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:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pink underwear kills: Sheriff Joe settles with family of Eric Vogel.

Whatever BS rationalization Arpaio uses for employing the color pink in his jails, its used in an overtly misogynistic, homophobic way - to humiliate the male prisoners, mainly. His policies and practices around the dressing of prisoners not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes, at the very least; the forced dressing in "feminine" clothes  even terrified Eric Vogel to death. Too bad they didn't challenge the constitutionality of Arpaio's treatment of all prisoners, at the same time, as this settlement doesn't set any precedent that could force Arpaio to change policies.  Shame on the Maricopa County voters who have fueled that idiot's fires and kept him in power. I hope Eric Vogel's family get millions.

The lawyers in this case were Robbins and Curtin, if you need one to sue either the MCSO or the State of Arizona on behalf of a victim of police or prison violence. They often win.

Joe Arpaio's armored car stalked and chalked
at the PHOENIX 2012 Veterans Day Parade

Chicago Tribune 
September 8, 2014

(Reuters) - An attorney for the estate of a mentally ill inmate who sued an Arizona county after being forcibly dressed in pink underwear by jail officers said on Monday they will settle the case.

Lawyers for Eric Vogel's estate and the county of Maricopa told the court on Friday both sides had reached an agreement, plaintiff attorney Joel Robbins said. Robbins declined on Monday to provide further detail on the settlement, which needs to be approved by county officials.

The pink underwear for male jail inmates policy is a controversial part of firebrand Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's anti-crime policies. The sheriff was listed as a defendant in the case, which was filed in April 2007.

Officers arrested Vogel in November 2001 for assaulting a policeman. Health workers at the jail determined Vogel had mental problems and needed psychiatric care, court records show.

The inmate resisted the pink underwear policy at the jail, and screamed that the officers who held him down and forcibly dressed him were raping him, according to court documents.

"The fact that they had wrestled this man, screaming that he was being raped, those are the things that kind of added up to what we believe was deliberate indifference," Robbins said.

Vogel died of acute cardiac arrhythmia weeks later, after running miles from the scene of a minor car accident, fearing that he would be arrested again, court documents show.

The county is scheduled to hold a board of supervisors meeting on Wednesday to discuss the agreement, according to court records.

In 2012, the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arpaio's policy may be unconstitutional when applied to prisoners who had not been convicted of a crime.

Two members of a three-judge appeal panel raised the issue while ruling for the majority in a related lawsuit against Arpaio and Maricopa County. But they stopped short of striking down the underwear practice, saying it had not been formally challenged by plaintiffs in the case.

Writing for the majority, a 9th Circuit judge said that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed jail officials to use unpleasant measures so long as they served a legitimate purpose, such as the safety of the institution.

But he noted the Supreme Court also ruled that arbitrary requirements may be construed as punishments, which could not be imposed on people who had not been found guilty of a crime.

Arpaio has come under fire by the U.S. Justice Department for a crackdown on illegal immigration that the government said involved racial profiling.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)