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:


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ortega: Why so many prisoners dead?


to CHUCK RYAN: 
"Please stop killing your prisoners"
Arizona Department of Corrections: 
Central Office, Phoenix
(November 22, 2011)


I disagree with Carl on this one - I think omitting witnesses, etc from suspicious death reports - that is, them "selectively" - does constitute falsification of a public record, which is a class 6 felony. I've read enough of the ADC's death records, and talked to enough family members and corrections officers, to be convinced that such damage control is itself criminal activity, and should be treated as such.

Here's the moving slideshow of prisoners put together by the AZ Republic for this series...check it out at the source.

-------from the Arizona Republic--------

DOC fails to list cause of death in 28 cases.

Bob Ortega
AZ Republic
June 2, 2012

The Arizona Department of Corrections listed no cause of death for 28 inmates who died during the past two years, stating only that the deaths were under investigation. No further information has been released.

In response to public-information requests submitted by The Arizona Republic seeking information about 36 inmate deaths, Corrections provided records for 10 cases. Those records often lack details such as how much time passed before medical responders were summoned and when they arrived to aid a prisoner.

Interviews with families, inmates and prison staff and records from county medical examiners and other sources yielded information about all but eight of the 36 inmate deaths. But Corrections officials have not released any information on those eight deaths, which include four that have been "under investigation" for more than 18 months.

In Arizona, correctional-death investigations are handled internally rather than by a police agency, as occurs in some states. The shift supervisor writes a draft report, which must be approved by administrators in the central office before it's published. The department's Office of the Inspector General assigns an investigator.

"The cleanup starts the moment the incident is reported: eliminating flag words, eliminating individuals who may be relevant to the situation, cut back the witness list," says Carl ToersBijns, a retired deputy warden who served at Eyman state prison. He emphasized that he doesn't believe reports are falsified but are written selectively.

"By the time it's finalized, the incident report is so clean and sterile you won't know what happened because it's already been filtered. The direction is given ... was it deliberate, accidental, suicide, homicide? They try to fix and create a summary for that report that they can defend," he says. "There's a couple of reports where the investigator had doubts and it was overwritten. A lot of drug overdoses are suicides; a lot of 'natural deaths' are people who have been suffering medical conditions but finally just expired. It's not reflected on those reports and never will be reflected in the news reports. Only the ones who were there know what happened."

Corrections officials say their reports are accurate.

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