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:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

APR 26: Montgomery and the MI in CJ Roundtable

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and I will both be on this roundtable this month. Note that it is not to be adversarial. I've heard that he is somewhat understanding of the struggles of people with mental illness, so perhaps we will find places where we agree.

For more in the criminalization and incarceration of the mentally ill in Arizona, see this post on Shannon Palmer.

Also see this report from the National Sheriff's Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center: for every one person with a mental illness we hospitalize in Arizona, we put almost ten behind bars. There's something really wrong with that.

Shannon Len Palmer, 40. Homicide victim: ASPC-Lewis (September 2010)
Sentenced to three years in prison by Maricopa Superior Court Judge Connie Contes
for climbing a utility tower in a thunderstorm to be closer to God...


Roundtable Forum

Incarceration of the Mentally Ill:

Punitive or Restorative Justice?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Gregory Sales exhibit: "It's Not Just Black and White"

ASU Art Museum

10th St and Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281

Sponsored by David's Hope
and the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition

"Please join us in this non-adversarial forum for a mediated discussion of the care and treatment of those with mental illness as their lives intersect with the criminal justice system. The goal is to bring together individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences, from the advocates for increasing rehabilitation for mentally ill offenders to those who feel the criminal justice system in place in Arizona is working well..."

For more information, Contact May Lou Brncik at David's Hope at 602-774-4382.

Visitors using ASU museum parking spaces must sign in at the front desk in the lobby of the Nelson Fine Arts Center.

--This is a great assembly of the people who need to come together on these issues--

Roundtable Forum

Incarceration of the Mentally Ill: Punitive or Restorative Justice

April 26 2011

ASU Art Museum 5:30pm

Roundtable Participant List:

Sue Ellen Allen Author and Executive Director, Gina’s Team

Norma Brasda SMI Unit Supervisor, Maricopa County Adult Probation

Kelly Carbello Clinical Supervisor, New Horizons Counseling Service

David Choate Associate Director, Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety, ASU

Sean Connolly Lieutenant Phoenix Police Department, South Mountain Precinct

Shelley Curran Director, Court Advocacy, Magellan Health Services

Brian Freudenthal Sergeant, Phoenix Police Department

Donna Hamm Founder, Middle Ground Prison Reform

Ken Jacuzzi ADA Advocate, Author, Business Coach

Patti Jones Registered Nurse, Advocate

Bill Montgomery Maricopa County Attorney

John Newson Advocate

Dawn Noggle Mental Health Director, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services

Peggy Plews Editor, Arizona Prison Watch

John Rundle Recovery Support Specialist, Stand Together and Recover

Michael Runningwolf Advocate, NAMI AZ

Ben Shaw Mental Health Director, Arizona Department of Corrections

Rebekah Trexler SMI Unit Supervisor, Maricopa County Adult Probation

This forum was created in partnership with the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. Special thanks to Kathy Bashor and Cynthia Henry, ADBHS Office of Individual and Family Affairs, for their participation as moderators. Please note that our participant’s comments are in no way intended to represent the policies of their respective organizations. Members of the Roundtable are taking part in this discussion solely as individuals representing themselves.


David's Hope is an education and advocacy agency designed to provide people living with mental illness, and all those involved in their care, the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the behavioral health and criminal justice systems. David’s Hope teaches people how to advocate for themselves and others by empowering them with information, training, resources, and mentoring. Through education and mentoring we hope to create understanding in the community of the issues facing those living with mental illness involved in the Criminal Justice System.

"The mission of David’s Hope is to increase collaboration between the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems, to promote restoration and provide support for the mental health needs of those within the Criminal Justice system.”

No comments: