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:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No More Deaths, detention, deportation, or violence against migrants.

No More Deaths Welcomes Department of Justice Lawsuit, Calls for Overhaul of Immigration Management and Moratorium on Raids and Removals

Contact: Danielle Alvarado
Cell Phone: (408) 646-2175

Tucson, Arizona—No More Deaths welcomes Tuesday's announcement that the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against SB 1070, the most extreme among recent discriminatory measures passed by the Arizona legislature. In addition to preempting the federal government's sole jurisdiction over immigration enforcement, the implementation of SB 1070 is predicated on racial profiling; it promotes distrust between local communities and law enforcement; and it fails to uphold basic principles of fairness and equality.

Between June 14 and June 22, 2010, humanitarian volunteers at the Kino Border Initiative migrant aid center in Nogales, Sonora conducted interviews with 125 men and women recently removed from the United States. Of those interviewed, 26% (32 individuals) were taken from their families and communities in the interior of the country. SB 1070 would simply exacerbate this trend, which has proliferated under the Obama administration.

While the Department of Justice lawsuit may lead to an injunction before SB 1070 is due to take effect, the unfortunate reality is that this law is merely a symptom of a larger climate of fear-mongering and ill-considered policies that extend far beyond Arizona. While Obama denounces SB 1070, nothing is said about 287(g) agreements or other federal policies that lead to the de facto implementation of many of the practices that SB 1070 enshrines. The culture of abuse and impunity that pervades federal immigration enforcement, from Seattle to Miami, is especially apparent along the Southwest border, which is overrun with border enforcement personnel and infrastructure with limited oversight, accountability, or institutional safeguards for protecting human and civil rights.

The administration's approach to immigration enforcement is fundamentally flawed and continues to criminalize workers and families while doing nothing to address the broken state of our immigration system or the root causes of migration. The recent deadly tasering of a man in California and shooting of a 15-year-old boy near Ciudad Juarez by Border Patrol agents are symptoms of the violence perpetuated by militarized border enforcement. Since 2006 No More Deaths volunteers have interviewed thousands of individuals leaving Border Patrol custody, documenting hundreds of cases involving excessive force, verbal and physical abuse, and denial of access to water, family members, and accurate legal information. The federal government must do more to hold its agents responsible for their actions, and should immediately suspend all immigration detention and removal until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted that protects the rights, life and dignity of every person.

No More Deaths provides direct humanitarian assistance to women, men and children forced into the remote Arizona desert by US border policies. More than 6,000 have died along the border since 1998. Since 2006, No More Deaths volunteers have received over 500,000 recently repatriated migrants in aid stations in Northern Sonora, and documented a series of abuses in the custody of the US Border Patrol Agents. In 2008 No More Deaths released a detailed report, Crossing the Line: Human Rights Abuses of Migrants in Short-Term Custody on the Arizona/Sonora Border, which presents over 400 individual accounts of Border Patrol abuses, along with analysis and policy recommendations. The stories were collected over a two-year period, beginning as a natural outgrowth of our direct aid work on the border.

Download a copy of the report at: