The wrongful Death institute has this posted on their website:
Incarcerated patients incur both permanent medical disabilities or die. Medical records compromised and misrepresented in pursuit of cost-reduction. Documented? Yes. Pervasive? Yes. A function of prison healthcare policy and procedures nationwide? Yes. Are your State Departments of Correction and healthcare provider(s) motivated to impose change? No. Reflective of budget considerations, a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" mentality. Inappropriately treated or non-treatment of Diabetes, untreated Hepatitis C, Stage IV wounds not treated, broken bones inappropriately treated or not treated at all, diagnoses withheld, cancer treated as bronchitis, suicidal behavior not adequately addressed, suicides ruled homicides and vice versa, unnecessary amputations, staph infections ignored leading to death, withheld doctor consultations, withheld medications, administration of incorrect medications, thrown in solitary for aggressively attempting to obtain needed healthcare. The list is endless. Many die due to inadequate healthcare or no healthcare. When an inmate dies as a result of this neglect a second problem raises its head.
 This all goes on here in Alaska, all the time. My story is nothing compared to Marcia's I will just be discussing it due to the similar behavior of the corrections officers in both cases.

When wrongfully incarcerated August of 2007 I constantly wrote grievances about not getting my medication(8th amendment violations and DOC policy violations) and not being allowed to see a medical professional. I never got a response to any of them, I believe they were just thrown away. What did happen is a parole officer showed up and told me I was going to have a hearing to see if I should be put in administrative segregation. I did not know what that was so she had to explain it was a segregated area away from open population. I asked why and she said it had been reported I was a trouble maker. I was suppose to have a representative assist me at the hearing which was a corrections officer. He did not show and why I would want a CO for a rep I do not know. She went ahead with the hearing as I am perfectly capable of representing myself. When I told her what had been going on she had tears in her eyes . She made me a level one or least dangerous prisoner and said she recommended open population so I could have more opportunity to try and get the public defender agency to do their job(a useless endeavor). They never let me go to open population. I was sent to an orientation unit where a CO told me I would stay for 83 days when I complained about being prevented from going to the law library.

Arizona the state Marcia Powell died a horrible death in the hands of the neglectful and sadistic department of corrections has a Republican Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer got the job when Napolitano left to run the Department of Homeland security for President Obama. She has eliminated state benefits for domestic partners and is a pro-life, just to give you an idea of who she is.

In a press statement on 9/18/09 Governor Jan Brewer communicated this message:

$50 million awarded to Department of Corrections for salary expenses of 1,305 officers

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today announced the first distribution of the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) Government Services Fund (GSF) monies to the Arizona Department of Corrections through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). A total of $50 million will be given to the Department to pay officer’s salary expenses incurred during the first five (5) pay periods of FY2010 in order to support officers needed to staff required security posts throughout the state’s prison system to ensure the safety of the public, staff and inmates.

“The $50 million will go to ensure our Department operates with a full complement of officers to protect Arizonans," said ADC Director Charles L. Ryan. "The money released by Governor Brewer pays the salaries of our brave and hard-working correctional officers in this difficult economic time."

“I am extremely pleased, and so will my officers be, to know that Governor Brewer and the Arizona Office of Economic Recovery care enough about our safety and well being to fund such an important public safety agency,” said Michael Duran, State Executive President of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. “This stretches further than just safety for my officers - this helps us do our first and foremost job of protecting the public everyday.”

The only concern is for the corrections officers and that public safety statement of a politician with future ambitions. No money to assure the safety of the inmates. No money to give the inmates proper medical treatment. How the hell are you protecting the public from someone like Marcia Powell? When I was incarcerated in Alaska I was not afraid of the inmates. I was afraid of the corrections officers. Some of them are sociopaths. Quite a few had personality disorders. Well, at least she is concerned about the officers. In Alaska Sarah Palin didn't care about the inmates or the officers.

After I posted on my blog yesterday I checked and there had been a 3000 page report released from the investigation done into Marcia Powell’s death. I was stunned at how accurately I had known how she was treated. Why did I know this? I was treated similarly in Alaska and witnessed others treated the same way. I have also worked in prisons and saw the culture and behavior of corrections officers. There has been a lot of research done on the behavior of prison guards and it is well known they have to be closely supervised to prevent abuse and neglect. This is not being done in most of America.

By Stephen Lemons in the Phoenix News Times Blog wrote this which I did not see before I wrote my post yesterday:

Charles Ryan may have pulled the plug on Marcia Powell too soon. He may have overseen an ADC staff that denied her water for hours in a shadeless wire cage, a staff that allowed the severely mentally ill Powell to defecate on herself in captivity, that allowed her to perish in 107-plus degree heat while under the influence of psychiatric drugs, making her even more vulnerable to the heat. But he still has the support of Arizona's Governor-for-the-moment Jan Brewer.
According to Brewer's top flack, Ryan -- who is currently ADC's Interim Director, despite describing himself as ADC's official "Director" on ADC's Web site -- remains Brewer's pick to be ADC's top administrator. Never mind him stepping over a dead inmate to grab the brass ring.
"He was not submitted or confirmed in the last session," wrote Brewer flack Paul Senseman in e-mail Wednesday. "It is expected that he will be submitted to the legislature and likely confirmed in the next legislative session."(How Ryan's current bureaucratic supremacy will play with the possible sale/leaseback of the state's prisons is unknown.)
Asked whether Ryan should resign his interim position because of the way he's mishandled Powell's grotesque demise in state custody, Senseman was positively blithe. "I'm not aware of any independent person or organization who is suggesting otherwise," tut-tutted Senseman.
Senseman did not reply to follow up questions inquiring if the Governor was in any way remorseful over Powell's death, why she remained confident in Ryan's abilities in spite of his obvious bungling, and if she supported Ryan ending Powell's life support without consulting with Powell's court-appointed guardian, Maricopa County's Public Fiduciary.
Here's a novel idea for the former Bush administration flunky, used to overseeing Iraqi prisons for the U.S. State Department: Do the honorable thing and resign.
Otherwise, may the ghost of Marcia Powell forever haunt you...
I guess that explains the use of the cages and the blind eye to torture.

One of the first things I thought when I read this was, “Did governor Brewer go to high school with Charles Ryan? He has her full support in the face of a corrupt prison system. We know here in Alaska our former Governor Sarah Quitter Palin used the criteria of being a classmate to select people for many key positions including Joe Schmidt our commissioner of the department of corrections. In Alaska we have had several deaths in the prisons due to abuse and neglect, almost non-existent health care and horrible treatment of the mentally ill. They also block people from using the law library and keep women in horrible conditions in a gymnasium in Kenai. The medical care is pretty much non-existent. Almost all medications are withheld and complaints of illness ignored. The corrections officers can be very abusive (But there were some who were professional and humane). We have had inmates put in cells with violent inmates on purpose(myself included, but I was not harmed) and many raped while prison staff looked the other way. They block inmates from being able to use the legal system by “loosing” mail and not letting them have access to the outside through the phone system. The corrections officers claim dangerous conditions due to short staffing(they seemed to have enough time to psychologically torture me). MRSA (resistant staph) was another concern they had. Well I have a suggestion for them, providing soap to the inmates would have helped the situation. It is supplied in some areas and not in others and showers are also withheld for some. They had a no confidence vote of about 480 to only 20 in support of Schmidt.

In response to the complaints of the corrections officers Sarah Palin said “Commissioner Schmidt has my full support as he and his team continue to bring remarkable reforms to the Department of Corrections…. Joe has my unconditional support.” I have seen some of those remarkable reforms and they belong in a third world country. I also know that one of his special reform techniques is to lie about the conditions in the prisons, which they apparently also do in Arizona.

Another article was posted yesterday which I saw after I posted to my blog:

Casey Newton of the Arizona Republic wrote about a 3000 page report on the investigation of Marcia Powell's death. It is sickening, but I already knew exactly what had happened as soon as I read the story a couple days ago.

The Arizona Department of Corrections' internal investigation of Powell's death on May 20 runs about 3,000 pages. The department announced this week that it has disciplined 16 people in connection with the incident, with five employees fired or forced to resign. A criminal investigation is ongoing.
Powell passed out in her cell on the morning of May 19. A few minutes before, she had announced she was suicidal. She was taken to an outdoor cage to await transfer to a psychiatric unit. But the sergeant who saw Powell lose consciousness never reported the incident to supervisors, despite the fact that Powell said she was having trouble breathing.

Two medications she was taking Haldol and Valproic Acid are both known to cause patients to become suicidal and hypotensive(low blood pressure). The staff taking care of a patient taking them should be aware of the symptoms to look for and have regular conversations with the patient to see what state of mind they are in.

My blog posts have discussed the corrections officers here in Alaska ignoring symptoms the inmates have and telling inmates they will call for help if they think they might die. They can not be the judges of a patient's state of health. If she passed out and was having trouble breathing before the cage this could be an indication of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome(Need lab results and medication administration history to evaluate). It is a neurological adverse reaction to Haldol which can result in death if not treated. I don't know if they had started the meds recently or not. It also could mean she was already sick from heat before she went outside or she had some kind of illness. Clearly with breathing problems and passing out she should have been seen by someone immediately.

In Alaska they would have treated her complaints and symptoms exactly the same way by ignoring them. I observed a young woman who was a Heroin addict very ill from withdrawl. She had been complaining she thought she would pass out, yet they made her walk around with everyone else. Heroin addicts have low blood pressure and with diarrhea and vomiting of withdrawl they get dehydrated. In the dining hall she stood up and got in line with the rest of us. She then simply passed out. Being a critical care nurse I immediately knew what had happened and why, so I held up her legs to help perfuse her brain and bring her back to consciousness. The CO screamed at me to let go of her and then screamed at the girl, she was about eighteen, to stop faking seizures. There was no seizure activity at all, she simply passed out. He is an idiot. A lot of young skinny girls pass out easily anyway, I would expect one in her condition who is not helped with hydration to definitely loose consciousness with sudden position changes. There are non-narcotic medications which help withdrawl, but they enjoyed watching her and other addicts suffer.

Here are some old posts on this blog about my experience in the prisons in Alaska, the first one has an excerp from a fifty page letter I wrote to Sarah Palin before I knew she just ignored all the non-dominionists, native Alaskans, civil rights, and really does not care about people. I also did not know she was nuts. It was written the spring of 2008


• At least 20 inmates told investigators that Powell was denied water for most or all of the time she was in the cage, despite regular requests. Corrections officers said Powell was given water.

The most bitterly disputed aspect of the case concerns whether Powell was denied water.
Nearly all of the inmates interviewed by investigators reported that Powell screamed out for water regularly but was repeatedly denied. Others said she was granted water only once or twice in nearly four hours.

"I need some water - just a drop," one inmate overheard Powell tell a corrections officer, who reportedly ignored her.
Another inmate reported that a corrections officer mockingly repeated Powell's requests for water back to her, without giving her any.
Both inmates and staff members said Powell's history of mental illness and frequent erratic behavior meant that some of her requests were not taken seriously. She did not get the staff's undivided attention until she collapsed at 2:40 p.m.
Lies and the lying liars who tell them. The staff is not psychologically capable of dealing with mentally ill inmates, so they abuse them. That mocking is one of the types of psychological abuse I have talked about receiving on my blog before. Remember I said they are very immature. In my post on this story on Thursday I said this: Here is the problem in these situations, inmates may say to the staff they are too hot and the staff will just tell them it is too bad and keep walking. Unsafe conditions do not register with them. They think an inmate who complains or asks for something is a pain. They think inmates who complain of being sick are faking it or are manipulating. Sometimes inmates are. They do not have the medical expertise to know. The lack of medical and nursing staff in the prisons is almost as bad as the low quality of the corrections staff.

• Powell was taking psychotropic medications that made her particularly sensitive to the heat, but medical personnel did not convey that fact to corrections officers.
All medical and nursing staff who did not convey this information should loose their licenses.

When I complained about a mentally ill "patient" not getting treatment in a prison in Alaska the nurse looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "remember these aren't patients, they are inmates." Translated into prison employee language that means not human.

After more than two hours in the sun, Powell requested to be taken back to her indoor cell. Her request was denied.

• Powell was apparently denied a request to use the restroom and defecated in the cage. A corrections officer discovered that Powell had soiled herself but left her where she was. Medical personnel would later discover feces underneath her fingernails and all over her back.
I have been with countless numbers of people when they died, people often defecate all over themselves just before they die.

I myself was denied the use of a bathroom more than once. When I did get to one there was no soap and I was forced to beg for toilet paper and belittled for asking for it here in Alaska's gulags. I am discussing my experiences to indicate this is common practice in the prison systems.

• The psychiatric unit to which Powell was awaiting transport should have accepted her hours before she died, the report found, but a series of miscommunications prevented her from being taken in.
This is by no definition a miscommunication. It is malpractice, abuse, neglect, barbarism, and plain old not giving a shit what happens to the inmates, especially the mentally ill ones who are difficult to deal with.

Officers did not properly log Powell's time in the outdoor cell or when they checked on her. When she collapsed, no one could say for certain how long she had been there.
Oh, I doubt that very much, they just don’t want us to know.

Reminds me of the patient at Wildwood in Alaska who respiratory arrested in an observation cell with a camera in it next to my cell. Then they all ran around like the keystone cops not knowing what to do. The corrections officers were too busy psychologically torturing me and laughing at me to pay attention to their jobs.

Doctors on the scene said Powell's body temperature was at least 108 degrees but may have been higher, since their thermometers topped out at 108.
Did they even have enough sense to cool her body down before the rescue team got there?

There are no prison reform organizations in Alaska that I can find. The ACLU in Alaska is researching a paper on the conditions in the prisons. They told me they probably will not be filing a lawsuit as people in Alaska do not care about the inmates and don't donate money to the cause. The ACLU has recently faught for the rights of homeless people who live in camps and I know a lot of those people are on probation or parole. They have a prison rights guide on their website. The problem is the prison system does not allow rights, hell they don't even follow their own policies(Except for the Homer Jail). I knew what my rights were and they disapeared all of my grieveances. I called the ACLU about what was going on from a prison and got no response. Unless someone helps prevent the DOC from blocking grievances and files lawsuits the knowledge of what rights prisoners have doesn't really get them anything. I can tell you 75% of the rights the ACLU list I have personally had violated in the prison system. The ACLU attorney working on prison rights did not know who I was when I called even though I have sent several letters and made several phone calls. They do not seem at all interested in my story and he was very abrupt with me when I called him in July.  Check the national prison page of the ACLU, they have done a lot of work in some parts of the country for prisoners.

For more information on Marcia Powell and the efforts to help the prisoners in Arizona check out the Middle Ground Prison Reform website. For the time being Alaska still has some prisoners in Arizona.

Contact information for the AZ Governor:

Janice K. Brewer office of the Governor

Main Phone: 602-542-4331
Facsimile: 602-542-7601
1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Governor’s spokesperson: Tasya Peterson

(602) 542-3464

For more information on the prisons I Alaska check out the blog Palingates.


Prison Abolitionist said...

Thank you, Celia, for women prisoners everywhere. E-mail the folks at www.criticalresistance.org, if you haven't already, and ask them for help up there. They have a number of resources that can at least help bring together Alaskan prison activists and develop an organizing strategy.

We'll be in touch. Take care.

Anonymous said...

There are still many resources and ACLU- unless the issue affects many or they will gain some type of noteriety - they are useless....


Celia Harrison said...

Thank you Prison Abolitionist I have searched for some support. Clearly there is no prison reform group in Alaska. It is needed very badly. I will contact critical resistance on Monday.

kamagra said...

Why is this happening on women's prisoner? They should be treated equally as an ordinary person not a convict.