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 who I've been supporting, Jessie Burlew.

I will miss my work and the people who have supported me - but I have been most especially grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I have 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)


ALONE: Teens in Solitary Confinement

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Victim of Yuma prison beating may soon die.

 This is eerily reminiscent of Dana Seawright's story from July 2010, when he was beaten into a coma at Lewis prison for resisting gang orders, and ultimately removed from life support by his mom. Yes, it seems it could have - should have - been prevented here, had this fellow been placed in protective segregation after he was beaten so badly the first time. Instead he was apparently offered an "alternative" and seemingly "safe" housing option at ASPC-Yuma, where many of the other PS-rejects also get sent to be victimized even further.

If anyone has any further information on this prisoner's beating in Yuma - and the long-term outcome - please let me know. I'm undertaking a massive campaign to address the skyrocketing rates of prison assaults and homicides over the past 3 years, and the troubles prisoners are having getting protective segregation status approved even after being threatened and attacked repeatedly. 

Any background information and hard documentation I can get my hands on would be greatly appreciated. I (Peggy) can be reached at 480-580-6807 or

Our thoughts are with this man and his family tonight.

----------------from AZ Range News---------------

Willcox man critically beaten in prison

By Ainslee S. Wittig/
Arizona Range News

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1:07 PM CST
Eddie Martinez, of Willcox, turned 51 on Dec. 12, but there was no joyous occasion. Instead, his family was waiting for six doctors to determine his fate after he was nearly beaten to death the day before in Yuma.

Martinez was declared brain dead at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix and will likely have his life support turned off Thursday, said his sister, Tina Hidalgo, also of Willcox.

The tragedy is compounded by the fact that this could have been prevented.

Martinez was in prison for repetitive offenses of fraudulent schemes and theft. He was incarcerated on June 29, 2009 and has been moved five times. When he was transferred to Phoenix unit SMU 1, he was severely beaten by other inmates about four months ago, she said.

"His jaw was broken. They kept it wired shut four weeks longer than they needed to and his pain medications were being stolen. He lost 35 pounds, and had just started working out again. He was a body builder," she said.

He was moved after that incident to the Arizona State Prison Complex Yuma's Cibola Unit in San Luis.

"He had just written a letter to my mother (Helen Martinez of Willcox) saying that the inmates who had beaten him up were transferred to his unit. He did not say their names," Hidalgo said. "This time they killed him. We don't know how long he had been laying there before anyone found him."

"We want to know who is going to be held accountable for what happened to my brother."

Hidalgo said her mother had not been able to get any information from the prison.

"They called her after he was taken to St. Joseph's, but did not give her clearance to come see him until he was determined to be brain dead," she said.

When reached Tuesday morning, Bill Lamoreaux of the Arizona State Prison Central Media Office, said Martinez was discovered at just after 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, "with injuries consistent with an assault."

"He remains hospitalized (as of Tuesday), and a criminal investigation is ongoing by the ADC (Arizona Department of Correcitions)," Lamoreaux said.

"I can't give you any more information at thei time,a sthe investigation is ongoing."

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