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:


Monday, January 26, 2015

Monica Jones' Conviction Overturned in AZ Superior Court!

Hooray!The state will no doubt want to refile charges, so stay tuned. I suspect this isn't over...




Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 10:20 AM
Subject: ACLU News: Monica Jones Conviction Overturned

Good afternoon,

Crystal here from the ACLU, writing to inform you that Monica Jones’ conviction for manifesting intent to solicit prostitution was overturned today by the Superior Court of Arizona.


Jones was arrested and charged in May 2013 under a Phoenix law that the ACLU and others have argued is unconstitutional. In April 2014 she was convicted and then in August of that year she appealed her conviction. The ACLU filed an amicus brief in support of her appeal and has been supporting her since her arrest. Here is a background blog on her case: https://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights/when-walking-down-street-crime.

Monica Jones comment:

 
“Today is a great day! My wrongful conviction under the Phoenix manifestation law was vacated this morning. I am so grateful to my legal team and all of my supporters across the country and world. My conviction being vacated is important but it is a small win in our larger fight for justice. There are so many trans women and cisgender women who might be charged under this law in Phoenix and similar laws across the country. There is so much more work that needs to be done so that no one will have to face what I have no matter who they are or what past convictions they have.”

Comments from legal team:

  • Jean-Jacques “J” Cabou, a partner at the law firm of PerkinsCoie who represented Monica in her appeal and argued her case, said: “Monica was convicted in an unconstitutional trial, under an unconstitutional law, of a crime she didn’t commit.  We are incredibly pleased that the appellate court agreed that Monica was unconstitutionally denied the presumption of innocence and that the court vacated her conviction.”                     
     
  • Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, who has been working with Monica for the past year and a half, said: “Like so many trans women of color, Monica Jones was profiled and targeted by police for walking down the street. Today’s reversal of her conviction is an important validation of Monica’s brave fight to be seen and treated like a human being.”
     
  • Dan Pochoda, senior counsel at the ACLU of Arizona, who has also been working on Monica’s case, noted: “Monica Jones was targeted by law enforcement after her public opposition to the coercive treatment of sex workers by Project ROSE. The demise of this Project is based on the inaccurate claim that most adult sex workers are "trafficked" is further vindication of Monica.”
The order can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/monica_jones_conviction_reversed.pdf. Happy to connect you to Monica Jones and her legal team for further discussion. You can reach me at 212-519-7894.

Best,

Crystal Cooper
Media Strategist
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St., New York, NY 10004
212.519.7894ccooper@aclu.org