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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Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Marcia Powell Update

Hey Friends and Comrades (and whoever is out there in Kansas),

I've been under the weather pretty much since getting back from Nevada ten days ago, and a few of you have contacted me since I'm a week behind now in blogging and getting to most of my 200 emails. I was last seen publicly, I believe, trying to maintain consciousness at a MAG meeting Wednesday. Sorry to bail on everyone. It took me 30 minutes once I made it to the car to get myself together enough to drive home. Needless to say, I missed Police Brutality resistance actions around town the following day. If anyone blogged on them or has some photos to post, let me know.

Anyway, to those of you who dropped me a line or noticed I'd been idle, thanks for your concern. I'm catching up on some sleep and putting a few pounds back on, and should be back on Hayden lawn to Free Marcia Powell soon.

In the meantime, I see that quite a few folks have passed through here to Marcia's site from all over the world - Marcia has friends in Amsterdam who have come through with some photos already - where's the UK? Where's Germany? Where's Caracas? Manuel - I need you.

Where's the rest of Arizona for that matter? You guys all have plenty of chalk, you know the story, you get the strategy. There's a whole class full of students studying prisons at ASU right now - what are you guys up to? I know you're doing something - you can't have listened to three hours of what's happening at Perryville and not do something. Fill me in.

We need some artists to put together a set of picture postcards to haunt all our public officials with - we're heading into an election year. I know there's already a few good ideas ready to go - don't wait for me to show up. I need a couple more days to recuperate.

Just send me the photos as soon as you can - and if they're really good - like you manage to make Marcia and those women at Perryville somehow visible in the background of a shot of Goddard or Thomas (signs, signs, everywhere are signs...), send them to the media too.

So, please stay on it, folks. I haven't retired or anything - I'm just getting back into shape for what's going to be a sustained campaign. We still have a lot of work to do.

See you soon.


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