I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Arnold v Sarn: No Crisis in Mental Health Care here!

Excuse me, but the governor's aide just said that she doesn't think the public mental health system in this state is in crisis - it just needs a little improving. It appears as if she may think the judge overseeing the Arnold v- Sarn litigation (of 20+ years ago now?) is over-reacting. I wonder if she heard about what happened to Marcia Powell?

Really: "Not in Crisis???"

Mental-health plan rejected

The judge in a long-running legal battle over mental-health care said Gov. Jan Brewer's plan doesn't offer the relief needed for most of the mentally ill in Maricopa County. 

But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen O'Connor also indicated she isn't ready to embrace a proposal from mental-health advocates to recommend changes to the mental-health system.

Instead, O'Connor issued a series of questions for the advocates and gave them until next Wednesday to answer them.

In a ruling filed Wednesday, O'Connor said Brewer's proposal to create a pilot program won't work because it would only affect a fraction of the mentally-ill population - about 3 percent.

Earlier this year, O'Connor declared the system in crisis in the wake of a highly critical audit and called for proposals to remedy it.

O'Connor did say Brewer's pilot-program plan might be considered as part of a longer-range overhaul of the system but that it doesn't reach far enough to address the current crisis.

The judge also said she was disappointed that the governor did not talk with the mental-health advocates who brought the lawsuit before coming up with her pilot plan.

Joe Kanefield, the governor's legal counsel, said the judge acknowledged Brewer's concern that the state's fiscal crisis could hamper efforts to do a systemwide overhaul.

But he said the governor differs with the judge's perception that the system is in emergency mode.

"The governor's position is that the system is not in crisis, but definitely can be improved," he said.

Any improvement, however, must come from the Legislature, which sets state policy, and not from the courts, Kanefield added.

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