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:


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Risking prison rape for graffiti fame: counter-revolutionary.

This was released today by the Maricopa County Attorney's office (they kicked my own felony down to 3 misdemeanors, apparently. I hope that's all I'm facing, anyway). This 18-year-old is on his way to prison, and he's bragging about being a "king".

King of what, exactly?

He has no idea what he's really facing if he ends up in an Arizona state prison. Guys who are masters at beating, raping and killing cocky youth like him - not writing on church walls - are running the yards. They're going to eat him alive in there - he'll be candy for them. That's why so many others are just killing themselves once they arrive.

I hope not all the young taggers out there are really this naive'...please respect our hoods and find a way to express yourselves legally, people. I get some of what you're doing, guys, but don't go to prison for this kind of shit. Come Occupy Phoenix or protest police brutality with us and just bring chalk - or a piece of cardboard with your paint. Teach me some new techniques - I learn a lot from real writers and artists. Think of it as a challenge....I dare you to drop your cans for one day. Then we'll talk revolution, if that's what you're really all about.




-----------------from the MCAO---------------------


Graffiti Tagger “Shaggy” Faces Criminal Damage Charges

PHOENIX, AZ (October 12, 2011) – A Maricopa County Grand Jury has charged Daniel Alexander Lopez (D.O.B. 5/13/1993) with one class 6 felony count of Aggravated Criminal Damage and one class 5 felony count of Criminal Damage for allegedly committing multiple acts of graffiti that defaced property and structures throughout the Phoenix metro area over a three year period. He is believed to be one of the most prolific graffiti vandals currently in Maricopa County.

“Graffiti is not a harmless form of creative expression. It’s a destructive crime that victimizes entire communities by creating blight and encouraging additional criminal activity,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “In conjunction with the diligent efforts of Phoenix Police and the Phoenix Graffiti Busters program, my office will continue to aggressively pursue graffiti vandals and hold them accountable for their destructive actions,” he added.

On May 10, 2011 Phoenix Police Officers spotted Lopez trespassing on State property near an onramp to State Route 51 at McDowell Road. This area is near multiple freeway overpasses that are frequently targeted by graffiti vandals. Lopez was found in possession of a tip to an aerosol spray paint can and had white paint on his hands that matched the paint on the spray tip. Officers also found fresh graffiti tags in white paint on structures near the location where Lopez was apprehended.

Lopez later admitted to investigators that he had been “tagging” throughout the Phoenix area since 2006 using the name “Shag,” “Shaggy” and “Shagone.” The current indictment lists more than 30 victims who suffered damages in excess of $5,500. Victims include Family Dollar Stores, Sears, Arizona Department of Transportation, New Hope in Christ Church, and multiple private citizens.

Lopez told investigators he was well aware of the risk he was taking by engaging in graffiti vandalism, adding that he had no plans to stop until he was caught. “If you become a King you will get caught eventually and that’s the risk you have to take,” he said.

Referrals of juvenile graffiti cases to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office have spiked 46% in the last five years, while referrals of cases involving possession of graffiti tools have more than tripled. The County Attorney’s Office typically files formal charges on roughly 90% of criminal damage case submittals (ARS §13-1604), with resulting sentences ranging from probation to two years in prison or longer.

The indictment and information announced today is not evidence of guilt. Mr. Lopez is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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