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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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Florence's Fields of DREAMS: a Prison for their kids.

Arizona: CCA moves for zoning change
Rezoning could help CCA land big prison contract
Thursday, April 8, 2010 8:13 AM 

"Rezoning measures that could eventually bring as many as 5,000 more state inmates and up to 875 full-time jobs to Florence are now pending before the Town Council.

At Monday’s regular meeting, the council held a public hearing on Corrections Corporation of America’s (CCA) application to rezone 183 acres behind its current facilities from “AG” Agriculture to “LI” Light Industrial. The council also heard the first reading of an ordinance to approve the zone change.

The council could vote to approve the ordinance, along with a Conditional Use Permit that would allow prisons on the land, at its April 19 meeting. CCA is buying the acreage from Delbert and Sharon Lewis..." (finish article)

-----------------------------to the Youth of Florence, AZ-------------

Maybe most of you are into all this, but I'm sorry this is the big promise your elders and leaders have for your future in terms of jobs and guaranteed "housing". More and more prisons. They just don't know what else to do there now. Maybe you can give them some better ideas for how to use that land, so it's not used to profit off the misery of so many more who will be brought to your town to suffer their punishment, just or not, and perhaps die in a cell from a treatable illness, a murderous thug, or their own despair.
Good luck to the Resistance that I know must still be there. This isn't over yet. Let me know if I can help.

- Peggy Plews
AZ Prison Watch

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