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:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

UNSHACKLE US! SB 1184: Rights for pregnant prisoners.

----------Legislative ALERT From the ACLU of Arizona------------

Every woman deserves safe and humane conditions in which to deliver her child.
And every child deserves safe delivery conditions that don’t risk his or her entry into this world.

But pregnant inmates—and their children—don’t always get those conditions. Pregnant inmates are sometimes shackled at the wrists and/or ankles while they give birth.  This practice is extremely dangerous to both mother and baby and can cause major problems during delivery. This practice is almost always unnecessary. This practice has been opposed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Correctional Association, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Marshals Service. This practice has already been banned by a handful of other states.

Tomorrow morning at 9 AM, an Arizona Senate health committee will try to do something about the practice of shackling pregnant inmates. SB 1184 (prohibited restraints; pregnant prisoners) prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant inmates while they are being transported to a medical facility to deliver their baby, during labor and delivery, and during postpartum recovery. The bill is sensible and reasonable, and even includes a safety exception to allow for the limited use of restraints if it is absolutely necessary for the safety of medical and corrections personnel. The bill also has significant bipartisan support. Most importantly, SB 1184 goes a long way to ensuring safe conditions for mother and baby in a population that is all too often overlooked.

Tell Arizona’s legislators that you support the safety and well-being of all children and their mothers. Tell Arizona’s legislators that they can do the same by voting “YES” on SB 1184. There are two ways to do so.

If you have an account with the Legislature's request-to-speak system, log in and register your support. You can reach the log-in page by following this link:

Contact the members of the Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee and ask them to vote “YES” on SB 1184. Here is the contact information for members of the committee:

Linda Gray (**committee chair and sponsor of the bill**)—email:; phone: 602-926-3376
Adam Driggs (vice-chair)—email:; phone: 602-926-3016
Nancy Barto—email:; phone: 602-926-5766
Rich Crandall—email:; phone: 602-926-3020
Leah Landrum Taylor—email:; phone: 602-926-3830
Linda Lopez—email:; phone: 602-926-4089

In liberty,

Anjali Abraham
Public Policy Director

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