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:

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Fierce Urgency of NOW: Save our DREAMERS.

Way to show how tough you are, McCain...a real leader for a New America, still brutalizing these kids who just want to learn and contribute to their communities. They could only make our nation better if we made them all citizens. Doing this kind of thing just corrupts us all.


Media Contacts: Juan (407) 602-8675, Flavia de la Fuente (949) 910-6362
DETAINED in Arizona: Four Student Immigrant Leaders
Peacefully Resist Current Immigration Law, Urge Passage of DREAM Act

As of 6:00 PM PST today, Mohammad, Yahaira, Lizbeth and Raul, an Arizona Resident, have been arrested and detained after their day long sit-in at Senator John McCains Office in Tucson, AZ. Tania, who was not detained, has been designated as spokesperson and will be relating the experiences/thoughts of the group during the action.

Senator John McCain offered the students a meeting in order to discuss the Dream Act, however, the students recognize that this is insufficient and that immediate action is needed to pass the DREAM Act!

Tucson, Arizona. May 17th, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, Arizona law enforcement arrested four undocumented leaders of the immigrant student movement in addition to Arizona native Raul Alcaraz. Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles, California; Tania Unzueta of Chicago, Illinois; Mohammad Abdollahi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Yahaira Carrillo of Kansas City, Missouri; were detained Tucson, Arizona, after staging a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office. With this challenge to local and federal law, these youth hope to highlight the urgency of legislative action in Congress, and catalyze mass grassroots mobilization to pass the DREAM Act before June 15th.

These four leaders are risking deportation from the United States in the hope that this action will make a significant contribution to the fight for immigrant rights. In response to the onslaught of enforcement-based immigration law, they staged a sit-in at Senator McCain’s office, and urged congressional leadership to champion the DREAM Act and the values it represents: hard work, education, and fairness.

Lizbeth, 25, an organizer with DREAM Team Los Angeles, states, "There are already ten other states across the country considering immigration legislation similar to Arizona’s: legislation that is anti-family, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom. Police states and enforcement are quickly becoming the standard, and we are running out of time. We are going to pass the DREAM Act because it is based on freedom and equality."

Mohammad, 24, co-founder of DreamActivist.Org, a resource web portal for undocumented students, said in a statement: "Never in our history has it been American to deny people their civil rights. We have decided to peacefully resist to encourage our leaders to pass the DREAM Act and create a new standard for immigration reform based on education, hard work, equality, and fairness."
At least 65,000 undocumented immigrant youth graduate from high schools every year, and many of them struggle to attend institutes of higher education and the military. The DREAM Act will grant youth who traveled to the United States before the age of 16 a path to citizenship contingent on continuous presence in the country, good behavior, and the attainment of at least a two-year university degree or a two-year commitment to the armed forces.

"During the civil rights movement, African-American students were arrested for sitting down at lunch counters. We’ve been detained for standing on a sidewalk. We can't wait any longer for the DREAM Act to pass," said Tania, 26, co-founder of the Immigrant Youth Justice League, and immigrant rights organizer in Chicago.

All four are leaders in their own communities and have dedicated years to work for immigrant rights, legalization for undocumented immigrants, and the DREAM Act. “Dr. King spoke of a dream of equality overcoming fear. Well, the fierce urgency of our dreams has overcome any kind of fear we may have had before. We can’t wait,” concluded Yahaira, 25, a founder of the Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance.

National Press Conference
Tuesday May 18th
9 AM Pacific, 11 PM Central, Noon EST

In front of Senator John McCain’s office:
407 West Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701


Para Distribución Inmediata
17 de Mayo, 2010
Contactos: Juan (407) 602-8675, Flavia de la Fuente (949) 910-6362,
PLANTON en ARIZONA: Cuatro estudiantes inmigrantes demandan el DREAM Act
A las 6:pm hoy, Mohammad, Yahaira, Lizbeth y Raul, un Residente de Arizona, han sido arrestados y detenidos después de su acción en la oficina de Tucson, Arizona, de el Senador John McCain. Tania, quien no fue arrestada, ha sido destinada la portavoz de el grupo quien dará ha conocer los detalles y sentimientos de el grupo durante su acción.
Se conoce que el Senador John McCain les ofreció una reunión a los estudiantes para discutir el Dream Act. Los estudiante reconocen que esto no es suficiente, y que necesitamos acción inmediata para pasar el Dream Act!
Tucson, Arizona, 17 de Mayo.
Cuatro joven líderes estudiantiles del movimiento migratorio; Lizbeth Mateo de Los ángeles, Tania Unzueta de Chicago, Mohammad Abdollahi de Ann Arbor, Michigan, Yahaira Carrillo de Kansas City, Missouri participaron en un planton en Tucson, Arizona, cuando fueron a la oficina del Senador John McCain para demandar el DREAM Act. Residente de Arizona Raul Alcaraz también fue detenido. Desafiando las leyes locales y federal, estos líderes esperan iluminar la urgencia de acción legislativa en el Congreso, y catalizar el movimiento para convertir el DREAM Act en ley antes del 15 de Junio.
Estos cuatro líderes están corriendo el riesgo de nunca poder volver al país, esperando que esta acción contribuya a la lucha para los derechos de los inmigrantes. Mohammad, 24, el fundador de, un recurso para estudiantes sin documentos, dijo que han "decidido involucrarse en un acto de desobediencia civil para desafiar a nuestros legisladores y President y a convertir el DREAM Act en ley."
Por lo menos 65,000 joven inmigrantes sin documentos se gradúan de la preparatoria cada año, y muchos luchan para asistir a universidades y involucrarse en las fuerzas armadas, sin embargo no pueden realizar sus sueños por causa de su estatus legal. El DREAM Act le daría a jóvenes inmigrantes que llegaron al país antes de haber cumplido 16 años, y que han tenido una presencia continua en el país, que no tienen un record criminal, y cumplen con el requisito de completar por lo menos dos años universitarios o colegio comunitario, ó cumplir dos años de servicio militar, las posibilidades de poder cumplir sus sueños y tener un camino hacia la legalización.
"Todos los días veo a jóvenes en mi comunidad luchando contra las mismas barreras que yo tuve que superar - el proceso de postularse para la universidad, no poder viajar, y el miedo de vivir sin documentos," dice Tania, fundadora del Immigrant Youth Justice League.

Lizbeth Mateo, 25, fundadora de DREAM Team Los Angeles, comparte este sentimiento: "Nuestras familias y amigos entienden la urgencia de nuestros sueños. Queremos que esta acción impulse el crecimiento del nivel de urgencia para esta legislación."
Estos cuatro jóvenes son líderes en sus comunidades y han dedicado años de sus vidas trabajando por los derechos de los inmigrantes, la legalización para inmigrantes indocumentados, y el DREAM Act. “Impulsados por nuestras frustraciones y la urgencia de nuestros sueños, tenemos que tomar cargo de nuestros futuros,” dice Yahaira, 25, fundadora del Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance.
Rueda de Prensa
Martes May 18th
9 AM Pacifico, 11 PM Central, Noon EST

Al frente de la oficina del Senador John MacCain:
407 West Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Es muy triste esto que esta pasando, y ese es el hombre que prometia tener una reforma"? hay que salir y protestar no somos delincuentes...los chicos quieren estudiar, ser alguien util., merecen una oportunidad. Aqui es que necesitamos unirnos y luchar por una reforma.