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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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Brewer's new charitable cause: Defending racism and fascism.

Watch the money pour in to defend this racist, fascist law, then tell me there's not enough money for children's mental health care in this state. There's plenty of money - people just don't have their priorities straight...


By Jim Small -

Published: June 18, 2010 at 7:41 am

Arizona Capitol Times

The Governor’s Office has collected more than $48,000 in the past six weeks to help defend the nation’s toughest immigration law and hopes to collect more with the launch of a new website designed to streamline the collection of more donations.

“It’s amazing to see just how many folks across the country are supportive of Arizona’s passage and signing of SB 1070,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. “The pouring in of hundreds of unsolicited donations since the end of April speaks volumes about how important securing our border is to citizens across America.”

Brewer also announced the creation of a website,, which allows people to use a credit card to donate to the legal defense fund.

The money, which a spokesman for Brewer said was given unsolicited by supporters of the law, will be used to defray the state’s cost to defend the law in federal court. Opponents of S1070, which requires police officers to verify the citizenship of people they stop if they suspect the person may be in the country illegally, have filed five separate lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality.

Brewer has hired attorney John Bouma, the chairman of law firm Snell & Wilmer, to defend the law. She is also fighting to keep Attorney General Terry Goddard, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, off the defense team. Goddard opposed the immigration law earlier this year when it was considered by lawmakers and told Arizona Capitol Times in April he expected his actions would prevent him from defending the law.

“If it does pass, and it’s signed by the governor, I will be screened because of my personal opposition to it,” Goddard said in April, adding that he thought the bill was “confusing” and raises “serious legal liabilities” for local governments. Instead, he said the duty of defending the measure would fall to Solicitor General Mary O’Grady or one of his deputy attorneys.

The donations to defend the law began arriving April 27, only four days after Brewer signed the bill. The first came from Sandra Esterline of Kentucky, who gave $15. Through June 10, there were 437 donations, totaling $19,754. But last week, her office received another $29,000, most of it after the governor publicized the fund on June 16.

Donations came from 46 states, plus the District of Columbia – only Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming were not represented on the donation list. The largest donation was $2,000 from a Louisiana man.

The story about the donations was first reported by the Yellow Sheet Report, a sister publication of Arizona Capitol Times.