PO BOX 20494


Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Peggy Plews

This site is 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's perspective.
We don't simply need to shut down the prisons: we need to rewrite the way the rules around perpetrating harm against people and property are made in the first place, so that humanity, not politics or profit comes first. The current system doesn't prevent people from being victimized as it is - it simply prescribes rules for who does and doesn't get hurt or get to violate others, and mostly punishes the poor, the seriously mentally ill, and people of color. That's not a good enough foundation for a system based on achieving true justice.

From re-prioritizing our world, our ideas around what is crime and how to punish it would look much differently...Critical Resistance is a good source for more info on that.

I'm a freelance writer and human rights activist with no legal training or college degree. But if you are the loved one of a prisoner who needs help fighting for themselves, feel free to contact me - I'll do what I can. Emailing me works best: but 480-580-6807 is ok too.



Petition by the family of Tony Lester, victim of suicide in AZ DOC custody.

Prisoners and Families: Send your SOS to the DOJ!

We really need those of you out there who have been in an AZ prison, have lost a child or other family member in an AZ prison, or have a loved one in an AZ prison now, to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (that one is mine) about the need for a federal intervention here, and send me a copy, with a nice photo, if you have one, of the beloved prisoner - I don't have to post your letters and pictures, but please tell me if I may, with or without names.

If you need some motivation, see what the Governor had to say to him about the swell state things are in here. Don't let her pass that BS off on him unchallenged.

When the truth of prison rape and violence is made public and appeals for relief come directly from those affected, the rest of the community identifies better with prisoners as people, and it puts more pressure on the feds - as well as the governor- to act. And you are the ones with the most at stake here. So, please back me up on this argument I'm making, folks. If the feds listened to me, they'd have been here long ago - I need your support!

And don't just "like" me on Facebook or the Daily KOS - SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!

US Attorney General Eric Holder
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20530

Send word to your loved ones in prison to write the AG as well, and to send me copies if they want me to post their letters, too.

THE I-Files: Teens in Solitary Confinement

Published on Jun 26, 2014

"Alone" was produced Daffodil Altan. It was reported by Altan and Trey Bundy, edited by David Ritsher and Andrew Gersh, and filmed by Marco Villalobos. The senior producer was Stephen Talbot. The executive producer was Susanne Reber.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison (HBO)

Published on Jul 20, 2014

America's prisons are broken. Just ask John Oliver and several puppets.

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 AZ: Vote for Education, Not Incarceration.

Caroline Isaacs and Matt Lowen  from the American Friends Service Committee office in Tucson have done a lot of good work across the state fighting for prison reform and exposing human rights abuses. AFSC-Tucson's site has some great resources on prison privatization in Arizona, as well as on supermaxes and solitary confinement. Check out their links here

Also check out the blog "Cell-out Arizona" at the Tucson Citizen.

----------from the AZ Capitol Times--------

We can have both high-quality education and safe, cost-effective prisons

By Guest Opinion
AZ Capitol Times 

Published: November 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

In 2012, the Arizona Department of Corrections’ budget increased by 11 percent. It was the only agency that increased its share of the state’s general fund. At the same time, education funding at all levels plummeted, with our state’s education system ranking 44 out of 51, according to “Education Week.”

Voters across the state are taking notice. One year of prison costs at least $17,000 per person while average per student funding in K-12 schools is less than $8,000. Is it smart spending to pay twice as much to incarcerate, rather than to educate someone? Especially when 43 percent of those released from prison later return?

Many running for office are being questioned about Arizona’s increased contracting with private prison companies: Are they cheaper? Are they well-managed and adequately staffed? And most important, are they safe? The answer to all these questions is “no.”

Arizona’s private prisons are overall more costly than equivalent state-run units. Their management and staff are not as qualified or experienced. This leads to compromises in safety, as grimly evidenced by the escapes from the privately run facility in Kingman in 2010, which ultimately led to two murders. Finally, private prisons benefit from keeping people in prison; not from providing programming and preparation to return prisoners to our communities as productive, tax- paying citizens.

People running for office are being asked why our prison population is so high, when leaders in other U.S. states across the political spectrum have both reduced prison populations and reduced crime. In doing so, they saved millions of taxpayer dollars.

We incarcerate many people whose crimes, including drug offenses, stem from mental illness. Both addiction and mental illness lead people to commit multiple offenses — not because they didn’t “learn their lesson,” but because they are not receiving the assistance (medication, therapy) they need to be able to control their behavior.

Cost-effective and safe alternatives such as mental health courts and other diversion programs treat the root causes of their offenses, preventing future crime. All this reduces the costs of corrections, freeing scarce state resources for other critical needs.

This election season, thoughtful voters have a real choice. They can choose candidates who will continue the status quo — a costly corrections system and substandard educational system — or they can pick candidates with vision and the courage to stand up to private prison special interests and fight for a smart budget that balances the need for a high-quality educational system and a safe and cost- effective corrections system.

— Caroline Isaacs, program director, American Friends Service Committee.