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, December 14, 2010

Governor Perdue: Stop the Violence against GA Prisoners.

This in today via the Freedom Archives' Political Prisoner News list-serve. You can join it by contacting them at the addresses below. Note that former Black Panther Elaine Brown is front and center here, along with the Georgia NAACP (they've been pretty active in the prison scene there) and the Nation of Islam. If I ever end up in prison, I'd want them all on my team, too... Go like their facebook page. They need more friends from across the country.

Press Release

Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights (Coalition of NAACP, Nation of Islam, Elected Officials, Prisoner Activists) Demand Governor Perdue and DOC Commissioner Brian Owens Stop Violence Against Striking Prisoners


December 13, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
State Capitol
100 Washington Street
Atlanta, Georgia

NAACP State Chairman Edward Dubose joined by representatives from the Nation of Islam, elected officials and others, who have formed the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights, will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. today at the Capitol to urge Governor Perdue and Department of Corrections Commissioner Owens to halt the violent tactics being employed by guards against thousands of striking prisoners. They have reached out to Perdue and Owens for meetings earlier in the day.

Begun on December 9, 2010, the prisoners’ peaceful protest has been historic in scope and in the unity of thousands of black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian prisoners, including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons. For five days, now, these men have shut down all activity at most of these facilities.

The prisoners are petitioning the DOC for their human rights, including being paid for their labor, provided educational opportunities, decent health care and nutritional meals, a halt to cruel and unusual punishments, and just parole decisions.

While the prisoners’ protest has remained non-violent, the DOC has used violent measures to force the men back to work­under the banner of law, despite the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery. At Augusta State Prison, several inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs, one man beaten beyond recognition. At Telfair, the Tactical Squad roughed up prisoners and destroyed all their property. At Macon and Hays State Prisons, Tactical Squads have menaced the men for days, removing some to the “hole,” the wardens ordering heat and hot water turned off. Tear gas has been used to force men out of their cells at various prisons, while guards patrol grounds with assault rifles.

The DOC has made itself unavailable to the press and prisoner family members, creating fears that, behind closed doors, the Department will escalate this peaceful protest to a violent confrontation. The Coalition is urging the DOC to come to the table in peace to address the prisoners’ concerns.

“Due to the harsh conditions faced behind bars and the need for prison reform, the men are staying in their cells as a form of peaceful protest. No officials or staff have been threatened and no property has been damaged. These men’s requests are reasonable and in accord with the basic respect and treatment every human being deserves,” said Elaine Brown, a social activist and former Black Panther Party leader. Brown is spearheading the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights. More information about the Coalition can be found on its Facebook page.

# # #

Contact: Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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