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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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stop the Militarization of the DREAM ACT Petition

Hey All -

Here's a new petition from addressing some of the problems with the proposed DREAM Act. I was surprised to find it. Please take a close look and see if it's something you can support. If so, please follow the link at the bottom, sign and pass it on; there are only 499 signatures so far.

Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!

The DREAM Act has been promoted as a chance for many undocumented youth to gain "legalization." It has been touted as an education bill. However, college attendance rates are low for many undocumented immigrants, especially latino/as. Little is done to help undocumented youth go to college. Therefore, this will force many youth to choose the military option as their only choice for legalization. We believe this is immoral and an unfair choice.

If you believe that the DREAM Act is flawed because the only two options are college or the military. If you want to see the military option removed from the DREAM Act, please sign our petition


Though the DREAM Act provides a pathway to legalization for some youth by going to college, we believe that high school graduation rates and the resources available for our communities to obtain a higher education will give an unfair advantage to military recruitment. That is, we believe that the DREAM Act will cause a de facto draft. The military will prey upon the fact that the vast majority of undocumented youth will not go to college. It will prey upon undocumented youth because the DREAM Act does little to help youth go to college. While there may be youth who do in fact benefit, we believe that the cost of sending thousands of undocumented youth to war is an unfair, immoral and unjust price to pay.

That is why we urge you to remove the military component of the DREAM Act and replace it with 910 hours of community service or employment. The 910 hours of community service was actually in the original DREAM Act. We believe the service component was removed to force more youth to “choose” the military option.

Further, we applaud the youth who put their lives on the line and risk deportation in their struggles to pass the DREAM Act. We simply wish to push the DREAM Act in a more just direction, a direction which will not victimize immigrants in the US and civilians in countries which the US attacks.

We also recognize that the DREAM Act does not address our fundamental demand of LEGALIZATION FOR ALL. The DREAM Act does not stop the separation of families. The DREAM Act does not stop deportations. The DREAM Act does not stop the terrorism that occurs in our communities and our families everyday.


1) The original DREAM Act already had the community service component. We simply wish this component to be re-added and replace the military component.

2) Military contracts are never for two years. They are always substantially longer. The DREAM Act is deceitfully worded to make the public believe that two years of military service is enough. Military contracts are generally for eight years.

3) The military will prey upon undocumented youth because less than 30% of latino/s have ever been even one day to college*

4) Only 11% of latino/as have a college degree. *

5) While latino/as are not the only immigrants affected, it is latino/a blood which will be spilled, because we have the lowest high school and college graduation rate of any group in the US *

6) What kind of “choice” will youth have with these statistics? It is not a real choice. It is an illusion that it is a real choice. The youth could also “chose” to return to their country of origin, but we refuse that as a viable option as well. This is their home and the youth wish to stay here, the land which they recognize and call home.

7) The DREAM Act doesn’t help youth graduate high school. If a single piece of legislation could help the horrendous high school graduation rates for minorities in the US, a bill would have been crafted years ago. Education disparities are complex issues that would be difficult to fix with simple legislation. After decades of disinvestment, it will take years or decades to fix our education system.

8) The DREAM Act doesn’t help make going to college easier. States don’t have to give undocumented students in-state tuition, and only 11 do. The DREAM Act doesn’t give students this benefit. It also makes federal assistance out the question. Pell grants are probably the single greatest thing that could truly help college attainable.

*- these are figures from the latest available US Census -,_Statistics,_and_Research1_EN.asp?SnID=2

------------------SIGN THE PETITION--------------------

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