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's the story when the suit was first filed:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ASPC-Lewis/Bachman Homicide in Custody: Alexander Clark, 27.

This comes from the Facebook page tonight of KPNX/CH12 Investigative Reporter Wendy HalloranThis is really, really troubling to see. If there's anyone with direct information about Alexander Clark or what happened to him, please contact Peggy at or 480-580-6807.

This occurred on a Protective Custody yard, which this prisoner had recently arrived at (1/14/14), almost one year after receiving an internal disciplinary ticket for "sexual contact"- which is probably what forced him into PC in the first place.  That's all I've really been able to discern about this incident that hasn't already been posted, in any case. 

Condolences to this young man's family; please also feel free to contact me if I can be of any help.

 ------per Wendy Halloran (KPNX/CH12) as of 03/18/14 11pm---

re: 03/17/14 homicide at ASPC-LEWIS/Bachman Unit

Photo: Fight between 12 Mexican American inmates at ASPC-Lewis in Buckeye leads to homicide of inmate Alexander Clark. Here's some inside information. The Arizona Department of Corrections reports the following incident on 03/17/2014 – 2059 Hours -In the report's summary it read:  On 03/17/2014, staff initiated ICS (incident command system) when they observed approximately 12 Mexican American inmates fighting on the red recreation field. 
• Verbal directives and officer presence in the area stopped the fight.  
• TSU (tactical support unit) team members who were working at the Stiner unit responded to help control the incident. 
• Alexander Clark 208882 Mex. Amer., age 27, was transported via ambulance to West Valley Hospital in Goodyear for treatment of multiple puncture-type injuries. 
• Per the hospital doctor, Clark was pronounced deceased at 1940 hours.  
• Staff members from the CIU (criminal investigation unit)  are on-site at the unit.  
• Clark's next-of-kin were notified. 
• Ibraham Badri 208275 Mex. Amer., age 25, and Victor Irvin 260996 Mex. Amer., age 26,  were also transported to the hospital for precautionary evaluation of head trauma
Deceased was identified as: 
Alexander Clark 208882 / Custody: Medium PC
Institutional Risk: 4
Earned Release Date:  03/07/2016
Sentence Begin Date:  12/01/2005
Offense:  Armed Robbery / Kidnapping / Aggravated Assault
Fight between 12 Mexican American inmates at ASPC-Lewis in Buckeye leads to homicide of inmate Alexander Clark. Here's some inside information. The Arizona Department of Corrections reports the following incident on 03/17/2014 – 2059 Hours  
In the report's summary it read: 
On 03/17/2014, staff initiated ICS (incident command system) when they observed approximately 12 Mexican American inmates fighting on the red recreation field. 

• Verbal directives and officer presence in the area stopped the fight. 

• TSU (tactical support unit) team members who were working at the Stiner unit responded to help control the incident. 

• Alexander Clark 208882 Mex. Amer., age 27, was transported via ambulance to West Valley Hospital in Goodyear for treatment of multiple puncture-type injuries. 

• Per the hospital doctor, Clark was pronounced deceased at 1940 hours. 

• Staff members from the CIU (criminal investigation unit) are on-site at the unit. 

• Clark's next-of-kin were notified. 

• Ibraham Badri 208275 Mex. Amer., age 25, and Victor Irvin 260996 Mex. Amer., age 26, were also transported to the hospital for precautionary evaluation of head trauma

Deceased was identified as: 

Alexander Clark 208882
Custody: Medium PC
Institutional Risk: 4
Earned Release Date: 03/07/2016
Sentence Begin Date: 12/01/2005

Offense: Armed Robbery / Kidnapping / Aggravated Assault

Monday, February 3, 2014

ASPC-Florence Deaths in Custody: Marcelo Gonzalez, 25.

While Florence was still reeling from the rape and stabbing of a teacher at ASPC-Eyman late last week, another tragedy went down on Sunday, when this happened. My condolences to the family of the Marcelo Gonzalez - this must be heartbreaking. And the family of Jonathan Williams must be distraught as well, albeit grateful that he's the one who survived.

I've received hundreds of letters from prisoners in the past year about the esclaating level of violence on the yards. Even being housed in a single cell in maximum security isn't safe: if you're a target for assault, the other guys will throw hot oil, feces-tipped darts, urine, and other things at you as you're being escorted past their cells on the way to the phone, or the shower, or rec - causing some guys to just stay in their cells 24/7. Guards have all sorts of protective gear to prevent injury, but prisoners in chains generally don't.

Staying holed up doesn't always assure one's safety, though, as the guards sometimes "accidentally" pop the cell doors to let people get assaulted. In fact, I've heard from prisoners across the system that it's also not uncommon for officers to turn the other way when they know a hit is about to go down - or just take a bit longer than necessary getting there to intervene. That seems to be especially the case if the prisoner has been charged with assaulting an officer at any time along the way (the guy who survived this fight was apparently just charged with assaulting staff in October). 

I dont know how someone had the time and ability - perhaps tools - to cut through that fence and be prepared with a weapon to attack the other party, who only the guards should have known would be placed there next to him, without there being officer complicity...I've seen some guys get hurt pretty seriously by the DOC staff getting their revenge.  Though I guess it's possible that this maximum security facility in the center of prison valley would be so lax that it wouldn't take that much for one prisoner to bust through the fence keeping him contained with his bare hands.

It's also interesting that Jonathan Williams (search 222798) is Black and the other guy (search 204980) was Mexican American - usually the races take care of their own, so to speak. There are serious implications if you attack someone of another race - especially if you kill them - without the gang's or yard leader's permission - you could start a race riot that way.  

But that's really just on the lower security yards where prisoners are in dorms or share large common areas and times, like dining and recreation. It's harder to "run" a maximum security yard because everyone is in lockdown, communication and movement is restricted, staff have more control than on the lower custody yards, and so on. Florence Central is max lockdown - they subsist on no meaningful stimulation or programs and a "sedentary diet" that seems to consist mostly of sack lunches eaten alone in their cells. So a cross-racial hit like that to settle a personal grievance or one the assailant's gang or race had with the target isn't out of the question - it's just usually that the whites kill the whites and so on.

Anyway, its really hard to tell what happened here beyond what the DOC has to say (which is generally a whitewash, people). If anyone out there has first hand info on this incident, please contact me. Peggy Plews / 480-580-6807 /

If your loved one is trying to get protective custody because they are in particular danger, by the way, access these links, and contact me.

AZ DOC Protective Custody Battles: Surviving the fight. (August 29, 2013)

AZ DOC's Protective Custody fight: tend to both body and soul. (April 12, 2013)

If you are about to enter prison and are freaking out, hit this link, then contact me.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Incarceration is Violence: snapshots from ASPC-EYMAN/Meadows.

I recently took AZ DOC Director Chuck Ryan to task about sending the sex offenders to Red Rock to decrease the over-crowding on those units before the other medium security yards where race riots are breaking out, simply because I so seldom hear about violence coming out of places like ASPC-EYMAN/Meadows. I also accused him of making a big deal of "routine" staff assaults of late in order to justify continuing to build his totally unnecessary $50 million Supermax prison at Lewis complex. I stand corrected, now, sorry to say, in light of what has recently happened. Besides, no assault is "routine" to the person who is the victim of one. I know, having survived quite a bit of violence in my life myself.

I've been hearing from employees and former employees of the AZ DOC in the wake of the sexual assault of a teacher on the Meadows unit at ASPC-Eyman this week- they are livid. There's some contention over what "fully-staffed" means. Some officers seem to feel as if not only is Meadows under-staffed, this teacher never should have ended up alone in a room with these particular prisoners. Meadows is the unit designated for housing about 1100 medium security sex offenders, about 330 of whom appear to be in "temporary" beds. That means the yard is a bit full. 

The opening of Red Rock didn't help relieve pressure on staff and prisoners at Meadows much, unfortunately, though I don't know how directly that would have impacted this situation with the teacher's assault. It appears they moved prisoners from Cook to Red Rock first, as that was the most over-crowded yard. Meadows should be next, I would think.

In any case, my apoligies if I have seemed to minimize staff assaults. No one's safety in prison is more or less important than another's by virtue of whether they wear orange, brown, or civies. The assault rate on staff appears to have been decreasing at the same time it's actually increasing among prisoners, nevertheless the staff are still so upset about the way the DOC has failed to address their safety concerns that one of the officers' unions, the Arizona Corrections Association, has dragged Judicial Watch into it - they're demanding records for an investigation. 

What I hear most from the sex offender yards, actually, is not how vicious the other prisoners are or how violent the gangs are (they really don't seem to run the SO yards), but how cruel some of the officers are.  Here's an excerpt from a man who was homeless, mentally ill, and an easy target for police when arrested and prosecuted for the rape and murder of an 88-year old woman over a decade ago. Even the Arizona Justice Project tried to get the DNA evidence re-examined because they believe he was wrongfully-convicted, for some reason the judge wouldn't allow it. 

" i have been There hrassed and ThreaTed by STaff and inmaTes asaltied  by STaff and ThreaTing black and blue marks on my arm For 30 Days and  For whaT because I senT in a inmaTe LeTTer or a grievance on STaff or  a inmaTe. No Help with it. My Cell maTe Said noT to Say any Thing  abouT. Time I am mad and and write a inmaTe Letter or grievance about  it All it dose is geT STaff mad a you and Then Tell everyone To Harass you They mess up your mail or your indigent or HNRS inmate LeTTers They are LosT or ? you donT geT your RefiLL meds. your Food is mess with They spit in it or mess it up They put some Thing in you Food. mae Time I did NoT EAT because of it. you donT get yourr maiL They Throw it somewhere and maybe if some one funds it you met get it Back. your maiL, or your mail is being given To a inmaTe ? He dans whaT He want with it He reads your maiL and Throws it away. ? or when They Take you To The Shower. They go in your Cell and Take Things or brake Things of yours your T.V. your Radio.... 

I wanT no more of This I wanT Peace. To be in Peace. I am Sorry. I want to go home. or. I want to go home soon I Pray I go home, I am innocent of this crime. Look at it. "

So here sits this possibly innocent man in prison, and yet most Americans would look at his crime, and say "good riddance" in response to his grievances - and the officers perpetrating this garbage on him know it. That kind of relentless abuse meted out to certain prisoners by guards who think they deserve torture on top of imprisonment isn't uncommon, nor is it limited to the sex offenders. 

Never mind that an estimated 8-15% of  convicted sex offenders, in one DNA-based exoneration study, may well be innocent. We too often presume that the "truth" comes out in the prosecution process and no one is in prison unless they're definitely guilty. Not that the possibility we are punishing "the innocent" in prison too harshly should be the only reason not to torture prisoners in America - torture should be banned regardless of the status of one's guilt or inocence.

Some officers I hear about over and over again are exacting their own kind of justice from prisoners, only it seems their abuse can never be "substantiated" when formal complaints are made, so they remain in positions of power - some even get promoted. I believe the heirarchy in those places encourages brutality by consistently failing to substantiate it. They know they can get away with hurting those guys, too, as there will be no public outcry in their defense.

As another example, last April the Meadows' Tactical Support Unit was called on to do a shakedown (thorough search for contraband) of the unit, during which several of the prisoners allege that that the TSU officers pushed them around aggressively and used racial epithets. Several prisoners from that yard also reported that a deaf prisoner was beaten by guards because he couldn't hear the orders being barked at him and respond fast enough. According to one witness, when the officers took him to medical to treat him for the injuries they inflicted on him, the nurse naturally asked what happened. "He fell," the TSU officers laughed Of course, in their own  incident reports - amended after the prisoners complained - the guards assert that they used the "least amount of force necessary to gain compliance" from the deaf guy, and mention nothing about him going to medical. The DOC asserts every one of their officers conducted themselves professionally. That kind of unjust treatment of prisoners can cause serious resentment and thus endangers all staff, ultimately.

Meadows was also recently the subject of concern about how the prisoners' mental health needs are being attended to - they were essentially rounded up, chained like animals, and taken to a mass video-psych eval this fall, which sounds like its a coomon practice, actually.  I often hear complaints from there about poor health care access as well.

In any case, my thoughts and healing wishes do go out to this teacher who was so brutally assaulted, and to the rest of the staff and prisoners at the DOC who have been victims of violence behind bars. If we counted the crimes perpetrated against people in prison with the community's statistics, the crime rates of those communities would be much higher and we might have to address them differently - like redistribute victim assistance resources, among other things. In fact, if crime against people in prison was reported as such, the USA would have the highest male-on-male rate of rape in the world. Think about that as you contemplate how necessary prisons are to contain and rehabilitate young drug offenders, check bouncers, or people who smuggled themselves into the country to find a decent job and support their family, for example. 

Bottom line is that prisons are heteropatriarchal, misogynistic institutions run entirely on violence and the threat of it. Prisons are designed to inflict harm on people's minds and lives without leaving a mark on their bodies, hidden in the shadows and margins of our social fabirc so the rest of us can sleep at night, certain that only the purest system of Justice is what lets Freedom ring in America for the rest of us. In truth, the US justice system works only for the privileged few, trials are contests between opposing attorneys, not effective methods of discovering truth, and prisons are essentially horribly dangerous places to both live and work. Those of you who clamor for a new prison in your town may want to reconsider how much these jobs are really the kind you want your children and grandchildren to grow into.  

In light of the above, our judiciary should really reconsider how many more drug addicts, sex workers, and homeless mentally ill people they want to throw into the lion's den. Many will simply be further victimized and traumatized, few will be able to afford to pay to get their GED or pursue other educational options in state prison, only 4% will ever get any kind of substance abuse treatment in there to rehabilitate themselves, and over 40% of prisoners are coming out infected with Hep C, a good many with new addictions to boot.
(See Corrections at a Glance for stats on substance abuse treatment, HEP C, and the reasons people are in prison)

Prison violence escalating: Teacher assaulted in Supermax.

This is really unfortunate and never should have happened. Despite his crime, time, and the recency of his arrival, this guy's score was lower than most of the non-violent gay/trans prisoners and potheads now locked down 23hrs/day in maximum security for Refusing to House on lower level GP yards due to fear of victimization. 

Anyway, if the yard was "fully staffed" that day, why was this teacher left alone with a bunch of sexual predators? Is that the standard policy at Meadows?

Here's what the former Deputy Warden of the Meadows Unit had to say about it (from KPNX/Channel 12News in Phoenix )

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Corizon HealthScare: Another death row suicide.

Most Arizonans probably think "good riddance" whenever a death row prisoner commits suicide. I've seen such remarks on comments following articles posting about young drug offenders hanging themselves in jail or prison, too, however, suggesting a particular public callousness towards all prisoners of the state, as well as their survivors. What I've seen in the wake of these suicides, though, has been the grief of the survivors, who dont deserve the community's abuse or ridicule when searching news articles for answers, and I know that in cases where a killer dies, it brings up all sorts of feelings for the survivors of victims as well. Condolences to all of you whose grief is triggered by this news.

That said, this is to announce that another condemned prisoner has beaten the state to the punch and taken his own life: that's three from death row in less than nine months. Gregory Dickens, 48, was preceeded by Dale Hausner in June and Milo Stanley in May of 2013. 

The deaths of these condemned men is part of a streak of suicides and suspicious, premature deaths that have happened since Corizon took over the contract to provide medical and psychiatric services for AZ DOC prisoners in March 2013. To make a sweet profit at less than the state would have provided such services for, they're cutting corners wherever they can - apparently mostly for prisoners they think the public doesn't care about anyway, like these guys held in AZ DOC's supermax prison complex, ASPC-Eyman, which includes death row.  Say what you will about the evils some of them may have perpetrated, but we are condoning torture through gross medical neglect.

Like medical care, psychiatric "treatment" under corizon has been streamlined to maximize efficiency and company profit. This May 2013 letter from advocate Donna Hamm to DOC Director Charles Ryan illustrates the kind of "care" prisoners at the Supermax are getting from Corizon. Keep in mind that many of these men were imprisoned in the first place or sent off to Supermax because of poorly treated psychiatric conditions - and that most male suicides are occurring in these maximum custody and solitary confinement cells. 

Ms. Hamm was soon put on notice about other troubling practices and policies put in place by Corizon for evaluating and treating serious mental illness, as indicated in this October email to the DOC director. Mr. Ryan's responses to her letter are embedded in the email in bold letters.

Note that Mr. Ryan asserts all these men received "private consulations with the provider". That's not what the men say, though, as evidenced by this email from a mother a month ago:

"He did try to get mental health when during his time in the minimum unit but he was never called in. When he was in medium security unit he was finally called in for evaluation, he was woken up at 2am, handcuffed, and taken to Central unit. At that time, as no-one was telling him what was going on, and he thought, he was gong to get moved there and he could get executed. The visit was a "telemedical" visit and he had to speak with someone over the TV. Obviously, he did not like the fact he had to speak in front of other inmates about his issues. The frequency of his anxiety attacks increased significantly immediately after and he declined further care...."  

Given that at least ten prisoners now (perhaps more, as many young recent deaths have been noted by DOC as due to "unknown causes") have killed themselves in less than a year with Corizon HealthScare, it seems as if its' time for the DOC to seriously re-evaluate that contract. 

AZ legislators who ordered DOC to privatize the health care for prisoners should be less worried about assuring corporate profits to Corizon and more concerned with public health consequqneces of mass incarceration and poor prison health care. Keep in mind that 95% of these prisoners will someday return to the community - over 40% of whom are infected with Hepatitis C now, due to rampant heroin addiction in the prisons and an obscene lack of substance abuse treatment services (only 4% of state prisoners are able to access help for their addictions in a given year). Prisoner health IS public health.

From: Middle Ground Prison Reform
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 10:30 AM

Subject: Unprofessional Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoners

 Mr. Ryan:

On or about October 3, 2013, about 20 men at the Meadows Unit (medium custody) were placed into shackles, chains and cuffs and transported to the Browning Unit (maximum custody) where they were placed in a holding cell, awaiting a video-conference with a psychologist.  Apparently, this is the imminently "professional" manner in which Corizon, with the cooperation of DOC security staff,  is conducting psychological evaluations for dispensing mental health medications.  During the entire time the men were inside the locked holding cell awaiting their turn for the videoconference, the shackles, chains and cuffs were not removed.  This exercise took approximately five (5) hours.  I do not have information about whether the men were fed during the five (5) hours, but I suspect they were not.  If they were, how does one eat  or drink when one's hands are attached to a belly chain?
It should not be surprising to you that these men were extremely upset with this procedure.  The failure to remove the shackles, chains and cuffs for medium custody inmates who were locked in a cell in a maximum custody cellblock is no doubt based upon pure institutional convenience -- another way of putting it would be to say that the guards were too lazy to go through the "effort" to remove security devices that would later be reapplied.  The security implements were not removed from the prisoners until they returned to the Meadows Unit.

Several of the affected inmates have stated to me  that they do not wish to continue on their psych meds if they are forced to go through this psychologically stressful and tortuous exercise in the future in order to be given an impersonal "interview" of very brief duration with someone who is dispensing medications via videoconferencing.

In addition to the reprehensible decision to leave these men in shackles, cuffs and chains, it is particularly important to take note of the fact that these men were transported for the purpose of having their psychotropic medications evaluated, approved or modified/renewed.  Because of the externally-caused psychological stress, it seems quite problematic for any psychiatric professional to be able to make an accurate determination of the patient's affect, response to current course of psychotropic treatment, and potential need for modification of medication or dosage when the patient is presenting under such externally negative conditions. 

It is noteworthy that if these men were so stressed by the procedure that was devised and utilized by the ADOC that they subsequently elect to withdraw from psychiatric treatment rather than be subjected to such an unprofessional and distressing course of action, then the entire "scheme" of psychiatric treatment for these men must be called into serious question.  The Department of Corrections cannot utilize a method that, in fact, directly interferes with the very diagnostic procedure that they are claiming to provide.  This is akin to giving 20 inmates a ride on a super high  roller-coaster and then lining them up to test to see if they need blood pressure medication.

Please answer the follow questions:

1.      Why are medium custody inmates transported to a maximum custody facility in the first place?  This would appear to be a violation of your own Classification Policy which prohibits mixing custody levels.

Browning Unit is the designated facility for tele-med in the Eyman Complex. Custody levels are not mixed during the process. However, it would be allowed by policy to occur since it is lower custody to higher.

2.   You only have two maximum custody facilities, but you have a host of lesser custody units at Florence.  Why not have videoconferencing facilities at each classification level so that custody levels do not have to be mixed?   IF YOU AND CORIZON ARE SAVING SO MUCH MONEY BY VIDEOCONFERENCING RATHER THAN BY PROVIDING PERSONAL CONTACT WITH A PSYCHOLOGIST, PSYCHIATRIST OR DOCTOR, THEN WHY ISN'T SOME OF THAT SAVINGS APPLIED TO INSTALLATION OF VIDEO CONFERENCING IN EACH UNIT?  Or at least at each administrative building in each unit?
The practice of tele-med has been in place in ADC for a number of years, long before privatization of health services. It is the practice to place the equipment in the highest custody unit at the complex as policy does not allow to transport to a lower custody unit. It does not preclude transport to a higher custody unit.  Your suggestion will be given due consideration.

3.Prior to chaining and transporting these men for five (5) hours and holding them in a locked cell for so long, were their medications (for other conditions) checked?  Were  diabetics or men with other conditions negatively affected by such conditions imposed for five (5) hours?

The total time of transport reported was 3 hours, not 5. Upon learning that the inmates were left in restraints during this time, the Deputy Warden issued a directive, prospectively, that the restraints will be removed once the inmate is secured in the holding area. All the inmates received their medications prior to the transport and those that had KOP’s were allowed to take theirs as well. The inmates were fed prior to the transport and did not miss any meals.

4.  If it is an inconvenience to apply and remove shackles, cuffs and chains for individual inmates, then why not eliminate all need for shackles, cuffs and chains by installing one more videoconferencing site in the unit -- or at least at a commensurate custody level unit --  where inmates will be cared for via video-conferencing?
Responded to this issue above in #2.

5.   Were each of the 20 men given a private consultation with the doctor, or were they given group consultations while chained, without privacy? 

All inmates that participated in this tele-med visit were provided with a private consultation with the provider.

Please respond in a timely manner.  I would like to insure that this procedure is not taking place at any unit in any prison for Arizona's prisoners.

This has been addressed appropriately throughout ADC.

Donna Leone Hamm, Judge (Ret.)
Director, Middle Ground Prison Reform


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Art of Resistance: Voices from Arizona's state prisons (Art and Letters: 2009-2013).

I've been away from my blogs of late due largely to an art project I've been working on with prisoners. That's all been for the opening of a show I'm organizing this month of their gifts of art and their most compelling - and representative - letters about AZ prison life. My main objective is simply to amplify their voices, not narrate their world for them, as I often end up doing in my blogs; they do a good enough job of speaking for themselves.  So, below is the flyer - take a close look at Reese's visionary art, too. I was stunned when it came in from the Supermax prison last week. Posters of it will available to raise funds for further prison outreach, assuming we have the artist's explicit blessings by then.

The show will be running every weekend through Jan 5th, 2014. Friday, Jan 3 is the First Friday of the new year for Artwalk in Phoenix, so if you don't make it by the show before then, bundle up and take the light rail to Roosevelt and Central, then come on over to the Firehouse Gallery at 1015 N. 1st St. for a little reception from 6-8pm. Roam the streets and take in the music, art, and streetcorner preachers for a few hours, then come through the alley behind 1st street to the Firehouse Cafe to see the brilliant and talented cast of First Friday Night Live go on stage at 10 pm. There really are some amazing people in this town, as these guys are known to sing.

I plan to be there for all our open hours (on the flyer below) while the show is up, but call me if you want to make sure I'm in before you drop by (480-580-6807). There are some great big and little stocking stuffers to pick up, like tshirts, jewelry and mixed media locally made by members of the 23 Collective, which has so graciously embraced me as as bona-fide starving artist.  You can also can find funky stuff there like skull socks and a large collection of phallic pendants (go figure). A second hand shop is in the Gallery as well: The Side Car Alley carries some cool vintage and collectible stuff, and Joanna's often there doing henna for folks. And of course it's the only place in town you can find a Baby Abolitionist onesie or bib, or a travel coffee mug that shouts to the cop ticketing you "Resist police oppression!". The latter stuff (and skull socks) comes from yours truly.

Blessings to all who have supported my work this year: you should especially be sure to hit the show, because these voices would have been left unanswered without the postage, data entry, free photocopies, and other help this community has given. I'm still not a member of the non-profit industrial complex, so to speak, but I really do live near poverty and in perpetual debt due to my prison outreach activities.  I don't charge prisoners or their families for my help - though many do send what they can - so if you donate for more reasons than a tax writeoff, please keep sending it my way. It takes $3.00 in postage and a little printing to send a packet of self-help materials and hope to a sick or traumatized prisoner trying to survive their stay at the AZ DOC, which seems like such a small investment for a big return...I get about 10-15 requests for materials a week,  though, so it really adds up. I'm up to about 500 prisoners on my mailing list now as well - which means my first 2014 newsletter will cost about $250 this year. That's the next project I'll be begging for your help with, so save me your leftover Christmas stamps again, my friends - and find me at PO Box 20494 PHX 85036.

Until then, peace and love -


Monday, December 2, 2013

Corizon's prisoners dying younger from suicide and "natural causes".

Prior to this latest suicide at Eyman, I was concerned about the number of successful suicides of late - most specifically, since Corizon took over. Take a look at what I found when I examined the DOC's death reports from January 2012- October 2013 (which encompasses 6 months of the DOC administering health care, then 8 months of wexford, and 8 months of Corizon). The average age of death is getting dramatically younger (even when controlled for suicides and homicides), and there are WAY more suicides now. Do the numbers yourself. And check out the AFSC-Tucson's report again: DEATH YARDS. There's a lot to it.

Most of the suicides are happening in single cells, and appear to be related to prisoenrs having a poorly managed serious mental illness and/or suiciding for fear of being on the GP yards - but those conclusions require more study, once investigations are complete and state records are available. 

I'm concerned about the suicides and the connection there may be between them and the frequent reports I've received that prisoners on psychiatric medications have had thier meds abruptly stopped by Corizon doctors, and have been changed to less effective meds than they were previously on, including some that really aren't even used  anymore in the free world due to their side effect profiles, like thorazine. 

In the meantime, Eyman prisoners' visits with their mental health professionals are being done by video-conferencing after theyr'e all herded - chained - into a big cell together. I can't tell if the mental health reivews are actually then conducted en masse, or if they are provided some smeblance of privacy but only get about 5 mins of the provider's time. I believe Donna Hamm is trying to sort out exactly how psychiatric evaluations are beign done for maximum security prisoners at Eyman. 

In any case, given the number of suicides at Eyman in the past year, I think they should re-evaluate the effectiveness of whatever it is they're doing there by way of mental health treatment...


JAN 2012 - June 2012 : AZ DOC Health care

Jerry McCoy, 53, ADC #108159, died Jan 16 from complications of Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Alfonso Farmer, 23, ADC #219587 died Jan 22 from an apparent suicide
Alvin Rhodes, 64, ADC #264597, died Jan 22 from complications of cancer
Harry Gardner, 82, ADC #167824, died Jan 20 from complications of lung cancer
Forrest Day, 19, ADC #258301, died Jan 27 from a suspected suicide

Francisco Leon, 64, ADC #90634, died Feb 13 from end stage renal disease
James Toppin, 63, ADC #216346, died Feb 12  from apparent natural causes
Daniel Porter, 48, ADC #61424, died Feb 20 from water intoxication
Clifford Fritz, 41, ADC #129311, died Feb 23 from cancer.

Edward Baeza, 56, ADC #43508, died Mar 11 from apparent natural causes
Cesar Carbajal, 35, ADC #268481 died mar 15 from unknown causes
Nolan Pierce, 23, ADC #245734, died Mar 16 from a possible homicide
David Hunt, 34, ADC #109305, died Mar 25  from medication OD
George Bredemann, 69, ADC #83222, died Mar 31 from apparent natural causes

Shon Wilder, 33, ADC #129144, died April 20 from a possible homicide
Isabelle Trujillo, 61, ADC #076085, died April 24 from apparent natural causes
Joseph Venegas, 29, ADC #185473, died April 25 from unknown causes (pneumonia)
David Washburn, 69, ADC #098366, died April 27 from apparent natural causes

Robert Ginan, 69, ADC #220296, died May 7 from apparent natural causes
Owen Vilan, 54, ADC #242276, died May 8 from apparent natural causes
Enrique Orozco, 46, ADC #119841, died May 22 from apparent natural causes
Robert Charo, 61, ADC #049825, died May 23 from apparent natural causes
T Ray Washington, 41, ADC #240344, died May 25 from apparent natural causes
Candelario Baca, 69, ADC #039760, died May 30 from apparent natural causes

Louis Jernigan, 67, ADC #30249, died June 4 from apparent natural causes
Philip Hawes, 64, ADC #253330, died June 4 from apparent natural causes
George Phillips, 69, ADC #058612, died June 13 from apparent natural causes
Herbert Shockey, 77, ADC #025634, died June 21 from apparent natural causes
Xaxier Milea, 39, ADC #255646, died June 26 from apparent natural causes

JULY 2012 - MARCH 2013 : WEXFORD

Nelson Johnson, 31, ADC #143345 died July 1 from apparent suicide
Richard Johnsen, 58, ADC #052572, died July 16, from apparent natural causes
Daniel Salazar, 55, ADC #129065, died July 19 from apparent natural causes
Lawrence Tashquinth, 50, ADC #229672, died July 19  from apparent natural causes
Richard Olivas, 43, ADC #128627, died July 21 from apparent natural causes
Jose Garcia-Morfin, 33, ADC #233520, died July 24 from apparent natural causes
Richard Wojcik, 56, ADC #232593, died July 24 from apparent natural causes
Rock Hannaford, 56, ADC #261578, died July 30 from apparent natural causes

Gregg Large, 48, ADC #247449, died Aug 1 from apparent natural causes
Thomas Truitt, 48, ADC #047727, died Aug 4 from apparent natural causes
Robert Moss, 73, ADC #102474, died Aug 11 from apparent natural causes
Frank Brown, 65, ADC #149637, died Aug 13 from apparent natural causes
Sotero Delgado, 66, ADC #273820, died Aug 16 from apparent natural causes
James Gordon, 55, ADC #140687, died Aug 26 from apparent natural causes
Dixie Arguello, 51, ADC #269814, died Aug 27 from apparent natural causes
Nicholas Martinez, 33, ADC #171587, died Aug 30 from a possible overdose

Darrell Robertson, 33, ADC #258053, died Sept 10 from apparent natural causes
James Makal, 80, ADC #027216, died Sept 13 from apparent natural causes
Ronald Smith, 75, ADC #092788, died Sept 22 from apparent natural causes
Augustine Alvarez, 71, ADC #085367, died Sept 23 from apparent natural causes
Richard Johnson, 60, ADC #232783, died Sept 28 from apparent natural causes

Donald Wisto, 36, ADC #110526, died Oct 7 from unknown causes
Anthony Brown, 43, ADC #077701, died Oct 8 from apparent natural causes
Lonnie Prickett, 63, ADC #073521, died Oct 9 from apparent natural causes
Carroll Sanders, 56, ADC #196447, died Oct 9 from apparent natural causes
Michael Atkins, 48, ADC #263379, died Oct 18 from apparent natural causes
John Mihalec, 77, ADC #104669, died Oct 25 from apparent natural causes
Dallas Richie, 62, ADC #032104, died Oct 27 from apparent natural causes
Alan Cook, 65, ADC #155358, died Oct 28 from apparent natural causes
Cipriano Vigil, 73, ADC #107377, died Oct 31 from apparent natural causes

Timothy Ben, 29, ADC #186585, died Nov 5 from an apparent suicide
John Allie, 53, ADC #042977, died Nov 12 from apparent natural causes
John Beck, 64, ADC #104144, died Nov 14 from apparent natural causes
Jesus Sanchez, 39, ADC #092083, died November 19 from apparent natural causes
Gerald Anani, 58, ADC #269346, died Nov 25 from apparent natural causes
Shane Moulton, 44, ADC #112871, died Nov 25 from apparent natural causes

Monty Hanan, 63, ADC #136053, died Dec 1 from apparent natural causes
Arnold Toliver, 48, ADC #125678, died Dec 5 from apparent natural causes
David Anthony, 64, ADC #184113, died Dec 7 from apparent natural causes
John Ruelas, 46, ADC #059693, died Dec 7 from apparent natural causes
Donald McKay, 57, ADC #270224, died Dec 20 from apparent natural causes
Darryl Gray, 65, ADC #032890, died Dec 25 from apparent natural causes

Richard Glassel, 74, ADC #172967, died Jan 15 from apparent natural causes
William Horton, 48, ADC #062422, died Jan 12 from apparent natural causes
Gary Dixon, 50, ADC #106531, died Jan 28 from apparent natural causes
Nathan Hartman, 36, ADC #156838, died Jan 28 from apparent natural causes
Charles Dawson, 56, ADC #067938, died Jan 29 from unknown causes
Gary Pierce, 69, ADC #041952, died Jan 30 from unknown causes

Robert Akers, 70, ADC #242962, died Feb 1 from unknown causes
Christina Black, 52, ADC #145562, died Feb 12 from an apparent suicide
Robert Sweepe, 63, ADC #093822, died Feb 17 from unknown causes
Bobby Crockett, 49, ADC #106800, died Feb 18  from apparent natural causes
Ernie Lopez, 55, ADC #133681, died Feb 18 from apparent natural causes
Christian Frost, 38, ADC #130811, died Feb 22 from a possible homicide
Rowdy Ferns, 43, ADC #143370, died February 26 from apparent natural causes

MARCH - October 2013 : CORIZON

Vernon Davidson, 58, ADC #127734, died March 3 from apparent natural causes
Rafael Guevara, 23, ADC #254097, died March 11 from heroin overdose
Scott Broadhead, 57, ADC #035145, died March 17 from unknown causes
Kevin Pate, 54, ADC #091377, died March 14 from unknown causes
Jesse Cornejo, 24, ADC #246859, died March 16 from unknown causes
Johnny Lopez, 52, ADC #079275, died March 17 from apparent natural causes
James Smith, 51, ADC #116912, died March 27 from apparent natural causes
William Driver, 72, ADC #162813, died March 29 from apparent natural causes

Kristian Brown, 49, ADC #182532, died April 1  from apparent natural causes
Gary Church, 53, ADC #039345, died April 1  from unknown causes
Billy Lee, 54, ADC #037490, died April 8 from apparent natural causes
Charles Jeffrey, 38, ADC #212819, died April 10 from apparent natural causes
Alberto Jimenez, 36, ADC #138779, died April 14 from apparent natural causes
Joaquin Tamayo, 41, ADC #106163, died April 22 from an apparent suicide
Russell Clark, 53, ADC #059997, died April 25 from apparent natural causes

Paul Henderson, 22, ADC #247636, died May 1 from an apparent suicide
Karl Narten, 82, ADC #024550, died May 6 from apparent natural causes
Milo Stanley, 50, ADC #064794, died May 10 from an apparent suicide
Anthony Martinez, 65, ADC #085596, died May 14 from apparent natural causes
Bobby Smith, 72, ADC #065084, died May 19 from apparent natural causes
Rose Hodges, 49, ADC #113364, died May 20 from apparent natural causes

Mackie McCabe, 57, ADC #049597, died June 2 from apparent natural causes
John Ray, 54, ADC #118850, died June 7 from apparent natural causes
John Jones, 63, ADC #054741, died June 17 from an apparent homicide
Fenton Skaggs, 38, ADC #198534, died June 17 from unknown causes
Dale Hausner, 40, ADC #240702, died June 19 from apparent suicide
Henry Billings, 80, ADC #218617, died June 23 from apparent natural causes

David Valenzuela, 56, ADC #063167, died July 1 from apparent natural causes
Theron Chambers, 72, ADC #040915, died July 3 from apparent natural causes
Galen Lindstrom, 62, ADC #075515, died July 10 from unknown causes
Thomas Herrera, 57, ADC #078507, died July 13 from apparent natural causes
Patrick Hoppes, 48, ADC #242119, died July 17 from an apparent suicide
Alvis Smith, 59, ADC #031588, died July 26 from apparent natural causes.

George Malone, 69, ADC #086899, died August 2 from apparent natural causes
Javier Gonzalez, 23, ADC #217498, died August 14 from an apparent suicide.
Van Branch, 53, ADC #072628, died August 14 from apparent natural causes
George Fierros, 58, ADC #058206, died August 22 from apparent natural causes
Miguel Sanchez, 28, ADC #270127, died August 27 from an apparent suicide.
Marco Chavez, 34, ADC #187239, died August 31 from apparent natural causes

Shawn Southworth, 37, ADC #257109, died September 23 from apparent natural causes
Harold Batista, 21, ADC #270988, died September 25 from unknown causes

Bennie Harris, 54, ADC #067481, died October 1 from apparent natural causes
Richard Hildenbrand, 80, ADC #140990, died October 2nd from apparent natural causes
Gregory Schlundt, 50, ADC #054406, died October 3rd from apparent natural causes
Kevin Wirts, 45, ADC #258690, died October 7th from apparent natural causes
Rusty Anderson, 42, ADC #222642, died October 9th from apparent natural causes
Kenneth Gifford, 48, ADC #128657, died October 9th from apparent natural causes
Michael Melendez, 52, ADC #102559, died October 10th from apparent natural causes
Emmanuel Arline, 28, ADC #198483, died October 18th from apparent natural causes
Steven Ensslin, 40, ADC #090119, died October 19th from unknown causes.
Roosevelt Foster, 68, ADC #051942, died October 19th from apparent natural causes
Todd Hoke, 22, ADC #253951, died October 21 from an apparent suicide
Robert Maxwell, 46, ADC #065789, died October 23rd from apparent natural causes
Woody Trisky, 75, ADC #165447, died October 24th from apparent natural causes
Avtar Sidhu, 51, ADC #278273, died October 28th from apparent natural causes

ASPC-Eyman Death in Custody: Raymundo Morin, 38, Suicide.

This tormented man's murder victim was his father, sadly - my condolences to the whole family for the ordeal you've been through over the years. May you all find some peace. 

 I see that he was charged with arson numerous times; I understand that's an unusually common method of killing oneself in prison. He was also apparently assaultive towards staff, though the disciplinary record doesn't ever tell the whole story. It's possible he had some very good reasoning for this, too, but very seldom does a man who is not being influenced by delusions and hallucinations tattoo an inverted 5-point star on his forehead. I think this man was likely seriously mentally ill, and he was being held in solitary confinement because he was considered to be so dangerous. That's where most suicides take place.

In any case, there have been a rash of suicides under the watch of Corizon's mental health staff. So, if anyone knows anything about exactly how Raymundo died or what may have preceeded it, please get in touch with me at or 480-580-6807.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parsons v Ryan: Deliberate indifference finally killed Benny Joe.

I got an email last night letting me know that Benny Joe Roseland passed away yesterday. The DOC hasn't had a chance to post the notice yet; I'll just link to it when they do. I never did hear back from Benny a second time; I think he was already pretty sick when he narrated his story to his fellow prisoner.

 Let's honor Benny Joe's dying wish that his story is used to help his fellow prisoners; that his own suffering isn't in vain. To those of you who missed it, the American Friends Service Committee in Tucson (AFSC-Tucson) just released a report about the deliberate indifference and gross neglect prisoners like Benny Joe have endured at the hands of the AZ DOC. Please download DEATH YARDS, then send it to your legislator with a request that they take responsibility for this mess, since they're the ones who ordered DOC to privatize the health care in the first place, instead of ordering Ryan to improve it. Parsons v Ryan and the cruel cost-cutting measures we've seen with Corizon are as much their fault as anyone else's.

Thanks for thinking of your fellow human beings on your way out, Benny Joe. May you finally rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DEATH YARDS: Deliberate indifference pays, while prison healthcare deteriorates under Corizon.

(Edited November 6, 2013)

Thanks to the ACLU-AZ et al for their on-going labor of love with Parsons v Ryan
If you have questions or complaints about AZ Department of Corrections' prisoner health care, contact them at

P.O. Box 17148
Phoenix, AZ 85011

And many thanks to Caroline Isaacs at the AFSC-Tucson for this report, below. 
If you have questions about privatization of prisons or of prison health care, stopping the new Supermax, or the state of solitary confinement in Arizona, contact Matt Lowen or Caroline Isaacs at 

103 N Park Ave. Suite 111
Tucson, AZ  85719



Caroline Isaacs : 520-256-4146 :
Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :

NEW Report: Prison Healthcare in AZ Worsens Under Private Prison Co. Corizon


50 Inmate Deaths in the First 8 Months of 2013

PHOENIX, ARIZONA — On Wednesday, November 6th, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSCAZ) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUAZ) will hold a press conference in front of the Arizona Department of Corrections Building to coincide with the release of a new report which documents that the same problems—delays and denials of care, lack of timely emergency treatment, failure to provide medication and medical devices, low staffing levels, failure to provide care and protection from infectious disease, denial of specialty care and referrals, and insufficient mental health treatment—have continued and, arguably, worsened under the current for-profit healthcare contractor, Corizon.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSCAZ) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUAZ) are decrying the continued deterioration of the quality of medical care in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).

In March of 2012, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against ADC, charging that prisoners in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections receive such grossly inadequate medical, mental health and dental care that they are in grave danger of suffering serious and preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and even death. AFSC reports that there have been 50 deaths in Arizona Department of Corrections custody in just the first eight months of 2013. That is a dramatic increase from previous years. The Arizona Republic reported 37 deaths in 2011 and 2012 combined.

The report charges that the deficiencies in quality of care are not isolated to one or two locations or individual “bad actors,” but clearly represent system-wide dysfunction. The report contains 14 specific case studies to illustrate these issues, as well as extensive documentation of the administrative, organizational, economic and political factors that are contributing to the problem. This includes the process of privatization of medical care.

Delays and a reissue of the Request for Proposals (RFP) made the privatization process drag out for over two years. In the meantime, medical staffing levels plummeted and health care spending in prisons dropped by nearly $30 million. The departure of Wexford, followed by the award of the contract to Corizon created additional upheaval, delays, and changes in staff, procedures, and medications. The report concludes that contracting out the medical care at ADC has resulted in more bureaucracy, less communication, and increased healthcare risks for prisoners.

“The Arizona Department of Corrections needs to get its own house in order,” says report author Caroline Isaacs. “Arizona needs to stop wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars on cancelled contracts and wrongful death lawsuits and take responsibility for correcting these problems.”

For more information, please contact Caroline Isaacs at 520.623.9141 or by email at