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, February 12, 2010

Pearce HB2779: "Fair and Legal Employment Act"

Lots of criminal activity has been sanctioned here, and I've never really known Arizona to be "fair" to low-wage workers, whatever their citizenship. Somehow this doesn't seem to be fair - but they'll make it legal if they can.

Let’s Get the Facts Straight about HB2779.

Arizona’s “Fair and Legal Employment Act” will prove to be one the most effective and non-discriminatory laws enacted anywhere in the United States.  It will truly prevent illegal aliens from obtaining permanent employment in this state and will serve as an example of real comprehensive immigration reform for the rest of our nation.

The disinformation campaign on HB2779 would have made a Soviet propagandist proud.

The politicking regarding Arizona's worksite enforcement law is at a full swing, it is creating real concern with the illegal employers, ACLU and the open border crowd.

In his decision to refuse to block HB2779 Judge Wake said, "Those who suffer the most from unauthorized alien labor are those whom federal and Arizona law most explicitly protect. They are the competing lawful workers, many unskilled, low-wage, sometimes near or under the margin of poverty, who strain in individual competition and in a wage economy depressed by the great and expanding number of people who will work for less.

In 1986, Congress made it clear employers can only hire legal workers and to do otherwise is a felony.  Finally as of January, 2008, employers throughout the state will be required to verify work eligibility status of all new employees, and they must employ only legal workers as required by federal and Arizona law.

Using the E-Verify Program puts the responsibility for verifying the documents on the government, with a 99.7% accuracy.  Employees have ample opportunity to prove their right to work and employers who properly use the system will have a strong defense against any criminal or civil action.

The people of Arizona should be proud that we are the first state to enact legislation that will truly prevent illegal immigrants from working in Arizona and put Americans and legal businesses first.

This law only punishes businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Repeated violations could result in the business losing its licenses to operate.

The ACLU, the open border crowd and the Arizona Chamber and those that rely on illegals argue it is unfair.  If you've moved to Arizona in the past few years and tried to get a driver's license and were successful, I think there's a good chance you can prove your citizenship to a potential employer.

The law is simply, don't hire an illegal alien and you will never have to worry about the law.

Honest mistakes or deception by an illegal aren't grounds for action by law enforcement against a business.

We have instituted the toughest worksite enforcement laws in the nation. To be sure, the new law is first and foremost fair.

For far too long, we have turned our backs on the root cause of illegal immigration.

I have sponsored other measures to protect citizens and taxpayers from fraud from illegal's by requiring proof of eligibility and by demanding proof of legal presence in the U.S.  

Until 2006, I had been unsuccessful in passing a bill to clamp down on employers. That year, Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed the legislation in an effort to protect business interests and her liberal base.

In the 2006 election, four illegal alien propositions passed with more than 70 percent support.  So in 2007, she couldn't ignore the will of Arizonans anymore and signed my bill.

And ever since then, we have heard anecdotes of illegal's packing up and moving home or onto another state. Businesses that cater to illegal's report slower sales. Businesses that hire illegal's report their employees are leaving and they will have to raise wages to attract new and legal workers. In last week's Arizona Republic, Yuma lettuce growers reported they had to raise wages to attract legal workers.
Soon, wages will rise to meet the demand for labor across all sectors. Last year, voters raised the state's minimum wage. Ridding Arizona of illegal workers, however, will do more to increase pay for workers than any artificial baseline imposed by government.

Some argue prices for goods and services will rise. But what we fail to realize is that we already are paying for those goods and services. More than $1 billion of our state budget goes to educating illegal's, Maricopa County Hospital loses $2 million every week due to uncompensated care.
With illegal immigration on the decline, benefits go far beyond the economic.

Arizona leads the nation in crime stats such as car thefts and Phoenix is one of the most violent large cities in the nation. The reason: illegal immigration and the crime associated with it. Smugglers transport their human and drug cargo into and through the state. Their gun battles rage along our freeways and they rent houses in our neighborhoods and bring violence to our communities.

As one of the leaders to curb illegal immigration in Arizona, all I can say is, our efforts are working.

If we have reversed that trend and encouraged those here to leave, then it is a great start.

I am excited about the direction Arizona is headed. After years of ignoring the consequences of illegal immigration and after beating back attempts to in Congress to provide amnesty to illegal's, we are finally going forward.

We will do it by putting America and Americans first and protecting honest businesses and the taxpayer.


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