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:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Telephone Justice: NY Courts Tommorrow

from the Center for Constitutional Rights: "Telephone Justice for Families with Incarcerated Loved Ones," via the UNSHACKLE list-serve:
Dear Friend:

Tomorrow, October 13, will be a critically important day in the struggle to seek accountability and compensation for the years of hardship and sacrifices made by the families of prisoners in New York. The Court of Appeals of the State of New York, the highest court in the state, will hear oral arguments in the case of Walton v. New York State Department of Correctional Services (NYSDOCS), a final opportunity to argue that the kickback New York State received from the commissions from collect call charges were an unlegislated tax on families and unconstitutional.

This case is an important one because it could result in the return of millions of dollars to families who were overcharged over the long course of the MCI/Verizon monopoly contract with NYSDOCS. You can show your support for this groundbreaking case by attending the argument if you're in the Albany, New York area. If you can't make it to court, you can view the oral argument live on the web at .

Despite the fact that we successfully defeated the contract in 2007, resulting in rate reductions of more than 50 percent, many, many family members continue to feel the impact of a decade of paying hundreds of dollars a month to maintain contact with their loved ones and find themselves unable to save money or make plans for financial security. The New York Campaign for Telephone Justice, a CCR project in partnership with many allies, has collected testimonials that paint a powerful portrait of these experiences. We have included these anecdotal results in an impact summary that you can find on our website.

It has been a long and hard struggle to reach this point. Your continued support of this case by showing up and remaining committed to justice for the families of prisoners is vital and appreciated.

Annette Dickerson
Director of Education and Outreach

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