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, August 30, 2011

"Operation Fast and Furious" catching up...

So, who's responsible for all the Mexican drug war casualties and border violence?


ATF chief, Arizona prosecutor resign amid gun inquiries

USA Today
August 30, 2011

WASHINGTON – The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Arizona's top federal prosecutor resigned Tuesday in the midst of congressional and Justice Department inquiries into a controversial gun trafficking investigation that allowed hundreds of firearms to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers and criminals in the USA.

Attorney General Eric Holder said B. Todd Jones, the chief federal prosecutor in Minnesota, would replace Kenneth Melson as acting director of the ATF. Holder said Melson will become senior adviser on forensic science in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy.

Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, whose office is overseeing pending prosecutions in the gun investigation known as "Operation Fast and Furious," also resigned, and Emory Hurley, an assistant federal prosecutor directly assigned to the gun prosecutions, was reassigned within the Phoenix office.

The shake-up represents the Obama administration's first major response to allegations that the flawed gun investigation, aimed at tracking guns to drug cartel leaders, may have been responsible for arming drug organization enforcers in deadly encounters with Mexican and U.S. officials.

The operation was shut down last December after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona. Two weapons recovered at the scene of Terry's murder were purchased as part of the federal sting operation.

It has not been determined whether either of the weapons were used to kill Terry.

Holder, who offered no criticism of the departing leaders, said Jones would bring a "wealth of experience" to the top job at ATF.

"I have great confidence that he will be a strong and steady influence guiding ATF in fulfilling its mission of combating violent crime by enforcing federal criminal laws and regulations in the firearms and explosives industries," Holder said.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who leads the congressional investigation into the matter, said, "The reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes." He said the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform inquiry would continue "to ensure that blame isn't offloaded on just a few individuals."

"There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility," Issa said, "but these changes are warranted and offer an opportunity for the Justice Department to explain the role other officials and offices played in the infamous efforts to allow weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Brutalizing the mentally ill: Gerster's Sentencing.

Maricopa County Courthouse (W. Jefferson / 3rd Ave)
March 2011

Went to Kevin Gerster's pre-trial this AM, only to learn that he entered a plea last week to three counts: a misdemeanor for tampering with criminal records (he gave a buddy the address of a guy his ex-girlfriend was dating, and the buddy stalked and assaulted them both), as well as two aggravated assault charges for beating up his mentally ill prisoners (both are just class 6 felonies, though - charging him for assaulting "vulnerable adults", as I strongly urged the prosecutors to do, would have made it a class 2 felony).

Here's what really troubles me, though: ev
en though he's a repeat offender of violent crimes against vulnerable persons, they let him off the hook with "non-dangerous/ non-repetitive" designations on his assaults - how can aggravated assault be "non-dangerous"????

That favor may well be what helps him avoid prison for all this.
It sure minimizes his responsibility for hurting people repeatedly - the only reason he can't keep doing so is because he got caught, not because he found God or something. That's one sign of a sociopath - that and the sheer absence of a conscience.

This is all so disappointing - I really thought Prichard and her boss Bill Montgomery had what it took to really get justice in this case. That guy's going to walk with probation and community service, no doubt - despite violating all of our trust, as well as the welfare of his prisoners. God only knows how traumatized his victims still are - they'd have every reason to be afraid of the uniform of the state, now, too - as do the rest of us.

Here's Gerster's sentencing date; be there if you can:

10/21/2011 at 10:30 a.m.,
Judge William Brotherton Jr.
201 W. Jefferson St, PHX
Maricopa County Superior Court

Look for this provision to be pulled out at sentencing, so he has a chance of getting out of there without any felony charges at all (and could therefore become a rent-a-cop at your local high school or mall)

Shame on the MCAO for not prosecuting him for abusing vulnerable adults...


13-604. Class 6 felony; designation

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, if a person is convicted of any class 6 felony not involving a dangerous offense and if the court, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the crime and to the history and character of the defendant, is of the opinion that it would be unduly harsh to sentence the defendant for a felony, the court may enter judgment of conviction for a class 1 misdemeanor and make disposition accordingly or may place the defendant on probation in accordance with chapter 9 of this title and refrain from designating the offense as a felony or misdemeanor until the probation is terminated. The offense shall be treated as a felony for all purposes until such time as the court may actually enter an order designating the offense a misdemeanor. This subsection does not apply to any person who stands convicted of a class 6 felony and who has previously been convicted of two or more felonies.

B. If a crime or public offense is punishable in the discretion of the court by a sentence as a class 6 felony or a class 1 misdemeanor, the offense shall be deemed a misdemeanor if the prosecuting attorney files any of the following:

1. An information in superior court designating the offense as a misdemeanor.

2. A complaint in justice court or municipal court designating the offense as a misdemeanor within the jurisdiction of the respective court.

3. A complaint, with the consent of the defendant, before or during the preliminary hearing amending the complaint to charge a misdemeanor.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peace, Mom.

My mother, Jean Boatman, passed away yesterday afternoon in Fountain Hills. Her memorial service is to be held Saturday, August 27, at 10am at Fountains United Methodist Church, 15300 North Fountain Hills Boulevard, in Fountain Hills.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind wishes.
Tell someone you love them today in lieu of sending flowers.

And thanks for joining me so wholeheartedly on this journey Mom; you are such a beautiful soul, and have been a dear friend. Thank you for believing in us all.

Have a safe trip home...

Prison abolitionist charged with criminal damage.

State violence is criminal damage, too...

Look what finally arrived - all that stuff from June's Artwalk night got kicked down to misdemeanors. There's more to come, though, I think. I've been trying to get the attention of the Superior Court justices, not these folks handling the misdemeanors. It hasn't been easy. Hopefully I won't have to commit more felonious acts of resistance to do so...

So, I guess my arraignment for this round of graffiti ("criminal damage") is September 13 at 8:45am. Come early if you want to help me chalk the walk - I'm working on a memorial to Arpaio's victims for the Municipal Court judges...

Arizona Department of Corrections' Deaths in Custody:
Victims of prison violence/neglect
January 2009-June 2011
(suicide & homicide rates doubled under Director Ryan)


Pete Calleros, Mando Lugo, Dana Seawright, Shannon Palmer, James Jennings, Alex Usurelu, William Gray, Ulises Rodriguez, Albert Tsosie, Sean Pierce, Jeremy Pompeneo


Susan Lopez, Tony Lester, Duron Cunningham, Lasasha Cherry, Geshell Fernandez, Patricia Velez, Angela Soto, Hernan Cuevas, Jerry Kulp, Robert Medina, Eric Bybee, Erick Cervantes, Rosario Bojorquez-Rodriguez, Douglas Nunn, Monte McCarty, James Adams, Patrick Lee Ross, Caesar Bojorquez, Angel Torres, Harvey Rymer, Dung Ung, Ronald Richie, Michael Tovar, Carey Wheatley, Michael Pellicer, Jessie Cota,Luis Moscoso Hernandez

Institutional INDIFFERENCE:

Brenda Todd, Marcia Powell, Tom Reed, Edgar Vega, Huberta Parlee


Pete Childs, William Engelbert, Santana Aqualais, Carl Cresong, Christopher Francis


David Moreno, Gilberto Lopez

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Criminalizing America to profit the few...

is it any wonder? The more these private prison companies take hold in Arizona, the more we'll be seeing crime perpetuated (what incentive do they have to help bring it down?), and the more laws we'll pass sending vulnerable people (homeless, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, addicts) to prison who could be rehabilitated in the community, by their communities.

Anyway, this is a report well worth checking out and forwarding to legislators - especially those from districts where prisons are being proposed.

--------from the Justice Policy Institute---------

Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies

At a time when many policymakers are looking at criminal and juvenile justice reforms that would safely shrink the size of our prison population, the existence of private prison companies creates a countervailing interest in preserving the current approach to criminal justice and increasing the use of incarceration.

While private prison companies may try to present themselves as just meeting existing demand for prison beds and responding to current market conditions, in fact they have worked hard over the past decade to create markets for their product. As revenues of private prison companies have grown over the past decade, the companies have had more resources with which to build political power, and they have used this power to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration.

For-profit private prison companies primarily use three strategies to influence policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships, networks, and associations.

As policymakers and the public are increasingly coming to understand that incarceration is not only breaking the bank, but it’s also not making us safer, will this shrink the influence of private prison companies? Or will they use their growing financial muscle to consolidate and expand into even more areas of the justice system? Much will depend on the extent that people understand the role for-profit private prison companies have already played in raising incarceration rates and harming people and communities, and take steps to ensure that in the future, community safety and well-being, and not profits, drive our justice policies. One thing is certain: in this political game, the private prison industry will look out for their own interests.


(PDF)Full Report
Press Release

Other Resources

Lobbying and campaign contribution figures: Center for Responsive Politics
Money in state politics: National Institute for Money in State Politics

Peaks Watch: Hopi sue Flagstaff.

Solidarity from Phoenix...

Firehouse Gallery
1015 North 1st Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(August 20, 2011)


Hopi Sue over Sewage Effluent Contract


August 22, 2011

The Hopi Tribe Initiates Litigation against the City of Flagstaff to Enjoin the Illegal Contract for the Sale of Reclaimed Wastewater to the Snowbowl

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. – On Friday, August 19, 2011, the Hopi Tribe filed a lawsuit against the City of Flagstaff in Arizona Superior Court in Coconino County challenging the City’s decision in September 2010 not to amend or cancel the contract for the sale of reclaimed wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort (“Snowbowl”) for snowmaking.

The lawsuit states that the City’s contract to sell 1.5 million gallons of reclaimed wastewater per day to Snowbowl is illegal because it violates several Arizona laws that govern the proper use of reclaimed wastewater. The contract provides for the use of reclaimed wastewater in a mountain setting where runoff and overspray cannot be prevented, as Arizona law requires. Additionally, restrictions on limiting human contact with wastewater cannot be met, and harm to the unique alpine environment in the area, including rare animals and plants, cannot be prevented. The contract is also illegal under Arizona law because it will result in unreasonable environmental degradation and will further deplete limited drinking water resources. As stated in the complaint, the use of reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking will unreasonably harm the environment, create a public nuisance, and infringe upon the public’s, including the Hopi Tribe’s, use and enjoyment of the area around Snowbowl as well as infringe on the Hopi Tribe’s reserved water rights.

The City’s sale of reclaimed wastewater to the Snowbowl will cover a portion of the San Francisco Peaks with artificial snow made from reclaimed wastewater. The San Francisco Peaks, and in particular Snowbowl, is ecologically unique and contains rare types of habitat and species. The City’s illegal contract allows wastewater to run off and spray into wilderness areas specifically used by the Hopi Tribe and others, impeding and infringing on the use and enjoyment of these areas by the Hopi Tribe and others.

Reclaimed wastewater is water that has been used and processed through the City’s wastewater system. Snowmelt from artificial snow made from reclaimed wastewater will be environmentally harmful because it contains chemicals including endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with natural hormone levels and processes in humans and animals. Negative impacts of endocrine disrupters include aberrant sexual development, behavioral and reproductive problems. Key species in the San Francisco Peaks ecosystem, such as frogs, are particularly susceptible to these harmful effects.

The Hopi Tribe will show that the illegal contract for the sale and use of reclaimed wastewater at Snowbowl will result in a very large net economic loss for the San Francisco Peaks community. The small increase in profits anticipated by the Snowbowl and minimal economic benefits to the area are far outweighed by much higher costs, including environmental damage, for the San Francisco Peaks’ community, including the Hopi Tribe. The effects of the reclaimed wastewater cannot be confined to the ski area and, therefore, users of the Peaks in the vital and accessible areas around Snowbowl will be harmed if the illegal contract is allowed to stand. The Hopi Tribe seeks a judicial order prohibiting performance on this contract to sell reclaimed wastewater to Snowbowl, as the contract is for an illegal purpose and contrary to public policy.

The Hopi Tribe Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa stressed the importance of the case to the Hopi Tribe: “the health and safety of the Hopi people is indistinguishable from the health and safety of the environment -- protection of the environment on the San Francisco Peaks is central to the Tribe’s existence. The use of reclaimed sewage on the San Francisco Peaks as planned by the City of Flagstaff and Snowbowl will have a direct negative impact on the Hopi Tribe’s frequent and vital uses of the Peaks.”

For more information, contact (928) 734-3107.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shutting Down ALEC: bring a diversity of tactics.

------------here's the call-out from AZ Resists ALEC----------

Resist ALEC this November in Scottsdale, AZ!

ALEC thinks they’re meeting in Scottsdale, AZ this November…

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a massive non-profit body that brings corporations and legislators together to draft “model” legislation. For example, AZ Senator Russell Pearce and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison firm, have been members for years. ALEC finalized the model legislation which became, almost word for word, Arizona’s SB1070, aka “Support Our Law Enforcement.” It’s the latest in the historical pattern of colonization, slave codes, convict leasing, and the drug war, that CREATES crimes and therefore criminals, for profit.

With British Petroleum (BP) and the Koch brothers as some of their funders, ALEC has pushed for Three Strikes and Mandatory Minimum sentencing, as well as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. More than 200 of ALEC’s model bills became actual laws throughout the country over the past year.

We’re a group of people in occupied Indigenous lands, now called Arizona, who demand the end of SB1070 and 287g, the criminalization—and then the incarceration—of migrants, and the militarization of the border. We oppose private prisons, detention centers, and security companies, not simply because they are private, but because we are sickened by profiteering on human misery. ALEC desires “free markets” and “limited government,” which means they use the state to support profit-making, the continuance of colonization, and neo-liberal policies (NAFTA, CANAMEX, etc.) that draw lines, make laws, and build freeways and prisons to exploit labor and the earth.

Whether maintained by the state or corporations, we’re against all systems of control. We are for freedom of movement for all people.

ALEC should know there are a million better things to do with their time than plotting mass incarceration. But there’s nowhere we’d rather be than confronting their meeting. We’re calling for four days of action here in occupied Onk Akimel O’odham lands from November 29th – December 3rd, 2011, with an emphasis for action on November 30th (N30!). We encourage a creative diversity of tactics on N30, the 12th anniversary of the Seattle uprising against the WTO. No matter the acronym, ALEC is no different than all the other gangs of businessmen, politicians, and bureaucrats that we’ve been resisting for over 500 years.

In solidarity with everyone locked up and locked down in AZ, and all O’odham, Yaqui, Lipan Apache separated by the border, and anyone dispossessed by the wealthy and powerful…

Project Baldwin

Mother Jones: The Informants.

Awesome piece of work - the whole issue this month - by Mother Jones. Check out their other stories...

Mother Jones

The Informants

The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?