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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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Prescott Valley has better fields of dreams..

Fain family abandons plans for prison
By Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

6/10/2010 10:06:00 PM

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Fain Signature Group announced Thursday afternoon that it has abandoned plans for any further consideration of a prison on family-owned land.

"The leadership team has determined that it will discontinue the pursuit of a correctional facility," stated a press release that Ron Fain, managing partner, issued via e-mail. "Fain Signature Group is not currently working with Corrections Corporation of America or any other correctional firm."

Fain declined to say whether opposition to the prison motivated a decision, commenting, "I would just let the press release stand."

He issued the press release four months after his brother, Brad, and father, Bill, told the Town Council that they would proceed with trying to annex and rezone their land off Fain Road for a future prison site. Father and son said they would let Prescott Valley voters have the final say on whether they want a prison in their community.

Mayor Harvey Skoog expressed relief about the announcement.

"My reaction is the community is uncomfortable with it (a prison), so let it die," said Skoog, who announced Jan. 27 that he would not support a private prison on the Fain property. Three other council members echoed those views during the council meeting on the following night and cited widespread opposition to the prison proposal.

However, former councilman Tom Steele, a vocal prison foe, indicated that he thinks the statement in the press release is ambiguous because it uses the word "currently."

"There is a lot of wiggle room in there," Steele said. "I don't trust the leadership team in Prescott Valley."

He noted the prison issue came up twice: first in October 2007 when Management & Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, disclosed plans for a private prison on the Fain property, and this past December when CCA of Nashville, Tenn., announced plans.

Representatives of both companies met with officials from the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation, which recommended the Fain property. But in both cases, Steele and other residents organized opposition, citing fears about bringing an undesirable element to the community and lowering property values.

While the Fain family would benefit from selling grazing land, Ron Fain has pitched the prison proposal as an opportunity to create jobs.

A private prison with 5,000 beds would create a total of 3,945 jobs - not strictly at the prison - according to an economic forecast Scottsdale-based Elliott D. Pollack & Co. issued in January on behalf of the foundation.

"Core to the economic vitality of Prescott Valley is a diverse job base," the Fain press release stated. "Fain Signature Group will remain committed and rigorous in its efforts to bring new jobs to the residents of Prescott Valley and the surrounding communities."
Ron Fain expanded on the press release by saying, "For jobs, we are going to continue to maintain our relationship with PVEDF and pursue industries that have shown interest in the region - not specific to the site."
The Fain family initially announced plans in December 2006 for an industrial park on 881 acres off Fain Road.