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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Saturday, October 5, 2013

ASPC-Yuma's young deaths in custody: Harold Batista, 21.

(March 13, 1992 - September 25, 2013)

This 21-year old ASPC-Yuma prisoner died late last month, the cause of which is still under investigation. What is going on in Yuma prison? That's at least the third young man to die of "natural causes" from Yuma prison in the past 18 months, beginning with Joseph Venegas, 28, who died in his cell from pneumonia, having not been seen once for it by medical. Then there was Jesse Cornejo, 24, who reportedly died of AIDS-related penumonia shortly after being hospitalized for it. According to Jesse's family, he didn't even know he had AIDS until he was within weeks of dying.

If anyone knows anything about Harold's life or death that will help me better narrate his story, please get in touch with me. Anything you can share with me about Harold's death, if it was suicide, homicide, an overdose, or medical negligence may help other prisoners who still have a chance to make it home alive. It may also help his family get answers the DOC won't give them. 

If you are a friend or family, you have my condolences. If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me also. My name is Peggy Plews, and I hear from a lot of families in your shoes.  My phone number is 480-580-6807. My email is