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:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

AZ CCA Lawsuit with Prison Legal News

Lawsuit claims Arizona prison denied inmates books

Reported by: Associated Press
Last Update: 9/03 7:42 am

ELOY, AZ -- A lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses the Corrections Corporation of America and an Arizona prison of denying inmates some books.

Prison Legal News, nonprofit criminal-justice publication, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Nashville, Tenn., company and various officials at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.

The Seattle-based publication also publishes, sells and distributes books to about 7,000 prisoners around the world.

The non-profit accuses prison officials of prohibiting at least six Saguaro prisoners from receiving books in the last two years.

Calls to Saguaro warden Todd Thomas and Corrections Corporation of America were not returned Wednesday.

When refusing Prison Legal books to inmates, prison officials gave them notices saying that the company was not an approved vendor and that their books would "create a serious danger to the security of the facility," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that the prison only allowed inmates to get their books from Barnes & Noble, and when that company didn't have a certain publication, they could use

Prison Legal gives inmates books for free if they can't afford them.

The lawsuit says Corrections Corporation of America and prison officials are violating Prison Legal's First and 14th Amendment rights.

The publisher wants the prison to be ordered to pay unspecified damages and allow inmates to get Prison Legal books. Copyright 2009 Associated Press.

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