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



ALONE: Teens in Solitary Confinement

AZ PRISON WATCH ACTION ITEMS:

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.

Her next hearing date is Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 8:30 am at the Maricopa County Superior Courthouse in Phoenix. Please show wearing blue, if you can - it matters to her to see people on her side in the crowd. Her trial will be coming up fast.
AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Monday, November 19, 2012

Education not Incarceration: NOW benefit for GINA's TEAM

Hey all - please turn out on December 6 to taste some good wine and support GINA's Team and the women coming home from Arizona's state prison system...






Gina’s Team, named for Gina Panetta who died while serving time in an Arizona prison, actively promotes education and self-sufficiency for incarcerated women and men in Arizona and the United States at no cost to the prisons. We bring volunteer community leaders, speakers and educators into our prisons to teach Life Skills subjects.  Our volunteer programs provide inmates with much needed tools for re-entry, provide community members as roll models, and allow volunteers to see inmates as human beings. Our organization was co-founded by Gina's parents, Chris and Diane Panetta, and her prison roommate, Sue Ellen Allen.

Arizona NOW was organized following Congress' passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972. Women in Arizona were prepared to be in the vanguard for equal rights. With their ERA van, NOW women traveled the state, creating NOW chapters in Tucson, Phoenix, Kingman, Havasu City, the White Mountains, Tempe, Bisbee, Benson, Scottsdale, and Sun City.



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