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. email@example.com
until all are free -
MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Remembering the Attica Uprising
Posted on September 8, 2009 by denverabc
(from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross)
Attica Rebellion: 38 years ago, a massive prison rebellion in the Attica Correctional Institution in New York reshaped national liberation movements and the growing movements against prisons in the United States.
On September 9, 1971, responding to the death of black liberation prisoner George Jackson in California’s San Quentin Prison, about 1,000 of the approximately 2,200 prisoners rebelled and seized control of the prison, taking thirty-three correction officers hostage.
During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoners’ demands, but would not agree to demands for complete amnesty from criminal prosecution for the prison takeover, or for the removal of Attica’s superintendent. Under order of then Governor Nelson Rockefeller, state police took back control of the prison. When the uprising was over at least 39 people were dead, including ten correction officers and civilian employees.
Listen to the Freedom Archives program, 30 Years After the Attica Rebellion, a 29 minute documentary radio program about the Attica Rebellion, originally released in 2001 on the 30th anniversary of the uprising.