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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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pearce Sneaks In his HATE: 9am TODAY.

Russell Pearce introduces huge anti-immigrant bill.
SB1070 is grab bag of all unsuccessful bills of past years!

If you only respond to one action alert this legislative session, make it this one! In just a minute, you can send an email to members of the Senate Public Safety Committee urging them to VOTE NO on SB1070!

Forward this to all your contacts in Arizona. Please attend the Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee hearing: Wednesday, January 20th at 9:00am


Sponsor: Sen. Russell Pearce
To read the bill's full text: (search SB1070)

This bill is a huge, all-encompassing effort to force every government agency in Arizona to criminalize and marginalize immigrant families in Arizona and to keep our state in economic decline. The bill's measures include:

  • No governmental entity in the state may adopt a policy that limits or restricts enforcement of federal immigration law to the full extent permitted.
  • In all contact by government employees with a person where "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is undocumented, the person's immigration status must be verified.
  • A person commits the crime (minimum class 1 misdemeanor) of trespassing by being in the U.S. illegally.
  • A law enforcement officer is authorized to arrest, without warrant, any person the officer believes to be here without legal documentation.
  • It is a class one misdemeanor to stop on a public roadway or for a person to enter a vehicle stopped on a public roadway for the purpose of securing employment to perform work at a different location if the vehicle blocks or impedes the flow of traffic.
  • It is a class one misdemeanor to transport or conceal someone who is undocumented.
  • It is illegal to induce someone who is undocumented to reside in this state.
  • The state's employer sanctions law is modified to, among other things, authorize the county attorney to perform investigative functions (take evidence, issue subpoenas and order depositions) related to the law.

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