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:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Arizona 5,000 bed private prison bids delayed.

---------Good News for Arizona Communities. Get out now, Globe!----------

Globe Prison Bid and others on hold

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 25th, 2010

BY: Ted Lake/Staff Writer

Arizona Silver Belt

The Arizona Department of Corrections has confirmed that any decisions over bids submitted by four companies to build private prisons here in our state have been delayed because of security issues raised about a privately operated prison in Kingman last month where the breakout of three violent convicts occurred on July 30.

Barrett Marson, Director of Communications for the state agency, told the Arizona Silver Belt, efforts to add an additional 5,000 private prison beds has been stalled because of concerns which have developed on how the medium-security private prison was being operated in Kingman. He said representatives of each of the four companies that submitted proposals to build and operate private prison complexes housing ADC inmates will be called in for more questioning about their proposals.

When asked, does this mean these proposals will have to be re advertised and go out for bids again? Marson said that decision has not been made at this time.

The companies submitting proposals to the Arizona Department of Corrections, which have been under review since May 28th, were Management and Training Corporation ( which owns and operates the private prison at Kingman along with another facility in Marana and 24 Job Corps Centers in the U.S), GEO Group Corrections, Corrections Corporation of America and Emerald Correctional Management Company. Emerald, in its proposal , submitted plans to build a 1,000 bed medium prison in the city of Globe between the Gila County Fairgrounds and the San Carlos Reservation line. The controversial Emerald project has been endorsed by the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation but is now actively being opposed by a group of merchants and local citizens.

All top officials of Utah based Management and Training Corporation who were operating the company’s medium security prison at Kingman either were terminated or removed to other job assignments as a result of a report released by the Arizona Department of Corrections on Thursday citing numerous security flaws at the correctional facility.

Among the flaws was the private prison’s alarm system. Some 89 false alarms reported at the correctional facility on July 30th, the day the three convicts walked out. Ryan’s agency claims there was no maintenance on these prison alarms for the past two years and responding to these alerts was not a priority with prison workers who had become “desensitized” to false alarms..

Too, turnover of employees at the Kingman private prison had been high resulting in a lack of training. One official of Management and Training Corporation indicated she was working with a staff that was basically 80 percent new due to the turnover problem It was further reported that an excessive delay occurred in discovering the escape of the three convicts ( two convicted of murder, one a double homicide) and notifying law enforcement. In addition, it was found that operational practices at the prison ofter led to a gap of 15 minutes or longer during shift changes along the outside perimeter fence.

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