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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Monday, January 11, 2010

Pearce's SB 1027. Brown = Crime. Seismic.

This just in via my friend Matt, who feeds the Phoenix Immigrant Rights list-serve. I can't believe Pearce is talking about funding a program to do seismic monitoring for migrants when we're slashing the budget everywhere: terminating child care benefits, excluding thousands of potential freshmen from college, and cutting the poor off of basic essentials.

Hunger and poverty are extremely debilitating; going after one's political opposition by hitting them where they eat is very effective - it makes it hard for the people to organize and rise in resistance. That's how these people work - look at how they've attacked all of us in the past two years.

I think they'll have another thing coming when they realize that this thing with the march on the 16th isn't just Puente and it isn't all about Arpaio. It's about human rights and social justice in this state - two things which Pearce and his henchmen stand in proud opposition to. From what I can tell, the only things that matter to any of them are their property, their women, and their guns. The rest of Arizona can fend for ourselves in the desert with the migrants. Anyone who tries to help us will probably be prosecuted and imprisoned.

Here's Pearce's campaign website. Look at his endorsements. Check out the legislation he's sponsored (it's all linked on his site). Look at what he's got in store for us still. Anything he can't ram down the rest of the legislature's throat he'll file a citizen's initiative on to put it on the ballot. Some "citizen's initiative". That's just another selfish white man trying to get his way any way he can; he has no real interest in democracy - a truly empowered people would see through him and kick him out..

How ridiculous that they're seriously considering this bill. I hope the real Republicans in the senate see this for what it is before they jump on board.

It's racist.

Most migrants are heading south these days, I thought. If this was really about ending drug smuggling (which is their back-up), they'd have used that keyword in section 1 below. This is about making sure that everyone ties migrants in with the drug cartels as a reminder that the Latino community and criminal activity are inseparable.

In that way, his anti-immigrant legislation has more to do discrediting the U.S. citizen Latinos who vote than it does with the migrants who don't - if he doesn't convince us that they're all criminals, they might throw in with the unions and moderately progressive people out here (we all already have) and upend the moneylenders' tables. That's what this bill is about - keeping brown people in Arizona down. Expect him to continue on that theme in an increasingly shrill voice as the political season unfolds.

This guy is one dangerous man with far too much power - a bully, to say the least - who's wasting our precious resources and leaving us a future of nothing but private prisons fueling the economy of this state. What kind of visionary leadership is that?

Hopefully he'll cling to Arpaio's dying career a little longer - at least until the federal indictments are handed down. That'll make our job a lot easier.


Pearce put out his first 2010 bill targeting migrants.  He said he was submitting the Support Our Law Enforcement (S.O.L.E.) today as well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Arizona bill proposes seismic monitoring for illegal activity (as posted at Arizona Geology blogspot)

“The Arizona State Legislature starts its annual session today and State Senator Russell Pearce pre-filed Senate Bill (SB) 1027, which calls for a pilot program to install seismic monitors at rural airports to identify possible illegal drug activity and illegal immigration.  I guess the idea is know when and where smugglers planes land.  [right, drug-smuggling Beechcraft crashes in tv series Lost. Credit ABC]…

The full text of the bill follows:

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1.  Immigration; seismic sensors; grants; pilot program; report; delayed repeal

A.  The department of public safety shall seek grants to implement a one‑year pilot program that would use seismic sensors to monitor airport runways in the rural areas of this state where illegal drug traffic and illegal immigration are likely to occur.

B.  On or before July 1, 2012, the department of public safety shall submit a report regarding the effectiveness of the pilot program to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate and shall provide a copy of this report to the secretary of state.

C.  This section is repealed from and after December 31, 2012.”

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