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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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bill Montgomery: Please Protect the Mentally Ill Victims of the MCSO.

I've said my piece on this, and will be dropping off a letter about it to the county attorney this week. I hope others will as well (here's the link to email him)...

---------------------from the PHX New Times-------------

MCSO Detention Officer Involved in Jail Beat Downs Not Charged by County Attorney -- Yet. Case Being Reviewed

, The Maricopa County detention officer seen beating two inmates in the psych ward at one of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails has not been charged with a crime -- yet, the Maricopa County Superior Court announced this morning.

"Charges against MCSO Detention Officer Kevin Gerster were not filed by County Attorney's office. Preliminary Hearing was scratched and the case will be removed from the HP list unless new charges are filed," court spokeswoman Karen Arra says in an email to New Times.

Gerster was seen on tape stepping on the neck of a fully restrained inmate before punching him four times in the head. In another incident, he's seen punching another inmate as the inmate was fully restrained and laying naked in a jail cell.

In yet another incident, Gerster is believed to have used the jail database to get the address of a former inmate for a friend of his. The former inmate was dating Gerster's friend's estranged wife.

That friend of the deputy's, Dennis McCarty, was arrested shortly after he was given the address for allegedly assaulting his estranged wife -- and the ex-inmate -- with a box-cutter at the ex-inmate's Tempe home, the address to which he got from Gerster.

Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office tells New Times the announcement from the Superior Court is a bit misleading.

"They make it sound like the case is being dropped," Cobb says. "That's an inaccurate statement."

Cobb says the case is being reviewed by prosecutors who will determine what -- if any -- charges will be filed against Gerster...

follow the link back to the PHX New Times for the rest...

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