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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Friday, April 26, 2013

May 13, 2013 TUCSON: 30 years of CCA is nothing to celebrate!


30 Years of Corrections Corporation of America:

This year, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is celebrating 30 years of profiting from incarceration. People around the country say, 30 years of abuse, mismanagement, and political influence peddling is nothing to celebrate.

It’s time for the people of Arizona to say: 30 years is enough.
CCA, go away!

Please join us for a demonstration and press conference 
to protest CCA’s prison profiteering in Arizona:

Monday, May 13
DeConcini Federal Courthouse,
405 W. Congress Street,

Tucson, Arizona

Why Protest CCA’s Anniversary?

Here in Arizona, CCA operates 6 facilities, holding prisoners from Arizona, California, Vermont, and Hawaii as well as federal prisoners. CCA is one of the main beneficiaries of harsh immigrant enforcement and detention policies, such as Operation Streamline. 

A publicly-traded company, In 2010, CCA saw record revenue of $1.67 billion, up $46 million from 2009.
CCA spends millions on lobbyists and campaign contributions, and has strong ties to the Governor’s office. CCA has given money to Governor Brewer’s past campaigns such as Prop 100 and stands to benefit greatly from SB1070. As more undocumented people are turned over to ICE it is likely that they will be sent to one of CCA’s three detention facilities in Arizona.

Former Arizona Senator Dennis DeConcini, prominent attorney and member of the Arizona Board of Regents, also serves on the CCA Board of Directors, personally profiting from CCA’s dividends.

Caroline Isaacs,

Program Director,

American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Area Program

103 N. Park Ave., Ste. 111

Tucson, AZ  85719

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