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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Family unfit for being poor: AZ CPS.

I've been looking a lot these past few weeks at what happens to young women - girls, in some cases - who are prosecuted for murdering their children because they were too immature to care for them, or they were in a battering relationship and didn't protect their child from the actual abuser in time to save them. They are vilified and charged with abuse or homicide when they do seek help (even when it's apparent they weren't the perpetrator), yet imprisoned for murder when they fight back and kill their abusers instead.

These women have gone to prison for very long periods of time when their children are hurt or die, even those who were children themselves - and therefore victims of sexual abuse - when they conceived their child, like Forrest Day. Forrest was prosecuted as an adult at 16 for her 8-month old child's accidental drowning, and recently killed herself doing time for abuse in the AZ women's state prison, Perryville. She was 19 when she died.

Women are disproportionately prosecuted in "failure to protect" cases - even while many of those women are themselves being victimized by the same perpetrator of the child's abuse, and initiate the contact with emergency services to bring them help. Very seldom are fathers ever prosecuted for failing to protect their children from the mother's abuse, though - and how often are men the victims of women in violent relationships? Yes it happens, but not to the same extent.
Anyway, this article below really struck me today because any woman who gets her kids taken away by Child Protective Services - or turned down as a possible placement - is immediately suspect in our society. They sure don't get support from mainstream media like this, which usually defers to the state version of a person's life and character. Never mind the horrific situations in foster care and adoption that the state has helped put those kids into that they do manage to "rescue" from incapable or abusive parents.  

Here's a case, though, where a drug-addicted mother lost her parental rights, and her 2 year old child was taken by CPS even though family wanted to take him instead. Their reasoning had nothing to do with the fitness of the grandmother or aunt as caregivers, though - it appears to be simply because they are poor. 


Yes, because they are poor. In a state where 20% of all children are going to bed HUNGRY. Not only are all the other poor kids not being taken away from their loved ones, but they're getting hurt even more by the state through cutbacks to subsistence programs and education, and regressive sales taxes on essentials like food. Poverty, you know, is violence, too. Hunger hurts.

I left my own comment at, after this article, suggesting that people email Mesa Representative Cecil Ash, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, to see what he can do from his end to look into this. His contact info is / (602) 926-3160, if anyone else wants to drop him a note too.


Family grieves after child is taken by CPS

by Kristine Harrington
Posted on January 13, 2012 at 5:45 PM
Updated Saturday, Jan 14 at 1:26 AM 

PHOENIX -- They are the cases that tug at the heart, children torn away from their families because Child Protective Services (CPS) believes their living conditions to be unfit.

It's the struggle one Arizona family is trying to cope with right now, losing a young family member, and they say it isn't fair.

Devon Cone is 2 years old.

“Devon is very close to all of us, he's very close to his brothers,” said his aunt, Cari Cone. “We are a very close family. We have all these kids. They are all happy, every single one of them is happy.”

Devon's mom is a drug addict who lost custody of all her children. Her three older boys were all adopted by their maternal grandma years ago. Then came Devon, who turned 2 last week, but his grandma, Mary Boland, was denied Devon.

“I have not slept for days, I have not slept for days,” Boland said.

Cone said she would take him but being unemployed she said CPS denied her, too.

“They told me the reason why is that I don't have the money to take care of him so I said are you going to take my kids too because I don't have the money, but the CPS worker said no,” she said.

That's when Devon went to live with his uncle more than a year ago.

“That's who he thinks is his daddy,” Cone said.

And that's who would be his adoptive daddy, but CPS won't allow it and no one is sure why.

“They are using the excuse that Tracy, my father's ex-wife from 20 years ago, is a better fit,”  Cone said. “
But she is in New Jersey.”

CPS will not comment on this case specifically but says family reunification is their goal, but it doesn't always work out.

“We want to look at a child as an individual. A child may not be a fit with the family. There may be someone else who's a better fit for the child,” said Deidre Calcoate, an adoption manager with CPS. “We would talk to the family and help them understand why the child was not placed with them.”

Whatever the reason, it is impossible for all these broken hearts to understand.

“I want my brother, I want my brother to stay with us,” cried one of Devon's brothers.

Of course, custody battles are always heartbreaking and costly. Still this family plans to fight and hopes to bring Devon home someday.

---------from the comments section------

Cari Cone

This is my newphew he is and will always be loved by this entire family. He has been in our lives for 2 years and have made everyone of us smile. He is VERY LOVED and there is nothing wrong with our family other than showing the love we all have for each other. My Mom has rasied 3 of her own children and now is raising 3 of her grandchildren that all have been loved since the day they were born. My mom has been raising my oldest newphew since he was a year old and has had all 3 of the boys pretty much since birth. Devon lived with his Mom for a very short time as a small infant and was with my mom from about 5 months till he was 13 months and my brother has had him since. This is a VERY LOVED BABY and we will fight CPS and the AZ COURTS till we get Devon back. My sister lost her rights.... The rest of the family will FIGHT to have the RIGHTS WE DESERVE! Thank you to all that are here for us and praying for our family.....

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