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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Friday, December 3, 2010

Power -v- Power in Maricopa Courts...

The saga continues, and trumps the abuse of prisoners in the news. As I noted in a recent post about the MCSO deputies assaulting prisoners, the sickness there spreads from the top down. Here, Arpaio and Thomas just used the power of criminal investigation as the weapon with which they assaulted their victims. 

The indignation and compensation sought is frankly kind of ridiculous over these folks' defamation: poor people get assaulted with the law all the time - even those who aren't competent enough to be responsible for breaking it. Judges aren't entirely innocent when it comes to criminalizing the mentally ill to get them off the street, either. For every mentally ill person in Arizona in a psychiatric hospital these days, about ten sit in jail or prison.

Think about that. That's criminal. Here's the full report: another one to read and weep.

So, keep this in perspective, folks - since these particular targets of Sheriff Joe's are powerful people themselves, they have high-powered representation (actually, a decent guy who has represented prisoners families, too) and will be collecting a whole lot more from the county (us) for their slightly-damaged reputations than any prisoners will for being subjected to unrestrained violence at the hands of deputies who broke both their spirits and bones. Arpaio himself probably won't be shelling out a dime in the end, of course - and I'll bet you anything that we'll be paying for his retirement for years to come.


2 More Judges Sue Arpaio, Alleging Defamation and Abuse of Process
Courthouse News

PHOENIX (CN) - Two more Superior Court judges have sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio for defamation, and a deputy county manager and a county administrator added complaints of their own, all alleging that Arpaio targeted them for baseless criminal investigations to retaliate for the judges' court rulings and the county employees work on budget cuts. Four Superior Court judges or retired judges have sued Arpaio this week; the new plaintiffs claim that Arpaio's actions "constitute the rankest misuse of power against those innocent and powerless citizens that our system of government is supposed to protect."...

(finish the article here)

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