***UPDATED MARCH, 2011 at:
Another prisoner hung herself out at Perryville last Friday. The department has yet to put up the notice that she even died, for some reason, so I'll wait for them to release her name. I'm guessing they're either still notifying next-of-kin or trying to do some kind of damage control. A lot of people have been Googling her name and poking around my site for news of her, though, so I hope the state puts out the information soon. Once they do, I'll post the notice and fill in the blanks with what little I've been told; it was another case of people just not listening to the distress of prisoners.
I hope the ADC has learned that they need to do critical incident debriefing with affected prisoners or there'll be another suicide out there within a short time; their policies just suggest that they offer counseling to prisoners who ask for it; staff get the debriefing. There have been at least two suicides in the past seven months that were precipitated by another prisoner killing themselves on the same yard: Lasasha Cherry was preceded by Geshell Fernandez at Perryville/Lumley, and Duron Cunningham killed himself at Florence/Central just a week after Rosario Rodriguez-Bojorquez. Both might have been prevented by an intervention after the first suicide.
Just so folks know, if you have a loved one who has killed themselves or been murdered in Arizona's prisons, the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of it happening to the next person's loved one is to hold the state responsible in civil court. Sue them. Survivors must file a notice of claim within six months to take action in state court; don't wait until the last minute.
Contact me at 480-580-6807 if you need help finding an attorney.
Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...
This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.
Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.
Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.
I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.
In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.
I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.
I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281. firstname.lastname@example.org
until all are free -
MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
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