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:

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 23: Innocence Project call to action.

Thanks for this, to my friend in the movement for the wrongfully accused/convicted. You rock, Camille.

(Sorry for the technical difficulties folks - worth the effort to read, though)


June 23: A Day of Action for Criminal Justice Reform

Posted: June 17, 2010 10:45 pm

Mark your calendar and get ready to speak up for criminal justice reform next Wednesday, June 23.

The Innocence Project will be asking supporters to call Senate leaders on Wednesday, urging them to support the creation of a national criminal justice reform commission.

A bill pending in the U.S. Senate
would form a National Criminal Justice Commission to review and evaluate the country’s sprawling criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform. The bill is sponsored by Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, with more than three dozen co-sponsors from both parties.

The 254 DNA exonerations to date
have revealed troubling flaws in our criminal justice system, and the proposed blue-ribbon panel could consider the causes of wrongful convictions and recommend federal measures to address them. And the issues seen in wrongful conviction cases extend throughout the system. From forensic oversight to indigent defense, the commission’s work could lead to reforms that improve public safety and confront the causes of injustice.

Phone numbers and more will be posted here on the morning of June 23 – but sign up for Innocence Project email updates here
to get the action alert in your inbox on Wednesday morning.

Let your friends know about next week’s day of action by posting on Facebook
and Twitter today.

And read more about the proposed commission below:

Open Congress: S. 714 National Criminal Justice Act

Sen. Jim Webb: National Criminal Justice Commission Act