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:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Friending Dennis Deconcini: Time to resign.

Brilliant! More power to the Resistance! Stay tuned for how today's protest at the AZ Board of Regents meeting turned out - hit Dennis' facebook page to get the latest, in fact. 

You can all be a friend of his, too.


Facebook Fake-Out: Someone Created a Profile All About Dennis DeConcini's Ties to Private Prisons

Tucson Weekly

Posted by on  

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM

This probably isnt actually Dennis DeConcini.

  • This probably isn't actually Dennis DeConcini.
The campaign to pressure former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini to resign from the board of directors of Corrections Corporations of America looks like it's heating up again. We first wrote about the campaign in March when local immigrant rights groups were challenging the lawyer-politician to get rid of his ties to the private prison industry.

Yesterday, a few hundred folks out there in Facebook land woke up to a special treat — an invitation to become FB besties with the CCA board member. Turns out the page is a great resource for folks interested in learning more about Arizona and our state government's love affair with the private prison industry folks. And wow, looky there, the senator has something to say about his own love affair with the industry:
Dennis DeConcini
12 hours ago.

Just another long, hard day in the life of a wealthy ex-Senator. Juggling my law firm, real estate company, lobbying firm and position on the Board of Directors of the nation's largest prison company sure is tough. But at the end of the day, if I can look back and know my wallet's a little thicker than the day before, it's all worth it.
I say you better friend the guy, before he gets all shy and this page goes down.

The Facebook page, while all fun and good for you, isn't the only thing happening to continue to pressure the senator to leave CCA. Not only is DeConcini a former U.S. Senator, he's also a member of the Arizona Board of Regents that governs the three state universities. This week, Thursday, Dec. 6, Fuerza, the group organizing the pressure campaign, is asking folks to attend the Board of Regents meeting at the UA at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center.

You can read our story on DeConcini's connection to CCA — Morals Before Profit, but here's a bit of what DeConcini had to say at the time:
"I've been involved in prison reform a long time, and as I explained to the coalition group ... government has failed to provide humane and constitutional standards for prisoners," DeConcini said, adding that private prisons are needed to help states with strapped resources, similar to how the federal government uses contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last month, the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee issued a report on financial and security issues surrounding private prisons in Arizona (See "No Disclosure," Feb. 23), including CCA. The report also mentions the fact that private prisons do not have to operate transparently and comply with public-records requests.

DeConcini said he hasn't read the report, but he knew that CCA reps reviewed it. "I've been told we have much information that disputes (the report)—not that atrocities have not occurred. When they do, (people) are held responsible."

Regarding transparency issues, DeConcini said: "I'm concerned only that CCA, as any corporation, complies with all of the laws that are required. I'm satisfied from my review that they do. ... We are not a public entity."

Here's more. If you really want to do more than just show up for an action, you know, get your teeth into the issues, connect with the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee. Folks there have dedicated their work to taking on Arizona's private prison industry. Here's a story we did in February on their must-read report.