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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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Corrupt Kavanagh's $900K gift to GEO group deleted from state budget.

How brazen that he thought nothing of trying to give away all that money to those people - that's how little he thinks of his constituents, that he can give our money away to prison profiteers like that while kids are going without in this state. If the people of Fountain Hills had any integrity or sincere concern for the rest of Arizona, they would recall this man for corruption. Meanwhile, he needs to be removed from chairing the House Appropriations committee immediately. 

----------from the AZ Republic-----

Rep. John Kavanagh (Fountain Hills)
Chair of the AZ House Appropriations Committee

$900k for private prisons removed from Arizona budget

Craig Harris, AZ Republic
March 31, 2014

Nearly $1 million in additional funding for private prisons was removed from the state budget today, following an uproar of criticism from Arizonans.

The Senate Appropriations Committee took out $900,000 in excess funds the House last week had earmarked for GEO Group Inc., which is expected to receive $45 million this fiscal year for providing minimum- and medium-security beds in Phoenix and Florence.

The company has contracts with the state that guarantees at least a 95 percent occupancy rate, virtually ensuring the company a profit for operating its prisons in Arizona.

Read previous coverage: Private prisons may get $1 million

House Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who has received campaign contributions from GEO executives, sought the increase that was approved by the House.

Kavanagh said Monday that GEO had done the state a "big favor" by providing emergency private-prison beds at a discount rate during the Great Recession, and the company wanted to be financially restored.
"I didn't see a problem in giving them a small increase," Kavanagh said. "If you don't treat people fairly they won't treat you fairly in the future."

Kavanagh said he did not know if he would try to restore the funding taken out of the budget on Monday.
GEO's lobbying firm, Pivotal Policy Consulting, approached Kavanagh directly about getting additional funds even though the company had agreed to contracts with the Arizona Department of Corrections, which did not seek any more money for GEO.

Kavanagh said Monday that Kristen Boilini was the lobbyist who sought the additional money. Boilini did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

State campaign finance records show that six GEO executives, including CEO George Zoley, gave Kavanagh's campaign committee a combined $2,544 in 2012.

Kavanagh said it is common for individuals who share the same political ideology as candidates to contribute to their campaigns, and that he receives contributions from numerous people.

GEO is based in Boca Raton, Fla. The company posted $115 million in profits on $1.52 billion in revenue in 2013. The company, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, paid Zoley $4.62 million in total compensation last year.