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:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Arizonans Against Privatizing Public Safety and Prisons

Here's the link to an AZ anti-privatization Facebook group: Arizonans Against Privatizing Public Safety and Prisons.

There's over 500 members; not abolitionists, but organized against privatization of AZ prisons. I just became a fan, myself. There appear to be a lot of state employees here. They really look like they've been on top of this awhile, and actively agitating - they even have Russ Pearce on paper promising not to privatize the state prison system:

From Russell Pearce:

"I appreciate the concern, however let me set the record straight. NOT TRUE. I did not sponsor that issue. It was sponsored in the House. In the Senate Senator Steve Pierce (not me) and Senator Al Melvin looked into this issue and rejected it. I also rejected it. It was put into the budget. We all voted on the budget as a package deal. The privatization of our Prison system will not happen. No one wants to buy existing facilities and run them. I have called the Governor's Office and encouraged them to reject any offers if they come and I do not believe they will get any offers."...

Good job, folks.  

Those interested in keeping up with stuff on AZ prisons not necessarily hitting mainstream media, check out Jennifer Waite's page at Associated Content. She used to work for the AZ Department of Corrctions, and has some interesting perspectives and connections.

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