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 who I've been supporting, Jessie Burlew.

I will miss my work and the people who have supported me - but I have been most especially grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I have 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. collective@phoenixabc.org


until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ PRISON WATCH ACTION ITEMS:

Please hear and encourage the voices of former prisoners speaking out....

Transgender people in custody

17 year old seriously mentally ill prisoner Jessica Burlew has been held in solitary confinement, in the jails of Joe Arpaio, since January 2014 pending trial for the accidental death of the sexual predator who was exploiting her.
AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Friday, February 10, 2012

Legislative Alert: HEAR THE PRIVATE PRISON BILLS!!!




AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC) - Tucson
ACTION ALERT



Tell Reps. Weiers and Mesnard to Hear Private Prison Bills!


FACT:  Private prisons in Arizona are not saving the state money

FACT:  Private prisons are not safer or providing better quality than state prisons

FACT:  Private prisons are unaccountable to Arizona taxpayers


Unfortunately, the attitude of state lawmakers is, “don’t bother me with the facts.”

There are 6 private prisons, all operated by Corrections Corporation of America, that are located in Arizona that do not contract with the state.  They take prisoners from other states, like California and Hawaii, and immigrant detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  There is practically no state oversight over these prisons.  Rep. Chad Campbell (D-14) has introduced 6 bills that would impose transparency, accountability, and state regulation onto private prisons in Arizona.

Despite the horrific escapes from the Kingman prison in 2010, recommendations by the Auditor General, and testimony heard by legislative committees, these bills face serious obstacles to passage.  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.


The first committee is Commerce.  The Chair is Rep. Jim Weiers and the Vice Chair is Rep. JD Mesnard.  So far, they have refused to put these bills on the agenda for a hearing.


Why wouldn’t they want private prisons to be required to notify the state if there is an incident that threatens public health or safety (HB2204)?
Why wouldn’t they want Arizona to prohibit transfer of serious or violent offenders from other states (HB2204)?
Why wouldn’t they want state monitoring and oversight of private prisons (HB2205 & HB2299)?
Why wouldn’t they want private prison’s records made public (HB 2203)?

Take Action!  Tell Reps. Weiers and Mesnard to HEAR THE PRIVATE PRISON BILLS!


The deadline for bills to be heard in their first committee is February 17th.  CALL TODAY!


Please call, email, or fax the Chair of the House Commerce Committee, Rep. Jim Weiers,  jweiers@azleg.gov;  Phone Number: (602) 926-4173

And the Vice Chair, Rep. JD Mesnard, jmesnard@azleg.gov ; Phone Number: (602) 926-4481



Ask them to put these bills on the agenda for Commerce Committee:


HB 2202 Private prisons; prisoner; facility; limits
HB 2203 Private prison contractors; public records
HB 2204 Private prisons; regulation
HB 2205 Auditor General; private prison monitoring
HB 2206 Private prisons; prisoner transfer; prohibition
HB 2299 Private prison study committee

Private Prisons in Arizona Need Oversight and Accountability Because:



Arizona should have the right to tell private prison companies like CCA that they can’t import dangerous or violent offenders from other states.
Arizona taxpayers are shelling out millions for private prisons every year.  We deserve to know what kind of return we’re getting on our investment.
Prisons are fundamentally about public safety.  
Our communities should be assured that these facilities are safe,
and the public should be notified when there are incidents like escapes or riots.


**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.

Caroline Isaacs,
Program Director,
American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Area Program
103 N. Park Ave., Ste. 111
Tucson, AZ  85719
520.623.9141
www.afsc.org/tucson
CIsaacs@afsc.org

Check out our blog:  www.tucsoncitizen.com/cell-out-arizona

And join us on facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=177122610652&ref=ts

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