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, July 9, 2014

ASPC-Lewis: Another Murder in "The Promised Land": Homicide of Gordon Lee (UPDATE)

UPDATE July 9, 2014

It's my understanding, from more than one source, that Gordon Lee was strangled to death in the ASPC-Lewis Bachman shower by three other prisoners, who then dragged him back to his cell, dressed him and put him in bed. Staff allegedly slept through the murder happening 15 feet away from them, and didn't do their 4am count. He was found dead the next day. I dont know why tyey killed him - there are plenty of more horrible pedophiles in Protective Custody, which is what the Bachman yard he was killed on is. PC has become an increasingly dangerous place these days.

According to my sources,  Lee was assaulted a couple of weeks before this attack, and told a nurse what happened to him but she failed to report it to anyone. Its unclear whether or not he also formally applied for additional protection after that - the investigation, if conducted honestly, should show his protective custody requests (many prisoners need to PC up from Protective Custody yards like Bachman because of drug debts or repeated victimization, so that wouldnt be unusual for him to request). 

I believe that Wendy Halloran at Channel 12/KPNX is on the job trying to get records, so I'll be tuning in to them for follow-up.

peggy plews 7/9/14

From original POST (7/7/14 6:53PM) 

This man was murdered on ASPC-Lewis/Bachman, the same yard Alex Clark was just killed on. Seems like Protective Custody (AKA "the Promised Land" by the guys in the process of getting there) is as dangerous as the rest of the prison system these days. That's a big warning sign, Arizona. 

Think the Governor is paying attention yet? Maybe she notices, finally - the problem is that she still just doesn't care. This guy was in for child molestation, anyway, so no one will care that he's been murdered. He's one of the few who get long sentences who fessed up, interestingly - his plea was apparently not to avoid dying in prison - usually these long sentences are reserved for those who deny their guilt, like the truly innocent convicted at trial.  About 8-15% of sex offenders, by at least one prominent exoneration study, are likely to be innocent.

Gordon Lee's plea deal pretty much guaranteed he would never again be free, in fact - and maybe he felt he shouldn't be. You'd be surprised how many men who perpetrate these kinds of crimes against children are remorseful and want only to not hurt anyone again. Some mutilate themselves, and many commit suicide to protect the world from the monsters they fear they have become. Some even beg their judges to lock them away forever, castrate, or execute them. Many of them know what it's like to be violated, as survivors of childhood sexual abuse themselves; they never wished to become what they abhorred. Gordon Lee may have been a  sick human being to do what he did, but at least he didn't make the victim and her family go through a trial, or call her a liar in court. He owned his crimes against that child, when so few people ever do. There must have been some humanity in him somewhere.

Condolences, by the way, to anyone who cared for this man. Thoughts go out to his victim as well, who will likely relieve certain feelings all over again and have unexpected ones as well, in light of this news...  

(Remainder of post EDITED out - it was all speculation inviting people to contact me)

If anyone has any additional information about this homicide or this mans life, please contact me. He had no known close friends or family contacts outside of prison.


Reach me at 480-580-6807 arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com.