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:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fear is an infectious disease.

This is very sad, the example Arizona is setting for the rest of the country's white supremacists, our selfish, vindictive, and entitled tea-partiers, and all of our under-the-radar everyday racists - they want to be just like us...


Fremont vote brings reaction from across the state

Date Jun 22, 2010

(6/22/2010) By Anthony Pura - Tuesday night, Fremont voters voted to make it illegal to hire or rent to illegal immigrants. But, the ACLU said not so fast saying it will challenge the laws. And, what is happening in that northeastern Nebraska town has many concerned here in the tri–cities.

So what do local residents think of the recently passed legislation?

Grand Island has a large and growing immigrant population including Hispanic, Sudanese, Somali and Asians and many do not have the proper paperwork.

City leaders tell me, from their end, there are no plans or even talks of passing any type of ban or restrictions on illegal immigrants. If similar laws did come, it would come from a state level.

News of an immigration ban in Fremont has reached this church in downtown Grand Island.

Cristo Cordero De Dios practices the Lutheran faith. Its congregation has close to 70 people and all its services are in Spanish.

"Most of our church is Hispanic, most are from Mexico, some are from Chile, some are from Venezuela and a few other places," said Pastor Juan Aguilar.

Pastor Aguilar told News 5 there is growing concern in his congregation. Close to half do not have their legal papers in order.

And even though Fremont is not Grand Island, there is the unease of what could come.

"There are a lot of worries in our families, our church because most of them do not have proper paperwork, it could be difficult for them to have money for a good life or a good standard of living," said Pastor Aguilar.

But Grand Island City Council President Peg Gilbert said right now the city cannot deal with any type of immigration reform law. It is focused on the budget. She also said these types of laws should not be left up to cities.

"There is a going to be legislation introduced in the state level this year and that would be my preference that at least we are consistent with Nebraska," said Gilbert.

Many of Nebraska's lawmakers said there is overwhelming support for these types of laws in the state.

"We have to pray that our authorities in government make the right choices to resolve this issue in the best way," said Pastor Aguilar.

That way runs through lawmakers in the state or cities across Nebraska.

Again, the ACLU has vowed to challenge Fremont's immigration laws.

Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont plans to propose a bill similar to Arizona's in the full legislature.

And Grand Island leaders said they think what happened in Fremont will put some added pressure on legislatures to act.