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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AZ LEG: House Study Committee on Sentencing FRI 5/14

I encourage as many people as possible to attend and sign up to speak at this committee meeting Friday. Read up on Fischer's study first, if you can (here's the press release - it's rather disturbing); the data he has is useful, but I take issue with many of his conclusions. Professor Lynch may rebut some of what he has to say; Franklin Zimring also has some interesting analyses of the trends in crime and punishment over the past decade (here's a sample; Google him for more).


Interim agendas can be obtained via the Internet at http://www.azleg.state.az.us/InterimCommittees.asp





Date:              Friday, May 14, 2010

Time:             10:00 A.M. or upon recess or adjournment of Floor

Place:                        HHR 5


Call to Order

Opening Remarks

Testimony on Sentencing:

·         Representative Jerry Madden, Texas State Representative; Vice-Chair, House Corrections Committee; Member, House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee
·        Dana Hlavac, Deputy County Manager, Mohave County Criminal Justice Services
·        Daryl R. Fischer, Ph.D., author “Prisoners in Arizona, A Profile of the Inmate Population”   [March, 2010]
·        Robert Hirsh, Pima County Public Defender
·         Derek Rapier,  Greenlee County Attorney; Chairman, Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council
·         Jeremy Mussman, Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office
·        Mona Lynch, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California Irvine;  author, Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment [Stanford University Press 2009]
·         David Gallagher, Executive Director, Arizona Addiction Treatment Programs, Inc.
·        Senator John Huppenthal, Arizona State Senate, District 20

Public Testimony

Representative Cecil Ash, Chair

Representative Doris Goodale

Representative Laurin Hendrix

Representative Bill Konopnicki

Representative Kyrsten Sinema

Representative Anna Tovar


People with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations such as interpreters, alternative formats, or assistance with physical accessibility.  If you require accommodations, please contact the Chief Clerk's Office at (602) 926-3032, TDD (602) 926-3241.

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