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, June 3, 2011

Eyman Homicide: Jeremy Pompeneo.

This young man's death is under investigation as a homicide, according to the Phoenix New Times. His original crime was brutal - he murdered his girlfriend by stabbing her 80 times.

He was also seriously mentally ill, however, and should have been safe in ADC custody while being treated for his psychiatric disorder. In light of the skyrocketing rates of homicide and suicide in AZ state prisons since Brewer and Chuck Ryan took over, his may be one death that could have been prevented, and his family should sue the state for everything they can. It may be the only thing that saves the next kid.

Our condolences to any loved ones this prisoner left behind.

Please feel free to contact me at or 480-580-6807 if I can be of any assistance as you recover from this. I'm just a blogger and activist - not an attorney or grief counselor - but I'm willing to help connect you with support if I can. That goes for all survivors of jail and prison violence, suicide, and neglect.

To report Arizona homicides, suicides, and medical neglect to the US Department of Justice, ask for a CRIPA (Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons) Investigation of harmful patterns and practices causing the homicide and suicide rates to double under Jan Brewer's administration, and leaving prisoners to die without medical attention.

Address your concerns to:

Jonathan Smith, Chief
Special Litigation Section - Civil Rights Division
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Please email me a copy as well.

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