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, August 17, 2010

Kingman Escape: Maine on alert for McCluskey, Welch.

(FYI: McCluskey and Welch arrested in AZ 8/19/10 post)

Fugitives' Car Reportedly Sighted in Maine
08/17/2010 10:42 AM ET
Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Authorities in Maine are on the lookout for an Arizona couple wanted in a July prison break in that state. An alert was issued after a reported sighting in central Maine of the car the two are believed to be driving

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Casslyn Mae Welch, 44, and her fiance and cousin, John McCluskey, 45, are thought to be driving a 1997 Nissan Sentra, described as either gold, tan or gray.

Welch is alleged to have helped McCluskey and two other prisoners, who have since been recaptured, escape from a privately run state prison in Arizona on July 30. McCluskey and Welch are suspects in the murder of an Oklahoma couple, found in a burned trailer in New Mexico on August 4.

The last credible sighting of the couple was on August 6 in Billings, Montana. Authorities believe the two may have changed their appearance since escaping. McCluskey (top) is believed to now have dark hair and a dark beard, and Welch (bottom) is likely thinner with blond hair.

The U.S. Marshals Service says the couple has been known to use full service truck stops, rest areas, and camp grounds, and is asking travelers to be on the alert. The two are considered armed and extremely dangerous, authorities say.

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