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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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inmate files suit: Mohave County Jail

Bullhead City man seeks jury trial and $150 million in damages

By JIM SECKLER/The Daily News
KINGMAN - A Bullhead City man now in prison for the next three decades filed a federal lawsuit against the Mohave County sheriff, the jail commanders and several others.

Leroy Montoya, 43, filed the suit Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Named in the lawsuit were Sheriff Tom Sheahan, Jail Director Bruce Brown, the deputy director, seven correction officers, a sheriff deputy, a Kingman police officer and a jail nurse. Montoya is currently serving his sentence at a prison near Yuma.

Montoya's complaint involves four counts including the denial of medical care, denial of due process and access to court. The complaint asks for $50 million in compensatory damages, $50 million in punitive damages, $50 million in nominal damages and a jury trial on the issues in the complaint.

The complaint stems from a 15-minute racial fight that started a little after 10 p.m. May 17, 2007 when Montoya and six Hispanics were reportedly attacked by 40 Caucasians at the county jail. Six of the correction officers and another witness watched the fight and reportedly did nothing, the complaint stated.

Montoya complained of broken fingers and ribs, possible head injuries, cuts and bruises to the head. The complaint stated that the doctor told Montoya he was dehydrated and to drink water.

In March, Montoya was sentenced to 26 years in prison after being convicted for criminal damage, fraud and participating in a street gang. He was also sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison after he was convicted in May of theft and trafficking in stolen property. He also was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted in May 2007 of theft and fraud but the Arizona Court of Appeals threw out one of the charges.

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