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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Calls for PHX Police SGT Schweikert's firing in wake of hunger strike encampment raid.

for a refresher on what happened during the Phoenix Police raid on the PUENTE Hunger Striker encampment last month, see:  

PUENTE hunger strikers undeterred by Phoenix Police violence and arrests.

Below is an excerpt from a press release about the following letter: the SGT Mark Schweikert they refer to supervises the Phoenix Police Department's "protest police" unit, AKA The Red Squad (see this link for more on them).  The reality is that under their cheery "community liason" veneers, their real job is not to protect protesters from traffic or counter-protesters, as they suggest. Their mission is to assure that progressive social movements in the valley don't ever meaningfully disrupt "business as usual"; that's how they "keep the peace" in the community. 

Schweikert and the Red Squad were also behind the repeated arrests of Occupy Phoenix protesters and demolition of our encampments, and divisiveness being spread between groups of activists by maliciously identifying anarchists at one protest as "troublemakers" to the event organizers. Community organizations who think they need the Red Squad's protection and guidance in order to have a "safe protest experience" would be well advised not to trust them, lest they simply become tools in the PHX PD's efforts to protect the status quo.

Sorry this isn't the best copy of this letter:

 Press release from Puente (March 19, 2014):

...Activists arrested at the Not1More Hunger Strike in front of the Phoenix ICE Field Office on February 28 are facing a judge today.  Protestors were supporting hunger strikers with loved ones in detention and facing deportation, when at least 40 Phoenix police officers raided the camp, violently retaliating against a peaceful demonstration for human rights.  This police raid happened at the same time that Jaime Valdez, who was hunger striking from inside Eloy Detention Center, was deported as punishment for fighting back against his deportation. 

In addition to requesting that their charges be dropped, those arrested highlight the continual violations of trust between the migrant community and local law enforcement.  A recent study showed that 50% of Latinos in Maricopa County are less likely to report being a crime victim and that 43% feel less safe because of police-ICE collaboration.  To combat this mistrust, the demonstrators are demanding a meeting with Chief of Police Daniel Garcia, the immediate firing of Community Police Liason Mark Schweikert who led the aggressive police raid against protestors after assuring them they would not be evicted that night, and an end to local police-ICE collaboration....