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:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Capitalist Punishment at ASU: Pros and Cons of the death penalty

AZ State Legislature
March 28, 2011

---------------ASU News, Arizona State University---------------

August 18, 2011

Guest lecturers will discuss, debate and analyze the issue of capital punishment in a forum-style setting at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

“The Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment” will commence the fall 2011 Humanities Lecture Series, which is now in its fourth year. The forum, hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and the Canon Leadership Program, starts at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 25, at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building Two, 550 N. Third St., Phoenix, Innovation Auditorium, room 110.

The lecture series is open to the general public and is free.

“The Humanities Lecture Series provides us with opportunities to analyze, discuss and interpret current events. We look forward to public discussions that help us understand and appreciate various points of view on political, social and cultural issues,” says Frederick C. Corey, director of ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and dean of University College.

The School of Letters and Sciences provides students across ASU with the knowledge and skills to comprehend and effectively engage the changing world of the 21st century at local, national and global levels. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and in their communities.

Andrew Clemency, a public defender for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and adjunct associate in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, says capital punishment does not make economic or moral sense. He also said it’s a major burden on taxpayers.

“It costs vastly more money to execute criminals rather than to warehouse them at a state prison for the rest of their lives,” Clemency said. “Death penalty cases cost almost an average of $1 million and take about 10 to 20 years to appeal in state and federal systems. It’s really not a deterrent to crime, so why are we doing it? We’re doing it because our most base human impulse is revenge. Capital murder is the only punishment we extract in kind.”

Kent E. Cattani, chief counsel of the Criminal Appeals/Capital Litigation Section at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, will represent the case for capital punishment. Cattani said while Arizona’s system is not perfect, his office has applied the state’s death penalty statute in a fair and just manner.

“Since 1993, Arizona has required the appointment of two highly qualified trial attorneys in every case in which the State notices its intent to seek the death penalty. We also provide experienced counsel to represent death-sentenced inmates in state appellate and post-conviction proceedings,” Cattani said. “We remain open to suggestions on how to improve the process, and as long as capital punishment remains the law in Arizona, we will continue to carry out the law as fairly as possible.”

Arizona has been carrying out death-penalty sentences since 1910 and suspended all cases from April 1962 to April 1992. The United States Supreme Court in 1972 held that the death penalty as it was administered violated the United States Constitution Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and often was not guided in its discretion and was meted out in “arbitrary and capricious ways.”

The Arizona Legislature revised Arizona’s Death Penalty Statute and sentences became effective once again on May 1, 1979.

In 1992, the state executed its first death-row inmate in 29 years, Donald Harding, who was found guilty of murdering two men in a Tucson hotel. Harding died in Arizona’s gas chamber, an event that took 11 minutes and ultimately led to the state’s switch to lethal injection.

Since 1992 Arizona has carried out 28 executions, including four in 2011.

For directions, visit For parking information, visit For more information, call Mirna Lattouf, series lecture organizer, at (602) 496-0638.

Marshall Terrill,
(602) 496-1005
ASU Office of Public Affairs

No comments: