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:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

AZ prison privatization public hearings.

Please turn out for these hearings this month, folks. Contact Caroline Isaacs at the AFSC-Tucson office with questions:

103 N Park Avenue, Suite 111

Tucson, AZ 85719


--------from the Tucson Citizen----------------

Public Hearings Scheduled for Proposed Private Prisons in Eloy, Goodyear, Winslow, San Luis, and Coolidge

by cell-out-arizona on Aug. 02, 2011

The Arizona Department of Corrections has given a green light to four private, for-profit correctional management corporations for the construction and management of an additional 5,000 state prison beds.

The Department of Corrections will be holding public hearings in each of the towns under consideration for a new prison or prisons. The public is encouraged to attend and voice their concerns about having a private prison as a neighbor.

Here is the schedule of the hearings:

1. Eloy: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has proposed two prisons for Eloy—1,500 beds and 3,000 beds.

The Eloy public hearing will be held Tuesday, August 9th, 6-8pm at the Curiel Annex School, 304 West Alsdorf Rd., Eloy.

2. Goodyear: GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut) has proposed a prison that could be anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 beds.

The Goodyear public hearing will be held Wednesday, August 10th, 6-8 pm at the Desert Edge High School Auditorium, 15778 West Yuma Rd., Goodyear.

3. Winslow: LaSalle/Southwest Corrections has proposed a 1,000-bed prison for Winslow.

The Winslow public hearing will be held Thursday, August 11th, 6-8pm at the Winslow High School Performing Arts Center, 600 E. Cherry St., Winslow.

4. San Luis (Yuma): There are two proposed prisons for Yuma. Management and Training Corporation (MTC) has proposed to build a 3,000-bed prison and GEO Group seeks to build one with 2,000-3,000 beds.

The San Luis public hearing for both proposed prisons will be held Tuesday, August 16th, 6-10pm at the San Luis City Council Chambers, 1090 East Union St., San Luis.

5. Coolidge: Management and Training Corporation (MTC) has proposed a prison of 3,000 or 5,000 beds.

The Coolidge public hearing will be held Thursday, August 18th, 6-8pm at the Coolidge City Council Chambers, 911 S. Arizona Blvd., Coolidge.

This will be the one and only opportunity that the public will have to give input on these proposed prisons. Thus far, the only publicity for them has been a statutorily-required posting in the “legal notices” section of the local papers.

If you know anyone who lives in these communities, please encourage them to attend the hearings. AFSC will be organizing carpools from Tucson. Please contact us at:

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