State of Arizona Commits Negligent Homicide Against Sex Worker

Yesterday afternoon, a female inmate of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Marcia Powell, who was serving 27 months for prostitution, perished in 100+ degree heat after being left outside for four hours in an uncovered holding cell.   A criminal investigation is supposedly underway to determine negligence.

Sadly, one more for our beloved December 17th list.   Article and video can be viewed here.

Update:  Ms. Powell was serving a Class 5 felony repetitive prostitution charge with enhanced sentencing.  You can view her current ADOC inmate profile here, altho I doubt it will be up for very long since she is now deceased.

17 Responses

  1. :-(

  2. Thank you for posting this outrage. I’m so sorry for her family’s loss.

    XX

  3. Ugh. I’m so angry about this.

  4. Hey Arizona, Nancy Pelosi will be speaking
    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Headlines Emerge Arizona Event!
    emergeamerica.org.
    Protest?

  5. I think a statement of concern and solidarity and invitation to Nancy Pelosi to meet with sex work organizations to discuss violence, shame and discrimination and see if we get a response would be more useful than a protest. She may be concerned about this. It’s pretty outrageous. I don’t think that we should assume that we’re on the outs with everybody before we’ve even engaged them in the discussion. This new administration is supposed to be about collaborating and finding common ground. Besides the obvious human rights abuses, there are fiscal questions here for the citizens of AZ. Do they really believe that during a recession, 17 months in prison for a prostitute is a worthy use of their tax money? It’s probably cheaper to pay for education/job training. I’d vote to engage female politicians on the issue before positioning ourselves as adversaries. Also, I think Gabrielle Giffords is a better person to engage on this issue than Nancy Pelosi.

    SWOP AZ folks, please keep us updated on what’s happening and how we can support you.

  6. I can’t speak for SWOP Chicago, but I’m sure we’re all willing to back a letter.

    My heart goes out to this woman’s loved ones. This is disgusting.

  7. I’m happy to sign on a letter on this also.

  8. Well, this is a perfect example, right down to the letter, of why decriminalization is necessary. Marcia Powell would still be alive today if decrim had been active.

    And what is this we here about “progressive law enforcement” that radfems talk about? It’s a myth.

    Of course, they will chock this up as an “isolated incident”, but it’s not.

  9. I wish I could have asked Donna Hughes about this on that radio show today.

  10. SWOP-Tucson will draft a letter of protest/concern. About 70% of our contigency is out of town right now for various reasons, but we’re trying to pull something together.

    I’m thinking time is of the essence, so please post possible comments and points you think should be included in the letter as soon as possible. We’ll be working on the draft tomorrow.

    Thanks, everyone. We all feel sick about this.

  11. Would like to sign the letter as well. This is a horrible way to die, akin to torture. And for what dire crime?

    XX

  12. Well politically speaking, it would be better to for viability of our issues sake to hitch the pro prostitution media wagon to nancy as the state of airsona is already under federal investigation for human rights abuses of prisoners. This event will attract every Democratic woman politician in the vicinity that so you can hit them all at the same time. It’s about being judicious with out time. And present them a letter of demands.
    Is there any coalition building going on with the critical resistants groups there? I bet they’ve got a list of demands already going. Of course our list of demands would be to stop criminalizing people for working. Stop the prison industrial complex. Stop the profiting off the criminalization of prostitution….stop arresting us.

  13. Working on a letter – thanks maxine, etc for feedback – please keep it coming. The fact that Arizona uses outdoor holding cells in 107 degree heat is insanity. The fact that this woman was serving an over 2 year sentence for having sex is insanity. The whole thing underlines just what a backwards state this is in regards to sentencing and treatment of inmates.

    If AZ is going to put people in gulag conditions, it seems to me they ought to make damn sure they are only criminalizing the most serious offenses. If they can’t house prisoners humanely, the ought to be litigated against.

  14. Susan is right that this isn’t an isolated incident. At least 3 Cambodian sex workers died in police custody last year due to being denied needed medical care. Thus, sex workers are dying in police custody, and not always of natural causes.

  15. We spoke to an anonymous source inside the prison and learned that Marcia was placed in the outdoor holding cell awaiting transport. The minimum a prisoner is supposed to be in there is 2 hours (she was in there for 3:40). The transport people were late picking her up and the shift changed at 2pm and “basically, they lost track of time and forgot about her.”

    The Arizona Dept. of Corrections initially responded by immediately suspending the deputy warden, his lieutenant and the shift supervisor. There are two investigations: one, criminal and another, internal. Our source said that heads were definitely going to roll.

    We’re trying to determine when, if at all, her memorial will be. She has no next-of-kin, and it would be an indigent funeral which usually involves cremation and then holding the remains for a period of time.

  16. Thanks for the update. She died because of the state of Arizona’s criminalization of prostitution is a form of extraordinary rendition, torture. She should never have been in jail in the first place. Working cannot be a crime. ‘loosing track of time’ is the example of how criminalization of our class of workers has overloaded the prison system. And the citizens of Arizona has blood on it’s hands on all accounts and have to be held accountable for it, not just the prison industrial complex workers.

    Well, if you got the remains and picked a time in the future to hold an memorial, that would give everyone time gather and coalition build around this tragedy so her life and death wouldn’t be in vain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 815 other followers

%d bloggers like this: