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 1, 2010

ASPC-Perryville: Urgent re: Conditions of Confinement

According to the parent of a woman in medium security (Santa Cruz) at ASPC-Perryville, a new policy has just been put into place locking the women down for 22hrs/day, essentially turning the yard into a high security setting. Apparently this is in response to the recent Kingman escapes, not to misconduct on the part of these women.

This news is particularly troublesome because of the heat, for starters, as there is no A/C in the cells they're being confined to, and the swamp coolers seldom work. Families are constantly concerned about the health of those prone to succumb to heat as it is, now even more so since they get such little relief. There's no enclosed, cooled rec room for them to use when they do get time out - they have to spend it outdoors. Their resources are substandard in comparison to what many of the men have. And apparently it's been hard to get through to anyone there on the phone.

Thus far media has been alerted - as have some legislators - but no one is reporting on the horrendous heat and living conditions the women are forced to tolerate. In addition to the added physical strain it places on them to be held like that, such an environment can contribute to an escalation in tensions between prisoners, violence, depression, and suicidality.

Families and prisoners alike are protesting. According to reports from Perryville, some of the women from yard 18 refused to go back inside when rec was over. If this was one of the men's prisons, they'd be rioting and the media would be all over it, asking why. As the mother of one prisoner asks - what does it take for anyone to care about what these women are going through? Another Marcia Powell to die?

I urge readers to contact legislators, (especially Reps Cecil Ash and Kyrsten Sinema), media (Stephen Lemons at the PHX New Times, Morgan Loew at KPHO, JJ Hensley at the AZ Republic), the governor's office, the warden's office at Perryville (623-853-0304) and Constituent Services at the Arizona Department of Corrections (Betty Cassiano 602-364-3945). Tell them that the conditions of confinement for these women are unacceptable and urge them to challenge the ADC to come up with some mechanism for improving their security without compromising the health and safety of these prisoners. They should not be punished for the Kingman fiasco.

You needn't be a family member of a prisoner to speak up - just a concerned member of the community.

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