PO BOX 20494


Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Peggy Plews

This site is 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's perspective.
We don't simply need to shut down the prisons: we need to rewrite the way the rules around perpetrating harm against people and property are made in the first place, so that humanity, not politics or profit comes first. The current system doesn't prevent people from being victimized as it is - it simply prescribes rules for who does and doesn't get hurt or get to violate others, and mostly punishes the poor, the seriously mentally ill, and people of color. That's not a good enough foundation for a system based on achieving true justice.

From re-prioritizing our world, our ideas around what is crime and how to punish it would look much differently...Critical Resistance is a good source for more info on that.

I'm a freelance writer and human rights activist with no legal training or college degree. But if you are the loved one of a prisoner who needs help fighting for themselves, feel free to contact me - I'll do what I can. Emailing me works best: but 480-580-6807 is ok too.



Petition by the family of Tony Lester, victim of suicide in AZ DOC custody.

Prisoners and Families: Send your SOS to the DOJ!

We really need those of you out there who have been in an AZ prison, have lost a child or other family member in an AZ prison, or have a loved one in an AZ prison now, to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (that one is mine) about the need for a federal intervention here, and send me a copy, with a nice photo, if you have one, of the beloved prisoner - I don't have to post your letters and pictures, but please tell me if I may, with or without names.

If you need some motivation, see what the Governor had to say to him about the swell state things are in here. Don't let her pass that BS off on him unchallenged.

When the truth of prison rape and violence is made public and appeals for relief come directly from those affected, the rest of the community identifies better with prisoners as people, and it puts more pressure on the feds - as well as the governor- to act. And you are the ones with the most at stake here. So, please back me up on this argument I'm making, folks. If the feds listened to me, they'd have been here long ago - I need your support!

And don't just "like" me on Facebook or the Daily KOS - SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!

US Attorney General Eric Holder
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20530

Send word to your loved ones in prison to write the AG as well, and to send me copies if they want me to post their letters, too.

THE I-Files: Teens in Solitary Confinement

Published on Jun 26, 2014

"Alone" was produced Daffodil Altan. It was reported by Altan and Trey Bundy, edited by David Ritsher and Andrew Gersh, and filmed by Marco Villalobos. The senior producer was Stephen Talbot. The executive producer was Susanne Reber.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison (HBO)

Published on Jul 20, 2014

America's prisons are broken. Just ask John Oliver and several puppets.

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

AZ early release bill: Rep Gowan- hear HB2521!


Sentencing reform (OCT 9: AZ Republic

--------from the AFSC in Tucson-----

Tell Rep. Gowan to Hear HB2521!
Arizona is long overdue in implementing safe and cost-effective sentencing reform.  Despite recommendations by the Auditor General, testimony heard by legislative committees, and the best practices of numerous other states, serious obstacles have been placed in the path of several sentencing reform bills this session.  The House Speaker has assigned them to two committees, plus Rules.  The bills must pass out of their first committee by February 17th or they are effectively dead.
One bill which has the potential to have huge budget savings as well as positive impacts on public safety, is HB 2521, which would afford non-violent offenders the opportunity to earn credits toward early release faster than is currently the case. 
The bill’s first committee is Military Affairs and Public Safety (MAPS), and the Chair is Rep. David Gowan (District 30).  His district includes parts of Tucson, Green Valley, and Sierra Vista.  If you are a constituent, it is particularly important that you contact him.
Take Action!  Tell Rep. Gowan to give HB2521 a Hearing!
Please call, email, or fax the Chair of the House Military Affairs and Public Safety (MAPS) Committee, David Gowan, and tell him to allow sentencing reform bills a fair hearing in his committee! 
If you are a constituent of any of the other members of MAPS, please also contact them:
Terri Proud District 26, Vice Chair
Jeff Dial District 20
Ruben Gallego District 16
Albert Hale District 2
Jack W. Harper District 4
Richard Miranda District 13
David Burnell Smith District 7
David Stevens District 25
Toll-free phone number to reach any state representative or senator:  1-800-352-8404.  Press #3 for the Senate and #4 for the House. Then just ask the operator to connect you to the office of the person you want to talk to.
Tell Them To Give HB 2521 A Hearing Because:
·         It targets nonviolent offenders.  They would be required to follow the rules and participate in rehabilitative programming in order to be eligible, and the Department of Corrections would still have the final say in whether or not an individual prisoner could be released early to community supervision.
·         Average annual cost for minimum security is $20,000 a year, while average annual cost for community supervision is $3,000 a year.
·         Arizona has the highest incarceration rate of western states.  In 2002 Arizona spent 40 percent more on universities than corrections.  TODAY WE SPEND 40 PERCENT MORE ON PRISONS THAN UNIVERSITIES!
·         Similar reforms have been very successful in other states, saving hundreds of millions of dollars and improving public safety.  Mississippi revised its earned release credits formula for nonviolent offenders and saved $200 million.
**If you can blind copy or cc us, we will have a better idea how effective this initiative is.  If you receive responses, even boiler-plate ones, please forward those to us, if possible.
Currently, regardless of whether the offense is violent or nonviolent, no one can get released earlier than 85% of their sentence, even if they are a model prisoner.  This bill would offer a highly motivating incentive for inmates convicted of a nonviolent offense to stay out of trouble and participate in rehabilitative programs, by giving them a release credit of one day for every three days served instead of one day for every 7 days.
This would not apply to prisoners convicted of serious, violent or aggravated felonies as defined in Sec. 13-706.  They would be required to follow the rules and participate in rehabilitative programming in order to be eligible, and the Department of Corrections would still have the final say in whether or not an individual prisoner could be released early.
The Arizona Auditor General estimates that such a change could result in significant cost savings for taxpayers.  According to the Arizona Department of Corrections the average cost per prisoner for minimal incarceration is $20,000 a year, while community supervision costs less than $3,000 per year.
A similar effort in 2008 in Mississippi—hardly a liberal, soft-on-crime state—resulted in an estimated $200 million savings in corrections costs (though Mississippi adopted a more aggressive change than is proposed here).
Arizona is way behind the curve on this issue.  Over half of US states have taken action in recent years to reduce their prison populations.  And many of these states saw greater reductions in crime rates than Arizona.
Arizona has some of the harshest sentencing laws in the nation, our incarceration rate is the 6th highest, and we are spending over $1 Billion on prisons every year.  The bloated corrections budget was the only state agency that saw an increase last year—of 10%!  Why should Corrections grow while education, healthcare, and social services get slashed? 

Caroline Isaacs,
Program Director,
American Friends Service Committee, Arizona
103 N. Park Ave., Ste 111
Tucson, AZ  85719
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