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:


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Maricopa County Probation: Evidence-based practice works

For all the hassles and gripes I've heard about probation in Maricopa County, I must say that Chief Barbara Broderick is on the ball and has made a world of difference here. The following post is taken from the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy website. I personally believe most drugs should be legalized and users decriminalized, but until then, I think people like Chief Broderick are doing what they can to mitigate harm of criminalization and help addicts recover in the community, instead of return to prison.

If the rest of the criminal justice system could get on board with evidence-based practice and sentencing guidelines, we'd likely see a drastic reduction in our incarceration rates and far more people with substance abuse issues making it successfully in the community.

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Maricopa County Works to Break the Cycle of Drugs, Crime, and Incarceration


The 2011 National Drug Control Strategy recognizes that many individuals who use drugs become involved in the criminal justice system. This is also the case in Maricopa County, Arizona. The most recent Arizona Arrestee Reporting Information Network (AARIN) Annual Adult Report, which provides data on arrestees in Maricopa County, indicates that in the 30 days prior to arrest 56% used marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin.

Many of the principles identified in the Strategy that are intended to break the drugs and crime cycle are being implemented in Maricopa County by the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department. Below are some accomplishments and ongoing projects focused on assisting offenders.

  • Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) - The department is committed to using evidence-based practices (EBP) in its supervision strategies and has translated EBP into practical approaches that probation officers can incorporate into their daily supervision practices, such as using validated risk and needs assessments and reassessments to develop probationer case plans. Individuals with drug abuse disorders are referred to drug court or other relevant treatment programs.


  • Reentry - In January 2010, through a federal stimulus grant, the department implemented a Prison Reentry Unit, changing the way released offenders are supervised. A key priority is ensuring these offenders report to the probation department following their release from the Arizona Department of Corrections. In the first year, over 1200 offenders received services from the unit. The rate of offenders failing to report to probation following release from prison dropped from 23% to 2.3% with the grant. In addition, the rate of petitions to terminate probation and return the offender to the Department of Corrections (called “petitions to revoke”) filed in the first twelve months after release dropped from 10.1% to 4.9% with the program, and the rate of new felony arrests dropped from 13.8% to 10.8% with the program.


  • Earned Time Credit (ETC) - Effective January 1, 2009, the State of Arizona implemented Earned Time Credit (ETC), providing eligible offenders the opportunity to earn 20 days of credit for every 30 days they comply with their court-ordered financial obligations, community restitution hours and are making progress towards their case plan goals. In the short-term, it is anticipated that this legislation will reduce the length of time on probation while increasing the likelihood of successful completion of probation. In the long term, we expect that the likelihood of recidivism will be reduced following termination from probation.


  • Probation Outcomes - While evaluations of the effectiveness of these initiatives are ongoing, we have seen positive results. Crime reduction is a key goal in the department’s strategic plan and is measured through three main results: successful completion of probation, termination of probation and returning to the Department of Corrections, and new felony sentences. From FY2008 to FY2011, the percentage of offenders successfully completing probation increased from 66% to 80.3%; the percentage of offenders returned to the Department of Corrections decreased from 28% to 18.4%, and the percentage of offenders with new felony sentences decreased from 8.0% to 4.9%. How does this affect public safety? In FY2011, an additional 1,340 offenders successfully completed probation, 1,601 fewer offenders were returned to the Department of Corrections, and 885 fewer offenders were sentenced for new felony offenses.


These results are encouraging. It suggests that offenders can be effectively supervised in the community without negatively affecting public safety. And we can break the cycle of drugs, crime and incarceration.


Barbara Broderick is Chief Probation Officer at the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department

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