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:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hawai'i Prison Watch: More details on CCA prisoner abuses.

Just got the link on the following article with more details of the suit from Caroline Isaacs (, Program Manager at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Tucson, which has done extensive work in AZ around private prisons. Especially if you're in Hawai'i wondering about what's going on here, contact her. She's much more up on CCA than I am.

Any AZ communities considering a new CCA prison in their town: think again. It may not give your kids the dream jobs you think it will.

American Friends Service Committee
Arizona Area Program
103 N. Park Ave., Suite 111
Tucson, AZ 85719
520.623.9141 p
520.623.5901 f

----------------Great national source: Courthouse News--------------

Arizona: Brutality at CCA

Brutality at a Private Prison

Courthouse News

December 15, 2010

Last Update: 9:05 AM PT


HONOLULU (CN) - Guards at a privately run prison in Arizona stripped, beat and kicked inmates and threatened to kill them, banged their heads on tables while they were handcuffed, and "the warden himself" joined in threatening their families, 18 inmates say in state court. Then the Corrections Corporation of America and its employees, who run the prison, "deliberately destroyed and failed to preserve evidence of their wrongdoing, including videotapes," and "deliberately falsified reports," according to the complaint.

The beatings and death threats came at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., to which Hawaii sent its prisoners to be held by CCA, the nation's largest private prison company.

The inmates say CCA guards beat them to retaliate for a July 26 fight or "disturbance" in which "a lieutenant or other employee of CCA was injured."

The guards beat the plaintiffs to coerce "statements" from them, and "when plaintiffs wrote brief statements, defendants demanded that plaintiffs disclose more, and then engaged in the acts alleged herein [in] an effort to coerce further statements," the complaint states.

"Plaintiffs were beaten and assaulted, including by having their heads banged on tables while they were stripped to their underwear and while their hands were handcuffed behind their backs.

"Plaintiffs were stripped of nearly all of their clothing while being beaten, questioned, and humiliated.

"Plaintiffs were threatened with harm to themselves and their families, including through such statements as:

"a. 'We have your emergency contact information;'

"b. 'We know who your family is and where they live and we are going to harm them;'

"c. 'We are going to kill you;'

"d. 'We will continue to beat you and the only way to stop that is to commit suicide;'

"e. 'We will send you to hell;'

"f. 'We will stick something up your ass.'

"Inmates were required to get on their knees with their hands handcuffed behind their back, whereupon they were beaten by multiple officers employed by defendants.

"Inmates were kicked while on the ground. ...

"Inmates were denied prompt medical treatment for their injuries in an effort to conceal what had happened.

"Inmates were told that if they did not provide written statements, their beatings would continue.

"Beatings in fact continued for those who refused to provide statements.

"In an effort to conceal what was happening, defendants violated their own policy that a handheld camera would be used to film inmates whenever they were being handled by the SORT team.

"As a result [of] duress, force, and threats of force, some of the plaintiffs provide statements in the hope of ending their beatings.

"Inmates were told that if they told anyone what had happened, they would be killed or beaten further.

"CCA personnel, including the warden himself, threatened parents of some inmates, including with longer incarceration."

The inmates also sued Hawaii, which sent them to the prison. They say: "During many of the occurrences alleged above, defendant State of Hawaii had on site its contract monitor, John Ioane, who had actual knowledge and personally was aware of some of the above occurrences, and yet acquiesced in and permitted them to continue."

The inmates demand a protective injunction and punitive damages from CCA, Hawaii and Ioane, for assault and battery, cruel and unusual punishment, coercion and retaliation.

They are represented by Michael Jay Green and John Rapp of Honolulu.

No comments: