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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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Friday, January 21, 2011

State of AZ robbing and killing us to pay Paul.

Hey folks: there's some bad stuff going down at the legislature and in executive offices at the Capitol now that they're back at work - check out Middle Ground Prison Reform's take on it and call to action. If Donna Hamm thinks it's worth contacting legislators about these proposals (which include new fees for families and prisoners), it's worth it.

Also on the budget issues: I was just at the legislature the other day demonstrating about the Governor's proposal to cut some 280,000 more people off of AHCCCS. (violating a voter-initiative that extended the coverage in the first place). I think she called them into special session for that purpose just to keep the resistance off guard - I was the only one down there with any sign of protest (so I spread it around). I was pretty outrag
ed that she'd call them all together to save money by killing more of the poor in this state, and wouldn't lift a finger to save those transplant patients that they collectively condemned to die.

So, what's more important to Arizonans: corporate welfare or human welfare; money or life? I know where my own priorities are, and my taxes aren't following them to pay for health care, housing or education - they're being hijacked by this fascist state to
further a racist, classist, misogynistic agenda and build more prisons. Call me crazy, but that kind of thing I can't help but protest...

The latest AHCCCS patient-killer bill, by the way, passed through

both houses on party line votes (see link above).

I just don't get this place...

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