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:

Friday, March 25, 2011

SOLITARY: In the Land of the Free.

by Sis Marpessa on
Friday, March 25, 2011 at 10:34am

Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI), Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) invite you to attend a briefing and documentary screening on:

The Abuses of Solitary Confinement in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 -- Room 2226 Rayburn HOB

3:30 PM Briefing

Each day tens of thousands of prisoners in the U.S. are held in solitary confinement. Usually in isolation for at least 23 hours a day and denied human contact, these inmates are subject to a range of other restrictive conditions. This briefing will examine the detrimental impacts of the abusive use or over-use of solitary confinement, including its disproportionate impact on inmates of color, the appropriateness of its use on mentally ill inmates, and other concerns about its use by correctional facilities.

Welcome by Congressmen John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Robert C. " Bobby" Scott (D-VA)

· Michael Randle, Program Manager for the Judge Nancy R. McDonnell Community Based Correctional Facility

· Robert King, Only Freed Member of the Angola 3, Released in 2001 after 29 years in Solitary Confinement in Angola Prison in Louisiana

· David Fathi, Director, American Civil Liberties Union, National Prison Project

· Laura L. Rovner, Associate Professor of Law, Civil Rights Clinic, University of Denver College of Law

· Tory Pegram, Campaign Coordinator, International Coalition to Free the Angola 3 (Moderator)

4:30 PM Documentary Screening

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will participate in the documentary screening.

"In the Land of the Free..." Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this documentary examines the story of three extraordinary men known as the "Angola 3" Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King who together have spent more than a century in solitary confinement in Louisiana. Two of the men are still held in solitary after a record 39 years.

There will be a discussion with Robert King, and Carine Williams, Angola 3 attorney for both civil and criminal cases following screening.

----here's what Colorado is doing to protect their disabled citizens in solitary----

ACLU says: Solitary Confinement Not the Answer for Mental Illness

SB-176 will be heard by the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 14, at 1:30 p.m. It will end the all-too-common practice of warehousing prisoners with serious mental illness in solitary confinement. The bill would require a mental health evaluation for prisoners before they are placed in solitary and permit such isolation only in extreme situations. It also would support mental and behavioral health alternatives to solitary confinement through cost-saving mechanisms and ensure that prisoners are reintegrated into the general prison population before their community release.

Learn more about solitary confinement at Colorado State Penitentary by watching segments from this National Geographic special.

Then click here to call or email your senator and ask him or her to support SB-176.

SB 176 introduced by Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) and Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder), is a response to the growing number of inmates in Colorado prisons who’ve been diagnosed as mentally ill or developmentally disabled – and the staggering cost of using solitary confinement, rather than mental or behavioral health alternatives, as the default placement without regard to medical needs, institutional security, or prisoner and public safety.

“What we get from continuing the policy of placing prisoners with mental health issues or developmental disabilities in solitary confinement is increased costs for incarceration, increased recidivism rates and reduced public safety,” said Senator Carroll. “Especially in tough economic times, we can do better by using cost-saving mental health evaluation and treatment options rather than budget-busting solitary confinement.”

Currently, 37% of those in solitary confinement are prisoners with mental illness or developmental disabilities – up from 15% just a decade ago. Those confined to solitary in Colorado (more than 1,400 inmates) spend 23 hours a day in isolation, for 16 months on average, at an increased additional cost of from $14,933 to $21,485 per year, per inmate.

“Colorado cannot afford business as usual in its prison system,” said Representative Levy. “We must use science and behavioral health research to get a better result from costly imprisonment. Solitary confinement is the harshest and most expensive option. It should be used sparingly and only with appropriate limitations so prisoners with mental illness don’t become more ill and aren’t made more dangerous.”

Solitary confinement, said Terri Hurst, Director of Public Policy at the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, is not only costly, it’s dangerous to prisoner health and the public good. “It’s important that offenders with mental health issues be provided treatment services as to not exacerbate their health status. Solitary confinement has been shown to worsen or lead to the onset of mental health disorders and should not be used as an alternative to treatment. Providing treatment services both inside correctional facilities as well as in the community, improves behavioral health outcomes.”

Jessie Ulibarri, Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Colorado, said SB 176 promotes the shared goals of restoring those released from prison to productive roles in society. “By undermining the innate human need for social interaction, solitary confinement works against our goals as a society. Currently 41% of inmates in solitary confinement are released directly from their cell to the street -- a dangerous practice -- without time to readjust to human interaction while still under supervision. What we want are people ready to fully integrate back into their communities; not people who are released from solitary confinement and led directly to the prison gate, only destined to return again.”

No comments: