Feathered Bastard

Jan Brewer, Charles Ryan, and Private Prison Industry on Blast by Prison Legal News Writer, ADC Prisoner Joe Watson

Who better than a prisoner to criticize Arizona's prison system?

The most recent issue of Prison Legal News, a monthly magazine largely written for prisoners by prisoners, features a long, detailed overview of what's wrong with the Arizona Department of Corrections, including ADC's alarming suicide rate, its excessive use of solitary confinement, the push for privatization by Governor Jan Brewer and ADC Director Charles Ryan, Brewer's "stingy" clemency policy, and the ACLU's current lawsuit over the ADC's failure to provide adequate medical care to the incarcerated.

The piece draws liberally from information already published in various media outlets and reports by watchdog groups. Much of it is familiar, but the article does put it all in one place and punctuates it with stinging commentary provided by a prisoner currently serving a 12-year sentence in ADC for a string of armed robberies.

In fact, his name may be familiar to readers of this paper: Joe Watson, the so-called "Salon Bandit."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons