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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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hawai’i: Legislature demands CCA audit

I'm sorry, but when your citizens are dying like this, why do you need a cost-benefit audit in order to decide whether or not to pull them out? Isn't negligence a violation of CCA's contract, anyway?

It seems like in the human analysis financial concerns are already over-emphasized by the legislature (and still they waste through incarceration of burglars); that's how Hawai'i got into the business of outsourcing their prisoners - the family members of their people - in the first place. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon to "save money" - now we are beginning to finally ask "at what cost?".

Hawai'i - take advantage of this moment in history to tear this system down and start over - when will you or your children ever get another chance? Don't let it pass you by.


Lawmakers Want Governor To Sign Prisons Audit Bill

Say Needed Now After Two Prison Deaths

Denby Fawcett

KITV 4, Honolulu

POSTED: 5:55 pm HST June 22, 2010

UPDATED: 10:10 pm HST June 22, 2010

HONOLULU -- State lawmakers said Tuesday they are seriously considering a veto override if Gov. Linda Lingle (R) vetoes a bill calling for a cost-benefit audit of a privately run Arizona prison.

The state spends more than $60 million a year to send nearly 2,000 Hawaii inmates to Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., because of prison overcrowding in Hawaii.

Saguaro is run by the Corrections Corp. of America.

Two Hawaii inmates have died at Saguaro Prison in Arizona in less than four months.

Inmate Clifford Medina's cellmate admitted to Arizona police he strangled Medina June 8th.

Bronson Nunuha died Feb. 18 after multiple stab wounds to his neck. Two Hawaii inmates have been indicted in the case on first degree murder and gang related charges.

State Sen. Will Espero (D) said Tuesday, in light of the deaths at Saguaro, it's time for an audit.

"If the governor does veto this bill. I think it would be a big mistake," said Espero. "I think it would be unwise considering in the last several months there have been two murders at Saguaro plus the fact that we pay $61 million a year to CCA to keep our inmates in there."

The Corrections Corp. of America also runs Otter Creek Prison in Kentucky where after allegations of rape and inmate abuse, all Hawaii's female inmates were returned to Hawaii.

Lingle in her potential veto message said an audit of mainland prison operations is expensive and unnecessary.

But Espero said that's not so.

"The governor said it would be too expensive, but in the bill we do not have an appropriation so the auditor's office would be using funds it already has," said Espero.

State Auditor Marion Higa said she is operating under the assumption Lingle will let the audit bill become law.

Higa said next week two analysts from her office will spend the week at Saguaro working beside prisons officials from Hawaii as they do their quarterly quality control inspection. Higa said that will help her analysts begin planning for the audit Hawaii lawmakers requested.

Higa said she expects the prisons audit will be inexpensive because she will use in-house staff and money that has already been appropriated for her department.

Espero said that if the governor vetoes the prisons audit bill, he will recommend a veto override.

House Public Safety Chairwoman Faye Hanohano was a prison guard at Hawaii's Kulani Prison for 25 years. Hanohano said she will also recommend an override if the governor vetoes the prisons audit bill.

Hanohano said more needs to be known to determine if Hawaii taxpayers are getting their money's worth by sending prisoners to the mainland instead of incarcerating them in Hawaii.

"There is a lot of missing data that needs to be brought out and hopefully an audit will flush it out," said Hanohano.

The Hawaii Prisons Department opposes the audit bill as it is written, it would too expensive and its scope is too broad.

"It is unclear exactly what they are asking to audit," said Hawaii Public Safety Director Clayton Frank.

Frank said the bill calls for the auditor to look not only at the Arizona prison but also the closure of Kulani Prison on Hawaii island, and the state's practice of paying for Hawaii inmates to be housed at the Federal Detention Center at Honolulu International Airport.

Daniel Gluck, an attorney with ACLU Hawaii said an audit of CCA's services at Saguaro Correctional Center could end up saving Hawaii money as it has for other states who have reviewed their own contracts with CCA.

Gluck said after Idaho audited CCA earlier this year, it began withholding $2,600 a day from CCA for its denial of proper health services to Idaho inmates.

" Hawaii allowing a $61 million no-bid contract to go on for 15 years with no independent oversight is an unsound financial practice for the state," said Gluck. "We are hoping that the governor will consider these numbers and allow the audit to become law."