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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Death at Eyman: Carey Wheatley, 49.

I don't know what exactly this man was accused of, or what he actually did, for that matter. I do know of men and women alike who I believe were wrongfully convicted, however, so before you jump on my blog to post "good riddance", bear in mind that we do have innocent people in prison, including those doing life for murder and facing death for horrendous crimes against children.

That's not to say this guy was innocent - just keep it to yourself if you're doing nothing but trolling for the misery of others to exploit. His survivors, if he has any, will read these posts for a long time to come. So will the survivors of other dead prisoners. Respect them, at least, and lay off.

Furthermore, believe it or not, even some of the guilty ones have a conscience they can't live with. Some men mutilate and destroy themselves so as not to hurt others again with their own buried trauma and rage. Most offenders don't get life or death, though, and are eventually returned to the community - so we need to learn better responses to them than just slamming our collective door, or they're set up to re-offend in the shadows again.

The best way to hold perpetrators accountable and transform their behavior, in this context, is to keep them in the light of higher expectations as community members with major amends to make to us all, not simply to expect the worst when they return from exile. Really, if there was an option of a deserted island where they could go be self-sufficient and not hurt anyone, most of these guys would go - we just don't have that for them, except in prison...some guys even violate themselves and go right back in when released on lifetime probation.

The introduction to prison comes only AFTER these folks violate another human being, though - we need to give them a safe retreat before they go that far. Many many of them display some form of intellectual or psychiatric disability, are still considered victims themselves, and are just beginning to struggle with the manifestations of trauma then. Regardless of how we feel about pedophiles (I'm as disturbed by their conduct as anyone else - especially being a survivor myself), an intervention at that point in the continuum of the criminalization of abuse victims could save lives and prevent another child from being hurt.

Evidence-based practice compels us to begin to look differently - at the level of community - at how we deal with sex offenders coming home from prison. If we let them suffer even more trauma in there and alienation out here, we won't have very much success with them once they're free again to do as they please. Kudos to Barbara Broderick, Chief of Maricopa County Probation Department, for having the wisdom and courage to tackle issue that head-on in last week's panel discussion at the ASU Art Museum (sorry, I didn't report on that one - there are many things I do that I just don't get to) - as she said, even these people are human. I can certainly attest that their stories are often far more complex than headlines let on...

So are their victims', of course. Some of the stories of violent crime victims I profile as well - at least those who are raped, assaulted and murdered in prison or jail. The mainstream victims' rights people take care of the rest.

This notice was released the day the ACLU hit Eyman, by the way, so hopefully they're already getting records.

Our condolences to anyone who cared about this man.

No comments:

Post a Comment