MARGARET J PLEWS
PO BOX 20494
PHOENIX, AZ 85036

arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com

480-580-6807

Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Peggy Plews


This site is to monitor conditions in Arizona's institutions of incarceration, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist's perspective. Abolitionism is an anti-colonialist articulation of a vision of racial and economic justice, an optimistic endeavor which strives towards collective moral and social evolution, such that alternatives to incarceration are embraced and the root causes of criminalization and incarceration are addressed. There is no need or room for prisons in a truly liberated, just society.

Prison abolitionism argues that we don't simply need to shut down the prisons: we need to rewrite the way the rules around perpetrating harm against people and property are made in the first place, so that humanity, not politics or profit comes first. The current system doesn't prevent people from being victimized as it is - it simply prescribes rules for who does and doesn't get hurt or get to violate others, and mostly punishes the poor and people of color. That's not a good enough foundation for a system based on achieving true justice.

From re-prioritizing our world, our ideas around what is crime and how to punish it would look much differently...Critical Resistance is a good source for more info on that.

I'm just a freelance writer and activist, by the way, but if you are the loved one of a prisoner and need help, feel free to contact me - I'll help if I can. Emailing me works best: arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com but 480-580-6807 is ok too.

AZ PRISON WATCH ACTION ITEMS:

RESIGN, CHUCK RYAN

RESIGN, CHUCK RYAN
Petition by the family of Tony Lester, victim of suicide in AZ DOC custody.

Prisoners and Families: Send your SOS to the DOJ!

We really need those of you out there who have been in an AZ prison, have lost a child or other family member in an AZ prison, or have a loved one in an AZ prison now, to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (that one is mine) about the need for a federal intervention here, and send me a copy, with a nice photo, if you have one, of the beloved prisoner - I don't have to post your letters and pictures, but please tell me if I may, with or without names.

If you need some motivation, see what the Governor had to say to him about the swell state things are in here. Don't let her pass that BS off on him unchallenged.

When the truth of prison rape and violence is made public and appeals for relief come directly from those affected, the rest of the community identifies better with prisoners as people, and it puts more pressure on the feds - as well as the governor- to act. And you are the ones with the most at stake here. So, please back me up on this argument I'm making, folks. If the feds listened to me, they'd have been here long ago - I need your support!

And don't just "like" me on Facebook or the Daily KOS - SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!

US Attorney General Eric Holder
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20530


Send word to your loved ones in prison to write the AG as well, and to send me copies if they want me to post their letters, too.

THE I-Files: Teens in Solitary Confinement

Published on Jun 26, 2014


"Alone" was produced Daffodil Altan. It was reported by Altan and Trey Bundy, edited by David Ritsher and Andrew Gersh, and filmed by Marco Villalobos. The senior producer was Stephen Talbot. The executive producer was Susanne Reber.

**************

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AZ prosecutors fight proposed ethical rules to protect the innocent...


It's frightening how protected some agents of the court are from taking reponsibility for correcting wrongful convictions - they aren't even necessarily being blamed for misconduct.  Prosecutors act like they are infallible and never need to take responsibility for their mistakes, while holding all the rest of us accountable for ours. Their resistance to being held to a higher standard than currently exists is the very reason we need these proposed rules to go into effect.

Arizona's prosecutors seem especially shameless. Instead of fighting these new rules they should be leading the way to building a more just system. I'm especially disappointed with Maricopa County attorney Bill Montgomery's response, but not surprised. He's refused to take action in the wrongful conviction of Courtney Bisbee: one of her accusers recanted several years ago, and has been fighting to get her case re-heard, but Montgomery won't even talk to the kid, who authored this petition.

Courtney's judge, Warren Granville, and Bill Montgomery both have the power to have her case re-opened tomorrow, if they wanted - they just refuse to exercise it because they don't want to admit liability for her wrongful conviction and prolonged imprisonment in the first place - she was convicted in a trial by judge, not jury. Prosecutors should not be allowed to represent counties in civil action because of the conflict of interest it creates, undermining the primary duty of the prosecutor being to the People, as evidenced here. If Montgomery's most pressing sense of duty was to justice for the People, Courtney's case would have had a new hearing by now.

Meanwhile, Courtney- whose family was financially ruined by her trial and who now has to represent herself - has been spending the past six or seven years in prison going through the appeals process trying to exercise her rights - the appeals process is cumbersome and time-consuming and often doesn't work to trigger new trials because of "technicalities", people - a trial can conform perfectly and still result in convicting an innocent person if all evidence wasn't available at the time, for example, as opposed to the evidence being withheld. In Courtney's case, the recantation of a chief accuser and witness hasn't guaranteed her a new trial. 


 Courtney Bisbee and daughter 
Taylor Lee


The damage by wrongful convictions isn't just to the life of the accused -  Courtney's whole family has been devastated, and her daughter is growing up without her. Criminal prosecution destroys lives and those people should get it right the first time, and should be mandated to fix things when exculpatory evidence presents itself - clearly what's in place now isn't working. Maybe these rules will compel prosecutors to be a little less reckless convicting people in the first place, too. Members of the public should read the petition Courtney's accuser wrote about her conviction, and write to the Arizona Supreme Court and tell them to support the proposed rule changes.

Here's their web comment form:


Here's the postal address:

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch 
Arizona Supreme Court
1501 W. Washington St
Phoenix, AZ 85007
 
excellent coverage here by Gary Grado the AZ Capitol Times, by the way...


----------------from the AZ Capitol Times------------------------


Proposed ethical rules would require prosecutors to disclose evidence even after convictions

By Gary Grado - gary.grado@azcapitoltimes.com 
Published: December 17, 2012 
 
 
Henry Hall was on death row when police found the remains of Ted Lindberry in the desert west of Phoenix in March 2001.

A jailhouse snitch had testified that Hall bragged he beat Lindberry to death, breaking his wrist and smashing his skull. But an autopsy of the skeletal remains found no broken bones. And worse yet, prosecutors didn’t inform Hall’s defense attorney about the discovery until a year later, after the remains had been cremated.

A bevy of defense attorneys led by Larry Hammond, who heads the Arizona Justice Project, are citing troubling cases like Hall’s and wrongful convictions throughout the country as reasons for proposing new ethical rules requiring prosecutors to turn over new evidence that might prove a defendant’s innocence after a conviction.

The Arizona Supreme Court, which sets the rules governing attorneys and court procedures, has drafted the proposed new rules and is seeking input from the legal community. If the rules are adopted, prosecutors could be disciplined by the State Bar of Arizona for violating them.

Under the proposal, a prosecutor would have to inform the court and the defendant if credible evidence surfaces that raises a reasonable likelihood the defendant didn’t commit the crime for which he was convicted.

Prosecutors oppose the change for several reasons, said Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, chair of the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council. She said there are already rules of professional conduct, or ethical rules, in place related to the concealment of evidence and administering justice. There is also case law that requires prosecutors to disclose evidence that clearly shows a defendant’s innocence after conviction.

Polk said defendants are also afforded the right to challenge their convictions and offer evidence of innocence or new evidence after trial in Superior Court.
The proposed rules also require a prosecutor to “undertake further investigation, or make reasonable efforts to cause an investigation” to see if the defendant was wrongfully convicted after coming across new information of possible innocence.

“I think that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of prosecutors,” Polk said. “Law enforcement investigates and they present to us cases to charge.”

Prosecutors don’t have the resources to conduct investigations and they would probably lose their immunity from lawsuits by venturing into investigations, Polk said.

She said rules of professional conduct apply to all attorneys across the board, but prosecutors will have the extra obligations.

“Why all of a sudden are prosecutors being singled out?” she asked.

Hammond said the proposed rules don’t impose a duty for prosecutors to personally investigate, only that the prosecutor would be required to ask local police to investigate.

“It amazes me this has been controversial at all,” said Hammond. “It is a hot-button issue for some prosecutors.”

Hammond said the American Bar Association’s board, which consists of 500 people, unanimously approved the proposed rules in 2009, and the National District Attorneys Association and prosecutors from around the country have supported them.

“Everybody thought it was a great thing to make clear that every public prosecutor has a duty to disclose newly discovered evidence when somebody is in prison,” Hammond said.

Hammond leads the Arizona Justice Project, a nonprofit organization that fights for prisoners it deems to have been wrongfully convicted or who have suffered clear and unmistakable injustice. The organization is involved in several cases disputing the science used to convict people in cases of shaken-baby syndrome and arson.

Siding with the defense attorneys are former Attorneys General Terry Goddard and Grant Woods and former Arizona Supreme Court Justices Stanley Feldman, Charles Jones and Thomas Zlaket. Mark Harrison, an attorney with expertise in attorney ethics, wrote a brief on their behalf in support of the new rule.

“Wrongful convictions unfortunately occur, and Arizona’s ethics rules currently provide very little guidance to prosecutors post- conviction,” Harrison wrote.

The language in the proposed Arizona rules is nearly identical to model rules, or guidelines, adopted by the American Bar Association in 2008. As of Sept. 26, eight states have adopted the ABA guideline or a modified version of it, while Michigan, Maryland and North Carolina, rejected them. Nine states are studying whether to implement the rules. The rest have done nothing.

The ABA guidelines grew out of a 2006 report of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, which recommended the expanded ethical rules for prosecutors “[i]n light of the large number of cases in which convicted defendants have been exonerated, most often as a result of DNA testing but also as a result of other proof that they were wrongfully convicted.” The report stated that prosecutors should be obligated to give serious consideration and devote resources to credible claims of innocence after a conviction.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery filed a written response with the Supreme Court opposing the rules, stating that Arizona is not facing a problem with wrongful convictions.

Montgomery pointed to the state’s poster-child of wrongful convictions, Ray Krone, to prove that prosecutors do the right thing when presented with new evidence. Krone was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of Phoenix bartender Kim Ancona. He was eventually exonerated in 2002 when DNA testing proved Kenneth Phillips, a convicted rapist, was the killer.

“Revised ethical rules are not necessary to further the goal of releasing inmates who are actually innocent,” Montgomery’s chief deputy, Mark Faull, wrote to the court.

Hammond has a different recollection of how prosecutors reacted to Krone, saying the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office fought efforts to have evidence tested for DNA. It took media attention and a DNA match to Phillips to get the state to pick up the pace in releasing Krone, Hammond said.

“If we didn’t have the good fortune of Phillips having the DNA in the database, they would have fought that too, but they don’t like to talk about that,” Hammond said.

Hammond pointed out one case in which a Tucson woman, Carolyn June Peak, was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband after the prosecutor withheld reams of material, some of which would have cleared her. Pima County prosecutors discovered the hidden evidence after the original prosecutor, David White, died of cancer. The case was eventually dismissed in 2003.

A group of defense attorneys on the State Bar of Arizona’s Criminal Practice and Procedure Committee also urged the Supreme Court to adopt the rules. They stated that in Hall’s case the prosecutor in 2001 wasn’t legally or ethically obligated to turn over the evidence of the remains while the case was pending appeal. The state was able to argue to the Arizona Supreme Court that the victim’s bones were broken, while not mentioning the discovery of the remains or the autopsy finding that no bones had been broken.

The court’s March 2003 decision in the case said Lindberry’s body has never been recovered.

Court records show Hall’s attorney, Thomas Gorman, was informed six months before the Oct. 31, 2002, oral arguments. Gorman said that didn’t necessarily matter because the body wasn’t part of the trial record and couldn’t be used as an issue on appeal.

Gorman said prosecutors still should have told him about it and not destroyed the remains, but instead he was left without an opportunity to have his own pathologist examine the body.

He said he believes the prosecutors in the case acted unethically even without the proposed new rule.

“They are required to act in the interest of justice,” Gorman said.

“They’re there not just to secure a conviction, they’re there to do justice.”

Gorman was able to convince the Supreme Court to reverse Hall’s murder conviction and order a new trial based on misconduct of a bailiff.

Hall’s new judge, Roland Steinle of Maricopa County Superior Court, ruled that the defense could tell Hall’s new jury how the state didn’t disclose the information on the remains. That wasn’t necessary because Hall pleaded no contest to second-degree murder on Jan. 31, 2011, and he was sentenced to 16 years in prison with 13 years credit. He is due to be released in October 2013.


 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Anarchist Soccer Mom: I am Adam Lanza's Mother...

Powerful meditation on the elementary school massacre this week in Connecticut...

-----------------------------

Thinking the Unthinkable

Michael holding a butterfly
December 14, 2012
The Anarchist Soccer Mom

In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.


“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.  

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with....at what age did your child....were there any problems with...has your child ever experienced...does your child have....”  

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)

 No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

Arizona Prison Watch 2013 Poster Calendars



 VISIT MY NEW ART SITE!!!


Please support my work helping Arizona state prisoners battle the prison industrial complex, and pick up a signed 2013 art calendar from the Deep Southwest for any donation of $10 or more. Choose one of the designs below as your backdrop for the year, and email me at deepsouthwestart@gmail.com with your order specifications and snail mail address. You're on the honor system here - your donations can be made on-line at:


Thanks, friends. You rock. I'll turn your orders around and get them to you as fast as I can.

love,

peg




OTHER AVAILABLE CALENDAR IMAGES...



Assert Your Humanity (Phoenix, AZ)

            the end of prisons...                                  Build communities 
       (Tent City, Phoenix, AZ)
 


4th Ave Jail (Phoenix, AZ)

Resist Police Oppression 
(PHX Police at Freeport McMoran)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tucson's Niedhart on prison privatization in Arizona


You rock, Fred. Thank you...


• What: Lecture on Arizona Prisons by Fred Neidhardt

• When: 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20

• Where: Arizona Senior Academy Building at Academy Village, 
13715 E. Langtry Lane

• Admission: Free; donations accepted

• Reservations: Recommended; 
email info@arizonasenioracademy.org or call 647-0980



 ------------------------------

Ariz. prison reform, trend of privatization focus of talk

AZ Daily Star
Three months ago the Arizona Senior Academy hosted a talk about why a coalition of 314 religious organizations, including every major religion in the world, has focused public attention on Arizona and other states for not complying with national and international laws governing prisoner treatment.

The featured speaker at that talk, Fred Neidhardt, will update his lecture at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20 with additional information on the privatization of prisons.

In April, Amnesty International issued a scathing indictment of the Arizona prison system, stating that some inmates are being housed under conditions constituting "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in violation of international law."

Placing minors 14 to 17 years of age, as well as adults who have yet to be convicted, in conditions of solitary confinement in the Special Management Units came under particular scrutiny.

A month earlier, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Prison Law Office, a prisoner-rights group based in Berkeley, Calif., filed a class-action lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections. The suit alleges that due to neglect by prison officials, inmates "are in grave danger of suffering serious and preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and even death."

In Tucson, the American Friends Service Committee has suspended work on other major projects to commit itself to an all-out effort to ban solitary confinement and other practices it considers inhumane in Arizona prisons and jails.

The Dec. 20 talk will review the history of the American penal system and add more information on the current nature of Arizona's prisons, focusing on the effects of privatization.

Neidhardt has been a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture for more than six years, the last three representing the Pima Monthly Meeting, Society of Friends (Quakers) in Tucson.

He is working with the American Friends Service Committee-Arizona to highlight the conditions of isolation in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Neidhardt has received many honors during his 50 years of research and teaching in molecular biology at Harvard University, Purdue University and the University of Michigan. He lives at Academy Village and is a member of the Arizona Senior Academy.

The lecture will be in the great room of the Arizona Senior Academy at Academy Village, an active-adult community at 13715 E. Langtry Lane.

The academy's concert and lecture programs are free and open to the public.

If you go

• What: Lecture on Arizona Prisons by Fred Neidhardt

• When: 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20

• Where: Arizona Senior Academy Building at Academy Village, 13715 E. Langtry Lane

• Admission: Free; donations accepted

• Reservations: Recommended; email info@arizonasenioracademy.org or call 647-0980

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Friending Dennis Deconcini: Time to resign.

Brilliant! More power to the Resistance! Stay tuned for how today's protest at the AZ Board of Regents meeting turned out - hit Dennis' facebook page to get the latest, in fact. 

You can all be a friend of his, too.

----------

Facebook Fake-Out: Someone Created a Profile All About Dennis DeConcini's Ties to Private Prisons

Tucson Weekly

Posted by on  

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM

This probably isnt actually Dennis DeConcini.

  • This probably isn't actually Dennis DeConcini.
The campaign to pressure former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini to resign from the board of directors of Corrections Corporations of America looks like it's heating up again. We first wrote about the campaign in March when local immigrant rights groups were challenging the lawyer-politician to get rid of his ties to the private prison industry.

Yesterday, a few hundred folks out there in Facebook land woke up to a special treat — an invitation to become FB besties with the CCA board member. Turns out the page is a great resource for folks interested in learning more about Arizona and our state government's love affair with the private prison industry folks. And wow, looky there, the senator has something to say about his own love affair with the industry:
Dennis DeConcini
12 hours ago.

Just another long, hard day in the life of a wealthy ex-Senator. Juggling my law firm, real estate company, lobbying firm and position on the Board of Directors of the nation's largest prison company sure is tough. But at the end of the day, if I can look back and know my wallet's a little thicker than the day before, it's all worth it.
I say you better friend the guy, before he gets all shy and this page goes down.

The Facebook page, while all fun and good for you, isn't the only thing happening to continue to pressure the senator to leave CCA. Not only is DeConcini a former U.S. Senator, he's also a member of the Arizona Board of Regents that governs the three state universities. This week, Thursday, Dec. 6, Fuerza, the group organizing the pressure campaign, is asking folks to attend the Board of Regents meeting at the UA at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center.

You can read our story on DeConcini's connection to CCA — Morals Before Profit, but here's a bit of what DeConcini had to say at the time:
"I've been involved in prison reform a long time, and as I explained to the coalition group ... government has failed to provide humane and constitutional standards for prisoners," DeConcini said, adding that private prisons are needed to help states with strapped resources, similar to how the federal government uses contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last month, the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee issued a report on financial and security issues surrounding private prisons in Arizona (See "No Disclosure," Feb. 23), including CCA. The report also mentions the fact that private prisons do not have to operate transparently and comply with public-records requests.

DeConcini said he hasn't read the report, but he knew that CCA reps reviewed it. "I've been told we have much information that disputes (the report)—not that atrocities have not occurred. When they do, (people) are held responsible."

Regarding transparency issues, DeConcini said: "I'm concerned only that CCA, as any corporation, complies with all of the laws that are required. I'm satisfied from my review that they do. ... We are not a public entity."

Here's more. If you really want to do more than just show up for an action, you know, get your teeth into the issues, connect with the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee. Folks there have dedicated their work to taking on Arizona's private prison industry. Here's a story we did in February on their must-read report.


.