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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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waiting in the Silence: Remembering Tony Lester.

I received this message and video this morning from Tony Lester's Aunt, Patti Jones. Today died from the despair of his mental illness, incarceration, the threat of violence, and gross indifference to his fading life as five corrections officers stood around and Linkwatched him bleed to death, thinking only to pull out a camera and film it, not to try to stop it.

Tony was only 26, and left behind a huge, loving, grieving family, including a little girl he never had the chance to hold.
All our love goes out to his family today, and to all survivors of prison violence and neglect. This is for you and your loved ones, from Tony's family, as much as it is for him. To those with someone struggling to survive their sentence in Arizona's state prisons, please spread the word that help is on the way. It isn't the ACLU or the DOJ, folks - it's us: me and you.

Please contact me if you want to be a part of the support team out here for our prisoners. My name is Peggy; reach me at 480-580-6807 or You can do as much or as little as you want, and do it from home. Be patient and persistent if you leave me a message - just don't think we don't need you if it takes a few days - we very much do.


A Birthday Wish for Beloved Tony: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TONY:: We will have your voice heard, your life mattered we will bring about change for those that are so vulnerable. We understand your message, You will live on through the change that we will be brought about through your death, May God Bless You!!

All of Our Love

Your Family

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