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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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Globe: City of Hospitality or Prison Town?

Didn't these legislators do their homework? They should be embarrassed to be having a luncheon with some of these people - and taking them seriously. The Resistance in Globe has at least two new targets now: nail those legislators before they come out publicly with something stupid, or try to pressure ADC into accepting the Corplan / Emerald proposal. Konopnicki should know better, at least.

Make sure your voices are heard with all those other politicians who shared their table as well. And shame on the Gila Community College for supporting the idea of private prisons as a "good" industry for the workforce (they're in it for the $$ too).

-----------Here's a glimpse of Globe,by the way, from their website--------------

"Welcome to the City of Globe: City of Hospitality. We are happy you are interested in our historic city. We are a community with great landscapes, family values, friendly neighborhoods, & a rich history.

Visit this link to find out how to get to Globe.

Globe is centrally located in Southern Arizona. We are the perfect get away for a day trip or a weekend. We are located along the Historic Old West Highway, which takes you from Apache Junction, Arizona to Lordsburg, New Mexico. Come visit the Salado Indian Ruins at Besh-Ba-Gowah Archeological Park. Walk historic down town and enjoy the Arizona sunshine while visiting our antique shops, or visit The Cobre Valley Center for the Arts and view the works of local artists. If you are looking for beautiful scenery take a short drive to the Pinal Mountains or Roosevelt Lake to see the desert landscape. We are within a two-hour drive to Phoenix or Tucson.

Thanks for visiting our website, we hope to see you soon."


SGCEDC board courts state legislators for prison support
Posted: Wednesday, Jun 30th, 2010
BY: Holly Sow/Staff Writer

GLOBE — Members of the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (SGCEDC) hosted an invitation-only luncheon banquet at the Dream Manor Inn on Thursday, June 24, to further promote and rally support in favor of having a 1,000-bed prison built on state land out
by the County Fair Grounds within Globe City limits. The luncheon cast the prison project in a very positive light, stressing the economic impact it will have for the communities of Southern Gila County.

Opponents of the prison were not invited to attend, however. The press was also excluded, but was given admittance at the door with the request that no pictures be taken and no questions be asked.

(That's SOP for these people. They run prisons- no dissent is allowed. - Peg)

Special guests included Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen and Arizona State Representative Bill Konopnicki, Gila Community College Senior Dean Dr. Stephen Cullen and Dean Patricia Burke, Globe Vice-Mayor Thea Wilshire, City Manager Kane Graves, county supervisors Mike Pastor and Shirley Dawson, County Manager Don McDaniel, Sheriff John Armer, and Emerald Companies Director of Business Development Mike Moore, F.C. Cuny Corporation President Chris Cuny, and Corplan Corrections President James Parkey.

The meeting reiterated many of the same points made in previous presentations at Globe City Council.

The main objective this time was to ask Allen and Konopnicki to make their support of a private prison to be built in Southern Gila County known at the state level. Allen was very receptive of the proposal after watching a DVD put together by the EDC and hearing from the EDC board members and city and county officials.

Konopnicki was eager to hear how the project would benefit the local economy and said he supported the state building the prisons in rural areas throughout the state of Arizona. He did ask for more information about qualified workforce numbers as well as the exact per diem number. Konopnicki further requested more information on the expansion possibility that was touched on, with the option of increasing the facilities from a 1,000 to a 2,000-bed prison. He asked to have information sent to him in a summary form.

Thea Wilshire gave a presentation about the need to diversify the local economy. Pastor commented on the need for expanded services to the region. Finally, Mickie Nye spoke of how the prison will benefit local families and businesses.

Melissa Woodall concluded the presentation part of the luncheon saying “We are only asking for 1,000 beds, only 20 percent of the total amount. That is not too much.”

The three gentlemen from the companies who build and operate the private prison ended with a plea “Is there anything our team can do to help this project? Is that a fair question?”

On June 29, 2010, the Arizona Department of Corrections media relations office reported that the decision regarding the private prisons is still pending legal review and review of the technical logistics suggested in each proposal. There is currently no set date for the announcement.