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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Friday, July 9, 2010

ADC: The murder of Dana Seawright.

Maybe it's just my perception, but it seems like there have been a lot more murders and suicides in the state prisons this year - which suggests that prisoners are being treated more brutally in general and figure they have nothing left to lose. It also leaves me wondering just who is in control in there - is it the ADC, or are the gangs running the show and proving it by making people kill other prisoners?

They'll be taking out guards, too, if this war escalates.

Anyway, Seawright's murder will be added to our CRIPA complaint. If anyone can get more details on what happened with this or any of the other prison homicides since last summer, please pass them on so they can be forwarded to the appropriate outside agency.

Our condolences to Dana's family and loved ones. Please let us know if there's anything we can do, even just publish his obituary for you - I'm sure it will have more to say about the man than his criminal record does, and we like to get that kind of information out there so the public recognizes the humanity of many prisoners.


Arizona prison inmate dies in Phoenix hospital

ABC 15, Phoenix
Associated Press
July 8, 2010

PHOENIX - Arizona Department of Corrections officials say a state prison inmate has died.

Officials say 26-year-old Dana Seawright died Wednesday night at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix. He had been transported to the hospital on Saturday after being found in his cell with puncture wounds.

DOC officials did not say how Seawright was wounded at the Stiner Unit of the state prison Lewis complex in Buckeye, only that the death is under investigation.

They say Seawright was sent to the Arizona prison system for the third time in November 2009 to serve a 12-year sentence. He was convicted out of Maricopa County on a dangerous drug violation and unlawful use of means of transport.