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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Maricopa County deputies brutalize prisoner.

Sheriff Joe's finest, doing what they do best to help mentally ill prisoners in the MCSO's Lower Buckeye Jail. The shocker is that other cops reported this, and two deputies have been charged with assault.

Imagine how many others the MCSO has brutalized in Sheriff Joe's jail that no one ever hears about - especially when it comes to the mentally disabled. By the time they get back into court (after nine months of being berated, beaten and "restored to competency") they plead guilty to whatever they've been charged with just to escape the kind of mental health "care" - even if it means years in prison for something they didn't do or weren't competent enough to be culpable. I see it happen far too often. That's coercive plea bargaining and the ultimate subversion of justice.

Unfortunately, according to the Arizona Constitution, the victim here doesn't even have the rights of other victims (which can include "entities" like neighborhood associations, corporations, etc.) because he's "in custody for an offense" (recently reaffirmed by the AZ Court of Appeals in this decision; which I was tipped off to by Eric Manch's blog). Likewise, if he was killed in this assault, his family wouldn't have the legal standing of other victims, either. It's no wonder cops here feel so free to violate their prisoners. That would seem to imply that we become less than human once a cop arrests us - whether he's the real criminal or not.

Whatever happened to the state's duty to protect "vulnerable adults"?

Shame on all the legislators, the state's prosecutors, and the victims' rights groups that endorsed that provision (and the voters, since it was put there by referendum). Frankly, I think curtailing prisoners' rights when they're victimized encourages this kind of behavior, and the state of Arizona should be sued by every victim of state violence for not extending equal protection to all persons, whether or not the state has them in custody. The AZ Constitution doesn't even differentiate between pre-trial detainees and the convicted when depriving those "in custody" of their constitutional rights as victims, so it treats the guilty and those presumed to be innocent (and too poor to post bail) the same.

More another time - I'm too disgusted and enraged. From the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to the Phoenix PD to the AZ Department of Corrections, there are way too many violent criminals on the loose here with badges and guns and keys. I hope our new county prosecutor and state Attorney General have the ethical foundation and guts to nail them all.

I guess we'll see.

This kind of sickness spreads from the top down.

No comments: