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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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ASPC-Eyman: Deaths in Custody - Alfonzo Farmer, 23

UPDATE: February 2, 2012

To the family of Alfonso Farmer: Condolences on your loss.  If you're in the Tucson area and are struggling with this suicide, I encourage you to contact Survivors of Suicide Tucson for information on coping and support groups. The contact is Tyler Woods; his number is 520-861-6632.

You need to know that the suicide rate has doubled in the state prisons under the current administration. The ACLU National Prison Project and the Prison Law Office are about to file a class action lawsuit against the AZ Department of Corrections for neglecting the mental health needs of prisoners and abusing solitary confinement in managing their symptoms. If you think you may have standing in that suit or want more information, please contact the Arizona ACLU at 602-650-1854. 

Please also feel free to contact me if you want to organize with other families who have gone through similar experiences. My name is Peggy; my phone number is 480-580-6807 ( I'm a freelance prisoner rights activist, artist, and community organizer in Phoenix.

Thoughts go out to the family of this young man's victim as well. I don't know the details of his crimes, but incidents like this can dredge up feelings there, of course - not always those of resolution. Homicide Survivors, Inc. in Tucson may have some resources that can help, in case you haven't been in touch with them and need some support. Their number is 520-740-5729.

Take care, all.


(602) 542-3133

JANICE K. BREWER, GOVERNOR                                       CHARLES L. RYAN, DIRECTOR

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Bill Lamoreaux

January 23, 2012

Inmate Death Notification

Florence, Az.Inmate Alfonso Farmer, 23, ADC #219587, was found unresponsive in his housing unit Sunday. He was pronounced dead from an apparent suicide after medical responders attempted life saving measures.

Farmer, sentenced out of Maricopa County, was serving 22 years for 2nd degree murder and aggravated assault. He came to ADC July 23, 2007 and was held at the Browning Unit, ASPC-Eyman.

The death is under investigation by the department.

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