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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Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Call-in Day for Robin the Hood.

Just bumped this up from my post on the 9th because the day to take action is Friday, the 15th. Next up is a copy of my own action via Arizona Prison Watch (I digressed from the pre-formatted letter a little bit).  Oso Blanco is the political prisoner that the neighborhood kids were writing to just last week. He's still in trouble, folks - let's try to send him some support. 

This alert was posted at Break The Chains, an awesome political prisoner support/news website. Note that I'll be sending Oso a copy of the letter I send to the warden, so he knows who's out here saying what. Also note all the other people/places I'm cc'ing my letter to, as well - we have a pretty good network, the prison-watching states, and we're growing. That helps when it comes to dealing with the feds, because our influence can be spread out more broadly across the US Senate if we're in more than just one state.


Support Oso Blanco by Calling in and Writing on Friday January 15th!!

Byron Chubbuck, whose Indian name is Oso Blanco, is serving 80 years for expropriating money from banks and sending thousands of dollars to Chiapas, Mexico to help fund the Zapatistas and feed indigenous children. Because of his political background, he has been subject to horrendous treatment at U.S. Penitentiary Lewisburg which includes: beatings, waterboarding, mail tampering, false charges, and the forced cutting of his hair which is a great offense against a Native American! The torture must be stopped!


There is going to be a coordinated effort to call in on behalf of Byron Shane Chubbuck. Contact USP Lewisburg on FRIDAY JANUARY 15TH 2010 between the hours of 10am-12:00pm Eastern Standard time, (8am-10am Arizona) If you cannot make this time frame, you can still CALL at another time on the 15th, but make sure you do CALL. It is essential that we maintain a unified effort in letting the prison staff know that we oppose the abuse against Mr. Chubbuck.

*The number at USP Lewisburg is:*

*570-523-1251* (keep trying if no answer!) ask for the Mr. Ademai, the manager of Z Unit.


Hello, I am calling out of concern for inmate Byron Shane Chubbuck, prisoner #07909051. 

I am aware that his mail is being tampered with, he has been denied medical treatment as well as religious rights, and has sustained both physical and psychological abuse by staff at your facility. I am requesting that steps be taken to correct this misconduct and hope to hear a response from you as soon as possible. Mr. Chubbuck will let us know if this continues. 

Thank you, (Name)


Send letters to:

Warden Bledsoe
USP Lewisburg
U.S. Penitentiary
2400 Robert F. Miller Drive
Lewisburg, PA  17837

Dear Warden Bledsoe,

I have been informed that acts of abuse have been directed towards Byron Chubbuck #07909051. Mr. Chubbuck has been in various USPs and has never received the type of treatment he has been experiencing in Lewisburg.

I understand that Mr. Chubbuck has received disciplinary action including loss of phone, visitation rights and access to commissary items. We find these excessive punishments for the types of offenses he's been charged with. He has also been falsely accused of throwing fecal matter at your staff, carrying a weapon, and assaulting a staff member (Lt. Galleta). Of utmost concern at this time, however, is the treatment Mr. Chubbuck received on November 7th, 2009.

I am aware that officers shot nonlethal chemical pellets numerous times in to the occupied cell where Mr. Chubbuck and his cellmate, Mr. Andrade #16320-085, are housed. Mr. Chubbuck was removed from the cell and restrained by several staff members who subsequently poured scalding water on to his face. He was then stripped and placed in solitary. While this alone is disturbing, I am extremely appalled to hear that PA Potter cut Mr. Chubbuck’s hair. This is a sign of disrespect and a great insult to an enrolled Native American.

In addition, Mr. Chubbuck is experiencing the worst handling of his mail in over five years, at five other USPs. If these gross injustices against Mr. Chubbuck are found to be in retaliation for his political views, this would be a violation of his rights and BOP policy. This kind of abuse and harassment of prisoners is not acceptable.

I am sending this letter in solidarity with the many across the nation. I demand a full investigation into Mr. Chubbuck’s treatment on November 7, 2009 and to see his assault charge from that day be dropped. I also ask that the June 24, 2009 fecal charges against him be reviewed and dropped.

I have sent copies of this letter to state representatives and will establish a written record of what is widely considered as abuse. I will be going through the proper channels within the BOP system to ensure that this incident does not go unnoticed. Mr. Chubbuck will not be cut off from his international supporters. He will not be forgotten!

I look forward to hearing from you.



Write Let Oso Blanco know that you supported him! It is absolutely essential that Oso Blanco knows how many people he has on the outside that will not allow him to be forgotten, even if it is a single letter.

# 07909051
PO BOX 1000


“Who said to stop calling in!? No one runs us! WE run us!” -Oso Blanco
December 2009

I am visible–see this Indian face–yet I am invisible. I both blind them with my beak nose and am their blind spot. But I exist, we exist. They’d like to think I have melted in the pot. But I haven’t. We haven’t.

-Gloria Anzaldua

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