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:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

AZPOST WATCH: Police the police who police the police.

These are the folks who certify police and corrections officers in Arizona - it's my understanding that without their blessing, one cannot get a job as a peace officer in this state. 

Their meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday at 10am at the AZPOST office (2643 E. University Drive Phoenix, AZ 85034), if you want to see them deliberate on the de-certification of some very bad officers - or if you have anything to say for their public comment period yourself. Looking at the composition of this board, it seems like some of the main offenders I encounter are in the employ of these folks - all we're missing are the PHX PD and the MCSO. Nevertheless, AZPOST is who I've been advised to complain to if certain officers aren't upholding their duty to the rest of us, so let's hold them accountable. Here's the page that links to their de-certification decisions, called "Integrity Bulletins". 

Those of you who have been able to identify officers responsible for abuse or neglect resulting in harm to yourself or a loved one in custody should check out those archives to see if that officer was ever de-certified. Two weeks of unpaid leave for standing idly by while a young man bleeds to death, or for leaving a woman to burn alive in a cage,  is a travesty of justice, and should be rectified by this board - especially if it isn't satisfactorily addressed by the officer's employer or the appropriate county prosecutor. 

Perhaps if the public begins to turn out at these meetings to complain, some things will be more likely to be addressed. At the very least, they'll know we're watching them behind the scenes, too. Bring your comments for the "call to the public" in writing as well to give to the recorder who will be sure they get properly included in the minutes.

-----------------from AZPOST's website-------------

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board was created by an act of the 28th Arizona legislature on July 1, 1968 as the Arizona Law Enforcement Officer Advisory Council. The name was officially changed to its present form on July 17, 1994.
The Board was originally created to address the need for minimum peace officer selection, recruitment, retention and training standards, and to provide curriculum and standards for all certified law enforcement training facilities. The Board was also vested with the responsibility of administering the Peace Officer Training Fund.
In 1984, the legislature charged the Board with the added responsibilities of approving a state correctional officer training curriculum and establishing minimum standards for state correctional officers. Currently the Board provides services to approximately 170 law enforcement agencies encompassing over 15,000 sworn peace officers, 9,000 correctional service officers, and 16 academies.
The mission of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board is to foster public trust and confidence by establishing and maintaining standards of integrity, competence, and professionalism for Arizona peace officers and correctional officers.
Our vision is to produce and maintain the most professional peace officers in America.

Board Members

Jim Duarte
Mr Joseph Duarte
Public Member
Board Chairman
The Arizona Peace Officer Standards & Training Board was originally comprised of nine members, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Board included two sheriffs, two chiefs of police, a college faculty member in public administration or a related field, the state attorney general, the director of the Department of Public Safety, and two public members.

In 1977, the statutes were revised to require one sheriff come from a county with a population exceeding 200,000 and one sheriff from a county with a population less than 200,000. Additionally, one police chief was to be from a city with a population exceeding 60,000 and one from a city with a population less than 60,000.
In 1984, Board membership was expanded with the addition of the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and an administrator of a county or municipal correctional facility. The number of members serving on the Board rose to thirteen in 1991, when the legislature added two additional members holding the rank of patrol officer or sergeant. It was specified that one of the two new members was to be from a city police agency and the other from a sheriff's office.

Today, the composition of the Board remains as established in 1991, with 13 members.
John Armer

Sheriff John Armer
Gila County Sheriff's Office
Scott Decker

Dr. Scott Decker
Arizona State University
Robert Halliday
Director Robert C. Halliday
Arizona Department of Public Safety
Tom Horne
The Honorable Tom Horne
Arizona Attorney General
Kevin Kotsur
Chief Kevin Kotsur
Avondale Police Department
Wendy Larsen

Ms. Wendy Larsen
Public Member
-Charles Ryan
Director Charles Ryan
AZ Department of Corrections
Thomas Sheahan

Sheriff Thomas Sheahan
Mohave County Sheriff's Office
Robert Thompson

Sergeant Robert Thompson
Nogales Police Department




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