A community resource for monitoring, navigating, surviving, and dismantling the prison industrial complex in Arizona.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Private Prison hearings coming up fast...
PRISON PUBLIC HEARING ALERT
from our Friends at AFSC-TUSCON
URGENT! Hearings scheduled for proposed for-profit prisons.
just learned that a new round of hearings has been scheduled for
proposed private prisons in AZ. The first hearing was last night in
Coolidge. The second is scheduled for Thursday IN ELOY. Details below.
We desperately need people to attend these meetings and speak out against the prisons.
It is always preferable for these to be local people who live in the
community. But since these prisons “belong” to everyone in AZ (and will
be paid for with your tax dollars), anyone has the right to give their
will be organizing carpools to the next two hearings (Eloy and
Florence), so please contact me ASAP if you can go. The last two are in
Yuma and Winslow, and I doubt we can get people together to go from
Tucson, so if you know ANYONE who lives in these towns, please send them
the info and encourage them to speak out.
if you are not able to physically attend, please consider submitting
written testimony to the Department of Corrections. Please explicitly
state that you are submitting formal testimony and you want it included
in the record. Also be sure to reference the solicitation in your
letter or email:
Proposal No.: ADOC12-00001388 / ADC No. 120088DC - Medium Security Prison Beds, up to 2000
Public Hearings Scheduled for Proposed For-Profit Prisons in
Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, San Luis/Yuma, and Winslow
Arizona Department of Corrections is considering final bids from five
private, for-profit correctional management corporations for the
construction and management of an additional 2,000 state prison beds.
The Department of Corrections will be holdingpublic hearingsin
each of the towns under consideration for a new prison or prisons. The
public is encouraged to attend and voice their concerns about having a
private prison as a neighbor.
Here is theschedule of the hearings:
1. Coolidge: Management and Training Corporation (MTC). The public hearing will be held Thursday, August 6th, 5-7pm at the Coolidge City Council Chambers, 911 S. Arizona Blvd., Coolidge. *
2. Eloy: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The public hearing will be held Thursday, August 9th, 5-7pm at the Eloy Junior High School Auditorium, 404E. Phoenix Ave., Eloy.
3. Florence:GEO Group. The public hearing will be held Monday, August 13th, 5-7pm, at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Grand Ballroom, 240 W. Hwy 287, Florence.
4. San Luis (Yuma):
There are three corporations vying for a contract for Yuma:
and Training Corporation (MTC), GEO Group, and Emerald Corrections.
The public hearing will be held Tuesday, August 14th, 5-9pm at the City of San Luis City Parks and Rec Cesar Chavez Cultural Center, 1015 N. Main St., San Luis.
5. Winslow: LaSalle/Southwest Corrections. The public hearing will be held Thursday, August 16th, 5-7pm at the Winslow High School Performing Arts Center, 600 E. Cherry St., Winslow.
apologies for the late notice, but the Department of Corrections
announced the hearings on August 6, the day of the first hearing.
TheAmerican Friends Service Committeecondemns
the decision to build more private prisons as unnecessary and deeply
irresponsible given the state’s economic crisis and the dismal safety
records of all of the corporations involved.
prison population is decreasing, and the Department of Corrections
projects negative growth for the next few years. Yet, the Governor and
state legislature appropriated $16 million for new prison beds.
Arizona’s annualcorrections budget is over
$1 billion, consuming 11% of the state general fund. The Department of
Corrections was the only state agency whose budget saw an increase this
year, even as education, social services, and health care funding was
In February of 2012, AFSC of Arizona releasedPrivate Prisons: The Public’s Problem,
a comprehensive report on the for-profit prison industry in Arizona
that presented damning evidence that these facilities do not save the
state money, have serious safety problems, and are not accountable to
the taxpayers of Arizona:http://afsc.org/resource/arizona-prison-report.
American Friends Service Committee is a non-profit organization that
works for justice and human rights both nationally and internationally.
The Arizona office, based in Tucson, advocates for criminal justice
American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Area Program