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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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Have a Heart 4 AHCCCS Transplant Patients

FRANCISCO FELIX: Father of 4 beautiful girls.
Hepatitis C AHCCCS Patient on Liver Transplant Waiting List.
Needs $500,000.
Car Wash today and Tomorrow.


My friend
Julie Acklin and I spent a few hours today with the friends and family of Francisco Felix, a Hepatitis C patient in need of a liver transplant. He actually had a match donated to him by a family friend who passed away in November, but he couldn't afford the $200,000 tab - and the state refused to step up to pay it.

Francisco is one of 98 patients in our state (now 97, I believe, with Mark Price's death) who lost funding this fall for their desperately needed organ and tissue transplants through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS - Arizona's name for Medicaid, which is less and less accessible under our compassionate conservatives). Several of the links I've embedded in this post will help you find out who voted for and against the cuts, but I can tell you it was pretty much a party-line thing. A week or so ago I protested at the Capitol and blogged on this issue, too (see "Bury My Heart in An AHCCCS Patient").

13-year old Carlos Olivas, Jr
. (above, with Jessica Felix) also hit the Capitol to protest and has been everywhere fund-raising recently. I met him at the car wash today, and he's an amazing kid. Read the CNBC story about him if you need some inspiration to stop talking and take action for these folks. He's pretty humble about it, but as I understand it, he's single-handedly raised nearly $2,000 for the cause so far. Really, all those kids out there today were heroes; just a few (including Francisco's daughters) are pictured here.

The AZ Senate Democrats have filed a bill to restore the transplant funding, but they aren't the ones in control of the state legislature - the Republicans are, so lobby the Governor and your lawmaker for it hard, reminding them that it's our money they're depriving Arizona's families of, not theirs.

Anyway, the occasion today was a yard sale and car wash being held to raise money for Francisco, who will now need about $500,000 for his transplant and related expenses. A lot of people turned out, but I don't think we raised enough. In fact, I'm sure we didn't.

There will be another fundraiser for him tomorrow as well, so please bring your dirty cars, a little cash, and some rich friends or Republican legislators to support the cause.

It's being held from 7am-3pm at the entrance to Acclaim Charter School at 7624 W. Indian School Rd., on the West side of Phoenix between 76th and 77th Ave.

The easiest way I found to get there from my place on Central and Roosevelt was to hop on the I-10 going West, take the 75th Ave exit North, and head up to Indian School Road, where you'll make a left, going West again. About 1/4 mile down the road you'll see a ton of eager children on your right (probably waving hot pink signs) imploring you to wash your car. Turn in it even if it's already clean.

While you're waiting for your vehicle shop at NAPA Auto Parts (the guy there threw his support behind this whole thing), hit the yard sale for things you might (or might not) need, buy a Francisco Felix t-shirt, or mosey on to the back of the lot to pick up a couple of tacos. If you're really brave, turn your clean car over to me and the kids to have your back window painted. The photos throughout this post should give you an idea of what I mean.

If you can't make it tomorrow, don 't worry - you can still give to Francisco's fund. In fact, that's all I really want for Christmas, so if you really love me, go to the NTAF and donate today.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Feliz Navidad, mis amigos y amigas.

(hope I got that right... Love to all.)

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