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

Keep paroled inmates out of prison MI

Just to put out some ideas that have been floating around in less confused states:
Last Updated: October 23. 2009 1:00AM

50 ideas to fix Michigan

Keep paroled inmates out of prison

The Detroit News is highlighting ideas from various groups to promote discussion on reform, restructuring government and the economy.
Keep paroled inmates out of prison
Idea: Adequately fund the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative and limit prison terms for parolees who are recommitted for technical violations to one year.

Why: Prison spending represents a fifth of Michigan's General Fund budget, up from a twentieth in 1983. Employees within the Department of Corrections count for one in three state employees. Michigan is one of four states that spends more on prisons than higher education. The Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative has proved to decrease recidivism by parolees and should be fully implemented to generate better savings. And technical violations of parole -- compared with committing new felonies -- unnecessarily refill Michigan's prisons with inmates for long periods of time.

Benefits: Fully implementing the prisoner re-entry initiative would cut recidivism 10 percent and save $40 million annually. Limiting felons to a one-year return to prison for technical violations of parole before being re-paroled would save an estimated $14 million a year.

How: Continued budget support for Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative. To this point, limited resources have required that MPRI focus on those inmates who are closest to being paroled. The most successful model for re-entry would include preparing an inmate for release the minute he arrives in custody. Inmates would also benefit from increased access to educational programs including GED and career prep classes. And amend the Code of Criminal Procedure, Public Act 175 of 1927 to limit returns for technical parole violators.

Obstacle: Victims rights and other groups prefer offenders spend more time behind bars than rehabilitating themselves outside of prison. Some question the cost of funding parole services when other items of the budget, like education, are getting cut.

Source: Detroit Regional Chamber

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