AFSC-TUCSON: AZ DOC's DEATH YARDS

For Kini Seawright, and all the other women who gather crying tears that fill a million oceans...

Parsons v Ryan is now a certified CLASS ACTION!!!

As many of you know, under the current administration of Governor Jan Brewer the suicide and homicide rates among state prisoners doubled almost immediately, and has persisted over the course of the past four years, on the watch of Arizona Department of Corrections' Director Charles Ryan. On March 6, 2013, "Parsons v Ryan" , the civil rights lawsuit filed last year by the ACLU and Prison Law Office, among others, against Ryan and AZ DOC Health Services Director Richard Pratt on behalf of 14 state prisoners was certified as a CLASS ACTION!!!! That means every prisoner in the state is now a litigant.

Thank you not only to all the legal staff who brought it this far, but also to Wendy Halloran, KPNX, and the families who have survived the horrors of prison violence in this state with a resolve to make sure that the gross indifference to human life at the AZ DOC kills no more.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The "execution" of Lino Flores, ASPC-EYMAN: Even supermax isn't "safe".


Another homicide at the AZ DOC, this time in the Supermax prison, ASPC-Eyman. Interestingly, according to the records below, both prisoners were both moved to their current location at Eyman on the same date, perhaps together. Also of note - the victim was Native American, while the killer is identified as Mexican American. That means this crime was intensely personal and spur-of-the-moment, or Salazar had the permission of - perhaps was under the orders of - one of the gangs to take Flores out; otherwise this might start a race war.  

How either of these two men were considered to be lower than MAX custody is a puzzle, since they had both apparently killed someone in custody before. Wow, in fact, this was Flores' case. More startling, here is one of the reports about Salazar's history: it says he actually stabbed an officer in the head in 2007 - and that was apparently before he killed someone else. And he was only close custody? Yet they bury political prisoners and the mentally ill guys who have harmed no one in solitary for years...). 

Inmate 156258

Last NameFirst NameMiddle InitialBirth Date
SALAZARJULIOC01/22/1982
GenderHeight (inches)WeightHair Color
MALE 69165BLACK
Eye ColorEthnic OriginCustody LevelInmate/Detainee
BROWNMEXICAN AMERICANCLOINMATE
SentenceAdmissionPrison Release DateMax Supervision End Date
Sentence Information Below01/23/200109/18/2035
Cur. AbscondedHist. AbscondedRelease TypeMost Recent Loc
-N---RECEIVED FROMEYMAN
Community Supervision ParoleLast MovementCommitment StatusStatus
04/30/2014COMPLETE AND VERIFIED ACTIVE
Commitment Information 2 record(s)
Commit#Sentence CountyCourt Case#Offense DateSentence StatusCrimeFelony Class
A01 MARICOPA 2000007153 04/29/2000 IMPOSED MANSLAUGHTER CL2
B01 PINAL 2007-00258 01/17/2007 IMPOSED MURDER 1ST DEGREE CL2
Sentence Information 2 record(s)

I don't know why the DOC didn't have Flores in Protective Custody - he was a target, with that sex crime conviction on his record; it looks like he murdered his rape victim. I'd really call this one a state-assisted execution, not a "murder".


Inmate 040338
Last NameFirst NameMiddle InitialBirth Date
FLORESLINO09/23/1960
GenderHeight (inches)WeightHair Color
MALE 67140BLACK
Eye ColorEthnic OriginCustody LevelInmate/Detainee
BROWNNATIVE INDIANMEDINMATE
SentenceAdmissionPrison Release DateMax Supervision End Date
Sentence Information Below11/19/1979LIFE
Cur. AbscondedHist. AbscondedRelease TypeMost Recent Loc
-N---RECEIVED FROMEYMAN
Community Supervision ParoleLast MovementCommitment StatusStatus
04/30/2014COMPLETE AND VERIFIED ACTIVE
Commitment Information 5 record(s)
Commit#Sentence CountyCourt Case#Offense DateSentence StatusCrimeFelony Class
A01 MARICOPA 0106761 04/13/1979 IMPOSED MURDER 2ND DEGREE CL3
A02 MARICOPA 0106761 04/13/1979 IMPOSED SEXUAL ASSAULT CL3
B01 PINAL 0009748 10/15/1981 IMPOSED DANG/DEADLY ASLT BY PRSNR CL1
B02 PINAL 0009748 10/15/1981 IMPOSED PRISNR POSS DEADLY WEAPON CL4
C01 PINAL 0010992 01/03/1984 IMPOSED MURDER 1ST DEGREE



Unfortunately, this man's death is not just "one less bad guy off the taxpayers back" (a comment left at the end of this AZCENTRAL.COM article below by one reader). Yet another homicide in the AZ DOC is symptomatic of the huge problem of violent gangs and thugs running the AZ Prison system under Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan (Jan Brewer's chief disciplinarian); even minor drug offenders are vulnerable to being murdered over petty debts. This victim was probably asking for some kind of protection and denied it before he was killed, and the killer was likely given no choice but to do the deed or be killed himself. That's the way it works in the AZ DOC, under the Mexican Mafia's rule. Better take a closer look at the recent suicides, too - they have a habit of strangling guys and leaving them hanging in the showers.

Due to the high rate of violence, medical neglect, and outright abuse of prisoners in the past 6 years, the AZ DOC has come to be known as the most poorly-run prison system in the country; officers and prisoners alike aren't safe in any of the state prisons, not even in Protective Custody ( where the last two homicides occurred). 

So before we celebrate this man's murder - be it because of the seriousness of his own crimes or whatever other reason one may think it represents "justice" -  think about how many lives and tax dollars are being wasted warehousing potheads with murderers in the kind of hellhole where they are more likely to develop a new heroin habit than get any kind of substance abuse treatment. We should all really be asking Jan why she still stands by her man there...



photo by Robert Haasch
art by Margaret J Plews

 the day the nazis came to town 
 (phoenix, november 2010)


---------from the Arizona Republic----






Florence inmate death may be homicide, officials say

Authorities are investigating a suspected homicide at a state prison in Florence, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Prison officials found Lino Flores unresponsive and suffering from traumatic injuries at about 2 p.m. Saturday in his cell at the Eyman prison complex, ADC spokesman Doug Nick said.

Paramedics pronounced Flores, 53, dead at the scene, Nick said. Flores was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, sexual assault, possession of a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigators are questioning fellow inmate Julio Salazar, Nick said. Salazar, 32, is serving time for first-degree murder and manslaughter.

No other information was immediately available.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Parsons v Ryan: AZ AG/DOC seeks settlement talks, as CORIZON treats cancer with antacids.


Condolences to the family of Glen Huggins and every other AZ DOC prisoner who has died from the violence of deliberate indifference under this governorship. May we soon see an end to the drug war, and the beginning of the end to our legislature giving blessings to those who would maximize profit by stealing public resources from the sick and dying. The prisoners, the ACLU-AZ and the Prison Law Office, among others, are doing their part to fight the parasites our state does business with, having filed Parsons v Ryan (which goes to trial in October, unless it's settled first). Please do your part as well, and honor Glen's dying wish that no more have to suffer as he did. Demand that your legislators launch an investigation into the DOC's ineffective leadership, high number of unnecessary prisoner deaths, and poor oversight of contract agencies. You can find them here:


Arizona State Legislature
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890


Also call on Governor Brewer's office to sack AZ Department of Corrections' Director Charles Ryan for this mess, and insist that a new director improve health care as a top priority - Ryan's DOC has only sought to grow prisons and the profits of folks like Corizon. 

Her contact info is here:

http://www.azgovernor.gov/Contact.asp

The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
Arizona Governor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

(602) 542-4331

 

Thank you to CH 12/KPNX and Wendy Halloran, from the prisoners and the family members I've spoken to about Corizon and the AZ DOC's complicity in depriving state prisoners of the most basic things they need to survive - which begins with recognizing their humanity, as well as our own.

If you are the loved one of a prisoner of the AZ DOC who is suffering without care, contact Arizona Prison Watch. I will provide what resources I can to help - including a list of attorneys who have sued the state prison system and don't give me kickbacks for referrals (likewise, if you know of any good lawyers who may help other families, please let me know). I can be reached at:arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com or 480-580-6807

Here are a couple of other blog posts that give concrete info about fighting the AZ DOC on medical issues.




Please also contact KPNX/AZ Republic's parent company, to tell them we need more stories like the one below, because prisoners' lives matter. Cut and paste this email to reach them at connect@ad.gannett.com

 
-------------from CH12/KPNX-----------

Costs up, no improvement in prison healthcare quality

Wendy Halloran, 12 News | azcentral.com 

 10:50 p.m. MST August 1, 2014





First they refused to admit there's a dire problem. Now, after a 12 News investigation, the Arizona Department of Corrections is offering to settle up with inmates in a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012.

We first brought you the story of inmates not getting proper healthcare, even though taxpayers are footing the bill, in May. Our reporting revealed there were at least 16,000 delays in medical care to Arizona inmates in 2013.

So far, the only action taken has been imposing fines on Corizon, the company contracted to provide healthcare for inmates in the state.

HEALTHCARE RATE INCREASE 

The state has paid Corizon $130 million a year to provide healthcare for inmates. Arizona taxpayers have paid, on average, $348,000 per day.

In July, a rate increase went into effect, from $10.10 per inmate per day to $10.42, due to changes made by ADC. According to Corizon's contract, the increase is to pay for 34 more staff positions to hand out medications. This followed an ADC policy change regarding what medications inmates were allowed to self-administer after multiple suicides and overdoses.

So costs have gone up, but newly released records obtained by 12 News show the problems inside the state's prisons are getting worse.

ADC-employed monitors routinely document Corizon's performance in monthly reports known as MGARs. In our review of the new batch of reports covering November of last year through April, we found numerous cases of delay, lack of treatment, noncompliance with the terms of the contract, ADC monitors noting staff shortages, and lack of medication and psychiatric care for mentally ill prisoners.


THE STORY OF INMATE GLEN HUGGINS

On December 15, 2013, Glen Huggins had 72 hours left to live.

Huggins was serving a 12-year prison sentence on drug convictions at the state prison in Tucson. He had already served eight years when he suddenly became gravely ill.

In August of 2013 Huggins complained to prison staff in Tucson about abdominal pain. He filled out what is known as an HNR, a Health Needs Requests inmates are required to fill out to get medical care. He complained he had not been able to swallow his food and keep it down since June, and had been losing weight.

More than a week later, a nurse saw Huggins. His symptoms were documented but his case was deemed "not urgent."

At the end of August, a nurse practitioner saw Huggins and, thinking the pain was due to Hepatitis C and acid reflux, gave him an antacid.

"That wasn't doing anything," Huggins' son, Cody, told us. "Meanwhile he's still losing weight, he can't swallow."

Huggins' family provided 12 News his medical records, which show he had a family history of cancer.

We asked Dr. Palav Babaria, a primary-care physician in Oakland, California to review the documents and give her opinion on whether the family's allegations of delays in care were accurate.

Dr. Babaria has done work for the Prison Law Office, one of the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections.

"For someone like Mr. Huggins, who had the medical history that he had, any complaints of not being able to swallow accompanied by profound weight loss he was talking about, I think any competent physician would have worried about cancer until proven otherwise," said Dr. Babaria.

On September 17, Huggins wrote in an HNR the antacids he was taking weren't working and his condition was getting worse.

In an October request, Huggins wrote a nurse had seen him eight times and an abdominal X-ray was normal, but still no doctor was assigned to examine him.

He filed more HNRs complaining of continued difficulty swallowing food and keeping food down. He wrote that the antacids were not helping with his pain.

Dr. Babaria says an abdominal X-ray was not an appropriate test.

"The two easiest ways of doing that are getting X-rays called a barium swallow, and see if liquid that shows up on the X-ray is passing or not, or just doing an endoscopy, going down with a camera to get a really good look and do biopsies," she said.

Dr. Babaria says, in Huggins' case, it seems that none of that was done when he first complained of the symptoms. Instead he was treated as if he only had acid reflux.

According to records obtained by 12 News, Huggins was just one of several inmates at the Tucson prison who suffered from a lack of medical care.

The Department of Corrections' own monitors documented long delays for inmates to be seen by outside specialists. Only nine patients out of 33 received urgent consultations in a timely manner. The requirement is that urgent consultations are done within 30 days, which goal Corizon met only 27% of the time.

A SON'S STRUGGLE 

Reading his father's HNRs was upsetting for Cody Huggins.

"You see a man that is just pleading for help and asking for help practically begging for help there at the end," he said.

According to Huggins' prison records, on October 23, 2013 a possible diagnosis of cancer is noted after a mass extending from Huggins' chest to his navel was discovered. This was made by the Corizon nurse practitioner.

Only then did Corizon approve sending Huggins to an outside hospital. The first time Huggins was seen by a doctor was when he arrived in the emergency room. According to Huggins' medical records, within an hour, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer.

The cancer spread from his esophagus to other parts of his body. The doctors could not put a stint in to open up his esophagus because of the size of the tumor. Instead, they inserted a feeding tube in his stomach so he could get some nourishment.

His medical records show he lost almost 40 pounds in the months he kept requesting treatment and reporting problems.

On December 5, 2013 the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency recommended his sentence be commuted due to "imminent danger of death."

Gov. Jan Brewer signed a clemency order on December 11. Huggins was medically paroled the next day. His family took him home to die.

Huggins died on December 18, less than a week after his release.

Cody Huggins called it inhumane and hopes this doesn't happen to any other inmates or their families.

Dr. Babaria says the degree of suffering was preventable.

Now, Huggins' family plans to file suit against Corizon, accusing the healthcare provider of denying Huggins adequate and competent care.

Corizon denies any wrongdoing in Huggins' death. The company issued this statement:

"State and federal privacy laws forbid disclosure by Corizon of any identifiable patient medical information, let alone argument of factual claims regarding patient care in the news media. We can state that the allegations made by Ms. Halloran related to the patient's access to nursing staff and medical providers are not supported by the medical record. The inmate patient received timely, appropriate and professional care. The onset and advance of the patient's condition were unfortunately rapid and aggressive, just as they are often so among other similarly stricken patients. Allegations to the contrary are misleading and untruthful."

Cody Huggins struggles with his father's death. He thought his dad would be released from prison for the last time and they could rebuild their relationship and start a new one with Cody's young daughter.

Over the last two quarters, Corizon has been sanctioned by the state for a total of $71,000 based on its performance. An ADC spokesman emailed us this statement:

"The MGAR reports are valuable tools to document compliance with identified performance measures. Corrective action plans are implemented to hold Corizon accountable for those measures. ADC has imposed financial sanctions on Corizon as part of the company's contract with the state.

"As with any such contract, Corizon's agreement is subject to the state Procurement Code as well as adherence to the Department of Corrections Department Order 302, Contracts and Procurement, to ensure transparent, fair and equitable practices and has the approval of the Attorney General's Office and State Procurement Officer."

Meanwhile, the class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Arizona, ACLU National Prison Project, and the Prison Law Office is scheduled to go to trial this October in Phoenix. It accuses the Department of Corrections of providing inadequate medical care, mental healthcare and dental care that has led to deaths.
Defending against the suit is private law firm Struck, Wieneke & Love PLC of Chandler. So far, billing records reveal taxpayers have paid this firm approximately $3.4 million to defend the Arizona Department of Corrections against the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Prison Law Office has confirmed via email that settlement talks are underway to avoid a trial, issuing the following statement:

"The AG's office filed a request seeking a settlement conference, and after preliminary discussions with the AG's office we agreed to that request. A court-supervised settlement conference is scheduled for August 5."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Journalist Keifer witnesses Wood's execution; urges independent inquiry.

Very thorough coverage of the botched execution of Joseph Wood, which was witnessed by AZ Republic journalist Michael Keifer, as well as the family of Joseph Wood's victims, who I do feel for. Both have something to say about the execution in the video clip below.

I have no idea why Jan Brewer continues to employ Director Charles Ryan at the AZ Department of Corrections. Those prisoners of his who are in for minor offenses are being beaten and killed by gangs - effectively punished with death - while  the condemned are being medically tortured. The last condemned Arizona prisoner who died succumbed to untreated throat cancer before he could be executed...he might have preferred the drug cocktail instead. Three men on death row committed suicide last year, as well

Hmm. Yes, I must say that all is certainly not well on Arizona's Death Row.

Meanwhile Debra Milke was released from death row at ASPC-Perryville last year when her conviction was overturned after 23 years of imprisonment. That was due to evidence that she was convicted on testimony of a dirty, lying cop who likely perjured himself saying she confessed to having her son murdered when he interrogated her. Guess it's a good thing that we hadn't yet gotten around to killing her before we made absolutely sure she was prosecuted justly...


 ---------------------------------

Execution of Arizona murderer takes nearly 2 hours

Bob Ortega, Michael Kiefer and Mariana Dale

The Republic | azcentral.com  

12:24 a.m. MST July 24, 2014





The controversial drug that Arizona used to execute double-murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood on Wednesday took nearly two hours to kill him and left him snorting and gasping for breath. One reporter who witnessed the execution, Troy Hayden of Fox 10 News, said it was "very disturbing to watch ... like a fish on shore gulping for air. At a certain point, you wondered whether he was ever going to die." State officials and the victims' families, however, took issue with other witness descriptions, saying that Wood was not conscious after the first few minutes and that the noises he made sounded like snoring.

The drawn-out execution — most take about 10 minutes — quickly drew international attention and criticism, spurring calls for a moratorium on executions and putting Arizona front and center in the contentious debate over lethal-injection drugs.

RELATED: Emergency motion for stay

The process at the state prison in Florence began about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and dragged on long enough that, more than an hour after the execution started, Dale Baich of the Federal Public Defender's Office sent two other lawyers out to file an emergency motion asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt it, saying it violated Wood's Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. The motion noted that Wood "has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour" after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs.

Wood died before the appeals court responded.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne declined to comment. His spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, disputed that Wood snorted or gasped for air. "He went to sleep and appeared to be snoring," she said. "This was my first execution, and I was surprised at how peaceful it was."

Wood was sentenced to death for the 1989 murders of his ex-girlfriend, Debra Dietz, and her father, Eugene Dietz.

The victims' family members said the media were wrong to focus on the execution method rather than on the victims. "Everybody here said it was excruciating," said Jeanne Brown, Debra Dietz's sister. "You don't know what excruciating is. Seeing your dad lying there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying there in a pool of blood, that's excruciating."

Her husband, Richard Brown, who said he witnessed the murders, said, "What I've seen today, you guys are blowing this all out of proportion about these drugs.

"Why didn't we give him a bullet? Why didn't we give him some Drano? These people that are on death row, they deserve to suffer a little bit."

Across the country, a majority of Americans support the death penalty, but that support appears to be waning.

A 2013 Pew Research Center survey indicated that 55 percent of U.S. adults favor the practice, while 37 percent oppose it, a big drop from two years earlier, when 62 percent said they favored the death penalty for murder convictions and 31 percent opposed it.

Wednesday's execution began at 1:53 p.m., after Wood's last words, in which he thanked his attorneys, said he had found Christ and concluded, "May God forgive all of you."

According to Arizona Republic reporter Michael Kiefer, who witnessed the execution, lines were run into each of Wood's arms. Wood was unconscious by 1:57 p.m. At about 2:05, he started gasping, Kiefer said.
"I counted about 640 times he gasped," Kiefer said. "That petered out by 3:33. The death was called at 3:49. ... I just know it was not efficient. It took a long time."

The length of the process drew swift condemnation from death-penalty critics.

"The worst part about Joseph Wood's botched execution was, it was entirely predictable and avoidable," Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition To Abolish the Death Penalty, said in a statement noting that the same combination of drugs had been used in a problematic execution in Ohio earlier this year.

That was echoed by the Arizona director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Arizona had clear warnings from Ohio and Oklahoma," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, calling for a moratorium on executions. "Instead of ensuring that a similar outcome was avoided here, our state officials cloaked the plans for Mr. Wood's death in secrecy."
The latest petition initially was filed in Pima County Superior Court after a federal appellate court's stay was lifted Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court. It argued that Wood had ineffective assistance of counsel during his trial, and also challenged Arizona's lethal-injection protocol and the drug cocktail used in executions.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Lee dismissed Wood's first argument, but sent the question of Arizona's lethal-injection protocol to the state high court.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld Arizona's veil of secrecy around its lethal-injection drugs, permitting plans for the execution to proceed.

The high-court ruling knocked down a federal appeals court decision that the execution could not move forward unless the state turned over information about how the execution would be carried out.

Executions are public events. But in recent years, many states that still have capital punishment, including Arizona, have passed or expanded laws that shroud the procedures in secrecy.

The Arizona Department of Corrections planned to use a controversial drug, and it favors a controversial method of administering it, so Wood's attorneys demanded to know the qualifications of the executioners and the origin of the drugs to be used in the execution, claiming that Wood had a First Amendment right to the information.

On Saturday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

The state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which lifted the stay without addressing the First Amendment issue.

State officials said in court filings that they need to maintain secrecy because publicity has made it more difficult to obtain the drugs needed to carry out executions.

Drug manufacturers have begun refusing to sell to departments of corrections, forcing the departments to experiment with new and less reliable drugs or to specially order them from compounding pharmacies, which in turn are harassed by anti-death-penalty activists.

"Prisoners who are sentenced to death for their crimes have every right to know what drugs are going to be used," said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, "but it would be a bad matter of policy if the manufacturer of these drugs were identified. The very reason we have a new drug protocol is because of the pressure and threats applied to the companies ... forcing them to stop making it."

It was not the first time the Supreme Court has ruled against a stay of execution based on drug secrecy. In 2010, it ruled against an Arizona prisoner asserting his right to know about lethal-injection drugs that turned out to have been improperly obtained from overseas.

The U.S. District and Circuit Courts in Washington, D.C., later determined federal law had been violated, which the Arizona Attorney General's Office denies.

"In most respects, what Mr. Wood is asking for is quite small," said Megan McCracken, a former federal defender who works with the University of California-Berkeley Death Penalty Clinic. "I think they don't want to set precedent about giving out information, and they don't want to come under scrutiny."

Sen. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, called the execution barbaric and said: "This one is really on (Brewer's) shoulders. She can sign an executive order, put a stay on executions and let the Legislature find a better way to deal with violent criminals who deserve the maximum penalty, but one that is not cruel and unusual."

Dan Peitzmeyer, president of Phoenix-based Death Penalty Alternatives, said, "Actions like this might not cause us to totally repeal the death penalty. But it should sure as hell cause us to bring a moratorium to it and take a sincere look at what we're doing."

Executions by lethal injection using barbiturates such as pentobarbital more typically take about 10 minutes. But the European and American manufacturers refuse to supply it for executions. With the drug unavailable for death penalties, Arizona became the latest of four states to turn to another sedative, midazolam, first used for execution less than a year ago.

Arizona used it in combination with a narcotic, hydromorphone. Midazolam, by itself or with hydromorphone, has led to flawed, drawn-out executions in three other states.

Wood's attorneys had fought its use before the U.S. Supreme Court and then in a last-minute appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court, saying the drug was "experimental" and had not been proven to be effective.

Wood had been scheduled to die at 10a.m. Wednesday, but the state Supreme Court halted the process to consider a last-minute petition for post-conviction relief. The court lifted its temporary stay shortly before noon, clearing the way for his execution later in the day. Witnesses were told when the stay was issued to return by 1 p.m.

One day earlier, it was uncertain whether the execution would go forward. Wood's attorneys had filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the execution unless Arizona revealed where it had obtained the midazolam and divulged the qualifications of the medical team that would administer it.

In October and January, midazolam was used in executions in other states. Both times, witnesses said that the condemned prisoners appeared to gasp for breath and took longer to die than with the barbiturates that were used until they became unavailable.

And in April, an Oklahoma inmate was executed using the drug, but the medical person inserting the catheter into a groin artery completely punctured it, sending the drug into the soft tissue beneath. The man writhed in pain for more than 40 minutes before dying of an apparent heart attack.

Wood's attorneys asked for information with those incidents in mind. A U.S. District Court judge denied a stay. But on Saturday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted it, with the condition that it would be vacated if the state turned over the information. The Arizona Attorney General's Office appealed the 9th Circuit ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court threw it out Tuesday afternoon.

Wood chose not to have a special "last meal" Tuesday night, instead eating the sausage and mashed potatoes that the rest of the prisoners were served.

In 1989, Wood was living with Debra Dietz, who supported him and paid for the apartment they shared. But Wood was abusive, and after Dietz moved out of the apartment, he stalked her.

On Aug. 7, 1989, Wood became enraged when Dietz wouldn't take his calls. He went to the auto body shop where Dietz worked for her father. Eugene Dietz was on the phone when Wood reached the body shop; Wood waited for him to hang up and then shot him in the chest without saying a word.

Wood then hunted down Debra Dietz and shot her twice in the chest.

Megan Finnerty and Megan Cassidy contributed to this article.


Monday, July 7, 2014

ASPC-Lewis: Another Murder in "The Promised Land": Homicide of Gordon Lee (UPDATED)

UPDATE July 9, 2014

It's my understanding, from more than one source, that Gordon Lee was strangled to death in the ASPC-Lewis Bachman shower by three other prisoners, who then dragged him back to his cell, dressed him and put him in bed. Staff allegedly slept through the murder happening 15 feet away from them, and didn't do their 4am count. He was found dead the next day. I dont know why tyey killed him - there are plenty of more horrible pedophiles in Protective Custody, which is what the Bachman yard he was killed on is. PC has become an increasingly dangerous place these days.

According to my sources,  Lee was assaulted a couple of weeks before this attack, and told a nurse what happened to him but she failed to report it to anyone. Its unclear whether or not he also formally applied for additional protection after that - the investigation, if conducted honestly, should show his protective custody requests (many prisoners need to PC up from Protective Custody yards like Bachman because of drug debts or repeated victimization, so that wouldnt be unusual for him to request). 

I believe that Wendy Halloran at Channel 12/KPNX is on the job trying to get records, so I'll be tuning in to them for follow-up.

peggy plews 7/9/14

From original POST (7/7/14 6:53PM) 

This man was murdered on ASPC-Lewis/Bachman, the same yard Alex Clark was just killed on. Seems like Protective Custody (AKA "the Promised Land" by the guys in the process of getting there) is as dangerous as the rest of the prison system these days. That's a big warning sign, Arizona. 

Think the Governor is paying attention yet? Maybe she notices, finally - the problem is that she still just doesn't care. This guy was in for child molestation, anyway, so no one will care that he's been murdered. He's one of the few who get long sentences who fessed up, interestingly - his plea was apparently not to avoid dying in prison - usually these long sentences are reserved for those who deny their guilt, like the truly innocent convicted at trial.  About 8-15% of sex offenders, by at least one prominent exoneration study, are likely to be innocent.

Gordon Lee's plea deal pretty much guaranteed he would never again be free, in fact - and maybe he felt he shouldn't be. You'd be surprised how many men who perpetrate these kinds of crimes against children are remorseful and want only to not hurt anyone again. Some mutilate themselves, and many commit suicide to protect the world from the monsters they fear they have become. Some even beg their judges to lock them away forever, castrate, or execute them. Many of them know what it's like to be violated, as survivors of childhood sexual abuse themselves; they never wished to become what they abhorred. Gordon Lee may have been a  sick human being to do what he did, but at least he didn't make the victim and her family go through a trial, or call her a liar in court. He owned his crimes against that child, when so few people ever do. There must have been some humanity in him somewhere.

Condolences, by the way, to anyone who cared for this man. Thoughts go out to his victim as well, who will likely relieve certain feelings all over again and have unexpected ones as well, in light of this news...  

(Remainder of post EDITED out - it was all speculation inviting people to contact me)

If anyone has any additional information about this homicide or this mans life, please contact me. He had no known close friends or family contacts outside of prison.


Reach me at 480-580-6807 arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com.


Ryan "cares" enough to do damage control on teacher's rape, OSHA investigation.

Most readers are aware by now that a teacher at AZ DOC's supermax complex, ASPC-Eyman, was stabbed and raped in January after being left alone in a classroom with one of the sex offenders she was educating, on a sex offender unit, where teachers have routinely been left alone with students. Here's the more complete account of the incident by the AP just last month.

One might expect this to have happened sooner or with greater frequency, given the poor security measures taken at the state's "most secure" facility. Despite their charges, however, I suspect that most of the students would have come to this teacher's defense if they had been present when it happened - they not only value their educational opportunities and appreciate the people who offer them, they also know this whole incident will keep educators and other civilians away for years to come, now.  

Seems like any dummy in the Governor's office can take one good look and advise the AZ DOC director that Warden Credio is putting female staff and volunteers at risk by leaving them alone in classrooms full of sex offenders with no surveillance (or even pepper spray, until now), but in the aftermath of this rape report going national in June, the Arizona Occupational Safety and Health Administration has decided to conduct an investigation into staff safety at Eyman. I guess Arizona wants the nation to know that we take rape seriously here - we do if it happens to anyone other than a prisoner, at least. We refuse to abide by the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, which should tell you something about how else we treat our prisoners.


Unfortunately, OSHA never investigates when prisoners are assaulted or injured on the job because prisoners are technically slaves of the state, or this might have been prevented. If ANYONE other than the DOC investigated prisoner assaults and deaths (and had authority to change things there), they would have most certainly required additional safety measures to be taken at Eyman and elsewhere. 


In fact, the whole system would be safer to work and be confined in than it is now if someone from outside of it - like the legislature or auditor general's office -took a good close look at how it's being run.  Makes you wonder where that billion dollar budget is being spent, since it clearly isn't going into facility repairs, surveillance cameras, security personnel, health care, psychiatric treatment, or substance abuse programs. (Hmm. I'd love to see DOC administrator's expense accounts and departmental credit cards...)

Needless to say, mainstream media has been rather critical of the AZ DOC over this, to which the director felt compelled to respond last week. It was such classic bureaucratic BS that I'm posting it below - along with the comment I left at the end of the article. All Chuck Ryan does about assaults on prisoners is punish the victim (and anyone else who dares say that violence is out of control in his prisons). 

Go to the source for the other remarks, including those by former Eyman Deputy Warden Carl Toersbijns...





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Prisons director: Actually, we do take rape seriously

AZCENTRAL.COM
Charles L. Ryan, AZ I See It 5:50 p.m. MST July 2, 2014

Regarding what I believe to be a misrepresentation of the Arizona Department of Corrections' response to an assault on one of its own employees, ("Is rape an acceptable risk for teachers? We think not," Editorial, Saturday):

On Jan. 30, a staff member at the Eyman corrections complex in Florence was brutally assaulted by an inmate. As the Department of Corrections reported in news releases that day and the following, a criminal investigation was immediately launched with the goal of pursuing prosecution of the inmate suspect to the fullest extent. In May, the inmate was indicted by a grand jury on charges including sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Contrary to The Republic editorial board's assertion of indifference, every assault against staff and inmates is reviewed extensively and thoroughly investigated. In fact, when I returned as director in January of 2009, I changed the previous policy and ordered that all physical actions taken by inmates against staff or other inmates be reported and investigated, whether an injury occurred or not. This sends the strong message that every assault is intolerable.

Obviously, this incident at Eyman was a despicable and cowardly act — a fact clearly stated by this department when the documents from the criminal investigation were released to the news media.

But an Associated Press story published June 22 in The Arizona Republic indicated, "Prison officials dismissed the concerns. They say assault is a risk that comes with the job of overseeing violent inmates." This is not a department quote. It's the description by the AP reporter.

Department practice is quite the opposite. Staff and inmate safety is our highest priority — a fact reflected and borne out by ongoing training and assessment of security protocols. Significant focus is given to ensuring that all staff remain vigilant that any inmate, regardless of custody level or prior criminal history, can turn violent.

Such self-examination is ingrained in the daily work of the Department of Corrections. It results in decisions to create sector officers who conduct security checks on staff working in isolated areas; random physical, visual, radio and phone checks of such sectors; implementation of chemical-agent and hand-held radio training; addition of cameras where appropriate; and numerous other security measures that are constantly being reviewed.

Reporting on corrections can be tainted by sensationalism. Each assault in prison is thoroughly reviewed and investigated, and those responsible are held accountable administratively or criminally for their actions.

The safety of our staff and inmates has been, and always will be, my commitment and first priority.

Charles L. Ryan is director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.

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Peggy Plews · Top Commenter · Editor at Arizona Prison Watch

Violence against the staff at the AZ DOC - as well as a jump in the viciousness of attacks on more vulnerable prisoners such as transgender women and those with mental illness, has increased under this man's leadership, causing such concern among officers that one of the employee associations has asked Judicial Watch to investigate and local advocates have called on the US department of Justice. Those pleas for outside intervention were preceded in November 2010 with an open letter to Jan Brewer by the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association urging her to sack Chuck Ryan because, among other things:

"There exists, within ADOC administration, a well-known pattern of obstructing the disclosure of hazards in time to prevent accidents, injury, illness, and deaths. Tragically, in these instances, danger is not "imminent" - it is past, and too late to respond. Employees are routinely ordered to falsify documents and when they proactively seek to report identified hazards, they face punishment and retaliation. Obtaining an accurate account of the range and extent of violations will be difficult from records alone. It is unlikely that ADOC will disclose information without well-planned intervention by authorities. There is no evidence of any health and safety program existing, even on paper. There is no identifiable health and safety officer or other person bearing that responsibility and essential training is lacking to assure staff can perform certain assigned tasks safely and equipped with appropriate equipment e.g. cell extractions, transports, etc.

The entire department is devoid of any active programs for: Fire Prevention, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection, Medical Surveillance, Record keeping, Ventilation, Emergency Evacuation Procedures, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Response, Training, or Education. Failure of ADOC administration to respond has resulted in secondary risks and complications - now endangering, not just the prison population and employees, but the public at large. Appropriate identification of risk requires your immediate intervention. Another day must not go by without initiating an investigation.

We as institutional line staff are expected to hold a very high standard within the institutions and community, we expect that our Director and his administrators to be held to the same standard of conduct and the same standard of punishment if those standards are violated..."

The Minority Leader for the Arizona House of Representatives, Chad Campbell, has called for Ryan's termination more than once, and the media has feasted on the tragedies generated by the privatization of prison health care under this director. Of course, I've been calling for him to go for some time now, having heard from hundreds of prisoners and their loved ones about highly racialized gang violence, the heroin epidemic, pervasive despair and hunger, and gross medical neglect behind bars these days. Arizona should be ashamed of itself for rivaling the horrendous conditions attributed to prisons in far more impoverished countries run by dictators.

I hope some of you out there who know what I'm talking about have the courage to speak out and demand a new director. If you bother to call the governor's office about that, be sure to call your legislators as well - they are as much to blame for all this as Brewer, for simply refusing to oversee the prisons and giving them a blank check to do as they please.

Please ask that the Governor re-visit the AZ DOC's determined non-compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, too - I just received a letter from a gay prisoner who was raped and denied protective custody yet again, and the AZ DOC thinks they dont have a problem. http://www.arizonaprisonwatch.org/2014/06/az-state-prisoners-and-activists-call.html