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:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

130 Crowd Tucson Public Hearing on Prison Privatization in Arizona!

Source: Tucson Citizen
Also in: Censored News

More than 130 people packed the Public Hearing at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus last night for the first ever hearings on prison privatization in Arizona. Exceeding all expectations for this event, the crowd listened intently throughout the two hour hearing to both presenters and the public comment. Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Private Corrections Working Group, this public hearing was the first of a series of three planned throughout the state. Not surprisingly, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Management and Training Corporation (MTC), and the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) sent no official representatives to the hearing though they were repeatedly invited.

Stephen Nathan, the Editor of Prison Privatisation Report International and all the way from London, England for this public hearing, started the evening off with his expert testimony on the failure of private prisons throughout the world. Representative Nancy Young-Wright reminded the standing room only crowd that Arizona had recently accomplished some very dubious distinctions – specifically that “Arizona is now second in the US for poverty, 50th in spending on education for public school students, and fourth in the nation on our prison costs,” and thus placed the focus on the (in)ability of private prisons to educate and rehabilitate prisoners while incarcerated. Later, Tucson City Councilman Steve Kovachik raised the question as to whether incarceration – public or private – is the best way to respond to crime in the first place, citing alternatives to prison that have been used in other states.

The conveners of the hearing were Representative Phil Lopes, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, Assistant Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda, Tucson City Councilman Steve Kovachik, Representative Nancy Young-Wright, and former Tucson Citizen Editor Mark Kimble. Other speakers of note were Victoria Lopez from the ACLU of Arizona, Susan Maurer formerly of the New Jersey Corrections Department, and Jim Sanders. Soon we will have video of the highlights from the hearing, but for now we have an assortment of photos from last night. Thanks to all who showed up and participated last night! It was a tremendous success. Press release here.

Tucson Public Hearing - CCA and (above) ADC empty chair
Source: Matthew Lowen/AFSC

CCA were also not there...

1 comment:

Kat Brady said...


Mahalo nui (thanks so much) for posting the stories about the AZ prison privatization proposal.

Hawai`i sadly knows about private prisons as we have 2,000 men in CCA dungeons in Eloy.

We also know about the inside dealings of CCA. Our governor (36days in office left)signed a government to government contract with the city of Eloy in order to avoid HI's procurement law.

Several of us in HI sent in testimony to the Tucson hearing detailing research about private prisons and HI's sad experience in dealing with these profiteers.

Keep up the great work...we check out AZ Prison Watch every day as a source of real news - not spin.

In Solidarity,

Kat Brady
Coordinator, Community Alliance on Prisons