DBA Press/Center for Media and Democracy Report (May 20, 2013)
PHOTO: PHX PD riot cop motorcycles at an Occupy Phoenix protest of Freeport MacMoran, February 2012. Chalk art and digitally rendered image by suspected anarchist/possible terrorist Margaret J Plews.
Abolish the PRISONS!
PARSONS v RYAN is a certified CLASS ACTION!
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.
ABOLISH THE PRISONS!
May 22, 2013:
On Loving to Hate Jodi Arias...
This is to all you visitors “enjoying” reading about Jodi Arias' future in my blogs, which I write largely for those who have lost loved ones in az prisons or are fighting to keep them alive through their sentences:
It is clear that your desire for vengeance is far greater than any yearning for true justice to prevail in the world, for you are celebrating the suffering of others. Please remember how happy you were that Jodi Arias would be miserable next time a young women who was sexually abused by a guard hangs herself in that prison, and know you had something to do with creating the culture of dehumanization and vindictiveness that makes that so likely to happen these days.
Perryville prison has killed many women through abuse and neglect, sometimes quite hideously – Google Marcia Powell, for one. No one deserves that kind of death. Most women there are mentally ill and survivors of trauma and shouldn’t even be in prison but for Arizona’s grossly inadequate mental health system, the right wing's contempt of the poor and people of color, and this overall fascist police state we live under.
In any case, by saying that it’s okay for the killers among them to be condemned to less-than-constitutional conditions of confinement, you lower the chances of survival of other women warehoused at Perryville as well. So, to those of you who truly care about “justice” – please just think on that before you pat the AZ DOC on the back for hurting and killing their prisoners as they do.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
According to the Phoenix New Times, 52-year old Christina Black, who reportedly hung herself on the Lumley Unit at Perryville Prison Tuesday, had a history of paranoid schizophrenia. She was sentenced to life in 1999 for killing her grandmother a few years earlier, who was initially considered to have died of natural causes at 88. The police only arrested Christina after she contacted them to confess of her own volition.
The New Times didn't mention Christina's motives for having confessed, but many people with serious mental illness are people of conscience who are devastated upon regaining their sanity to discover the harm they've done to loved ones and others when suffering from manic, depressive, or psychotic symptoms. They'd sooner have killed themselves than hurt another person, and many can't live with the guilt. Some are brave enough to try to move beyond guilt and take responsibility, not only for what they may have done under the influence of delusions, but also to prevent themselves from ever doing such harm to another person again.
I wonder if that wasn't what drove Christina to turn herself in long after she had already "gotten away with the crime": she came into a period of mental and spiritual wellness.
Predictably, Arizona's only response was to put her in cages and chains for the rest of her life, where her mental health would be sure to suffer. Between the class action suit and the complaints I've heard from other prisoners with mental illness about the psychiatric services under Wexford these past few months, I wouldn't be surprised if this poor woman's psychiatric meds had been cut off or dramatically changed before she was found hanging in her cell. She was apparently transferred to the maximum security yard (Lumley, where women are also sent to be punished - I mean "appropriately housed" - for being mentally ill, raped, etc.) within the past 2 weeks...
But much of that is speculation. If anyone out there really knows what happened with or to Christina, then and now, please let me know. The only narrative that others will be putting out otherwise will be limited to the state's version of her crime and her punishment. I'd like to know about her struggle, her strength, her reasons for being, and for no longer being. I need to hear from those of you who loved her to help tell her story - we must in order to try to stop this from happening again. Please contact Peggy Plews at 480-580-6807 or firstname.lastname@example.org. That invitation to contact me is open to those of you worried about a loved one still alive in custody as well; I'll do what I can to help.
Condolences to those who loved Christina, especially those behind prison walls. I hope the DOC and Wexford offers crisis counseling to the grieving women around and close to her for free, lest there be a repeat attempt at self-harm - the guards automatically get help debriefing after critical incidents, and they are hardly the highest risk...