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, February 15, 2010

JD Hayworth: Tried and True.

Tried and true...

This seems like a good one to follow that bit on Arpaio. Hopefully Pearce's endorsement will be the nail in JD's coffin. He was tried, alright, and got off on those charges. He had a good attorney when he was being prosecuted - more than most people in prison can say.  The local Republicans just had a big fundraiser to pay off the remaining $100,000 of his legal fees, in fact, lamenting how he ended up being persecuted and penalized even though he was "innocent".

Meanwhile, there aren't even enough pillows to go around for prisoners (what do they do for beds?) - much less money for their legal fees, and most of them got screwed by their state-funded attorneys the first time around, anyway. I have a friend whose daughter needs dental care desperately, and it's not covered by anyone, including AHCCCS. In fact, they just changed their eligibility criteria to cut off even more poor people from their remaining resources - she and her family are among them.

Don't tell me "this is going to hurt a little", John Kavanagh from Fountain Hills - even your neighbors out there are struggling, but you aren't about to be hurt by what you people are doing - you made sure that you and your kids are taken care of for years to come – at our expense..

Those tea-partiers who claim it's an All-American thing to hoard health care resources - that their “right” to "freedom from government interference" supercedes the rights of their neighbor to access lifesaving resources – are full of double-speak. They finance and support the same people (Pearce, JD et al) who keep tweaking all these laws and sentencing mandates, imposing even more governmental controls on the rest of us. If they pass SB 1070 contravening local sovereignty over law enforcement priorities, I'm going to go out of my way to aid and abet "illegal immigrants" however I can - I'll be doing more than leaving water for them in the desert. Take that for my statement of criminal intent.

These guys aren't trying to protect anyone but themselves and their kind from "government interference" (eg, the People holding them responsible to the community and laborers they've been sucking their profits out of all along). Just about all this legislature has done has been to manipulate government into interfering with our lives on their behalf. So many middle-class people fall for it,  and the rest of us are just too hungry and weary to fight back effectively.

But we aren’t taking much more of this.

Here's Russ gushing about JD and imploring us for more money. Where does he think real people are going to pull money out of for this guy's campaign? People are still losing their jobs, homes, and families, and he seems pretty clueless to that. He plans to defeat his political challengers by outspending them before they even make it to the primaries, though - that's his explicit campaign financing strategy. Big defender of Democracy, Pearce is.

I'm sure JD has the same thing in mind, and they want us to foot the bill for their power trips and egos. They are hardly champions of liberation; they are the few who lust for dominance over the many, by whose interests our legal precedents are set. Enough people with money will be supporting these guys that they’ll fill their accounts just fine, I’m sure.  Their big-money financiers tell you whose interests they really represent...and it’s not the white blue-collar guy in Chandler or Mesa

JD’s tried and true, alright...Just not in the People's Hall of Justice. 

I realize that anarchists don’t believe in the American version of “democracy” – I have my doubts, too. It’s never been all that democratic, and the anarchists frankly have a much more humane and just model of living together than we do. It’s more democratic, in terms of creating egalitarian structures. 
Nevertheless, I’m still working from within the power structure we’ve got (I know it doesn’t make me a very good abolitionist - certainly not very “radical”) - so let's bury these men in this election. If we don’t, then maybe I’ll consider other strategies to alter the balance of power – I just refuse to believe that the majority of Americans are really like these guys, and in any event I don’t think we should condone their behavior. They claim to represent us, which means we have an obligation to object vociferously – and resist - when they don’t. Many forms of resistance will be necessary for true democracy to win.

All the following typos are Pearce’s alone, not mine.
---------------Pearce Alert! ( )------------------

Greetings ,

I am hoping and praying for a "change" in Washington D.C. and I am hoping it is a change that is good for America and for freedom loving Americans, and I hope and pray we are in time. What is going on in our Capitol should concern every America.  The candle of liberty has always been kept burning by the vigilance of a few.  In 1776 it all started with a smal band of rag tag Patriots who had all they could stand on government that did not listen to the people and did not respect our natural (God given) liberties.

I am sure that I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but just in case, here is some great news for all of us here in Arizona and across the country.

The political revolution that started in Virginia and New Jersey, and continued into Massachusetts, has finally made its way to Arizona.  We are about to have the chance to elect a conservative who will change politics all across this country.

I'm writing to you about a very special friend of all of ours, who on Monday will be announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate.  His name is J.D. Hayworth!

If you don’t know, J.D. is a tried and true patriot who believes in securing the border, reducing the size of government, restricting its intrusion into our economic and personal lives and protecting America against those who would try to destroy her.  He believes in the rule of law, the sanctity of Life, and the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.  He has an amazing lifetime rating of 98 from the American Conservative Union.

J.D. helped write the tax cuts that John McCain voted against.  J.D. opposed the big government bailouts that John McCain voted for.  And don’t even get me started on Amnesty, the Gang of 14, or McCain-Feingold.

Many of us have been asking J.D. to run this race and he has accepted our challenge.  Now we must do our part to elect J.D. Hayworth to the United States Senate.

How do we send a message to Washington that the people of Arizona don't support amnesty, government subsidies for illegal's and won't tolerate the guns, drugs and gangs flowing over the border into our state any longer? joining me today and making an online contribution to JD!

How do we make sure Washington hears our voices loud and clear that we want smaller government, a balanced budget, and tax relief for families and seniors? joining me today and making an online contribution to JD!

Conservatives across Arizona and America are joining this fight.  Together we can win this battle.  We need your support today, whether you can contribute $20, $50 or even $500.  Every contribution helps send a signal that we're behind J.D. Hayworth for U.S. Senate 100%.

Please join me and donate TODAY!.  And when the campaign is in your area, please join J.D. at a campaign event.  Visit his website at to learn more, and thank you, in advance, for supporting J.D. Hayworth for Senate.

God bless you and God bless America.


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