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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Called to Care: Hospice of the Valley.

Hey all,

Called to Care is one of the main ministries addressing the needs of people with disabilities that has been supporting the efforts of the Hard Time Alliance, which is organizing Arizona's Hepatitis C + prisoners/ex-prisoners and their families. They had us give a little presentation at their coordinating meeting a month ago (where they had an awesome main speaker), and were on hand for the Candlelight Vigil last month at the ADC. Robert's also been a real support to my friend and comrade, Julie, who's trying to get either treatment for her son in prison or a pardon / compassionate release so he can get care in the community before the disease progresses further.

Anyway, I don't think these folks would mind if a few of us crashed this meeting in order to address concerns about the terminally ill in prison: is there even hospice space available to release dying prisoners to? Do hospice workers go into Arizona's prisons or jails? Does Hospice of the Valley deal at all with the prisons (like training other prisoners to be end-of-life caregivers, for example)? Are they a resource for the families of elderly and terminally ill prisoners?

I'm sure the rest of you can think of more questions to ask. Do just that - ask questions that concern these issues - wherever you go. In fact, if you can, make a point of going to things like this specifically to engage the rest of the community in a relationship with people dying behind bars: we have to do something about the hang-up on compassionate release (word is, there have been none/few signed by the governor since the Baseline Killer - that means Janet let a lot of sick people die in there who the ADC found eligible and the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency recommended for release).

So, if you have a chance to talk with someone from the American Cancer Society or other patient education/support/advocacy groups, please speak to the issues of compassionate release and hospice care for dying prisoners. If they hear it from several sources, maybe they'll jump in and help.

Thanks again, Robert, for your kindness and solidarity.

------------------from Called to Care---------------------

Dear Friends:
This is a reminder for the Called to Care Coordinating Council meeting, Sunday, June 27, 2010, 12 noon, Anthony Lounge, First Congregational United Church of Christ,1407 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix, potluck, carry-in meal. All are welcome. Sue Bartz, First Church member and Hospice of the valley Patient Insurance Department Coordinator, organized this speaker meeting. She invited Heather Chapple, Community Liaison, Hospice of the Valley, to speak on "The Hospice of the Valley's Senior Placement Service" that helps families find appropriate care for their loved ones at no cost to the family. Check attachment for details. For more information, contact Robert Koth by telephone at: 602-284-4159 or by email at:

Our speaker, Heather Chapple, is a long-time Valley resident, moving to Arizona from Colorado in 1988, Heather served in the U.S. Navy for four years as an executive assistant at a submarine base in San Diego. She joined Hospice of the Valley in July 2009. She works as a community liaison, giving educational presentations about end-of-life care. Heather graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in education. I hope that you can join us to hear this exceptional speaker.


Robert Koth