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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Sunday, December 6, 2009

CCA Profits from Imprisonment of Human Beings

A letter to the editor From Ken at the Private Corrections Institute - those guys rock!


Georgia: The Millen News, Jenkins County, GA.
November 25, 2009
Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor:

I am honored that Correction Corporation of American’s (CCA) spokeswoman Louis Grant thinks our tiny organization, the Private Corrections Institute (PCI), might exert a powerful influence in the Millen community (Letters, Nov. 4, 2009). In fact, CCA with $1.5 billion in annual revenues uses its power to drown out a great deal of factual public discourse regarding their operations.

PCI’s single purpose is to educate the public on the issues arising from for-profit corrections. CCA’s only purpose is to profit off the imprisonment of human beings. We think they’re doing that in a way that endangers their employees, the public and inmates and detainees.

CCA would have the public believe that it’s the answer to all Jenkins County ’s economic woes. A substantial body of long term, peer-reviewed, university and think tank research has demonstrated the opposite is the case. The presence of their prisons typically represents drains on community resources and promotes economic stagnation.

CCA claims to offer “well-paying, stable” jobs. If a person is willing to work under dangerous conditions for fast-food wages with expensive benefits, and is comfortable with 50+ percent annual turnover rates, an unstable job might be waiting for them.

Ms. Grant resorts to calling PCI names because she knows that the facts are on not on CCA’s side. If CCA wants Millen residents to believe it is so wonderful, the corporation should publicly release turnover rates for all their facilities, details of all the lawsuits against them and the number of escapes from and details of the violent incidents at their prisons and detention centers.

With accurate information the public can actually make an informed decision versus one driven by false promises, economic desperation and job uncertainties.

Ms. Grant is well aware that anytime any CCA representative wants to publicly debate this issue in Millen or elsewhere, PCI will be eager to oblige.

For more information go to our webpage:


Ken Kopczynski

Tallahassee , Fla

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