Video by Sallydarity / set to Comin' up from Behind ( Marcy Playground)

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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

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



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

AFSC and NAACP protest newest private prison plans

Rock ON!!! These folks have been on this privatization thing like glue, so follow the blog linked to below to keep up with prison privatization issues in AZ - not me.


---------from the Tucson Citizen's CELL OUT ARIZONA blog --------

AFSC Files Protest with State Procurement Office: Says Private Prison RFP Violates State Law, Procurement Code

March 6, 2012

In an unprecedented move, the American Friends Service Committee has filed a protest with the State Procurement Office over the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Department of Corrections for 2,000 private, for-profit prison beds.

The AFSC was joined by the NAACP of Maricopa County in filing the protest.

The protest letter, sent to the Department of Corrections’ Chief Procurement Officer as well as the head of the Arizona State Procurement Office, argues that the state of Arizona does not need and cannot afford more prison beds, and that the existing prison contracts violate state statutes requiring  private prisons to cost less and provide the same or better quality of service as state prisons.

The groups cite Arizona Department of Corrections cost studies that show that some private prisons are more expensive than equivalent state units.  They also point to a host of security inspections, Auditor General Investigations, and other published data that reveal that private prisons have inferior safety standards, including faulty alarms.

The group also argues that the private, for-profit prison corporations are in violation of their contracts with Arizona.  They specifically cite Uniform Contract Terms and Conditions that require the private prisons have adequate staffing levels.

The state has fined both Management and Training Corporation (which operates prisons in Kingman and Marana) and GEO Group (which runs Florence West, Phoenix West, and the Central Arizona Correctional Facility) for failing to fill staff vacancies quickly enough.  The state’s Biennial Comparison Review, completed in December of 2011, also showed that all the state-contracted private prisons have high staff vacancy and turnover rates.

The current prison contract terms also specifically cite recidivism rates as an “outcome measure,” yet none of the private, for-profit prison corporations even measure recidivism.

Caroline Isaacs, the Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Arizona office, says that the group’s research clearly shows that private prisons are not making good on the promises they made to state taxpayers.  “They do not save money, they are not safe, and they are not rehabilitating prisoners.  If those were the justifications for privatization, it’s clear this experiment has been a failure.”  She cites a 100-page report on private prisons in Arizona the group released in February.

The groups are asking the State Procurement Office to immediately halt the prison RFP process while the SPO Administrator reviews the protest.  They then have requested that the state formally and permanently cancel the RFP and award no contracts for new private prisons.

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