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:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Help stop the private prisons.

I heard a rumor today that the ADC has already made a decision on these contracts - it just hasn't hit the media yet. Let's stop them from making the award notifications until after this is heard in court Tuesday.

------from the American Friends Service Committee-Tucson-------

Action Alert!


Citing serious safety concerns with for-profit prisons in Arizona, AFSC filed an injunction last Monday to prevent the Department of Corrections from awarding any contracts for new private prisons until the state completes a statutorily-required review of the performance of for-profit prisons.

The Department of Corrections has said it might award the contracts as soon as Friday, September 16. The AFSC therefore asked the court to grant a temporary restraining order to halt the contract awards until the court can hold a hearing on the AFSC’s request for the injunction, but the judge denied our request.

The hearing on the injunction has been set for September 20th. But the Department of Corrections could award the contracts on Monday, pre-empting the court hearing for the injunction.

AFSC called on the Department of Corrections to voluntarily hold off on awarding contracts until the hearing can be held.

We need your help TODAY to ask the Department of Corrections not to award the contracts until we have our day in court! By Monday, it may be too late!

What YOU can do….

Contact Governor Brewer and ADC Director Ryan:
  • Ask them to respect the court process and hold off just two days before awarding contracts until the court hearing on Tuesday September 20th
  • Tell them you want a judge to independently evaluate the facts of the case
  • Remind them that it could be costly and embarrassing to the state to have to rescind the contracts later, if the Department is found to have violated state statute
Governor Jan Brewer
Make a comment online at:

Corrections Director Charles Ryan

**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is. If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible (

Caroline Isaacs,
Program Director,
American Friends Service Committee, Arizona
103 N. Park Ave., Ste 111
Tucson, AZ 85719

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