Surviving Hepatitis C in AZ Jails, State Prisons, and Federal Detention Centers.

Surviving Hepatitis C in AZ Jails, State Prisons, and Federal Detention Centers.
The "Hard Time" blogspot is a volunteer-run site for the political organization of people with Hepatitis C behind and beyond prison walls, their loved ones, and whomever cares to join us. We are neither legal nor medical professionals. Some of us may organize for support, but this site is primarily dedicated to education and activism; we are fighting for prevention, detection, treatment, and a cure for Hepatitis C, particularly down in the trenches where most people are dying - in prison or on the street... Join us.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

SOS Cecil Ash: Please Send Help.

July 2011 Artwalk display
(with Cougar)
1009 N. 1st. St. / Phoenix

This is how easy it can be to help us convene legislative hearings next session on the violence, suicides, and poor health care in the prisons. The AZ House Health and Human Services ' Committee is chaired by Cecil Ash, a truly decent man, and seems to be the best place to hold such hearings. Following Stan's letter requesting this is Representative Ash's response.

I understand that Representative Ash is still focusing his energies on sentencing reform - which we desperately need - but in the meantime people are continuing to die unnecessarily inside. If Ash doesn't want to spend political capital using his chairmanship of the HHS committee (as opposed to the Judiciary Committee), for something directly related to health and human services, then he needs to cultivate another legislator who will do that in the next session that we can lobby.

Until Representative Ash can identify that person for us - or until someone else steps forward to lead the charge on this matter - please keep sending these kinds of letters and emails to him, folks.
And send me what you're willing to let me post for others to learn from, as my buddy Stan did for us...

This letter, by the way, was a beautiful gift for Dana's mom on that difficult day. Thanks, Stan, from all of us.


From: Stan Hemry
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 11:05 AM
To: Cecil Ash
Subject: Dana Seawright's unsolved murder

Good morning Rep. Ash,

I am a resident of Phoenix for more than 10 years. Today is the 1st anniversary of this young man's death. I writing to draw your attention to the murder of Dana Seawright, who refused to give up his cell in prison with a man of another race. One was black the other, Hispanic. Dana's gang ordered him to prove his loyalty to the gang. Dana was subsequently killed for a fake attack on another man of the same race as his cell mate. 10 of Dana's gang members were given enough leeway within the prison facility to enter his cell and beat him to death for not delivering the beat down ordered by his gang.

Now, I know that this sounds like typical gang activity, but Dana was standing up for the freedom of association. Something the gangs and guards, apparently, do not allow. This type of violently-enforced segregation underscores the divisions that are routinely encouraged within the prison community.

Guards and prison people both manifest the divisions as they see racial tensions played out in tragic ways. Scenes, like the one of Dana's murder while under guard, re-enforce segregation and violently punishes prison people, who do not abide within the artificially-created, racial divides.

Dana's murder is a harsh wake up call to take action to examine what is happening. This could have easily been me, or possibly you, Rep. Ash, given the same circumstances. I would have done what he did and probably be murdered too.

Racially-segregated gangs monitor and enforce divisions among the prison people. Why can't there be a program to gradually de-segregate the prison community? Train the guards to understand that we are all equal in frailty, love and life. Give the prison people adequate mental and physical health care.

If there is any justice left in the system, I hope you will convene hearings into the rapidly rising murder and suicide rates in the Department of Correction. Understanding the circumstances surrounding the tragedy of Dana's death could help to reform the training received by prison guards and lower the tension levels among the prison people.


Stan Hemry
PHX 85004

Contact me if you are an educator and want to screen Arlington West in your school.

-------to contact Representative Ash------

reply from Representative Ash--------

From: Cecil Ash
Date: Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 3:06 PM
Subject: RE: Dana Seawright's unsolved murder
To: Stan Hemry

Dear Mr. Hemry:

Thank you for your email. There are a great many problems in the prison system. You have identified some of them in your email. You are correct, given the same set of circumstances, you or I might have done the same thing.

I am not indifferent or unaware of the many problems in the D.O.C. However, to have hearings this next session would jeopardize some of the sentencing reforms I've been working on for the last three years. Before undertaking hearings on your issue, I need to get some of the sentencing changes enacted. Then I will proceed to look at health issues (both physical and mental) in the prison system. If we could stop so many people from getting in there in the first place, we might have the resources to do a better job with a smaller population.

I will put you on my email list to be informed of our efforts in this area.

Again, thank you for email, and my condolences to Dana's family.


Cecil Ash

State Representative

District 18

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