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, October 26, 2010

Risks, Benefits of Private Prisons: Public Hearing OCT 27, Tucson.

Public Hearings on Prison Privatization in Arizona:
Risks and Benefits

Sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, Private Corrections Working Group, UA Latino Law Students Association, and St. Francis in the Foothills Church

October 27th

6:00-8:00 pm

Pima Community College, Downtown Campus:

Amethyst Room.


Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias

Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik

Assistant City Manager Richard Miranda (former Chief of Tucson Police)

State Representative Phil Lopes

Former Assoc. Editor of the Tucson Citizen Mark Kimble


Stephen Nathan, Editor of Prison Privatization Report International

Joe Glen, Spokesman, Maricopa & Pima Juvenile Corrections Associations

Brent White, Law Professor, University of Arizona

Jim Sanders, Real Estate Appraiser

Susan Maurer, Retired Corrections Commissioner, New Jersey

Victoria Lopez, ACLU of Arizona

Representative of Arizona Department of Corrections (invited)

Representative of Corrections Corporation of America (submitted a bid to the Arizona Department of Corrections to build a new prison in Tucson) (invited)

Representative of Management and Training Corporation (manages the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility) (invited)

The Hearing will be moderated by Mari Herreras of the Tucson Weekly

These hearings are being held in the interest of government accountability, integrity of our corrections system, and public safety: Many elected officials have called for legislative hearings, but none have been scheduled and critical questions remain unanswered. The Tucson hearing will be the first in a series of hearings to be held around the state.

The second will be held in Kingman on Monday, November 8th from 6:00-8:00pm at the Elks Lodge, 900 Gates Ave.

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to present testimony. The hearings will be video recorded and will be presented to the state legislature and the Governor, along with written materials produced through the hearings. Members of the public wishing to present testimony are asked to bring a printed copy of their remarks to enter into the record.

For more information, please contact AFSC at 520.623.9141 or

Caroline Isaacs
Program Director,
American Friends Service Committee
Arizona Area Program
103 N. Park Ave., Suite 111
Tucson, AZ 85719

520.623.9141 p/520.623.5901 f

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