Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...

This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.

I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.

In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.

I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PRIVATIZATION WATCH: Cochise County Rejects New Plans for Prison

County wary of private prison

By Shar Porier


Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BISBEE — “I think my constituents would come unglued.” That’s what Cochise County District 2 Supervisor Ann English said of the prospect of a second prison at Bisbee-Douglas International Airport. She made the comment during county supervisors’ work session on the matter Tuesday afternoon.

When the Arizona Department of Commerce sent out an appeal for a proposal to entice a privately operated 3,000-bed prison, the first location suggested by county staff was the county property at the airport.

L.H. Hamilton, county facilities director, explained that the Department of Commerce had sent requests for proposals to all counties in the state because an unknown company wants to build a prison in Arizona. The mystery company runs 70 prisons, halfway houses and other institutions across the U.S.

Since the county owns 410 acres at the airport that have been zoned “planned development,” Hamilton thought that was an appropriate place for it. The county could provide the 200-plus acres desired by the company at the location and a well. Douglas would be able to provide sewer service, since it has a 1,000-gallon-per-day line going to the existing 2,700-bed state-owned prison at the airport that would accommodate the additional load.

The property would have to be leased, which Hamilton said would bring $23,000 a year to the county.

But dangling a carrot in front of English, claiming the facility in her district would create 300 to 500 jobs, did no good. To her, it was a no-brainer.

She explained, “When the prison was built, it was set up as an economic benefit, and they told us new homes would go up to house the influx of employees. There have only been 10 homes built out there. In 25 years since the prison was built, there is no growth. Instead, it just shut down the whole area. And there is no additional work force available in Douglas unless they pay more than the state.” (Download Prison Town Comic Here!)

Another taker?

Supervisor Richard Searle told Hamilton that Willcox in his district was interested in the prospect, but he didn’t think there was enough time to get in a proposal by the deadline, which is the close of business Friday. Nor is there enough land at the Willcox airport.

It wasn’t the first offer the county has received to participate in a proposal for a prison. Supervisor Pat Call said there was interest shown recently near the county landfill.

“They may be interested, but when you get to the stage of dropping the cloak of secrecy, then they’re looking for free land and anything they can get,” Call said.

For some time, the county has been looking to develop the airport area, but many companies want a pre-existing building of warehouse size to move in and start up operations. The county just doesn’t have that kind of money, Hamilton said.

English suggested looking into federal economic stimulus money to set up the infrastructure needed to attract economic development projects, particularly those with low water use.

Searle said he was “neutral” on the matter, while Call agreed with English — no need to pursue it.

Herald/Review reporter Shar Porier can be reached at 515-4692 or by e-mail at


Thank you Ken Kopcyznski from Private Corrections Institute for sending this my way.

No comments: