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, December 6, 2009

Gov Brewer: Early Prisoner Release.

Upcoming Events

December 10: International Human Rights Day.
December 17: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (Tucson Memorial).
December 18: Sex Workers Outreach Project Protest at the AZ DOC in Phoenix.


An excellent letter to the governor, posted on December 4, 2009 at Prison Once this was up there, everyone else started writing letters and making photocopies to hand out everywhere! These folks are rocking!


Dear Governor Brewer,

I am writing you today with regards to the current state of the Arizona budget and the unconfirmed request, by your office, for Arizona residents to donate financial aid to our state in hopes to relieve some of our state’s deficit.

I am flabbergasted that Arizona has resorted to requesting “hand outs” to over-come the short falls of our elected officials. I will tell you what I will do to help overcome my share of this state’s problem, if you care to listen....
                   (hit this thread at to read the rest - it's worth it)


Another loved one of a prisoner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm with her... My husband has served 8 years of his 12.75 year sentence so far. It was his first offence, a car accident where he was sober. He also has been in NO trouble, no tickets for 8 years in. He has been recommended for release by the clemency board but was shot down. The warden of Lewis prison recommended his release, but was also shot down. If he could be released on house arrest, put an ankle monitor on him, whatever... just let him come home and help contribute to his family and the economy. He has multiple job offers waiting for him upon his release. Just let my husband come home.