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, April 30, 2014

DOC monitor for Corizon well-aware of conditions in ASPC-Tucson/Rincon.

So, I haven't heard back yet from Director Ryan on my email regarding neglect and scabies at ASPC-Tucson/Rincon, but I sure did hear from his staff. To be fair to him, I'm going to post his defense of his job performance here - along with my reply....

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On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM, PRATT, RICHARD; RPRATT@azcorrections.gov wrote:
Ms. Plews:

Your allegations are very serious in nature. I will also advise that your conclusions are totally unfounded.


The Department created a bureau to monitor the health care of the inmate population after privatization. I am the Interim Assistant Director of the Health Services Contract Monitoring Bureau. There are several staff assigned to cover the Tucson prison complex, and I was made aware of the scabies issue immediately by both the contracted medical vendor and one of my monitors at the site.


You ask if the “contract monitoring staff are just oblivious, deliberately indifferent, or actually complicit in hiding Corizon's crimes against the people of this state.” The question is both insulting and inflammatory. The answer is an emphatic “no.”

If your source (former Corizon employee) would like to directly bring forth specific concerns regarding the health care being provided at the Tucson complex, I will be happy to investigate them. She/he may e-mail me at any time, or call my office.


Respectfully,

Richard Pratt

Interim Assistant Director
Arizona Department of Corrections
Health Services Contract Monitoring Bureau
Office:  (602) 771-2100


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Here's my less-than contrite reply.

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Arizona Prisonwatch Wed, Apr 30, 2014 4:53 PM  
To: "PRATT, RICHARD"


You're right that my question about the competence and culpability of the folks responsible for overseeing the contract with Corizon is an insult, Mr. Pratt - and until you prove me wrong, I offer no apology for it. But I'm wondering, now: if you've been on top of this outbreak yourself since the beginning, why is it getting worse instead of being contained and eradicated? I've dealt with scabies plenty of times managing homeless shelters, and you people have far more control over the prison infirmary environment that I did over the ones I had to deal with.

Frankly, if it wasn't for the numerous complaints I've received from prisoners and their family members about the atrocious neglect occurring under your watch these past few years - not to mention that little class action suit over health care - I would have tempered my tone and remarks considerably. I'm tired of watching the most vulnerable people being exploited and neglected by companies like Wexford and Corizon, and you appear to be their chief enabler. Since informing you of patient care issues doesn't seem to have any impact on the care those patients receive, however, I have every reason to believe that either you don't really follow up on those matters, or no one at Corizon cares what you have to say because they know the DOC will let them get away with whatever they want anyway. The almost year-long deliberate indifference shown to the suffering of the late, elderly Gloria Rogers (despite her daughter's on-going correspondence with you about her kidney infections, cardiac symptoms, inappropriately discontinued meds, and other unmet medical needs) comes to mind. I can name more dying and dead prisoners, if you want me to explain further the reasons for my skepticism.

If you cared at all about those patients at Rincon, you would be thanking me for the information I offered so you can investigate further instead of chastising me for criticizing your office. After all, what I just had to to say to the director addresses much more than just the persistent presence of scabies in the ICU. When you respond to such information with knee jerk reactions that have more to do with defending your ego than following up to assure patient welfare, you only reinforce my concern that you may indeed minimize critical issues in favor of reassuring the legislature that everything at the DOC is hunky dorey. You thus give them permission to ignore all the desperate letters and calls from prisoners and their families begging for help - which most legislators already do anyway. You, of all people, should be leading the charge to reverse the privatization of health care at the DOC, because you have first hand knowledge of how much patient care has suffered and how wasteful doing things this way is. Instead you condone such abuse of public resources.

The patients in this particular unit are exquisitely vulnerable, as many of those guys are either too far gone to complain or will probably die before they manage to exhaust their grievances - which no one at the DOC is about to help the more seriously disabled men even file. Meanwhile, the staff who still remain in the ICU have all been threatened into remaining silent about their discontent or concerns about patient care, so who will advocate for the welfare of those men? You are clearly not the one to do so - or, if you are really in there fighting for those guys, Corizon has no respect for your insistence that prisoners receive only the best care. From everything I see, you are not an advocate for patients, you are an advocate for whitewashing their suffering in order to perpetuate the lie that contracting those services out was a brilliant idea, so men like Rep. Kavanagh can save face for demanding it. I find that pretty troubling.

Given all the above - as well as a long list of the gravely ill and dead prisoners' families I've come to be quite familiar with -  I reiterate my allegation that your office has been negligent and can't be trusted to monitor the Corizon contract in the best interests of the AZ DOC's imprisoned patient population OR the taxpayers of this state. Lest anyone say I didn't give you a fair chance to respond to that accusation, however, I'll be happy to post your reply to my email to Ryan publicly as well. In fact, I'm putting this whole conversation out there. Please feel free to elaborate more, for the record, if you wish to. You know how to reach me.

Margaret Plews

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Corizon at ASPC-Tucson/Rincon ICU: patients, staff infested with parasites

I find the institutional neglect of the elderly, non-verbal, and dying especially heinous. It's no wonder that Corizon and the DOC decided to cut corners with the prisoners who are least likely to be able to fight back. My deepest gratitude to the health care professional who had the courage to report all this to the public that is paying for it - and to all the folks still  working for Corizon who are delivering the best care they can under the worst of conditions. At least the prisoners know who the good guys among you are.

I'll post Director Ryan's answer when it comes.


 -------------



Gmail Arizona Prisonwatch

CORIZON's deliberate indifference: parasitic infestation of the elderly, sick and dying at Tucson/Rincon ICU..
1 message

Arizona Prisonwatch                Tue, Apr 29, 2014  7:43 PM

 

To: CHARLES RYAN  



Cc: "chcampbell@azleg.gov" , atovar@azleg.gov, Governor Brewer , "abiggs@azleg.gov" , "dgowan@azleg.gov" , Daniel Pochoda , Caroline Isaacs , Peri Jude Radecic , Richard Pratt , Donna Leone Hamm

Charles Ryan, Director
Arizona Department of Corrections
1601 W. Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85007
April 29, 2014

Director Ryan:
I'm writing with grave concern about the welfare of both the patients and medical staff of ASPC-Tucson/Rincon's Intensive Care Unit. I've heard complaints from a former Corizon employee that there's a serious, ongoing outbreak of blood sucking parasites (scabies) among both the patients and employees there needing immediate intervention. The public health department wont take any action, but I do expect you to.

Apparently the physician in charge is in deep denial about this infestation, and is thus refusing to properly treat the sick and dying people who have been infected with scabies. At least 7 Corizon employees have been infected by scabies as well, but have been denied time off to treat their own conditions because there are no other staff to cover their shifts. Thus, they risk spreading the parasites to other patients, many of whom are elderly or have compromised immune systems already - which is why this outbreak is an urgent matter to attend to, whether or not there are any prisoner grievances. Patients who are too far gone may not even know that they've been infested with these parasites to file a complaint - they just lie there and suffer.

That's not all that's going in in that unit, though. The DOC is complicit in the neglect by ignoring staffing needs in the ICU - my source tells me she worries that some of the sick and dying may not even be getting fed regularly or having their soiled sheets changed enough because the place is so drastically understaffed. Many of those patients who need help eating and toileting don't have the voice to complain or the coherence to know they missed lunch or wet the bed. You have a special duty to look out for them when you hear that the people you hired to do so are not.

The former employee I spoke to also alleges that at least one prisoner has died recently due to negligence on Corizon's part, a death which was reported as being from "natural causes". Thus, each one of those ICU patients should have a through medical evaluation done by someone not affiliated with Corizon to prevent another wrongful death. And really, all the health units with seriously disabled and non-verbal patients should have extra oversight from the DOC. The worst abuses always happen to those who can be expected to remain silent.

On other yards I know that Corizon abruptly stopped pain medication regardless of how severe the patients condition was, and only transitioned those prisoners to alternative meds for relief if they fought for it, which few prisoners know how to even do. Unfortunately, the demented and brain-injured patients you imprison who will never be able to advocate for themselves effectively or "exhaust administrative remedies" so they can sue you all, making them easy prey for profiteers like Corizon. Those people just  look for the most vulnerable and ignored population to cut their corners with. That's where you need to be looking, too.

From what my source has told me about the overall situation in Rincon's ICU, patient records and staff logs should be immediately seized and inspected so they can't be tampered with, while interviews are conducted with staff about evidence of criminal wrongdoing in regards to those patients by Corizon. I frankly think what Corizon is doing amounts to stealing resources from both the patients and the state, and defrauding us all by not delivering what they have been paid for and have promised.  The consequences of such a violation of that contract has no doubt been deadly to more than one of their imprisoned patients.

Please assure me that you will send a health care team into Rincon ICU immediately to deal with this situation and evaluate those patients and their records, and make sure that all receive the necessary treatment for their ailments, be it scabies, Alzheimers, or cancer. If your DOC employee monitoring Corizon at Rincon was doing their job thus far, you wouldn't be getting this letter from me, so I wouldn't count on them to do the job right now - they would just have incentive to downplay everything so they don't look like a fool. Please evaluate whether your Corizon contract monitoring staff are just oblivious, deliberately indifferent, or actually complicit in hiding Corizon's crimes against the people of this state.

I'll have public records requests pertinent to this email in to your legal department by the morning. I'll also pass your contact information on to the former Corizon employee I spoke to, who may be willing to speak to DOC investigators if you plan to take this seriously. Just let me know who she should contact.

Sincerely,
Margaret Plews

--
Margaret J. Plews, Editor
Arizona Prison Watch
P.O. Box 20494
Phoenix, AZ 85036
480-580-6807



"Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness, and our ability to tell our own stories..." 

- Arundhati Roy


Arizona Prison Watch
arizonaprisonwatch.org
Survivors of Prison Violence - AZ
azprisonsurvivors.blogspot.com
Jailhouse Lawyers' Auxiliary Guild - AZ
jailhouselawauxiliaryaz.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 26, 2014

DOJ to Ohio: Abuse of Solitary Confinement harming mentally ill youth.

This practice is far too common with kids in Arizona, as well...

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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
 
Justice Department Seeks Temporary Restraining Order to Stop Ohio Department of Youth Services from Excessively Secluding Boys with Mental Health Needs
 
Today, the Justice Department sought a federal court order temporarily restraining the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) from unlawfully secluding boys with mental health needs in its juvenile correctional facilities.  The requested order would require DYS to abide by safeguards in its use of seclusion until a final ruling on the claims that DYS’ seclusion practices violate the constitutional rights of boys in DYS custody.  In conjunction with its request for a temporary restraining order, the department sought to expand its existing complaint regarding the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility, to include claims of unlawful seclusion at all of the DYS facilities.
 
The department’s request for a restraining order detailed the state’s excessive use of seclusion, including the following information:  

·          In the second half of 2013, the state imposed a total of almost 60,000 hours of seclusion on 229 boys with mental health needs;
·          One boy spent 1,964 hours in seclusion over six months; the state gave another boy 21 straight days of seclusion;
·          Ten boys at one facility spent over 10 percent of their time in custody in seclusion;
·          While secluded, several boys were on suicide watch, had suicidal thoughts or hurt themselves.  

“The Ohio Department of Youth Services must stop violating the rights of youth in its custody through unlawful seclusion,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The way in which Ohio uses seclusion to punish youth with mental health needs, victimizes one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.”
 
“Ohio’s juvenile correctional facilities must comply with the Eighth and 14th Amendments,” said U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart for the Southern District of Ohio.  “We will remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional rights of all our citizens, particularly young people and those with mental illness.”
 
“The facts in this case reveal a serious disregard for the rights of young people with mental health needs in Ohio’s custody,” said U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach for the Northern District of Ohio.  “The Ohio Department of Youth Services has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of these young people, including providing appropriate mental health treatment, so that they can overcome challenging behaviors and return to the community to become successful adults.”
 
Following an investigation under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), the Justice Department issued findings in May 2007 detailing significant constitutional deficiencies regarding use of physical force, grievance investigation and processing and use of seclusion.  In June 2008, the department entered into a consent decree with the state to correct these deficiencies at the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility.  However, the recent discovery that DYS continued to unlawfully seclude boys with mental health needs at Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility and had moved boys to other DYS facilities also using unlawful seclusion prompted the department today to seek a temporary restraining order and an order allowing it to add the remaining DYS facilities to its complaint.
 
This case is being litigated by attorneys from the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.  Copies of both motions and additional information about the Civil Rights Division will be available on its website.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Freeing Alabama: Incarcerated Workers of the World Unite!



 GO LIKE AND SUPPORT:
 IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee


From the INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD:

Solidarity with the Incarcerated Workers of the Free Alabama Movement!

We in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have been approached by a group of hundreds of people currently incarcerated in Alabama who are launching a nonviolent prison strike beginning this Sunday April 20th to demand an end to slave labor, the massive overcrowding and horrifying health and human rights violations found in Alabama Prisons, and the passage of legislation they have drafted.

This is the second peaceful and nonviolent protest initiated by the brave men and women of the Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M.) this year building on the recent Hunger Strikes in Pelican Bay and the Georgia Prison Strike in 2010. They aim to build a mass movement inside and outside of prisons to earn their freedom, and end the racist, capitalist system of mass incarceration called The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and others. The Free Alabama Movement is waging a non-violent and peaceful protest for their civil, economic, and human rights.

The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed "humanely", with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free, slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.

In response, the Free Alabama Movement is pushing a comprehensive "Freedom Bill" (Alabama's Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry Preparedness Bill) designed to end these horrors and create a much reduced correctional system actually intended to achieve rehabilitation and a secure, just, anti-racist society.
While unique in some ways, the struggle of these brave human beings is the same as the millions of black, brown, and working class men, women, and youth struggling to survive a system they are not meant to succeed within. We advance their struggle by building our own, and working together for an end to this "system that crushes people and penalizes them for not being able to stand the weight".

The Free Alabama Movement is partnering with the IWW's Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to ask you to:

Contact us at iwoc@riseup.net. Solidarity and be in touch!

The IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in partnership with the Free Alabama Movement

The IWW is an grassroots, revolutionary union open to all working people, including the incarcerated and the unemployed. Founded in 1905, we've come back strong in recent years with struggles at Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, and the General Strike call during the Wisconsin Uprising. We are committed to amplifying the voices of prisoners, ending an economic system based on exploitation and racial caste systems like mass incarceration, and adding our contribution to the global movements for a just, free, and sustainable world. Our guiding motto is "An injury to one is an injury to all!".


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SHOW OUR FRIENDS SOME SOLIDARITY IN ALABAMA: 

SUPPORT THE 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Guilty of walking while trans in Phoenix: Activist Monica Jones.



At the 2014 Phoenix Pride Parade
this cop actually threatened to arrest me for chalking him- 
which means he was ready to put me in cuffs and drag me off against my will, 
and could have legally killed me if I resisted or tried to flee. 
Hell, he'd probably get a promotion for killing me.
Anyway, how is it that cops think arresting people isn't violent?
Moreover, how could all these social workers and community non-profits 
dedicated to serving marginalized people 
stand by and not call that out as violence as well?
 

I will save my comments for a separate post in which they won't be directly linked to  SWOP-Phoenix or Monica Jones, because I don't speak for either and I won't be as polite as this press release is about the injustice I witnessed today. Monica, however, was an awesome witness and advocate for human rights in court today, and is dealing with the verdict with more grace than I could ever hope to muster. 

Blessings to all the good friends who turned out to support today, and those around the world who have been raising hell about the violence that is ASU's Project Rose

Oh, and come to this talk on April 17th with all your questions and concerns for the ASU school of Social Work. The talk is by the architect of Project Rose; what a fitting conclusion to ASU"s "2014 Humanities Lecture Series", as we all have so much to learn from her.

"Dominique Roe-Sepowitz will conclude the spring 2014 Humanities Lecture Series at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus with her presentation, “Sex Trafficking In Arizona.” Hosted by the School of Letters and Sciences, the lecture starts at 6:30 p.m., April 17, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, room 128, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix." (https://asunews.asu.edu/20140409-az-sex-trafficking-lecture)

See you all there!
--------------------

BREAKING from SWOP-Phoenix
Contact: Margie Diddams, 480-553-3777,
swop.phx@gmail.com

Guilty Verdict for Monica Jones Reveals Broken Legal System: 
Urgent Need For Action

PHOENIX--- Over 50 supporters rallied in front of the Phoenix Court house this morning in support of ASU student and anti-1062 activist Monica Jones. Ms. Jones was facing unjust charges of “manifestation of intent to prostitute,” a vague and discriminatory law that criminalizes activities like waving at cars, talking to passersbys, and inquiring if someone is a police officer. The ACLU of Arizona joined Jones’ lawyer in contesting the constitutionality of the manifestation statute. Dan Pochoda of the ACLU explained in his arguments, “The statute eviscerates first amendment rights.” In a packed courtroom filled with supporters wearing “I Stand With Monica Jones: Stop Profiling Trans Women of Color” t-shirts, the judge found Ms. Jones guilty based solely on the statements of the police officer who targeted Monica for her race and gender. Supporters across AZ and the nation are in an uproar about the injustice of this ruling.

In Arizona and across the country, trans women of color like Ms. Jones are routinely profiled and swept up in the criminal justice system on prostitution-related charges, due to a phenomenon many call “Walking While Trans”---a widely held belief by law enforcement and others that all transgender women are criminals.  Because of the injustice that leads people to take pleas against their best interest due to lack of community support, Ms. Jones decided she was going to fight the charges, so that no more trans women, sex workers, or people profiled as sex workers would have to face these injustices. Ms. Jones has remained adamant about her innocence, and that sex workers need rights, not arrests. Ms. Jones stated after the verdict, “As an African American and as a woman, the justice system has failed me.”

In light of this devastating ruling, SWOP Phoenix (Sex Worker Outreach Project) and Monica Jones will fight the case in an appeals process, while building national and international momentum against unjust policies that target trans women, people of color, and sex workers. SWOP Phoenix is calling on people from around the country to keep demanding justice for Ms. Jones. Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders is monitoring the trial as an example of discriminatory policing and retaliation on activists organizing for human rights.

Ms. Jones states, “I am saddened by the injustice that took place at my trial this morning, but we are not giving up the fight. It’s time that we end the stigma and the criminalization of sex work, the profiling of trans women of color, and the racist policing system that harms so many of us.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ASPC-Safford: Ryan condones sexual harassment with slap on the wrist.

What does this kind of "discipline" tell all the other women who work for Chuck Ryan - this man remains in his position of authority - anyone out there know what happened to the women who had the courage to complain about this fine gentleman? 

We can take a hint from the article below: 

"Colleen McManus, the DOC's chief human-resources officer, reported to Ryan that one of the women said employees at Safford "are told to keep their mouths shut or they will be reprimanded. There is general acceptance that things must go the warden's way, as that is 'the only way.' "


---------------------------
Lyle Broadhead, Warden ASPC-Safford

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Safford prison warden faced sexual-misconduct claims

Craig Harris and Rob O’Dell, 
The Republic | azcentral.com  
10:27 p.m. MST April 9, 2014

Last summer, the Arizona Department of Corrections' chief human-resources officer recommended Safford prison Warden Lyle Broadhead's removal from top management after a complaint of sexual harassment involving women who worked for him, records recently obtained by The Arizona Republic show.

The recommendation came a year after Broadhead had been disciplined for flirting with and touching his executive staff assistant.Yet Corrections Director Charles Ryan, who has cracked down on employee misconduct the past two years by imposing sanctions — including firings — nearly 2,400 times, suspended Broadhead for 40 hours without pay, but allowed him to remain in his current position.

The suspension was the minimum punishment Broadhead could have received for a Class 6 offense, the second-highest category of discipline in the Department of Corrections. The maximum punishment is dismissal,though the director has discretion in how to respond.

Broadhead, 40, is classified as a correctional administrator 5. He is the only one with that classification who has been disciplined in the past two years.

Broadhead, warden at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Safford since February 2008, did not return two calls seeking comment. His complex houses just more than 1,700 minimum- and medium-security male inmates about 165 miles southeast of Phoenix.

Martin Bihn, an attorney who represents correctional officers, called Broadhead's punishment "light," contrasting it with what he considers Ryan's overly harsh disciplinary actions against rank-and-file employees.

"I can't get my head around how they do things at the Department of Corrections," Bihn said. "In the Department of Corrections, you want wardens who will set an example for other folks."

Robert Blackmer, a spokesman for the 2,000-member Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, called the handling of Broadhead's case "just one of the latest examples of what is a bigger problem.

"The upper-echelon staff members are getting off with light discipline, while the lower-line staff members who may do similar things are getting raked over the coals with max discipline, or they are being dismissed."

Ryan bristled when asked if he went easy on Broadhead, saying another offense by the warden will result in his firing. Ryan added that he considered Broadhead's service to the state, which began in February 1996, in imposing punishment.

"Basically, he doesn't get another opportunity," Ryan said. "I did not go light on him at all. He received the same as other employees in the range of sanctions."

Broadhead's case was among 2,379 situations that merited disciplinary actions in 2012 and 2013 among the department's more than 10,000 employees, according to records The Republic obtained through the Arizona Public Records Law.

Among 308 Class 6 disciplinary offenses, like Broadhead's, over the past two years that were identified by The Republic, about 59 percent drew 40-hour suspensions, 22 percent prompted80-hour suspensions, and 15 percent resulted in firings. The remaining 4 percent led to suspensions of 24 hours or less.

Among 42 sexual-misconduct cases identified by The Republic — which involved sexually explicit comments, inappropriate touching or sexual innuendo — one employee was demoted, four were fired, four received 80-hour suspensions and 12 drew 40-hour suspensions. The remaining half of the employees involved in sexual misconduct received suspensions of 24 hours or less.

The Republic sought disciplinary records after Ryan last year publicly called on employees to live by higher standards amid his concerns that too many department employees were being arrested.

Sexual harassment has been an ongoing problem within the DOC.

In 2010, federal jurors awarded $600,000 to a female corrections officer for enduring severe harassment.
At the time, Ryan chided his predecessor for not responding appropriately to complaints. He ordered supervisors to undergo additional training, saying such behavior would not be tolerated.

Broadhead's first formal warning about his behavior came in 2012, when he was told his job could be in danger if he continued inappropriate sexual conduct. An investigation found he engaged in flirtatious behavior — joking with, whispering to and touching female employees, and using pet names with his executive staff assistant.

Last year, an investigation was triggered by two female employees, with one telling an investigator that "there is not a day when she feels her job is safe." The women alleged that Broadhead:

• Commented repeatedly about one woman's physical appearance.

• Made inappropriate comments, including telling one woman he loved her "beautiful brown doe eyes" and another female worker that they were "sleeping together now" after they had gone to lunch together.

• Touched and twirled one of the women's hair.

• Gave one woman a dollar and said, "This is just like the guys used to give you," referring to what a stripper or dancer would receive for payment.

Colleen McManus, the DOC's chief human-resources officer, reported to Ryan that one of the women said employees at Safford "are told to keep their mouths shut or they will be reprimanded. There is general acceptance that things must go the warden's way, as that is 'the only way.' "

Broadhead, according to a July 3, 2013, disciplinary letter from Ryan, acknowledged that he had made comments about one female employee's "big brown eyes," but denied saying he "loved" her "beautiful eyes."
He also said that he told one woman he commented about her attire, but not in a sexual way, the letter says.
Broadhead also stated he "did not recall" twirling one woman's hair, but he may have moved her ponytail when he was assisting her. He also did not remember making the "sleeping together" comment, but he told investigators that "rumors abound at Safford," according to the letter.

McManus noted in her 2013 investigation that Broadheadhad been warned in a formal "Letter of Instruction" from the previous year to monitor his behavior after being accused of "inappropriate conduct" with an employee. Broadhead was told in the 2012 letter to maintain professional boundaries with staff, or face being fired or removed from his post.

McManus concluded that Broadhead had violated the standards mandated in 2012 and that he should be removed from his management responsibilities. Reached by phone recently, however, McManus referred questions about the investigation to DOC spokesman Doug Nick.

Nick provided The Republic with a statement from McManus saying it was the director's prerogative to review the situation and staff recommendations and approve, reject or modify any recommended actions. The week without pay for Broadhead, who earns $80,849 annually, cost him about $1,555.

DOC records show Broadhead received three other written letters of reprimand.

In 1999, he was cited for failing to exercise proper supervision; in 2000, he was cited for recommending a clearance level for an inmate without verifying information submitted to justify the clearance.

And in 2009, he was written up for failing to appropriately administer performance evaluations and failing to appropriately supervise his executive staff assistant.

The 2009 letter, signed by Ryan and Broadhead, stated that "continued violation on your part will result in more severe disciplinary action, to include dismissal from state service."

After the two sexual-conduct investigations in 2012 and 2013, Ryan charged Broadhead with "insubordination for violation of standards of conduct for state employees," records show.

Ryan's letter warned Broadhead: "You were expected to establish and maintain professional boundaries with staff that maintains a clear separation between staff and subordinate."

Corizon and the deliberate indifference and ignorance of AZ Rep. John Kavanagh.

This piece was done in December 2013 - good job, Al Jazeera. And SHAME on Fountain Hills Representative John Kavanagh for suggesting that prisoners are making up stories of medical neglect and abuse. Kavanagh's denial and ignorance is the very reason so many state prisoners and their families are suffering now. He should speak to the Corizon and AZ department of Corrections whistleblowers that I've heard from over the past year - but he would no doubt come up with some excuse to accuse them of lying as well.

Or maybe he's really well-informed and deliberately throwing up a smoke screen to cover for Corizon's failure to deliver as promised on their contract to provide prison health care. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out someday that man has been taking kickbacks from more than one prison profiteer. How else can one explain why he'd try to outright GIVE AWAY $900,000 to GEO Group for doing absolutely nothing - his reasoning for that? From the AZ Republic:

Kavanagh said Monday that GEO had done the state a "big favor" by providing emergency private-prison beds at a discount rate during the Great Recession, and the company wanted to be financially restored. "I didn't see a problem in giving them a small increase," Kavanagh said. "If you don't treat people fairly they won't treat you fairly in the future." 

(Thank goodness he's such a fair man! These poor, mistreated "people" he wants to help at GEO Group claimed over $115 million in profits in 2013. )

Oh, and there's this as well, from the same Republic article: "State campaign finance records show that six GEO executives, including CEO George Zoley, gave Kavanagh's campaign committee a combined $2,544 in 2012." That's just the payoff that's on the books: imagine what he would have gotten from the nice $900,000 gift back to those guys it if had gone through.  

I find it very disturbing to know that man is a director with the criminal justice program at Scottsdale Community College - which leads me to suspect that anyone who graduates from that program is also either deluded about the real world of crime and punishment, or predisposed to corruption.

Privatizing prison health care and undercutting prisoner claims of abuse is not all that Kavanagh is behind, though. Here's his brilliant defense of SB 1062 on CNN, the "religious freedom" bill that Jan Brewer vetoed so Arizona's economy wouldn't tank from a nationwide boycott of transphobic legislation. Here's a short and sweet editorial about his opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage in AZ: note that life is so precious to him in the womb, but quite disposable if the baby is born poor. I think his "concern" for life of the unborn is really a charade to cover for his desire to control women's sexual and reproductive activity.

Too bad the voters of Fountain Hills and Scottsdale lack integrity themselves, or they'd recall that man for his many crimes against the most oppressed people of this state. Unfortunately, they seem to be as invested in their own hate, fear and self-interest (at everyone else's expense) as their elected representative is, since they keep sending him back to the AZ Legislature to torment the rest of us. For his critical role in assuring that Corizon and the AZ DOC can continue to neglect their patients without any legislative oversight, John Kavanagh's name should be at the top of every wrongful death prison lawsuit in the state.

Thanks to Abby Leonard and Adam May at Al Jazeera's America Tonight for this...

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Arizona's privatized prison health care under fire after deaths

by
December 2, 2013 Al Jazeera (America Tonight)

SAFFORD, Ariz. — Rylan is a healthy and hungry 5-month-old baby girl who now lives with her grandmother Jodi and the rest of her family in a small Arizona farming town.

It's a world away from where she was born: the state prison complex near Phoenix, where her mother, Regan Clarine, is still locked up.

“She's very fun-loving. Very hyper, fun to be around, kind of always the leader,” Jodi Clarine, Regan’s mother, said about her daughter. “Regan was the one that I knew would be sneaking out the window by the time she was 3 years old. I would say, ‘You know, she's going to be our problem.”

Two years ago, when Regan was 18, she was arrested for having prescription painkillers illegally and charged with possessing a narcotic for sale. The court sent her to drug rehab, where she met and started dating Rylan's father. She found out she was pregnant just two days before a judge sentenced her to two and a half years behind bars.

“She holds her emotions very well but once she's talking to me alone, it's complete devastation,” Jodi said.
Regan was transferred from county jail to Perryville State Prison, where Jodi said she was denied prenatal care.

Jodi showed a note from Regan, saying she was advised by a doctor to get an ultrasound to check for any possible problems with her pregnancy.

“She did not get that ultrasound,” Jodi said. “I believe had they done the ultrasound they would have known they had the wrong date.”

Jodi said she believes the prison medical staff induced Regan early, which might explain why Rylan was born small.

“It just infuriates me,” Jodi said.

After 48 hours in labor, Regan had to have a C-section. Jodi said the medical staff didn't stitch the wound shut. Instead, they dressed it with butterfly bandages.

“They sent her back to the prison and for the first two days things are going OK,” Jodi said. “But by about day three she's noticing it's oozing. It's not looking right, it's looking infected.”

Jodi said doctors refused to see Regan – and it got worse from there.

“Regan woke up one night and something just told her to get up,” Jodi said. Her daughter was covered in blood. "Her clothes were soaked. So she was terrified and she just screamed for you know a guard to come help her. And they came took her to see a nurse. And you know, the nurse said, ‘Well, come back at 10.’”
Regan was sent back to her cell instead of going to the hospital.

“She would cry because it scared her so much to be able to look inside her body was just freaking her out,” Jodi said.

After two weeks of living with an open wound, Regan was sent to the prison hospital.

“I truly believe I could have lost my daughter had they not given her antibiotics” before her delivery, Jodi said.

Regan spent five weeks in the hospital and, slowly, the wound healed. But her ordeal was not over.

“They decided she had been there long enough, that she could go back to her yard,” Jodi said. “But it was still open a little bit. And so they decided that the best thing to do for this would be to pack it with kitchen sugar … we're talking sugar that you get from, because they donate it from McDonald's from Burger King, you know? They're standing there ripping open these little packs of sugar and filling that wound.

“I called my brother who is a doctor and I said ‘Sean, they're talking about pouring sugar into Regan and have you ever heard of this?’ And he said no way are they putting sugar in her wound. He said it's just got to be some medical term like maybe it's medicine with glucose in it. He said, ‘it's probably just a nickname of something. Nobody would pour sugar in a wound. So don't worry about it.’”

Sugar was used to treat wounds before the advent of antibiotics in the early 1900s, but it's no longer accepted medical practice. America Tonight asked the Arizona Department of Corrections to comment on Regan’s care, but they declined.

While we were talking to Jodi, Regan called from prison and described her ordeal living with the fist-sized opening in her abdomen.

“It was the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life,” Regan said.

When she did get care, she described seeing medical staff putting sugar in that wound.

“They were taking the kitchen sugar and pouring it inside and putting wet gauze over it and taping it,” she said.

We asked Regan if she actually saw prison officials opening up McDonald’s sugar packets and pouring the sugar inside her wound. “Yeah,” she said, adding that she was worried if it was sanitary.

“I was scared,” she said. “You know, it’s prison, maybe these packets are old, if there's something spilled on them and it dries, you know.”

Spending less on health care

Regan is not the only inmate alleging mistreatment. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections in March 2012, alleging that prisoners are at serious risk of "pain, amputation, disfigurement and death."

It cites examples of prisoners being told to pray to be cured or drink energy shakes to treat cancer symptoms.

The ACLU says the treatment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and that it violates prisoners' constitutional rights.

“People are often sent to prison for two-year, three-year sentences that have turned into death sentences because of the absence of the basic minimal care,” said Dan Pochoda, legal director for the ACLU in Arizona. He says in his forty year career, he’s never seen a worse prison healthcare system.

A year and a half ago, the state handed over prison healthcare to a private, for-profit company. Legislators who supported the privatization promised that it would save taxpayers money, while maintaining adequate levels of care for inmates. At least 27 other states have also privatized prison health care, rewarding private companies for keeping costs down.

But there are studies showing prisoners could be suffering as a result. An October report from the American Friends Services Committee in Arizona found that since the state privatized its prison health care, medical spending in prisons dropped by $30 million and staffing levels plummeted. It also found a sharp spike in the number of inmate deaths. In the first eight months of 2013, 50 people died in Arizona Department of Corrections custody, compared with 37 deaths in the previous two years combined.

Tony's story

After his cancer, inmate Tony Brown's pain medication was switched from morphine to less-powerful Lortab.
After his cancer, inmate Tony Brown's pain medication was switched from morphine to less-powerful Lortab.
America Tonight
One of the inmates who died since the state privatized care was Tony Brown, who was serving a 10-year sentence for aggravated assault and was due to be released in September.

“They were supposed to come down for Thanksgiving this year,” his daughter Jenna Jumper said. “He never got to meet my husband and he wasn't there when I got married, so they were going to come visit.”

Brown had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, but his medical records show it was in remission. He had been prescribed morphine for the pain. But in October 2012, the prison ran out of morphine. The medical staff switched him to Lortab, a weaker painkiller.

In a video taken by prison guards and obtained by America Tonight, Brown is seen just after he was put on the new medication writhing in pain while handcuffed to a gurney. His medical records show that guards told nurses his condition was worsening and that he "needed to be checked out." But there is no record of medical staff visiting his cell. In another video, a prison chaplain checks on Brown at his wife Jami Brown’s request.

“Inmate Brown, I spoke with your wife earlier today,” the chaplain is heard saying. “Can you communicate with me please? I’d like to speak with your wife later on. Is there something I can tell her?”

Brown, face down on a bunk, barely moves and doesn’t respond. A guard can be heard saying, “Is it me or does this just not feel right to anybody else?”

Two days after Brown first started complaining of pain, medical staff had still not visited him, so the guards intervened and started CPR. Nurses came to assist, but 40 minutes passed before they realized no one had called an ambulance.

Eventually, an ambulance came and took Brown to a hospital. A day later, he died. Two days after his death, his widow Jami said she finally received a call back from the private prison health care company, Wexford.

“My husband passed away on Monday and I got a call from Wexford Medical on Wednesday wanting more information so that they can make sure he's seen,” she said. “I was pretty upset because I was like, ‘What are you talking about? He's dead.’”

“He may have been a prison inmate, but my dad was no different than the governor or the guy that you interviewed or you or me,” his daughter said. “My biggest thing is that if people would stop to realize that he did have family and that he did have a child and he did have a wife and he had plans.”

The official cause of death was listed as complications from cancer. But Brown's family is suing Wexford, claiming he died from lack of adequate medical care. An attorney for Wexford issued a statement to America Tonight on the matter.

"Due to federal health care privacy laws and the pending legal claim, we are very limited in what we can say about the circumstances surrounding this inmate’s tragic death," Ed Hochuli said in the statement. "Based on the limited information we have at this time, though, I am very confident Wexford Health and its employees acted appropriately, and further investigation of this claim will demonstrate and prove the lack of any wrongdoing or negligence by Wexford Health.”

Privatization proponent

State Rep. John Kavanagh
State Rep. John Kavanagh
America Tonight
State Rep. John Kavanagh wrote the legislation that privatized Arizona's prison health care. We asked him whether he thought it had put inmates in danger.

“I mean, people die in prisons,” he said. “I receive a lot of handwritten notes from prisoners. I receive emails from prison families with all sorts of allegations of crazy behavior. And then, you call the prison people up and they usually have a reasonable explanation for it.”

Kavanagh said Regan’s story didn’t sound like a “true allegation,” adding that it “sounds ridiculous.”

“You know prisoners have 24/7 to think up allegations and write letters,” he said. “I'm not saying that some of them can't have a basis in fact. But you got to take them with a grain of salt or in the case of the hospital, with maybe a grain of sugar.”

We asked Kavanagh who would listen to prisoners’ concerns over their medical care.

“There's no shortage of prison advocacy groups and ACLU attorneys who at the drop of a dime will file a lawsuit,” he said. “I think most people who get into [class-action lawsuits] wind up with nothing and the lawyers walk away in limousines with their trunks full of cash.”

There are signs though, that Wexford, the private health company that was providing care at the time of Brown's death, was aware of the problems. America Tonight obtained a copy of a PowerPoint presentation written by top Wexford executives for a meeting with the Arizona governor's office in November 2012 – four months after the company started providing care in the state. It warned that the care it and the Department of Corrections were providing was "not compliant with … constitutional requirements" and that "the current class action lawsuits are accurate." It recommended an overall operational cleanup, staffing reassessment and the appointment of a governor’s office liaison.

The PowerPoint presentation also says that the department's "transparency" policy with the media could "encourage negative press."

Wexford was already in the spotlight for another incident just two months earlier. At a prison west of Phoenix, more than 100 inmates may have been exposed to hepatitis C. According to the Department of Corrections, a contractor nurse used dirty needles to deliver medication. Four months later, Arizona severed ties with Wexford and awarded the three-year, $369 million contract to another private healthcare company: Corizon, the largest prison healthcare company in the country. Corizon has similar contracts in 29 states, but it has faced problems in many of them. In fact, in the last five years, Corizon has been sued for malpractice 660 times.

Corizon’s no-bid contract

Arizona Democratic House minority Leader Chad Campbell said the Legislature didn't properly vet Corizon before signing the contract.

“I think the most concerning to us was the previous company when they started to lose that contract, the current company that got the contract didn't even have to go through a public process of any kind to get this contract,” he said. “No bid. Nothing. It was deemed an emergency situation by Department of Corrections so they didn't have to go through the normal process. But more interesting than that was this company that got the contract had just hired the former head of the Department of Corrections who was the mentor of the current head of Department of Corrections.”

Campbell said that is not the only tie that members of Arizona’s state government have to private prisons. Charles Coughlin, the former campaign strategist for Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, runs a lobbying firm called HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which represented one of the country’s largest private prison companies. HighGround donated $5,000 to Jan PAC, Brewer's super PAC.

The governor's office declined America Tonight’s request for an interview and referred us to Kavanagh, who said the allegations that Brewer accepted bids because of personal relationships were “baseless.”

“I think they're propaganda,” he said. “I mean, people say to me I've gotten campaign contributions from private-prison people. Well, yeah. I got from a lobbyist who represents them but that lobbyist also represents 40 other clients in different industries. It's smoke and mirrors. It's a façade.”

Campbell said that multiple people and corporations are profiting from the privatization of prison health care.
“They're profiting on taxpayer dollars and to me, if I'm going to hand out money to a private entity, I want to make sure it's being spent wisely,” he said. Campbell is now calling for an investigation.

Corizon defended its level of care. "These patients receive care that meets their health care needs and satisfies constitutional requirements," it said in a statement to America Tonight, adding that it has a rigorous quality control program to make sure its health care meets federal and Arizona Department of Corrections guidelines. "In addition, the ADC maintains a dedicated internal audit team of over 30 health care professionals whose sole purpose is to monitor Corizon’s delivery of care," the company added. (Read Corizon's full statement here.)

In the meantime, allegations of wrongdoing continue to mount. According to the American Friends Service Committee report, an inmate at the Whetstone Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex tested positive for tuberculosis in August. But Corizon did not test other prisoners, even those who were doing community service outside the complex.

Hoping to survive prison

Regan Clarine
Regan Clarine
America Tonight
As for Regan, she still has six months left on her sentence. The separation has been tough on the family, but what's worse is their fear that prison health care could be a death sentence.

As their allotted time for a phone call wound down, Regan asked her mother if she would be making the four-hour drive that weekend.

“I'm gonna lose you. I love you honey,” Jodi said. “I'm coming on Saturday with Rylan. And you don't…”
An automated message cut her off when their time limit was up.

“Oh, that's so frustrating when you can't finish talking,” Jodi said. “It's even tougher leaving. Her first visit with [her baby], my husband held Rylan up and she could just see Rylan's big blue eyes and she just started running and grabbed her and held her as tight as she could. It's very been hard. We all miss her very much.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

MCSO Deaths in Custody: the homicides of John Klatt and Douglas Walker.



As some folks out there are well aware, cops and prison guards often collaborate with gang leaders to set up people they want to see shut up or executed  - often by celling them with a likely assailant/killer, then looking the other way long enough for the deed to be done. 

Last week a prisoner was killed in a case I think is very much related to the murder of an accused child predator, John Klatt, in MCSO's jail in January by similar means - except this time, I think the intended victim is the one who survived the confrontation.  

In the January killing, it looks like the MCSO placed Klatt in minimum security with a ton of child molestation charges against him - an obvious attempt to have him executed by other prisoners before trial. 20 yo. Nike Black likely did the deed under order of one of the gangs, leaving him no choice but to kill the guy and be the hero, or or die as a coward himself. All the gangs police and punish the members of their own race in prison, whether or not those prisoners are gang members. That kid had a fresh charge that would have forced him to either seek protective custody in prison or do the gang's dirty work. The gang and yard leaders usually tell guys with domestic violence charges (or any offense against a woman) that they can only clear their own name by taking out some prisoner whose crime is worse than their own. What would most guys in similar shoes choose - and how much of a real choice is that, anyway? The MCSO helped force Black into that position, too, by celling him with Klatt.

The community has a lot to do with these extra-judicial execution of prisoners, as well - just look at the comments after this news article about the first of these two killings. Friends and family of both suspect and victim are there, and lots of people are giving the killer props for a job well done. For those of you who think accused pedophiles deserve to be executed, do you also think their killers deserve to have their lives destroyed as well? Because that's part of the collateral damage of extra-judicial executions and vigilantism - someone else then has to be punished for doing that job. Your champion, Nike Black's life will now be spent in prison and most likely shortened by violence and trauma, heroin addiction, or Hepatitis C (which most prisoners in this state contract during their incarceration...). In the meantime, you will all forget his noble sacrifice and he will become like all the other faceless, dehumanized prisoners you like to know are suffering.
 

Arpaio insisted in January that nothing could have been done to prevent Klatt's killing (How about segregating your sex offenders and child molesters from the rest of the population, as the AZ DOC does?) I think they have the right to be safe in custody, be they pre-trial or post-conviction. For those to whom guilt and innocence matters in prisoner rights cases, you're wrong. Let one be abused, and all are at risk - justifying punishments above and beyond those already sanctioned by the court, like rape of child predators, puts everyone in prison at greater risk, even the "good guys". But you should also be aware that up to 15% of convicted sex offenders may actually be innocent. What might the innocence rate be among those who have simply been accused? Sadly, all are condemned as soon as the news of their charges hits the media. Look at Courtney Bisbee.

So now we come to the current killing - a convicted prisoner awaiting sentencing on a violent crime who fears for his own safety is celled with an accused (and confessed) seriously mentally ill child killer awaiting trial, also fearing for his safety. If I was Walker's family's attorney, I'd look closely at Arpaio's refusal to take responsibility for re-visiting policies around celling people with crimes the rest of the prisoner population would find repugnant as the very reason that Walker ended up dead, even if Ward claims self-defense. As I observed earlier, the public was so pleased that the victim of the January attack was an accused pedophile that the MCSO wouldn't have felt much pressure to keep any other child predator in their custody safe from similar treatment. They were outright encouraged to set it up, in fact. It was ordained by that decision to cell those two together that one of the two parties would leave in a body bag - that was a reasonably forseeable event after the January homicide of John Klatt. That spells major liability.


In this more recent homicide,  I wouldn't be surprised if Walker was celled with Ward by folks at the MCSO wagering on whether or not he would kill him. Walker did time before and was on his way back to the joint - I guarantee the gangs would have put a green light on Ward to "discipline" him for the way he killed his 12 year old younger brother; his celly would be the most likely person they'd order to do it, regardless of whether or not the guy was in a gang. If Walker didn't follow those orders he'd be hitting the prison gates as a target himself in a short two weeks - he was expressing fear for his safety as it was, according to this report. I think everyone just underestimated Ward's determination to stay alive, and his capacity for fighting back.

Really, all of these men's families need to sue, with Arpaio's name at the top of the list. MCSO complicity will likely not be proven in criminal court, of course - the investigators handling these cases will never even try to hold officers or Arpaio accountable in their reports. Only the prisoners will appear to be the violent ones in all this - that's consistent with the way the good Sheriff Joe implements justice in the community, too: he subverts it and ducks responsibility every chance he can.


I'm sure I'll have more to say about this case down the road, as more is learned about what community-based psychiatric help, if any, Ward and his family got before he killed his brother. For now, though, I think the real story is about the proclivity of law enforcement officers to act as judges, juries and executioners (or their accomplices); moreover, the willingness of their adoring public to accept it. 


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Phoenix man accused of killing brother now accused of killing cellmate

Vianka Villa, The Republic |
azcentral.com  
 April 4, 2014

A Maricopa County inmate charged in the fatal stabbing of his 12-year-old brother in Phoenix now stands accused of killing his cellmate in a frenzied attack on Wednesday night.

Andrew Ward, 27, was arrested early Thursday on suspicion of killing Douglas William Walker, who was awaiting sentencing on an armed robbery conviction, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's officials said Walker was found "beaten, stabbed with a golf pencil and smeared with peanut butter over his head." He was discovered at about 7:30 p.m. when inmates notified detention officers on a security walk of a fight inside the cell.

Phoenix fire paramedics pronounced Walker dead on scene. Paramedics also determined that a plastic bag had been placed in Walker's nose and throat and obstructed his breathing.

Ward reportedly admitted to a play-by-play of the attack in an interview with detectives and told investigators that he had "no regrets," according to a sheriff's statement.

Ward relayed that he had cut Walker's throat with a plastic playing card, stabbed him in the eyes and throat with a golf pencil and finished the assault by stuffing a plastic bag down Walker's throat, according to a sheriff's statement.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Chris Hegstrom said Ward has been re-classifiedd and housed by himself in the Fourth Avenue Jail.

Both Ward and Walker were placed in segregated custody in the county jail system after each told jail administrators they feared for their safety, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Ward was arrested March 12 on suspicion of stabbing and killing his 12-year-old brother in a north Phoenix home last month, and pleaded not guilty to the allegations in a brief court hearing.

Walker pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges last month and was due to be sentenced, and likely transferred to the Department of Corrections, on April 11.

In September 2013 Walker and an accomplice robbed a man in a McDonald's parking lot on Indian School, threatening him with a knife and an Airsoft gun, a type of replica toy gun that fires plastic BB's, according to court documents.



Walker and his accomplice demanded money from the man and took his iPhone, which they later tried to sell after they fled the scene, court documents show. He was charged with armed robbery.


It is the second murder Ward has been accused of in the past three weeks.

Police said Ward called 911 on March 12 from a convenience store and reported he had stabbed someone at a house off 35th Avenue south of Deer Valley Road.

Officers found Austin Tapia with multiple and fatal stab wounds when they arrived at the home at about 5:30 p.m.

Ward had blood on his clothing and was believed to be carrying a knife in his pants pocket when he was taken into custody at the convenience store, said Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman.

Police said Ward was alone with his brother, whose mother and two sisters were out to dinner.

Austin had decided to stay home.

Detectives said that when they asked Ward why he killed his brother he told them, "Honestly, I just felt like killing."

Court records suggest Ward struggled with drugs and alcohol.

In filing the probable-cause statement, police suggested Ward may be an addict and mentally ill and had asked to "go to (a) mental hospital" instead of jail when he called police.

The report said Ward's family reported that he suffered from depression and had a history of domestic violence in the home.

The family also said Ward had threatened them in the past and that his siblings had called the police on him before.

Ward's previous convictions included DUI, assault, marijuana possession and resisting arrest, according to court records.