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

National Criminal Justice Commission Act: Today was the day.

I'm sorry, Prison Watchers. I'm so slow sometimes. This should have been done earlier today - please tune in tomorrow to follow up if necessary: I'll post the outcome. There's no good reason for this bill not to have passed, but I can't seem to confirm it that easily.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010, is the National Call-in Day to Support
Senate Passage of S. 714,

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act


*In 2009, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and 15 bipartisan co-sponsors introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, S. 714> , legislation that would create a bipartisan Commission to review and identify effective criminal justice policies and make recommendations for reform*/./ * The Senate Judiciary Committee has reviewed and favorably passed the bill and it is now awaiting passage out of the Senate. We need your help urging Senate Leadership to prioritize and pass this important legislation.


On Wednesday, please call the following Senators to ask them to prioritize and support Senate passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act as soon as possible:

• *Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), 202-224-5556

• Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 202-224-3135

• Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), 202-224-9447*



Please support S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, because:

• Having a transparent and bipartisan Commission review and identify effective criminal justice policies would increase public safety.

• The increase in incarceration over the past twenty years has stretched the system beyond its limits. The high cost to taxpayers is unsustainable, especially during these times of economic downturn.

• The proposed commission would conduct a comprehensive national review and would issue recommendations for reform.

If you have any have any questions about the *Wednesday, June 23rd National Call-In Day*, *please contact Kara Gotsch at***

* *

Thank you in advance for your help.

The Sentencing Project is located at 1705 DeSales Street, NW 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20036. Send an email to The Sentencing Project.

The Sentencing Project is a national, non-profit organization engaged in research and advocacy for criminal justice reform.