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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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Food Not Bombs for No More Deaths.

This is Stephen Lemons' plug for Friday's benefit for No More Deaths. You should be able to click on the image on the flier to the right, and download then print it up. Please spread the word!

--from the Feathered Bastard at the Phoenix New Times--

No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes, the humanitarian group that leaves water out for migrants crossing the Arizona desert, will be holding an art auction/fundraiser beginning this First Friday in Phoenix at Bragg's Pie Factory. The details, taken from the Facebook page for the event, are below.

I wrote about No More Deaths, along with other groups working to bring aid to the thousands who make that perilous journey each year, in my February cover story "Blood's Thicker Than Water."

The group maintains a year-round camp in Arivaca, Arizona, and from there, sends out patrols checking water stations in remote areas. They often come across the bodies of those who didn't make it. Sometimes volunteers encounter injured or dehydrated migrants, and offer them first aid and water on the spot.

I urge everyone reading to visit and support the NMD fundraiser. For the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2009, NMD notes that the remains of 128 human beings have been recovered in Arizona border counties. It's a sobering count, one sure to increase in the next three months. NMD is one of the organizations looking to lessen the suffering, and perhaps save lives in the process.

No More Deaths, along with Food Not Bombs-Phoenix, is organizing an art auction to raise funds for the work of No More Deaths. All money raised will go towards providing lifesaving food and water to migrants crossing the Arizona Borderlands.

No More Deaths is a non-profit humanitarian aid group. Our work focuses on providing direct aid that extends the right to provide humanitarian assistance, witnessing and responding, consciousness raising, global movement building, and encouraging humane immigration policy. No More Deaths mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through civil initiative: the conviction that people of conscience must work openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, remains of 205 deceased migrants were found along the border in Southern Arizona

The artwork will be viewed from the First Friday (July 2nd) through the 3rd Friday. The auction will take place on Friday, July 16th. There will also be music from local musicians Hunger Artist, Los Mudros, Porches, Wizard Teeth, and DJentrification will close out the night. Food from Food Not Bombs-Phoenix, and a vegan bake sale.

Saturday, July 16, 2010 at 6:00pm

Braggs Pie Factory

1301 N.W. Grand Avenue

Phoenix, AZ