Video by Sallydarity / set to Comin' up from Behind ( Marcy Playground)

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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Annie E. Casey: The Waste of Juvenile Incarceration

From the Annie E. Casey Foundation today - something we've known all along. What makes us think it works any better for adults?

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Annie E. Casey Foundation
Baltimore, MD (October 4, 2011)

Reliance on Juvenile Incarceration is Not Paying Off for States, Taxpayers or Kids, Report Finds Evidence Supports Trend among States to Scale Back Costly, Often Abusive Youth Prison Systems


Locking up juvenile offenders in correctional facilities, which costs states a yearly average of $88,000 per youth, is not paying off from a public safety, rehabilitation or cost perspective, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report documents four decades of scandals and lawsuits over abusive conditions in juvenile institutions and reinforces the growing consensus among experts that the current incarceration model provides little public safety benefit. Its release, at a time when states
nationwide are struggling with enormous budget deficits and looking for ways to trim spending, also highlights an emerging trend in which at least 18 states have closed more than 50 juvenile corrections facilities over the past four years.

No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration is the most comprehensive recent analysis of research and new data on the effectiveness and costs of juvenile incarceration. The report concludes that there is now overwhelming evidence that the wholesale incarceration of juvenile offenders is a failed strategy for combating youth crime because it:

* Does not reduce future offending by confined youth: Within three years of release, roughly three-quarters of youth are rearrested; up to 72 percent, depending on individual state measures, are convicted of a new offense.

* Does not enhance public safety: States which lowered juvenile confinement rates the most from 1997 to 2007 saw a greater decline in juvenile violent crime arrests than states which increased incarceration rates or reduced them more slowly.

* Wastes taxpayer dollars: Nationwide, states continue to spend the bulk of their juvenile justice budgets – $5 billion in 2008 – to confine and house young offenders in incarceration facilities despite evidence showing that alternative in-home or community-based programs can deliver equal or better results for a fraction of the cost.

* Exposes youth to violence and abuse: In nearly half of the states, persistent maltreatment has been documented since 2000 in at least one state-funded institution. One in eight confined youth reported being sexually abused by staff or other youth and 42 percent feared physical attack according to reports released in 2010.

Roughly 60,500 U.S. youth – disproportionately young people of color – are confined in juvenile correctional facilities or other residential programs on any given night, according to an official national count of youth in correctional custody conducted in 2007. That is more adolescents than currently reside in cities like Baltimore, MD and Nashville, TN.

The report also tracks a notable trend in recent years among a growing number of states that have shuttered youth incarceration facilities and substantially shrunk the number of confined youth, often prompted by budget crises or abuse scandals. No Place for Kids highlights six recommendations for how state and local juvenile justice officials can alter youth incarceration patterns and improve system outcomes, noting that the recent declines in youth confinement have not generally been accompanied by comprehensive reforms that maximize both public safety and positive youth development.

“The traditional approach of locking up youth offenders wholesale – even those with limited histories of serious or violent offending – has continued for decades without any evidence that it helps kids or protects the public,” says Bart Lubow, director of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and former director of Alternatives to Incarceration for New York State. “This report highlights the crucial challenges facing the youth corrections field. Our hope is that the research will serve as a catalyst for developing more effective and efficient juvenile justice strategies.”



The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. For the past 15 years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has supported efforts to reform the juvenile justice system, primarily through its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), which has pioneered major reforms to reduce unnecessary confinement of youth in the pre-trial phase of the juvenile court process. Approximately 150 jurisdictions in 35 states and the District of Columbia are currently working with the Casey Foundation to implement the JDAI model.



State-level data:





Download the Map of Recurring Maltreatment in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in the U.S. (2.17 KB)

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