I agree with Director Ryan on the seriousness of the abuse - and I'm glad he actually used that word: some administrators might try to avoid it. But I'm not sure how we ever get transparency out of the ADC, since employee discipline is legitimately protected. I think given the potential consequences, though, prisoners' rights should be given deference.
This wasn't entirely a failure of policy, either: it all began with implementing policy. So, I have more questions than anything. Like: how far up the chain does responsibility go? Who disciplines the policy-makers when they're careless?
And who deals with that judge that gave her 27 months for prostitution in the first place? She was so incompetent as a result of her mental illness that she had to have a guardian.
From KPHO's website, where you can find previous articles and videos on Marica's death. :
POSTED: 5:24 pm MST September 22, 2009
UPDATED: 5:51 pm MST September 22, 2009
Three of those disciplined were fired, two stepped down in place of being fired, 10 received suspensions ranging from 40 to 80 hours, and one was demoted. Two others will be disciplined after they return from medical leave.
Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan announced the moves Tuesday, calling the death "the most significant example of abuse" of an inmate that he's aware of within the department.
"That is an absolute failure," Ryan said Tuesday. "The inmate should not have been left in the enclosure that length of time.
Ryan declined to provide the names of the corrections employees who were disciplined, saying it would be inappropriate considering they have the right to appeal their punishments.
Marcia Powell, 48, died last May, about 10 hours after she collapsed in an outdoor, unshaded holding cell at the Perryville prison in Goodyear.Her body's core temperature had risen to 108 degrees, according to the autopsy report.
The autopsy revealed Powell had first and second-degree burns on her face, chest and arms.The report also turned up traces of medication in Powell’s blood for treating Parkinson’s disease and depression.Ryan said at the time Powell was left in the cell nearly twice as long as she should have under department policy. He placed three officers on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation.
Ryan said Powell's cell was 20 yards from a staffed control room from where corrections officers should have been watching her.
Powell arrived at the Perryville prison in August 2008.
Powell was placed alone in the cell while being moved to an onsite detention unit after seeing a prison psychologist. Ryan said a disturbance at the detention unit prompted Powell's placement in the holding cell. He would not elaborate on the nature of the disturbance.
Ryan said officers gave Powell bottled water, as required under prison policy. Investigators will try to determine how much water she was given and whether she drank it.
Officers did not remove her after two hours as they should have done under department policy, according to Ryan."It is intended to be temporary," Ryan said. "It is not intended to be a place where they are held for an inordinate amount of time."Powell had been in and out of state prisons and had a long history of mental illness, Ryan said.