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:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Goodyear community sends GEO Group packing!

Some credit should go out to this guy at "Howard's Goodyear Blog" for organizing so much local resistance to the prison.

Cesar Chavez Plaza, Phoenix
(October 23, 2011)

---------------------from the AZ Republic--------------------

State no longer considering Goodyear for private prison

Goodyear is no longer being considered for a future private prison, officials confirmed Friday.

A state proposal released last week that calls for a private company to build a prison for up to 2,000 medium security inmates does not list Goodyear as a potential site. Instead, the state only offers sites in Yuma and Florence.

"The city of Goodyear is grateful to the Arizona Department of Corrections for excluding Goodyear as possible site and for taking into serious consideration the deluge of protests they received from our citizens, business and landowners," Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said in statement.

In a previous state request that was canceled in December, a site next to Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville was one of five locations being considered for a private prison that was expected to house up to 5,000 men.

Florida-based GEO Group Inc. was proposing to build a 2,000- to 5,000-bed prison for minimum- and medium-security male inmates at the complex. Construction costs were estimated at $100 million to $250 million.

Citing broken promises in the past over prison size and an expectation of plummeting property values and a tarnished image, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution in August to use every means necessary, including legal action, to stop a new prison from being built.

"This week, ADOC also made it clear to the city that Goodyear would not be considered in the future should there be any more private prison expansions in Arizona," a city release says.

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