Video by Sallydarity / set to Comin' up from Behind ( Marcy Playground)

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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No one is disposable: Spade, Gossett on Prison Abolition in practice.

UPCOMING EVENT:

No One is Disposable: Everyday Practices of Prison Abolition

Reina Gossett and Dean Spade

Feb 7, 2014 | 4:00PM 
Online at bcrw.barnard.edu 
Co-Sponsors: Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Event Informaton

In a series of four short online videos produced by BCRW, activists Reina Gossett and Dean Spade discuss prison abolition as a political framework, exploring why this is a top issue for those committed to supporting trans and gender-nonconforming people. These videos look at how to build societies where the process of creating justice is as important as the end—communities where no one is exiled. Watch the videos here. Captions are available on YouTube.

On February 7th at 4PM EST we invite you to join us for an online discussion based on these videos. Reina and Dean will join BCRW in our first ever online event, co-sponsored by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, to answer questions about prison abolition and its intersections with queer and trans movements. Register today and join us for this exciting experiment in creating online learning spaces that contribute to activist conversations.

Reina Gossett is an artist and activist who works as Membership Director of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Dean Spade is the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of the Law, and an associate professor at Seattle University School of Law. He is currently a fellow in the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School.


Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 1): Prison Abolition + Prefiguring the World You Want to Live In from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.


Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 2): Practicing Prison Abolition Everyday from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.


Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 3): What About the Dangerous People? from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.


Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 4): Gun Control + Producing Dangerousness from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.