THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

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

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who cares about diabetes and women in prison?


Here's the latest on Jamie and Gladys - and Mrs. Rasco: I'm so glad she got in to Mississippi and saw not only her daughters but looked Commissioner Epps in the eye, as well. What awesome women - all the folks who are involved in organizing this campaign are amazing.  It actually looks like we're making some headway. These women are led by Good Orderly Direction - I think their driver is Divine - so let's keep following their lead. Everyone from white evangelicals  to the Black Women's Defense League will be shoulder to shoulder at the Governor's mansion one of these days, I suppose... 

Speaking of: if anyone out there is up on the religious right these days, let Pat Robertson know that Governor Barbour - and Jamie - really need a letter from him and his friends about the power one demonstrates in the exercise of mercy. He seemed to have a real spiritual awakening around the execution of Karla Faye Tucker. I think there's an opening in his heart now, where there was once nothing but wall. I hope it's open to women like Jamie Scott, too. 

Me, I'm still out for justice, because I don't know if Mississippi is a state of much mercy. If I had the money I'd drive out there myself and do a report for the Nation or Mother Jones or someone - a good investigative journalist could end up doing a lot of the footwork this family needs, anyway, to make the truth visible. That alone should tell you something: how often are imprisoned people who are really "guilty" having friends and family put their legal documents on the internet, letting anyone in the world, literally, dig even deeper into their lives?

C'mon, Mass Media: why haven't you people picked up on the Scott Sisters, yet? Where is Oprah, anyway? Jamie needs proper care and these women should be free. Progressive Press: you have no excuse. This should be headlining everywhere. Race, Gender, Class – that’s the stuff that determines our access to quality health care and insurance on the outside. Criminal status just puts the nail in the coffin earlier in life. 


Why is there STILL so much disparity in the criminal justice and health care systems?  

It will be a huge disservice to us all if Mass Media ignores the Scotts' story until something even worse happens, and it's too late to save Jamie. You've at least got to see what's happening here - more websites are watching, more coalitions are forming - and there really isn't time to waste, given Jamie's rapid deterioration and the conditions of her confinement.

 There's a hundred ways to cover this. You can do a partner piece on diabetes in prisons that encompasses Native America's experience, too: look at Leonard Peltier's struggles to get proper nutrition and care, and he's regarded internationally as a political prisoner and a hero of indigenous movements. If that's what Leonard gets, what kind of health care access do the invisible Indians get? Keep in mind that I'm asking the DOJ to do a CRIPA investigation, too - and that Barbour may be running for president in 2012. There are all sorts of stories buried in this one...but the most important one right now is Jamie's.

As for the little people doing the real work: if you write to Epps, reaffirm his promise to Mrs. Rascoe and thank him for making sure she could see Jamie and Gladys. He does have the power to move Jamie to the hospital any time he wants; his hands aren’t completely tied, as he’d like us to believe. He just doesn’t want to set a precedent that has every prisoner’s family knocking at his door. 

Now, if this was a "medical release," her freedom, as I understand it, actually would be up to him, not the governor - that was the case with the last guy we blogged on from Mississippi. Dr. Perry had to make a recommendation about the request for medical release, then it ended up on Epps' desk for the final word...Why couldn't Jamie get one of those? I'll find the criteria for that and post it here later. Maybe that’s just the last step before the governor. I’m still pretty illiterate about compassionate releases, commutations, pardons and the like, considering how much I write about them. Every state is different, too.

Note the call to get health care and medical organizations involved. Anyone else contact the Mississippi Kidney Foundation this week? If you're not from Mississippi, call the national chapter or your own. Mississippi’s hasn’t responded to me. I don’t even know if they’re working on this. 

It sounds like Jamie’s renal failure is secondary to her diabetes. Diabetes is such a major health problem in prisons because of the diet served there, and because it's fed to the disproportionately high concentration of people serving long sentences who are most vulnerable to develop diabetes - such as Native Americans and African Americans. For people of all colors, I believe (and those with none), diabetes is also disproportionately among the poor

Not surprisingly, diabetes develops in prisoners younger and kills patients faster inside than it does on the outside. I'd think there'd be a few organizations interested in studying why that is, what the racial, gender and class discrepancies are all about, and how co-morbidity and mortality rates for diabetic prisoners can be reduced. Help me find them, folks. 

(That's you I'm talking to, by the way, if you're reading this now. Don't let this be like the famous, brutal murder in the urban apartment complex in which some 35 neighbors heard a woman scream for help for 30 minutes, but no one called 911 or otherwise responded because they all thought someone else would have done so already. You are the ones we're counting on. Do what you can, then let the folks at the Scott Sisters’ blogspot know what you did.)

Those of you with diabetes in your own family, especially, contact the diabetes organizations and tell them you want to know what kind of work they’re doing with/bout prisoners with diabetes, and tell them Jamie’s story. What are they doing in our state? What if Jamie was your daughter or sister or Mom? What will they do to help her? Jamie is precisely the kind of patient who needs the influence of these organizations the most – and the media they would bring.

The American Diabetes Association must have something to say about all this, regardless of what the Kidney Foundation is willing to take on. Here’s the link to Diabetes Advocacy, too. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors has both a Diabetes Council and a Woman’s Health Council. The contact for both (Denise Cyzman at the DC and Laura Shea at the WHC) should be interested in what the states are doing about treating chronic illnesses – like diabetes - in prison. Ask them what they know about Mississippi – what organizations would be most needed to help the Scotts work through Jamie’s medical issues, as well as explore the overall quality of health care for prisoners there.

May 9-15 is National Women’s Health Week according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, by the way. Start planning to recognize issues in women's health care in prison that week with community health groups. DHHS also has the Minority Women's Health Panel of Experts (there are all sorts of good contacts on that page).

A woman Jamie's age should not be going into renal failure from diabetes unless she wasn't getting adequate help with managing her illness all along. Renal failure and years of dialysis often await people with diabetes - especially those who have had the least ability and resources in their lives to manage their illness. Jamie has had very little power over her daily movements, much less her health care and diet over the past 16 years. 

Wherever you are, though, look first in your own backyard - ask your state and local groups, even your personal physicians, to get involved in issues regarding prisoner health care – then ask them to weigh in on this. They should contact their counterparts in Mississippi and ask them how they’re responding to it – and we should follow up and find out what they’ll be doing for prisoners and families here. They're all connected through national organizations and conferences (contact them, too, at the links above), and I know they've got people who are interested in this very thing. We need to balance them out with radical feminists and patient advocacy groups, too.  

Really, there isn't a single American for whom something might not be at stake in the realm of patient and prisoner rights. What happens next should matter to everyone - diabetes may have its favorites, but it's not limited to people who are poor, black, female, or in prison. I seriously doubt that Arizona's health care resources for prisoners are any more generous than they are in Mississippi - and we have a real knack for wrongful imprisonment - so as I see it, my mom could easily be in Jamie's shoes, too. 

White privilege reduces our chances of being criminalized or imprisoned to begin with, but it doesn’t buy as much in prison: whatever your guilt, income, gender or race, you're just another criminal to the state - a piece of human waste - being warehoused at the cheapest possible rate (at great profit, perhaps, to someone invested in nothing more than our compliance and the cost of our living).

Personally, I believe our prisoners are far from the garbage heap: they're on the front lines, under heavy fire, and what we let happen to them will soon befall the rest of us. We should be thanking many of them for their perseverance, their voice, and their courage. 

So, “ thanks” to all prisoners out there right now who have been fighting for their health care rights – in the process, they have been defending ours, too…that includes Jamie and Gladys.

- Peg.

----------------------------
Subject: CHECK IT: 2/20 JAMIE SCOTT UPDATE (Scott Sisters) ~ By Sis Marpessa

Greetings all,

Mrs. Evelyn Rasco has been going non-stop in Mississippi advocating on behalf of her daughters since the 2/17 update, she is absolutely incredible and a force to be reckoned with!

Mrs. Rasco was able to get into see both of her daughters on 2/18. Gladys reports that she is doing OK but is of course greatly concerned about Jamie.  Jamie was able to come to the visiting room and visit with her
mother and son but was very obviously not doing well medically.  She has lost weight and is extremely weak.
The temporary catheter in her neck has been replaced twice but is still malfunctioning with infection in her neck and breast area, which she was able to show her mother evidence of. One of her medications is being denied to her because the state won't pay for it.  Jamie's blood pressure and diabetes are not under control.

As soon as Mrs. Rasco left the prison she attended a meeting of the legislature in the Capitol Bldg. in Jackson dealing with prison budget cuts and other prison-related issues.  She recognized Commissioner Epps from his photo at the prison and walked right up to him and told him all about Jamie's poor condition and shoddy medical treatment.  He stated that he was getting messages from all over the world (thanks to all of you!).  He stated that he was going to do everything that he could to obtain clemency or pardon for the Scott Sisters and that he was giving his word on this, although he had no power to actually make it happen himself.  Dr. Gloria Perry was also there and defended the medical care that Jamie Scott is receiving despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

Mrs. Rasco has done several MS radio shows and even spoke at a high school last night.  She was preparing to return home today but received a call in the middle of last night telling her that she needed to get back to the prison today (2/20) and see about Jamie.  Since today is Jamie's regular visiting day she was able to go right down there to see her. This a.m., however, Jamie was too weak to walk to the visiting room, but Mrs. Rasco was able to go to the infirmary where Jamie is being kept on a hospital bed inside of a cell.

She was horrified at Jamie's living conditions in the infirmary, she could not believe what she saw there.  She stated that there was trash all over the floor.  Jamie's bedding was dirty and her facebowl and toilet were filthy.  Jamie's floor had bags of dirty clothes.  The paint was peeling and the infirmary was nasty.  Jamie told her that the dialysis machine broke down again, this time during her last treatment and that she only received one hour on there.

The nurse said that Jamie needs to be hospitalized RIGHT NOW because of a huge knot of infection that has amassed in her neck. The catheter has drifted and is again non-functional.  The nurse is giving her antibiotics and said she should have been hospitalized yesterday but that the paperwork had not been completed.  She is hoping that Jamie will get sent back to the hospital on Monday.  The food in the tray that was delivered to Jamie while Mrs. Rasco was there was swimming in water and unfit to eat.  Jamie refused it and said she has not been receiving the nutrition that dialysis patients are supposed to have.

One of Mrs. Rasco's legal advisers, Chokwe Lumumba, urged that we strive to get support from a medical foundation or institution that can help to get Jamie moved into a medical facility ASAP in order to save her life. The infections and her horrible living conditions, her lack of consistent dialysis, medications, and nutrition and her serious illnesses have left Jamie barely able to walk.
If you are able to help Jamie purchase her food, or even would like to put money on Gladys' books, please go to http://www.facebook.com/l/94600;www.inmatedeposits.com and register for Access Corrections to help them.

Jamie Scott #19197
CMCF2/A-Bldg.
B Zone, Bed 196
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550

Gladys Scott #19142
CMCF/B-Bldg.
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550

Please continue to contact the Governor, prison officials, politicians and media, there is a lot of renewed focus on the case of the Scott Sisters and Mrs. Rasco said that information is going out all over Mississippi radio.  Please continue to sign onto the compassionate release petition for Jamie at http://www.facebook.com/l/94600;tinyurl.com/yfrj5g6
we have almost reached our goal of 1,000 signatures!

There are some upcoming events for the Scott Sisters, including a gathering at the Capitol in Jackson, MS being organized by Bro. Lumumba for next week. The MWM/Black Women's Defense League rally is being organized by Empress Chi for March 26, 2010.  The  "FREE THE SCOTT SISTERS" Protest Demonstration and Rally will also help to further the building of the "FREE THE SCOTT SISTERS" DIRECT ACTION TASK FORCE that is being coordinated by the BWDL.  To get involved with the FTSS-Task Force or for more information call 267-636-3802 or e-mail: nationalmwm@aol.com or BWDL7@aol.com.

Please subscribe to the mailing list and check the website and Facebook Group for updates.  Mrs. Rasco is still unable to respond to e-mails as she is away from her computer, so please send urgent messages to nattyreb@gmail.com until she returns.

Visit and LINK to: http://www.facebook.com/l/94600;www.freethescottsisters.blogspot.com
.
Subscribe to our group:  Send a blank e-mail to scottsistersupdates-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and share information!

Facebook Group: Free The Scott Sisters
Compassionate Release Petition: http://www.facebook.com/l/94600;www.scribd.com/doc/26252282/COMPASSIONATE-RELEASE-FOR-JAMIE-SCOTT

Free the Scott Sisters Petition:  http://www.facebook.com/l/94600;www.ipetitions.com/petition/Free-Jamie-Gladys/index.html

Legal Transcripts: http://www.facebook.com/l/94600;www.scribd.com/Scott%20Sisters

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