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.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mother and Goliath: The AZ Department of Corrections.

Julie had a phone appointment with Davon's prison doctor Friday; it's just taken me awhile to figure out the software to save and upload it for you. This is unedited, so be prepared for Julie to really articulate herself on the whole thing after she hangs up. We can use legal assistance on this if any help is out there, but I'm afraid it won't come in time to get Davon treatment now. Therefore, we still need everyone's help putting pressure on the Governor and the ADC.

I think Julie did a pretty good job dealing with these guys, frankly. And Davon's doctor has some studying up to do. He isn't current on his practices, and doesn't seem to know anything about Davon except a few notes he jotted down to justify refusing him treatment for Hep C. How can he swear that Davon isn't in any kind of imminent medical danger when he doesn't even know if he was ever tested for HIV? (He was, by the way, and needs to be tested again. The original test was negative, though. We knew that already, ourselves...)

Making sure Davon was tested for HIV and other forms of hepatitis (which they, on their own initiative, vaccinated him against) was one of the first things Julie did when she began to learn about this disease. That's a standard protocol in the community these days, so the doctor's ignorance about whether it was even done is both an indicator that he hasn't read the chart very well, and a sign that it isn't standard practice for the prison to do that with everyone who tests HCV +.

In any case, his word about how well Davon is doing can't be trusted. Otherwise, we would have both been celebrating the news from this call, not swearing at the end. Every test that might substantiate his health status is being delayed until October because "it isn't indicated" right now (by the tests that were done nine months ago). Despite their lack of current, critical information, the "Hepatitis C Committee" reviewed Davon's case last week and also decided that "treatment isn't indicated". Based on whose account of his medical condition, I wondered? This condescending osteopath's who doesn't even know his patients? This man tried to justify the possibility that Davon may not have been tested for HIV by stating that he wouldn't have been tested if he didn't ask.

Should he really have to? He's disabled by virtue of his mental illness, and beaten down by the discouragement of trying to get help and being ignored. His mom has to fight him to get him to put in a health request - he doesn't expect them to do anything for him. They don't.

What is the ADC exposing the public health sector to, by botching Hep C and HIV treatment in prison this? They're following guidelines that were developed a decade ago - the research out now totally contradicts half of what these guys try to convince Julie of. And it's very clear that Davon's best chances of ever ridding himself of this virus is before further organ damage occurs, not afterwards, as the ADC stipulates.

The reason that October is the magic month to do further labs on Davon, by the way, may have to do with the ADC's budget cycle. It really means that nothing will be done until November, when they have new money again. They've probably spent their medical budget for the year on 911 calls to prisons where they don't really have 24-hour clinical staff on site, as they suggest that they do.

Note that what the doctor is telling Julie, by the way, is not only that Davon won't be getting any treatment right now for his Hep C, but that he won't be recommended for medical release to the AZ Board of Executive Clemency, either.

That makes your appeals to them all the more important. Take the time to write a letter. Insist that these young guys with a shot at responding to treatment get to choose whether or not to go through it. Assert that this community's standards of care are outdated, as are the ADC's. Remind them that prisoner health is public health, and that withholding treatment for infectious diseases running rampant through the prisons puts us all at risk. Please remember, as always, to cc both the Governor and Julie ( on that, too.

(The video is too long to actually post here, so I'm giving you the Youtube, still too long. I'll keep working on this...).

No comments: