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, March 24, 2010

Scott Watch: International Day for Abolition and Blogging for Freedom.

I've been MIA, folks. Actually, I'm still in action - just otherwise occupied with things off-line. Blogging from Conspire today since my internet has been down since Monday morning. The folks here are pretty decent (it's an anarchist hangout). I may well be here tomorrow, too, blogging for the Scotts, now that I'm back.

FYI (more on this later) - tomorrow is also the "International Day for the Commemoration of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade" (that's just a little history). Since there are direct links between plantations and prisons, the end of slavery and the enslavement of prisoners in America , Jim Crow and felon dis-enfranchisement laws, and the institution of slavery and persistent racial and economic inequalities, it seems appropriate to blog that day for the Scott Sisters - as well as for the awesome women who have been anchoring this campaign, including their Mom, Mrs. Rasco.

So, remember the day, tomorrow, in honor of those who have passed in the streets, in shelters, and in prison while fighting for human liberation, and out of respect and gratitude for those who fight on with everything to lose - including those who end up in our prisons on this journey...disproportionately the poor and people of color, ironically.

That's got be something like being drafted into the Vietnam War. You go or they take you, and you don't get back home until they're done with your body; no guarantees you'll still be alive. We need to be watching prisoners' backs more closely, now, addressing their and their families' trauma, and getting them out as soon as we can.




Sis. Terry Howcott answers this call as only she can, please check out "SCOTT SISTERS ARE US" right now at;
and be inspired!!

Please send your blog URL's to so that they can be acknowledged,
help to make the Scott Sisters case one that no one can say they've not heard of, together we can save the life of Jamie Scott and free she and Gladys from their 16 years in that prison hellhole!!


Thanks to the many excellent bloggers who participated in our initial Day of Blogging for the Scott Sisters on 3/18!! The notices didn't reach everyone in a timely manner and so we are happy to announce a new date for bloggers to unite around this case of Mississippi injustice and particularly to intervene in the prison's medical malpractice being suffered by Jamie Scott!

In early January both of Jamie Scott's kidneys shut down and she has been swiftly declining due to unprofessional medical care that is inadequate, cut-rate and frighteningly inept. Jamie was rushed to the hospital last week due to severe infection
and the need for prolonged medical attention. However, Jamie continues to require ongoing close monitoring as when she is returned to the prison it is well documented that the medical staff there has provided abysmal health care in filthy conditions that have put Jamie's life at risk far too many times to be acceptable. Jamie needs to be released from prison, period!

We ask that bloggers put out calls for students, clubs, churches/temples/mosques, organizations, creative artists, media, politicians, community leaders, journalists, etc. to
become aware of the case of the Scott Sisters and to make certain that all of their contacts are informed, as well. There is something that each person can do and we need to get Jamie home while she still has time to be with her family!

Thanks to all who will participate in this and help to raise the call to FREE THE SCOTT SISTERS throughout the blogosphere 3/25 and beyond! In the spirit of International Women's Month, please support our women! Please send notification of any blog postings to!

In conjunction with:;

For Immediate Release Afrosphere Action Coalition – March 22, 2010

Contact: Marpessa Kupendua of the Committee to Free the Scott Sisters at

Wrongly Convicted In Dire Health Situation

On 12/24/93, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department arrested Jamie and Gladys Scott for armed robbery even though three young males, ranging from ages 14 to 18, confessed to committing the crime and the women have unwaveringly maintained their complete innocence. Despite this, the corrupt Mississippi sheriff used coercion, threats, and harassment to compel the young men to turn state’s evidence against the Scott Sisters due to a long-standing vendetta against a family member. In 10/94 the Scott Sisters were sentenced to extraordinary double-life terms each, despite the facts that no one was harmed, neither sister had prior convictions, no weapon was ever recovered, and the amount alleged to have been taken was approximately $11.00. Even if they were guilty as charged, this sentence is completely outrageous and cruel.

Jamie Scott, who entered the prison system as a healthy young woman, is now suffering from complete kidney failure and other life-threatening medical conditions. Since January, 2010 Jamie has endured almost weekly severe health setbacks that the state has either outright refused to address or handled in a slipshod manner. Jamie has had weeks of serious infections that could have taken her life, has gone into shock, been given sporadic dialysis treatments, and suffered the state's refusal to provide her with adequate nutrition as required for her serious medical condition.

The Scott Sisters are now in their 16th year of incarceration and their five children and grandchildren are being raised by their now ailing mother. The defendants and their family are wholly dependent on support from the press, organizations, and all those dedicated to justice in making this debacle as public as possible. The lengthy incarceration of these women to date and their draconian sentences are completely shocking and must be challenged, enough is enough!

Mrs. Rasco and Afrosphere Bloggers are calling on the public to press the governor's office to pardon the Scott Sisters and release them, particularly Jamie who needs to be at home with her family during her very serious illness. Please ask that the media and politicians do an investigative inquiry about this tragic situation and the outrageous case of the wrongfully convicted Scott Sisters!

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