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)


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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pinal County Adult Detention Center Suicide

Inmate Found Dead In Jail Cell

Jesus Quinonez-Valaquez Was Charged With Woman's Stabbing Death 
POSTED: 5:13 pm MST September 9, 2009

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- Pinal County authorities say a man accused of murdering his wife last month has died in his jail cell in an apparent suicide.

Jesus Quinonez-Valaquez was being held in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center without bond.
The 42-year-old Mexican citizen was charged with the Aug. 17 stabbing death of 41-year-old Alma Ramos in Coolidge.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said Quinonez-Valasquez was housed alone and was found lying face-down in his cell Tuesday night during a routine security check.

An emergency response team was immediately summoned, but authorities said the inmate was pronounced dead by medical personnel and a suicide note was found in the cell.

The body has been transported to the Pima County Medical Examiner for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.


I tried to do some research into this case: As far as I can tell, while this suicide caused several blips on Google's radar today, the wife's original murder didn't score a single headline. More and more as I look at Latino deaths next to those of Anglos, I find that what a community has to say about who dies - and what they don't say - is extremely revealing...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is extremely sad that a community, Coolidge, would choose not to notify their community of the murder of Qunionez-Valazquez. Pinal County, as I read in some of their Sheriff's postings, is trying to tell all to the public. Transparency.