official Petition Signatures for Each Initiative, to Globe's City Clerk, to begin the Certification process. The signatures must be validated to make sure signers are registered to vote AND reside within Globe City Limits. The Volunteers who collected signatures were careful about making sure these criteria were satisfied, so the Campaign Committee is confident that a very high percentage of the signatures will be validated.

The number of signatures collected represents approximately 25% of registered voters residing within Globe City Limits. If the Campaign had been extended for a couple more weeks, the number of signatures collected could have easily doubled to 2,000. Very, very few Globe residents opted not to sign when given the opportunity. Hundreds of disappointed area residents living in the Canyon, or just outside the City limits, wanted to sign the Initiative Petitions. In fact, many were downright upset that their voice could not be counted. But, since these two Ballot Initiatives will appear on a Municipal Ballot, only City residents were eligible to sign.

Over the past 10 days, the City of Globe witnessed democracy in action. This year's July 4 Celebration will have an extra special meaning for all who participated in this community endeavor!

Graffiti Busted by the PHX PD, finally.

The guy from Graffiti Busters came by yesterday morning to clean up Resistance Alley for a second time since June Artwalk -it was a busy weekend. Here's the follow-up to that original action - my challenge to the Phoenix Police to take action other than the ones they have to take against me.

Apparently, this is their only response.

The Graffiti Buster must not have to face the vandals whose art he demolishes very often - when I caught him checking things out and asked if he was planning to clean up my work, he muttered "maybe", then hurridly took off. I think I scared him: he was back less than 30 minutes later with four Phoenix Graffiti Detectives, one of whom finally read me my rights. 

The Graffiti Sgt. (Cadditz, I think) advised me that I can knock all this off now - he wasn't sure if I was facing felony charges yet or just a handful of misdemeanors, but he assured me that complaints about my activity have been referred for prosecution. I guess they've got a stack of evidence (including my blogs and postcards, I'd imagine) on someone's desk in the city attorney's office.

I'm not sure what exactly happened this AM with my rights being read to me - I automatically clammed up, though, which is kind of funny given how much I've already incriminated myself. I wasn't arrested - just warned that I will probably be getting notice of something about my other crimes in the mail. Funny how I still feel privileged - why can't I get arrested? 

Maybe I was Mirandized instead of arrested because I'm just a suspect in this new crime they all came to investigate (the art that was being removed right then, that I just confessed to creating). Maybe it's because I've been so cooperative, sending them my postcards from the edge as evidence. But why four cops? I think it was in case I got out of hand over my art being defaced.

Isn't that silly that the Graffiti Buster needed so many cops to protect and defend him - from ME, of all people? Granted, I was pretty upset to see my good work ruined - it wasn't bothering anyone but "The City" down there...of course, that's who I'm trying to annoy. 

Unfortunately, while they have plenty troops to deploy against me (and the city's taggers), they don't have a minute to spare of anyone who will even look into all these deaths in the prisons - not even one. I just get told to gather more evidence for them, and they'll think about it.

Seriously, what would it take for the new PHX Police Chief to just pick up the phone and say "Hey, Chuck Ryan - WTF??? How come all your prisoners are dying? We aren't sending any more criminals your way until you clean it up." Simple as that.

Real courage - that's what it would take. There isn't much of that among law enforcement out here in the Deep Southwest these days. They don't want to challenge power here -  they know who pays their way. And really, to do what I do in this place, apparently you must be a little mad. 

Resistance sure isn't coming from those most invested in maintaining this whole illusion that our justice system fundamentally works, that prison is a necessary part of it, and that they're all the good guys in this simplistic paradigm (that means those who oppose the state's police apparatus can only be "bad"). In fact, after he read me my rights I asked the Graffiti Sgt. who was going to do something about the prisons. He smiled and shook his head a little, then said " that's on you!" 

Great - no help at all. They'll sure show me, for trying harass and guilt trip the city into taking their share of responsibility for the prison crisis with my criminal activity. Not only will they clean up after me within hours of finding my work, they won't lift a finger to stop the rising death toll in the prisons.

So, I've said it before - fuck the DOJ, the ACLU, and the Phoenix Police if they won't help. 
Fuck the Arizona Governor and State Legislature, too.
And if you're reading this and not doing or saying anything 
about all these vulnerable people dying inside,
then fuck you, too.

If you want to make a difference, though, 
then help me do our own in-depth investigation and report, 
and we'll make them change without anyone else's intervention.

We'll be meeting weekly beginning July, probably at the new 
Ironwood Infoshop, soon to be in the back of 
The Fixx / 11 E. 7th St. / Tempe, AZ 85281
in the meantime to volunteer or donate to our efforts, contact me at:

Peggy Plews
PO Box 20494
Phoenix, Az 85036

I'm only at my 1009 N. 1st St. office until July 1 - then I'm going to be mobile.

So sad and so lovely...

Monday, June 20, 2011

AZ Private prison Bids in: March 2011

This is actually old news...all these prison profiteers are horrible - especially CCA. Just Google their abuses in Eloy this past year. We need the legislature to order some kind of oversight committee for these private prison, folks...


Prison bids are in; Emerald Corrections bids to build in Globe

Modified: Friday, Mar 4th, 2011

Arizona Silver Belt

PHOENIX — Five bidders have submitted proposals to the Arizona Department of Corrections to build and manage private prisons to be contracted with the state of Arizona. Last month, a second, revised Request for Proposals for 5,000 beds to be contracted out through privately-run correctional facilities was announced by the ADOC. The RFP closed on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. with five companies making bids, one more than during the first round of bids, which was cancelled after three convicted murderers escaped from a private prison in Kingman on July 30, 2010.

According to the DOC these bidders are:

- CCA (Correction Corporations of America), founded in 1983, is the largest private corrections company in America with more than 60 prisons in numerous states across America, of which the company owns 44 outright. Based out of Nashville, Tenn., CCA runs private prisons in Florence and Eloy in Arizona.

- GEO Group, Inc., founded in 1984 and based in Boca Raton, Fla., currently runs private prisons in both Phoenix and Florence and manages and/or owns 118 correctional, detention, and residential treatment facilities nationwide.

MTC (Management and Training Corporation), founded in 1981, is headquartered in Centerville, Utah. MTC holds 24 government contracts to operate correctional facilities in seven states, including the prison in Kingman, Ariz. from which three convicts escaped in July of last year, and a prison in Marana, Ariz. MTC is also a leading Job Corps management contractor with the U.S. Department of Labor at centers across the United States. MTC is the third largest operator of private adult correctional facilities.

Emerald Correctional Management, founded in 1996, with corporate headquarters in Lafayette, La., runs six private prisons in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and in San Luis, Ariz. Emerald is proposing to build a 1,000-bed medium-security prison near the Gila County Fairgrounds in Globe City limits.

LaSalle Southwest Corrections, founded in 1997, currently runs 10 private prisons in Texas and Louisiana. Company headquarters are located in Ruston, La. LaSalle did not bid in the first round of the RFP.

Although the bidding has now closed, no further information is being released by the DOC until the bids have been awarded. Before the bids are awarded state law requires the DOC to hold a public hearing at each/any of the chosen sites for a proposed prison. This meeting will be conducted by the DOC, giving the community the opportunity to voice their support or opposition and provide input.

The initial RFP was canceled on Sept. 1, 2010 over concerns raised about the design of privately operated prisons after a July 30 breakout of a private prison in Kingman made national headlines. Emerald Correctional Management submittted a proposal in the first round to build a private prison northeast of Globe on state land. According to representatives of the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which has supported the bid for a private prison in Globe in both RFPs, the original bid was for a 1,000-bed prison complex. To date no drawings of the proposed Globe prison complex, site plans or other documentation as to the size of the facility have been released to the Globe-Miami public by Emerald or the EDC.

Emerald Corrections currently runs six medium-security prisons at Epps, La. with a 732 inmate capacity; San Luis, Ariz. with a 450 inmate capacity; LaSalle County Regional Detention Center at Encinal, Texas with a 566 inmate capacity; Sierra Blanca, Texas with a 1,000 inmate capacity; Haskell, Texas with a 548 inmate capacity; and Carrizozo, N.M. with a 120 inmate capacity.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waiting in the Silence: Remembering Tony Lester.

I received this message and video this morning from Tony Lester's Aunt, Patti Jones. Today died from the despair of his mental illness, incarceration, the threat of violence, and gross indifference to his fading life as five corrections officers stood around and Linkwatched him bleed to death, thinking only to pull out a camera and film it, not to try to stop it.

Tony was only 26, and left behind a huge, loving, grieving family, including a little girl he never had the chance to hold.
All our love goes out to his family today, and to all survivors of prison violence and neglect. This is for you and your loved ones, from Tony's family, as much as it is for him. To those with someone struggling to survive their sentence in Arizona's state prisons, please spread the word that help is on the way. It isn't the ACLU or the DOJ, folks - it's us: me and you.

Please contact me if you want to be a part of the support team out here for our prisoners. My name is Peggy; reach me at 480-580-6807 or You can do as much or as little as you want, and do it from home. Be patient and persistent if you leave me a message - just don't think we don't need you if it takes a few days - we very much do.


A Birthday Wish for Beloved Tony: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TONY:: We will have your voice heard, your life mattered we will bring about change for those that are so vulnerable. We understand your message, You will live on through the change that we will be brought about through your death, May God Bless You!!

All of Our Love

Your Family