Arizona Inmate Dies After Being Left in Outdoor Cell with Temperatures as High as 103

7864105e-5ca0-4c73-8414-2e61e7859956.vsmallMarcia Powell, an inmate at the Goodyear prison in Arizona, died after being left outside during the day in an uncovered chain-link cell in the desert heat. With temperature reaching 103, Powell collapsed and was later pronounced dead.

Powell was serving 27 months for prostitution. The sentence alone seems a bit shocking in length. She collapsed at 2:30 pm after four hours in the heat. Four hours seems shorter than what would usually caused heat-related death, but 103 temperatures combined with prior health issues would make such injury as distinct possibility. Inmates often have diminished health status due to prior chemical or alcohol abuse. Powell’s picture suggests an obviously hard (and sad) life. There is a reasonable question why a prison in such a hot area would use such uncovered cells.

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33 thoughts on “Arizona Inmate Dies After Being Left in Outdoor Cell with Temperatures as High as 103”

  1. Is this another example of “Sheriff Joe’s” enlightened policies?

  2. the question is why was she put out there…did she refuse to be abused by a guard or another cell mate

    this is a society that even on TV states that the idea of other inmates attacking other inmates is OK and used as sometype of fear thing to deter going to prison

    prison should never be glorifed in that other inmates get to decide the rules of the prison

    another factor is that this ingrainment of “i am better than u” has grown larger in society in all fields where sometimes the guards are just the same as the inmates they are to be watching…

    just a thought

  3. “What is more disturbing to me though, casting no aspersions, is that this turned into a debate on the victim, rather than a condemnation of a system that would allow this.”


  4. Let me sneak in for a second as my wife eats lunch. The nature vs. nurture argument is a staple of psychiatry/psychology. The truth is, although many professionals profess to have the “truth,” that there is not enough evidence to conclude which dominates. As a psychotherapist I’ve worked with simply neurotic patients and as a Program Director I’ve worked with “dual diagnosis” (addiction plus AXIS I diagnosis)patients supposedly the hardest to treat. I think I was excellent at my work and to be honest it was in both instances a “crapshoot” with no real explanation for the successes, but many self justifying reasons for the failures. Scientifically, we appear to know a lot, but in reality we’re only at the early beginnings of understanding.

    What is more disturbing to me though, casting no aspersions, is that this turned into a debate on the victim, rather than a condemnation of a system that would allow this. This women was murdered, probably negligent homicide, but murder none the less. What kind of penal system would put inmates out in 100+ degree weather, under a blazing sun for hours. The Joe Arpaio factor anyone, influencing the “great” Arizona penal system?

  5. sEAMUS:

    It is most certainly not in the Fountainhead, Ayn Rand would totally disagree with my thoughts on human beings being influenced by their “biology”. She would also be against gassing of the mentally ill and of Hitler and his ideas in general. But then you probably already knew that and just wanted to get a cheap shot in.

    Personally I think whoever left her there should face some sort of criminal charges, manslaughter might be appropriate. As far as the taxpayers of Arizona go, I dont speak for them but I will say this that some people need public help and apparently this woman was one of them.

    And yes to a point biology is destiny, if you have say Duchenne muscualr dystrophy chances are you are not going to live much past 25, so you can do what you can do but it is only so much. In the end your biology shapes your life. As it probably did for this poor woman.

  6. Buddha, Seamus, et al

    I think you are missing a large part of Bron’s point:

    Mental health (and by extension addictions) should be treated more like diseases than weaknesses. My wife’s family has a history of addiction and clinical depression (on both branches). The youngest generation is handling it with a much greater success because they treat it the same way they others treat having a history of heart problems. They know that they’re biologically wired to have certain problems and adjust their habits. However, even though some choose to deal with their biology in a rational way, it’s still playing a major role in many aspects of their life. That is what I think Bron means by “biology is destiny.”

  7. Hitler used “the biology is destiny” logic. I think he gassed all the mentally ill right before the gypsies or the homosexuals. I’m not sure. I’m glad someone like Bron is concerned for the tax payers of Arizona. They shouldn’t have to fit the bill for head-shrinkers, or a cup of water from time to time, for some ding-bat hooker.

    Read the “Fountainhead”. It’s all in there.

  8. MatthewN:

    “Bron’s comments in particular seem to lack a basic understand of mental illness. Most people don’t rise above their mental problems because most people never even seek treatment. Self-righteous folks like yourself have helped to promote the idea that mental illness or deficiency is weakness.”

    Of course I dont understand mental illness, most people do not. Doctors dont either or it would be cured. The brain is a very complex organ and we are now just beginning to understand how it works.

    And I agree that the poor dont have the resources or sophistication for the most part to get help or even know they need help.

    In fact a large part of the problem is probably misdiagnosis and prescribing medications that make the patient feel bad so they discontinue treatment.

    Never claimed to know anything about mental illness and was just putting some thoughts out for discussion. Had I just said I am sorry about her death what would that have done? You now have some discussion and thoughts as to the nature of mental illness.
    Certainly not perfect, but this womans death has allowed us to think about somethings we might not have thought about otherwise.

    I personally believe that most mental illness is organic in origin and as such cannot be a weakness on the part of an affected individual and is no different than muscualr dystrophy or MS or CF or any other diease process that effects the body.

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