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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Perryville: The silent fall of Geshell Fernandez.

(UPDATE: September 21, 2010)

I tried to dig up some
information about Geshell other than court records, but there isn't much out there. In 2007 the courts had her address listed as "transient". Some of Geshell's convictions included drug-related charges and assault, all of which suggest that she was dually diagnosed with a serious mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. As recently as January 09 she had to be restored to competency in order to plead guilty to her crimes.

She had an even worse record in prison: within six months of killing herself, Geshell had been charged with assaulting both another prisoner and a guard. She was considered a 5/5 custody risk and housed in maximum security.

I just keep wondering, though: if she was so ill that the Department of Corrections couldn't manage her without putting her in max, then why wasn't she in a psychiatric hospital? Did they think she was
just being "bad"? That's why women with mental illness get more than our fair share of brutality, chemical restraint, and solitary. Our deviance isn't just a sign of distraction or distress, it's an outright rejection of the social order that Power depends on to maintain control. For that we need to be punished, apparently, to keep the rest of the women in line.

I didn't find any indication in my search that Geshell's family is around - couldn't find an obituary, even. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more information about this woman's life. She was only 28 when she died.

- Peggy Plews (09/21/2010)

--------------------from the original post, all I knew-----------------

Suicide in a community increases the risk to those most susceptible to follow suit. The number to the national suicide hotline is posted in the side column. The reason to call if you need to is in Phil Ochs' song, also in the side column. Stop, listen, call.

Our condolences go out to this young woman's loved ones.


1601 W. JEFFERSON PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85007 (602) 542-3133

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:

Barrett Marson

Bill Lamoreaux

July 23, 2010
Inmate Death Notification

Goodyear, Az.- Inmate Geshell Fernandez, ADC#196933, died while in Arizona Department of Corrections custody early Friday after apparently committing suicide.

Medical responders attempted life saving measures in her cell but Fernandez was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m.

Fernandez, 28, came to ADC in November 2009 after a conviction from Maricopa County for aggravated assault and a drug paraphernalia violation. She was serving 7.5 years and housed at ASPC-Perryville in the Lumley Unit.

The death is under investigation by the Department.


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