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, May 14, 2010

Benson City Council turns down Corplan scheme

Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 6:15 PM CDT
Thelma Grimes/San Pedro Valley News-Sun

The Benson City Council was not persuaded on the idea of having a detention center built to house illegal immigrants without more proof that the federal government would pay for it.

In a short discussion Monday night, the council heard from James Parkey of Corplan Corrections, headquartered in Texas.

Corplan Corrections has proposed building a detention center near the Benson Municipal Airport using a $21 million bond the city would secure.

Corplan said the bonds would be retired from funds paid by federal agencies to house illegal immigrants in the holding facility.

But City Manager Glenn Nichols said he has checked with numerous agencies such as Immigration Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshal's Service and U.S. Customs, and all stated they would only use such a facility if there is a valid contract.

With no contract in place, Nichols recommended the council not proceed with plans to build the facility.

Parkey, who attended Monday's meeting, said there would be no liability to the city, and Corplan Corrections is asking the city to back the plan so they can "go to Washington and find a contract."

Councilman Al Sacco said the liability to the city is "our good name." The first-term council member said he would not support such a proposal ever.

Parkey said with more illegal immigrants being apprehended by authorities in Southern Arizona, this proposal is Benson's opportunity to get ahead economically.

Councilwoman Jo Deen Boncquet said the city could secure bonds and use funding on projects more beneficial to the city, noting that illegal immigration is a hot topic in Arizona right now, and Benson should stay out of the business.

Vice Mayor Toney King said when he first heard the proposal in January, it sounded like a good business venture for the city, but now, with so many questions surrounding the project, the risks aren't worth it.

Councilman John Lodzinski said with too many unanswered questions it's better to "keep my hand on the city wallet."

Councilman David Lambert questioned the deal, stating if it was such a good investment, why didn't the company find sponsors or investors, instead of having the city secure the required funding.

Mayor Mark Fenn said at this time he agrees with fellow council members, telling Parkey that Corplan should get the federal contracts in writing before coming to cities with the proposal.

Councilwoman Lori McGoffin was not in attendance, and no action was taken on the issue.

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