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:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brewer's sick, dying, and innocent prisoners: Letter to the Governor.

My note to the Governor today via her website; posting it here, too, just to make sure it isn't lost:

First Name: * Margaret J
Last Name: * Plews
Phone: 480-580-6807
Email: *
Street: PO Box 20494
City: Phoenix
County: Maricopa
State: AZ
Zip: * 85036
Subject: legal/law *
Topic: Sick, dying, and innocent prisoners, and the Board of Executive Clemency

My friends and I at Arizona Prison Watch are gravely concerned about the number of state prisoners who are dying inside from medical neglect, from homicide, and from their own hand due to the despair of mental illness and incarceration - as well as those succumbing to terminal illness while awaiting compassionate release petitions which we suspect she has no intention of approving, just as Janet didn't. We find that totally unacceptable.

We are particularly concerned right now about the fates of prisoners William Macumber and Davon Acklin. The Board of Executive Clemency recommended Macumber for immediate release last year because they believed him to be innocent: the governor denied his petition, giving no reason. This is incomprehensible, and we'll be initiating a public campaign for his freedom if the governor doesn't take responsibility for acting on the Board of Clemency's recommendations in his case.

You may already be quite familiar with Davon Acklin's mom Julie, who has been trying to save her son's life - also going through the Board of Executive Clemency now. He's sick from hepatitis C and the ADC is refusing to treat him, we believe largely because of his serious mental illness, which appears to be the standard MO. This despite the stipulations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which we intend to file a complaint about if appropriate care isn't provided to that child, or if he isn't sent home so his mother can get it for him.

We will also be seeking a new CRIPA investigation into the ADC - and possibly the AZDJC - if the other concerns we've raised aren't promptly addressed, and prisoners continue to die at present rates from neglect, abuse, and despair. The one poor child at Adobe Mountain appears to have been bullied to death; there's no excuse for that. Director Branham has, however, been quite gracious in trying to work with us given the limitations of confidentiality laws, so he may have bought some time. The ADC is out of time, however. As far as we're concerned, all of Chuck Ryan's prisoners are her prisoners too, and she bears a great deal of responsibility for their welfare. Criminalized or not, they are still real human beings with loved ones, hopes, and dreams. The state has a duty to protect them while they are in your care.

I do expect a response on these matters by Friday afternoon - our campaign to address them with the community and media will otherwise begin first thing Monday morning. We hear from these families and prisoners all the time - often we receive copies of letters sent to Governor Brewer pleading for assistance. We'll have them crying on the news every night and we'll be coming to her campaign events until the governor either steps in and steps up, or gets voted out. We can be extremely creative about these kinds of things, as can our friends - thousands of whom are already pretty outraged by SB 1070.

I will be looking forward to a reply from your office.

Thank you.

Margaret J Plews,
Arizona Prison Watch
Arizona Juvenile Prison Watch
Hard Time Alliance (Hep C in AZ Prisons)