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, February 21, 2012

Dear Governor Brewer: Time to FIRE Chuck Ryan.

Many folks wonder what I do with the art I create, and why I bother chalking sidewalks when they just get washed off once I leave. The chalkings are multi-functional: they leave a message for the person or entity whose walk I'm chalking, and when I shoot them they deliver my message all over the world on Facebook and my blogs. I have a really cheap, crummy camera, so I learned to make the most of it by manipulating the colors to make these postcards with. I send them to decision-makers, allies, prisoners, media, etc. to raise awareness and show solidarity and struggle with those suffering the most. Feel free to download any of my art and do the same. I do this all with nothing more complex than the Windows image editing program that came with Vista.

We do still have a crisis in the prisons, by the way. The ACLU is about to sue over medical neglect, but the culture of contempt for prisoners and the pervasive despair and violence behind bars is unchecked. It's a poison that trickles from the top down. By far, those dying are the most vulnerable among us - not the vicious punks or molesters people think are the ones who get it in prison, and therefore don't care about. Those committed to protecting the rights of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled in the community should especially care about what's happening in the state prisons, because that's where so many are still heading.

This is what I did with the mural Kini Seawright and I did yesterday at the Herberger - her son was murdered for loving a Mexican. Brewer needs to be held accountable, too: All these deaths after all, are not only Chuck Ryan's - they're hers - and the longer she leaves him in charge the more culpable she is for the next suicide or homicide of someone's child, mother, brother, or friend in prison.

Anyone who is similarly moved to communicate with the Governor may want to do so in a public forum, so you can't be as easily ignored. 

The address for the Arizona Republic is: 

 Letters to the Editor
The Arizona Republic
P.O. Box 1950
Phoenix, AZ 85001

Letters may also be faxed to (602) 444-8933.Or contact them via the on-line form.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the girlfriend of Jay Jonas, he was very shock when he read what was written about him.... what was done to him was so wrong 22 1/2 years . he spent the last 9 years in lock down .