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, December 1, 2009

National Minority AIDS Council

December 1, 2009

Contact: Circe J. Gray Le Compte, Director of Communications
National Minority AIDS Council; (202) 483-6622 ext. 309 or (202) 352-7240

NMAC Honors World AIDS Day with a Special Website Video
Raising Awareness about the Continued Impact of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

Washington, DC – The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is honoring World AIDS Day (WAD) this December 1 with a special message on its website’s home page,, about the continued impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic domestically. The video features public officials, educators, activists, community organizers and other leaders discussing how we must come together as a nation to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic head on in this country. Visitors also can view the site’s comprehensive list of events ( being held nationwide in honor of WAD.

Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, NMAC’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy, who introduces the video, says “This year’s World AIDS Day theme, 'Universal Access and Human Rights', is particularly timely in light of the nationwide conversation taking place around the formation of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the future of health care overall.

“Unfortunately, many people, including the media, the public and even some government officials, both here and abroad, think of AIDS as a disease occurring elsewhere that no longer impacts the U.S. This is a dangerous misconception, and has played a significant role in fueling HIV infection rates in this country.”

HIV/AIDS has disproportionately impacted undeserved and marginalized populations in the U.S. since the epidemic began in 1981. An August 2008 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that HIV incidence is 40% higher in the U.S. than originally believed, with over 55,000 new cases occurring annually. Alarmingly, communities of color represent 65% of all new HIV infections. These statistics reflect the socio-economic disparities – including limited access to education and high rates of homelessness, malnutrition, incarceration, substance use, incarceration and poverty – that have undermined the overall health and well-being of marginalized populations in this country, particularly communities of color, and have created significant barriers to care.

“Since its inception in 1988 by the World Health Organization, World AIDS Day has given us an opportunity to remember the more than 25 million people lost to global AIDS pandemic since it began nearly three decades ago,” says Paul A. Kawata, NMAC’s Executive Director. “More than a million of these deaths have occurred here in the U.S., most of them men, women and children of color and/or gay men/men who have sex with men (MSM).

"It is unacceptable that HIV/AIDS remains unchecked in communities of color, and that AIDS is the number one killer of women worldwide between the ages of 15 and 44. Honoring their memory demands that we commit ourselves to mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS on future generations. That means having difficult discussions about everything around AIDS – from the need to support HIV vaccine and microbicide research, to how homophobia, sexism and racism help spread HIV.” 

To that end, NMAC launched the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) HIV/AIDS Peer Education Initiative, which will train HBCU students on how to get involved and educate one another about HIV/AIDS, at the September 25th “An Evening Without Politics: A Benefit Reception” (EWP) held during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference. Many of the interviews featured in the special video report on were shot during the EWP. Featured speakers include:

Jim Brown, Football Legend, Actor, Activist
G.K. Butterfield, Congressman (D-North Carolina)
James Clyburn, Congressman, House Majority Whip (D-South Carolina)
Danny Davis, Congressman (D-Illinois)
Gregory W. Edwards, Executive Director, Flowers Heritage Foundation
Debra Fraser-Howze, Vice President of External Affairs, Orasure Technologies
Vincent Gray, Washington, DC City Council Chair
Barbara Lee, Congresswoman (D-California)
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Actress and Activist
Julianne Malveaux, President, Bennett College
Dr. Marsh Martin, Get Screened Oakland
Darian “Big Tigger” Morgan, Television and Radio Personality
Julianne Scofield, Executive Director, National Alliance of State and Territorial Directors
Maxine Waters, Congresswoman (D-California)
Beverly Watts Davis, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, SAMHSA Officer of the Administrator

“The HBCU HIV/AIDS Peer Education Initiative will train a new generation of leaders in our communities who can discuss the epidemic in the U.S. in relation to global AIDS pandemic,” says Hayes-Cozier. “This will be particularly important as we move into the new era of international collaboration sure to follow the official end of the HIV travel ban on January 4, 2010 and the hosting of the International AIDS Conference in the U.S. in 2012.”

About NMAC
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has advanced its mission, “to develop leadership within communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS” since 1987 through individualized capacity building assistance; technical assistance trainings; public policy education programs; national and regional conferences; treatment and research education programs; online and printed resource materials; and a website: The agency also serves as a membership association for its constituent AIDS service organizations and minority faith- and community-based organizations delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color and advocates on their behalf in Washington, D.C.

NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. For more information, please contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or You may find us online at as well as on,,, and

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