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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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mohave County housing costs for petty criminals going up.

County supervisors to look at jail housing increase

Mohave Daily News
Published: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 12:02 AM MDT
KINGMAN — The rising cost to Mohave County’s three cities to house inmates charged in city courts will go before the county supervisors today.

If passed by the supervisors, the agreement would raise the cost to each city for the 2010-11 fiscal year to $62.11 a day per prisoner, retroactive to Thursday. Once the new county jail is completed by September or October, the cost to each city would increase to $79.46 a day per prisoner. Sheriff Tom Sheahan recently told the board that jail bookings increased to 11,000 his year.

The housing cost the county currently charges is $58 a day per inmate. There also is a one-time booking fee of $65 per prisoner per day, which will remain the same. The fee is for inmates charged with misdemeanors in the three cities’ municipal courts. The county funds about 93 percent of the cost of jail services for inmates charged with felonies and charges the cities the rest for misdemeanor bookings.

The county currently is building a $72 million county jail in Kingman just off Interstate 40. The 242,000-square-foot jail is being built on a 19-acre county-owned site across from the county administration building. The three-story jail will have space for 688 beds housing more than 700 inmates, with room to expand to more than 1,100 beds.

A recently bought passenger bus will be used to take jail inmates from the new jail to Superior Court. The existing over-crowded county jail is across the street from the courthouse and guards walk inmates to court.

At a May board meeting, the city managers and mayors of Bullhead City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City opposed the increase in jail costs. At the meeting, Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter said 10 other Arizona counties do not charge booking fees for inmates. He also said taxpayers are charged twice, once for the cost of a new jail being constructed in Kingman by a quarter-cent sales tax, and again with the inmate housing fee. County Manager Ron Walker said five of those 10 counties have jail districts, for which taxpayers pay a tax anyway.

The board will hold its meeting at 9:30 a.m. today in the board of supervisor’s auditorium at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St., Kingman.