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:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Call for Early Release of Low-risk Arizona Prisoners.

(Update December 31, 2009, if you're still looking for news here. There will be no early release.  -Peg )


AEA Legislative update from Doug Kilgore. As he urges, call your legislator this weekend - if you click and take action (at the Arizona Education Association website), make sure you include a word about early release for prisoners:

Legislature's Second Attempt to Cut Schools by $144 Million

Every Legislator Needs a Phone Call Today

Last week the Senate fell one vote short of cutting $144 million from public schools and $155 million from the Department of Economic Security. They want to reconsider these cuts again this week. It is time for this special session to end without additional cuts to our schools and most needy citizens. It is time to call a new special session to adopt a comprehensive solution to our budget deficit. Click and take action to make your phone calls. Ask your legislators and the governor to adjourn this special session and go back to the drawing board to develop a bipartisan and comprehensive solution to our state's budget crisis.


Stacy Martinez said...

There are LOTS of people in prison who could be out there getting jobs and paying taxes, but the Arizona legislature isn't even considering the idea of early release or home arrest because it will make them look bad! Cowards!

I suppose tossing little children and the helpless off this sinking ship is a more noble move than bringing home people's loved ones early and being productive? I'd like to see a little more logical thinking about the well-being of the state and less crap about "parties" and their political motivations. I'm SO SICK of "republicans" vs "democrats". It's STUPID. If those people don't have their OWN MINDS then why the hell are they in the position to affect our lives???

Anonymous said...

Please do what you can to help us bring out loved ones home that are not violent or S.O.'s. Our voices need to be heard! Bring these people home! My husband will be ordained and will have gainful employment if he could just get home. Can you help? Yes, you can! Contact our legislators and senators on the State level and voice your concerns!