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, September 21, 2012

NO PAPERS, NO FEAR: SB1070 is here.

 Driving without an AZ license 
is apparently cause to suspect one is in the country illegally

Funny how mine just got lost.

---------this in today from my friends at PUENTE---------

Today, SB1070 goes into effect.  The courts have failed us, allowing racial profiling to be made law.  Here in Maricopa County, we already live 1070 every day under Arpaio.  According to the Department of Justice, he enacts the 'worst case of racial profiling' they have ever seen.  Judge Bolton's recent ruling, to allow section 2b to take effect today, will only expand the human rights crisis in Arizona.  The police can no longer protect and serve our communities, but only racially profile us.

Ahora la SB1070 entro en efecto. Las cortes nos han fallado, dejando que el perfil racial se haga ley. Aquí en el condado deMaricopa, ya vivimos con la SB1070 todo los días con Arpaio. Como el Departamento de Justicia a dicho ‘ Arpaio a cometido el peor caso de perfil racial’ que han visto. Hoy la juez Bolton a dejado que la sección 2b entre en efecto, esto solo incrementara la crisis de derechos humanos en Arizona. La policía ya no nos puede proteger y servir, solo detenernos por perfil racial.

We will remember today as not only the day that 1070 went into effect, threatening to separate our families and communities.  We will also remember today as the birth of a new era of the struggle for human rights, justice, and dignity in Arizona, a struggle that will not stop until we win.  We have seen that we can depend on no one but ourselves to turn the tide from hate to human rights.  We know that building our community's power is the way we will stop deportations and family separation.  We know that together we are strong and that together, we can overcome Arpaio, 1070, and police-ICE collaboration.  When we unite and take brave action, we are unstoppable.

Recordaremos este día no solo como el día que la SB1070 entro en efecto amenazando a separar nuestras familias ycomunidades. También recordaremos este día como el día que a nacido una nueva época de lucha por derechos humanos, justicia y dignidad en Arizona, una lucha que no parrara hasta que ganaremos. Hemos visto que no podemos depender en nadie mas que en nosotros para cambiar de odio a derechos humanos. Sabemos que construyendo el poder de nuestra comunidad es como pararemos las deportaciones y la separación de familias. Sabemos que juntos somos mas fuertes y podemos vencer a, SB1070, Arpaio, y la cooperación de policía e inmigración. Cuando nos unimos y tomamos acciones de valentía somos imparables.

So today, more than ever, we need you to join us in the struggle for human rights and dignity that is happening right now in Arizona.  As many before us have said, and as we know now is true, when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.  This is the moment we fulfill our duty by organizing and growing the grassroots movement against hate, racism, and deportations.
Ahora mas que nunca necesitamos que nos acompañen en la lucha por los derechos humanos y la dignidad que esta pasando en Arizona. Como muchos antes de nosotros han dicho, y ahora sabemos que es verdad, cuando la injusticia se hace ley, la rebeldía se hace obligación. Este es el momento que efectuamos nuestra obligación en organizarnos y crecer el movimiento del pueblo contra el odio, racismo y las deportaciones.

Call to Struggle/Llamado a La Lucha:
1. WE FIGHT FEAR: We continue to organize our community  as we know that the way we will stop hate is by building a movement based on the power that already exists in our own families, neighborhoods, and communities.  As our members who travelled with the No Papers, No Fear Ride for Justice doing civil disobedience here and at the Democratic National Convention showed us, we are safer when we organize and come out of the shadows.  We have learned how to organize to stop deportations and family separation through know your rights trainings and by building peaceful neighborhood defense networks.   Send us an email at to join our next Curso de Defensa, or to help us organize one in your neighborhood.
1. LUCHAMOS CONTRA EL MIEDO: Organizando a nuestra comunidad, ya sabemos que pararemos el odio creando un movimiento basado en el poder que ya existe en nuestras familias, barrios y comunidades, como los que han viajado en la caravana Sin Papeles Sin Miedo nos han mostrado hacienda desobediencia civil aquí y en Carolina del Norte, estamos mas seguros cuando nos organizamos y salimos de las sombras. Sabemos organizar para parrar deportaciones y la separación de familias, ensenando los derechos y creando bases de redes de protección. Mándenos un mensaje para involucrarse en nuestro próximos curso de defensa.

2. WE FIGHT HATE:  SB1070 poses a moral dilemma that everyone must answer: will you comply with hate or will you side with the struggle for human rights and dignity?  We demand that every city, every police department, every school, and every institution in Arizona refuse to comply with SB1070 by not allowing their officers to racially profile.  To businesses, we ask your support in not complying with 1070 by becoming Human Rights Zones.  Those that do not we will boycott.
 2. LUCHAMOS CONTRA EL ODIO: La SB1070 crea un dilema moral que todos tendrán que contestar: cumplirás con el odio o estarás de el lado de los derechos humanos y la dignidad? Le pedimos a todas la ciudades, municipios, departamentos de policía, escuelas, o cualquier otra institución en Arizona que NO cumpla con la SB1070, no dejando que sus oficiales cometan violaciones de perfil racial a nuestra comunidad. A negocios les pedimos su apoyo al igual no cumplir con la ley y a negocios que estén al favor les haremos boicot.

3. WE FIGHT DEPORTATIONS: We know that Arizona cannot deport people on its own. President Obama can follow the brave example that undocumented people have set by taking immediate action to stop deporting Arpaio and 1070's victims by ending Secure Communities in Arizona.  Sign the petition at
3. LUCHAMOS CONTRA LAS DEPORTACIONES: Sabemos que Arizona no puede deportar a personas solo. El presidente Obama puede seguir la valentía que la gente indocumentada a mostrado y tomar acción inmediata y parar las deportaciones de las victimas de la SB1070 y Arpaio, con solo terminar el programa de comunidades seguras en Arizona firma la petición aquí

How you can get involved/Para involucrarte:
Tell your story: Share your experience of racial profiling.  The more we go public with what is happening to our community, the safer we are.  Contact us for support at
Cuenta tu historia: Comparte tu experiencia de perfil racial.  Lo mas que hablamos en publico sobre lo que pasa en nuestra comunidad, lo mas seguro estamos.  Escribenos por apoyo a
Stay informed: Follow us on Twitter @puenteaz and Like us on Facebook
Quedate informad@: Siguenos en Twitter @puenteaz y da nos Like en Facebook.
Share our updates: Spread the word on the human rights crisis happening in Arizona and the powerful ways we are fighting back
Comparte nuestros datos: Corre la voz sobre la crisis de derechos humanos pasando en Arizona, y las maneras poderosas que luchamos y resistimos.
Volunteer with the Puente Movement: There are so many ways to get involved in the struggle for human rights, from canvassing local businesses as part of our Human Rights Zone campaign, to fundraising, to teaching English classes, and so much more.  Email to get involved!
Ser Voluntari@ con el Movimiento Puente: Hay tantas maneras de involucrarte con la lucha por los derechos humanos, desde pedir negocios locales ser parte de nuestra campana de Zonas De Derechos Humanos, a recaudar fondos, a ensenar clases de Ingles, y mucho mas!  Mandanos un email a volunteer@puenteaz.ogr para involucrarte!
Donate: Help us sustain and grow our movement.  Donate at
In struggle, 
Puente Arizona