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



AZ PRISON WATCH ACTION ITEMS:

Please hear and encourage the voices of former prisoners speaking out....

Transgender people in custody

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.
AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Friday, December 14, 2012

Tucson's Niedhart on prison privatization in Arizona


You rock, Fred. Thank you...


• What: Lecture on Arizona Prisons by Fred Neidhardt

• When: 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20

• Where: Arizona Senior Academy Building at Academy Village, 
13715 E. Langtry Lane

• Admission: Free; donations accepted

• Reservations: Recommended; 
email info@arizonasenioracademy.org or call 647-0980



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Ariz. prison reform, trend of privatization focus of talk

AZ Daily Star
Three months ago the Arizona Senior Academy hosted a talk about why a coalition of 314 religious organizations, including every major religion in the world, has focused public attention on Arizona and other states for not complying with national and international laws governing prisoner treatment.

The featured speaker at that talk, Fred Neidhardt, will update his lecture at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20 with additional information on the privatization of prisons.

In April, Amnesty International issued a scathing indictment of the Arizona prison system, stating that some inmates are being housed under conditions constituting "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in violation of international law."

Placing minors 14 to 17 years of age, as well as adults who have yet to be convicted, in conditions of solitary confinement in the Special Management Units came under particular scrutiny.

A month earlier, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Prison Law Office, a prisoner-rights group based in Berkeley, Calif., filed a class-action lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections. The suit alleges that due to neglect by prison officials, inmates "are in grave danger of suffering serious and preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and even death."

In Tucson, the American Friends Service Committee has suspended work on other major projects to commit itself to an all-out effort to ban solitary confinement and other practices it considers inhumane in Arizona prisons and jails.

The Dec. 20 talk will review the history of the American penal system and add more information on the current nature of Arizona's prisons, focusing on the effects of privatization.

Neidhardt has been a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture for more than six years, the last three representing the Pima Monthly Meeting, Society of Friends (Quakers) in Tucson.

He is working with the American Friends Service Committee-Arizona to highlight the conditions of isolation in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Neidhardt has received many honors during his 50 years of research and teaching in molecular biology at Harvard University, Purdue University and the University of Michigan. He lives at Academy Village and is a member of the Arizona Senior Academy.

The lecture will be in the great room of the Arizona Senior Academy at Academy Village, an active-adult community at 13715 E. Langtry Lane.

The academy's concert and lecture programs are free and open to the public.

If you go

• What: Lecture on Arizona Prisons by Fred Neidhardt

• When: 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20

• Where: Arizona Senior Academy Building at Academy Village, 13715 E. Langtry Lane

• Admission: Free; donations accepted

• Reservations: Recommended; email info@arizonasenioracademy.org or call 647-0980


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