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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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Budget Deal Passes First Hurdles in the Senate

From Doug Kilgore, today's AEA Special Legislative Session report. It doesn't look good. Guess I'll be there tomorrow, too.

"Cuts Only" is Not a Solution for Arizona's Economy or Children
 The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the four bills that constitute another partisan budget that falls far short of solving Arizona's budget crisis. Despite a continuing budget deficit of over $2 billion dollars, it appears the Republican Caucus in both the Senate and House are lined up to make more cuts to public schools and Arizona's most vulnerable citizens without even considering additional revenue options leaving a continuing deficit of nearly $1.5 billion dollars when their work is done.
A budget deal that was negotiated among Governor Brewer, Senate President Burns, and House Speaker Kirk Adams last week had little opposition in the Senate Republican Caucus and appeared ready to sail through the process today until the Homebuilders Association asked for some changes to be made to protect some of their interests. After some negotiations, the bill was amended to meet those interests and passed by the Senate Committee of the Whole. The budget package still needs to pass a final vote of the Senate and be considered by the House.
The House will go to work on the package beginning tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. Senate President Burns and House Speaker Adams expect the bills to be passed by the legislature tomorrow and sent to the Governor for her signature. The Governor is expected to sign the bill despite large cuts to public schools and the Department of Economic Security to programs that protect Arizona's most vulnerable citizens.
Coalition Offers Alternatives to Budget Cuts
AEA Vice President Andrew Morrill blasted the Republican maneuvers as "cut first, cut last (and) cut only" during a news conference on the capitol lawn today. The Arizona Budget Coalition held a news conference where leaders from the Children's Action Alliance, SEIU, and the AEA outlined specific proposals to generate up to $6.7 billion in new revenue to prevent more cuts to our schools and vital state services.
The Governor and the Legislature have the opportunity to minimize more permanently damaging budget reductions that could potentially retard or even destroy Arizona's future economy and the quality of life so treasured by its citizens. The six Revenue Options presented by ABC have the potential to provide up to $6.7 billion in additional revenue to the state. The ABC believes the options are both doable and viable in the short term while Arizona leaders take a long-term, comprehensive approach to achieve permanent fiscal balance. Review the ABC list of budget options here.
Stay Tuned
Watch for an update on the special session tomorrow and Friday. Visit to learn how you can join the citizens' movement seeking a comprehensive solution to our state's budget crisis that protects Arizona families, invests in our economy's recovery, and limits damage to our public schools.

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