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 who I've been supporting, Jessie Burlew.

I will miss my work and the people who have supported me - but I have been most especially grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I have 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. collective@phoenixabc.org


until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ PRISON WATCH ACTION ITEMS:

Please hear and encourage the voices of former prisoners speaking out....

Perryville Prison

17 year old seriously mentally ill prisoner Jessica Burlew has been held in solitary confinement, in the jails of Joe Arpaio, since January 2014 pending trial for the accidental death of the sexual predator who was exploiting her.
AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Saturday, August 7, 2010

All in the Family: McCluskey's mom arrested.

(FYI: McCluskey and Welch arrested in AZ 8/19/10 post. All escapees back in custody.)


Mother of escaped inmate arrested in Arizona

By AMANDA LEE MYERS

Associated Press Writer

August 7, 2010 01:47PM
(as posted in the Salt Lake Tribune)

PAYSON, Ariz. • The mother of one of three inmates who escaped from a northwestern Arizona prison was arrested Saturday after authorities suspected she helped two of them.

Claudia Washburn, 68, was arrested at her home and place of business in Jakes Corner south of Payson on charges of conspiracy to commit escape, hindering prosecution and facilitation to commit escape, said Thomas Henman, supervisory deputy at the U.S. Marshals Service.

He said Washburn is the mother of John McCluskey, who escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman with Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick on July 30.

Authorities believe McCluskey’s fiancee and cousin — 44-year-old Casslyn Welch of Mesa — helped the inmates escape by throwing wire cutters over the prison fence.

Henman said Washburn is suspected of giving financial and other types of support to help McCluskey, Province and Welch. Renwick was arrested Aug. 1 in Rifle, Colo. following a brief car chase and shoot-out.

Washburn lives and works at the general store in Jakes Corner. Investigators were searching the store and Washburn’s apartment for evidence.

The Arizona Department of Corrections says the three men escaped by cutting a hole in the prison’s perimeter fence and later kidnapping two semi-truck drivers at gunpoint and using the big rig to flee. The group left the drivers unharmed in the truck at a stop just off Interstate 40 in Flagstaff and then fled.

Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery out of Pima County. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm out of Maricopa County. Renwick had been serving a 22-year sentence for second-degree murder.

A nationwide search was under way for McCluskey, Province and Welch. The group may be using a 1997 platinum gold Nissan Sentra with Arizona license plate 6-2-0-P-F-V.

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