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:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Disbar Andrew Thomas Rally: Dec 21. Phoenix.

We have a lot of trouble with our lawmen out here...

In case you are confused: Out of respect for the protest non-organizer's desire to reposition himself as being professional (rather than impassioned and vehemently outraged at the perpetrators of injustice who hold office in this state), I took down the copy I had posted of his original call to action that hit the blogs: boy was it good. Guess he has a fine line to walk. Glad I don't have a career to be compromised.

Here's the official call to action, via the Phoenix New Times...I like this guy, Paul Rubin.


UPDATE: More on Upcoming Anti-Andy Thomas Rally from "Non-Organizer" Jim Belanger

Shortly after publishing the previous blog post on the scheduled December 21 demonstration by local criminal-defense attorneys against Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas, someone forwarded us another missive being disseminated by lawyer Jim Belanger.

Belanger suggests that he and his fellow barristers should act "civilly," and not take to the streets as the Italian soccer fans in the photo did a few years ago after things didn't go so well for their boys.

He wrote, "Second email: I do not consider myself an organizer of a rally. I consider myself as someone who has an idea for people who choose to do so to publicly and civilly express their sentiments.

"For me, the idea for the rally was triggered by the felony charges against Judge Gary Donahoe. At that point, in my mind, the actions of the county attorney went from political self-interest to dangerousness. The public gathering is intended to express the following things:

"(1) To show the rest of this county and the country that there are many, many people who do not agree with the way the county attorney conducts himself and his office; (2) to show that, again, there are many, many people and lawyers in this county who have a high degree of respect for the rule of law and the Maricopa County judiciary even when we disagree with them or their rulings; and (3) to give the many people who have asked me what we can do a means to civilly and publicly express their personal embarassment and outrage that this county attorney has acted in the fashion that he has.

"What the State Bar ultimately chooses to do, if anything, is almost certainly out of our hands. That is as it should be. In fact, I think almost all of us would agree that the process and rules to which the county attorney and all of us are subject should unfold as they are written and as they are intended. I was not and am not anticipating a series of speeches or flamboyant gestures.

"Rather, I was thinking that there would be a respectful and civil gathering from 12:15 until 12:45 or so and that, after a very few remarks, there would be 60 seconds or so of silence to express solidarity with and support of what I have articulated above.

"The Preamble to Arizona's Rules of Professional Responsibility tell us that lawyers have a special responsibility to ensure that justice and the rule of law are respected and that we are to act with honor and integrity.

"I believe that."

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