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:


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Az DOC Medical Power of Attorney forms ILLEGAL.

This alert comes from Donna Hamm at Middle Ground Prison Reform (a separate entity from Arizona Prison Watch). Please print copies of this post up and mail them in to prisoners you are in contact with:

----------------------
Middle Grounders:

This message may not apply to all of you who have a loved one in prison, but if it does, it is important.


The DOC has been using a "Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney" form (we don't know for how long) which has been distributed to many inmates.  In the form, an inmate can name a person whom he trusts to make important medical decisions on his behalf if he/she is unable to do so, especially in end-of-life situations.


We recently reviewed a copy of the form which was sent to us by an inmate who didn't want to sign it until we reviewed it, and who stated that many inmates on his yard were simply filling out the form, signing it and turning back over to their CO III or IV.  He was concerned that his fellow inmates weren't really read the form word-for-word.


The form that was sent to us contained a sentence on the bottom of Page 1 which stated that among the "directions" the inmate was giving in his POA was " . . . that the reasonable expenses for my medical care be assumed by my inmate account or by my estate."  THIS IS A COMPLETELY ILLEGAL PROVISION, SINCE -- AS WARDS OF THE STATE -- INMATES ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PAY FOR ANY MEDICAL SERVICES PROVIDED TO THEM (EXCEPTION: CO-PAY FOR A MEDICAL VISIT), AND THEY CERTAINLY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ALLOW THE MONEY FOR MEDICAL PROCEDURES TO BE DEDUCTED FROM THEIR INMATE SPENDABLE, RETENTION OR ANY OTHER ACCOUNT.  CLEARLY, THEIR "ESTATE" DOES NOT ASSUME ANY DEBTS FROM THE PRISON, INCLUDING FOR MEDICAL CARE OR SERVICES, IF THEY DIE.  EVER.


Once we read this statement, we immediately contacted DOC and demanded that they retract the statement from their form.  They agreed to do so, stating "It must have been an oversight; that sentence should not have been included in the form," and have also indicated that new forms will be printed.


However, we are concerned that the DOC will not diligently retract ALL the forms that may previously have been signed by inmates with the offending language contained.  We've asked their General Counsel to assure us that a procedure will be put into place to have CO's call each inmate into the office and have them rip up the old form and allow the inmate to sign off on the new form.  No assurances have been forthcoming that this will happen.  We are advised that "the revised/corrected form is on the Internet" (we couldn't locate it), but -- of course -- inmates have no access to the Internet.


If your loved one has signed one of these old forms, he should visit his CO III or IV immediately and retract the form if it contains the above-referenced sentence.  He/she is entitled to fill out the NEW/CORRECTED form and to have a copy of the fully executed form to send to whomever he/she names as his Healthcare POA.  No one should sign the form unless they are assured that they may have a photocopy of the executed form.


We hope that you will download a copy of this email and send it into the prison to as many individual prisoners as possible.  Multiple copies cannot be sent to one prisoner for handing out to many prisoners.  Ask your lived one to give you the names and DOC # of five or ten of the people in his/her unit so that you can individually sent this email to each one.


Also, on a somewhat related issue, at the same time the POA forms were handed out, the DOC also handed out an ORANGE COLORED "Do Not Resuscitate" form.   State law requires that all "DNR" forms be printed on orange paper.   If an inmate signs it, this means that he/she is giving permission to DOC to avoid providing any extraordinary life-saving measures in the event of emergencies or life-threatening conditions.  We recommend that no inmate should sign such a form.  Even in the case of life-threatening illness or emergency, we would not trust the DOC to make those sorts of decisions about care that are in the best interests of the inmate in all cases.  Hence, an inmate with serious injury or illness who has signed off on a Healthcare POA, which names someone he trusts to make decisions if he can't do so, can allow his POA to make all those decisions, including, if applicable, end-of-life decisions.  But it will be someone who KNOWS the prisoner personally, rather than an impersonal (and perhaps too hasty) decision by a DOC Director.   This is not legal advice; it is merely our opinion.


With the above opinion in mind, please be aware that in May 2009 when Marcia Powell was broiled in the hot sun in an outdoor metal cage, without water or bathroom breaks, and finally collapsed into a coma, she was taken to a hospital.  The DOC, having quickly determined that there was "no next of kin" listed in her paperwork, decided to turn off her life-support within just a few hours of her arrival at the hospital.  It turns out that she had been appointed a Guardian by the State of Arizona, a person who had actually visited Marcia at least once while she was in prison, and THAT person should have been the one to make the decision about turning off life support.  To us, even though the situation with Marcia was grave, it seemed that things just moved a little too fast when DOC thought they were in charge of making the decision . . .


None of us ever likes to think about something terrible happening to a loved one in prison.  However, the above information will put prisoner's families more in the driver's seat should such a thing happen.


Please encourage your loved one to ALWAYS read every word of every contract or document BEFORE signing it.  That goes for Plea Agreements, which are contracts, too!


Middle Ground continues to be a champion for protecting the rights of prisoners and their loved ones.



Donna Leone (Hamm)

Criminal Justice Consultant
Executive Director - Middle Ground Prison Reform
See: www.middlegroundprisonreform.org
MIDDLE GROUND HAS BEEN ARIZONA'S PREMIER CHAMPION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INCARCERATED SINCE 1983

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