The 'Friends of Marcia Powell' are autonomous groups and individuals engaging in prisoner outreach, informal advocacy, and organized protest and direct actions in a sustained campaign to: promote prisoner rights and welfare in America; engage the Arizona public in a creative and thoughtful critique of our system of "justice;” deconstruct the prison industrial complex; and dismantle this racist, classist patriarchy...

Retiring "Free Marcia Powell"

As of December 2, 2010 (with occasional exceptions) I'm retiring this blog to direct more of my time and energy into prisoner rights and my other blogs; I just can't do anyone justice when spread so thin. I'll keep the site open so folks can search the archives and use the links, but won't be updating it with new posts. If you're looking for the latest, try Arizona Prison Watch. Most of the pieces posted here were cross-posted to one or both of those sites already.

Thanks for visiting. Peace out - Peg.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prison Volunteer: Cage Is Inhumane

Prison Volunteer: Cage Is Inhumane

Jeff Butera

POSTED: 8:57 pm MST May 22, 2009

UPDATED: 6:32 am MST May 23, 2009

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A volunteer worker at the Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville in Goodyear said she was “enraged” when she saw inmate Marcia Powell died earlier this week, after being left outside in an uncovered cage at the prison for four hours.

“You as the general public doesn’t know what’s going on behind those doors,” the woman, who asked to have her identity protected, said. “I saw it in an entirely different light.”

The woman volunteered at the prison for multiple years, teaching inmates in an attempt to rehabilitate them.According to the woman, she saw inmates placed in a cage at the prison. The cage was surrounded on four sides by a chain-link fence. The inmates were given a jug of water but nothing else, according to the woman.She said inmates told her that they were being put in the cage as punishment. She also heard from inmates that it was at the discretion of a guard whether they could leave the cage to use a restroom.

The prison volunteer said she believed the practice crossed a line of human decency.“Granted these individuals have committed a crime; there’s no doubt about that,” the woman said. “But I don’t think these individuals should be treated in such an inhumane fashion.”

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections’ policy about temporary holding enclosures, they are not to be used for “punitive reasons.” They are supposed to be used only “to confine and restrict inmate movement on a temporary/short term basis.”A spokesman with the Department of Corrections denied the cages had been used for punishment.

The policy also states that “water shall be continuously available” to inmates and that they should be in the cage for “no more than two consecutive hours.” Powell was held in the cage for four hours, double the limit outlined in the policy. According to a DOC spokesman, she was placed in the holding enclosure because she was being transferred to a new location and that location was not ready.

Because of what happened, the deputy warden, captain and shift commander have been placed on administrative leave. A criminal investigation has been launched.

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