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, January 5, 2010

AZ: Prescott Valley prison opponents launch website

Here's to Truth, Peace and Justice - may all prevail in the New Year.

AZ: Prescott Valley prison opponents launch website

By Ken Hedler, The Daily Courier
Friday, January 01, 2010

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Opponents of a private prison that might be located
in Prescott Valley have launched a website to fight it.

Former Town Councilman Tom Steele and Michael Hendricks, formerly of
Prescott Valley, recently launched to mobilize
opposition. Steele said he established the domain name a day after the
Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation issued a press release
Dec. 17 announcing civic leaders had met privately with
representatives of Corrections Corporation of America.

Steele, a Prescott Valley resident for six and a half years, said he
launched the site to educate the public, adding, "We are passing out
fliers in neighborhoods and businesses."

The website contains a link to a newspaper story, the phone numbers of
Town Council members, a YouTube video, other information and an e-mail
address for Steele.

Mayor Harvey Skoog commented Wednesday, "I have not seen it." However,
he acknowledged some constituents might have called him after they
logged onto the website.

"Right now, we are not debating the issue," Skoog said. "(Steele) is.
But he has been on the wrong side of many issues."

Town Manager Larry Tarkowski declined to comment on the website. He
said two weeks ago that the town government plans to commission a
telephone survey after CCA, based in Nashville, Tenn., conducts a
public meeting locally to discuss its plans.

CCA spokesman Steve Owen said he is unaware of the anti-prison website
and indicated his company is considering multiple sites for a prison
to house a maximum of 5,000 inmates, not just a proposed site off Fain

He added opposition to prisons often comes from a "vocal minority."

Meanwhile, Steele is using the website to urge people to attend the
first regularly scheduled meeting of the council in 2010, on Jan. 14.
He also filed a public records request at Town Clerk Diane Russell's
office to obtain e-mail documentation of contacts between the council
and CCA officials as well as other correspondence.

Steele said he met Hendricks through the Prescott Tea Party, which is
part of a nationwide movement that has spoken out against the federal
bailouts of auto manufacturers and banks, health care reform and
international regulations to curb global warming.

Hendricks, who now lives in Paulden but maintains two businesses in
Prescott Valley as well as having family here, said he has done
extensive research on private prisons.

"A lot of people that live in Prescott Valley are retired," he said.
"They came to Prescott Valley to get away from big-city life."

Hendricks said he is upset that Councilman Patty Lasker penned a Talk
of the Town commentary in the Daily Courier in which she cited the
benefits a private prison would bring, such as jobs. He added he
helped to get her elected to the council in 2009.

Lasker and Gary Marks, executive director of the economic development
foundation, were unavailable for comment.
Story and links at this URL

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