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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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Combat Veterans: From The Batlefield to Prison

This is more current, and looks more comprehensive. The article is long and the website is worth visiting, so I'm sending you there for the whole thing. This is part of what looks like a very interesting series on veterans and criminal justice:

From the Battlefield to Prison
Crime Report Blog
by Cara Tabachnick
Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 6:34 am

In a series of articles to mark Veterans Day, the Crime Report examines the impact of returning soldiers on the U.S. justice system. In Part 1, we explore the special tragedy of troubled veterans in prison.

Most of the returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan never get in trouble with the law—but the outlook is bleak for those who do. The U.S. justice system is poorly prepared to cope with young ex-military personnel whose post-combat stress or inability to adjust to civilian society pushes them over the line into criminal activity, a special report by The Crime Report shows.

Although the number of incarcerated veterans has not risen dramatically, a Bureau of Justice Statistics report planned for release next year is expected to show that for the first time since the Vietnam War, the majority of veterans now serving prison terms are between the ages of 25 and 34. With no early end of America’s overseas military commitments in sight, U.S. authorities need to devote more attention to the needs of troubled soldiers, says Paul Sullivan, Executive Director of Veterans for Common Sense, a national advocacy group based in Washington D.C..

Improving and expanding treatment and prison counseling programs for needy veterans can “make a tremendous difference” if corrections officials made this a top priority, Sullivan adds “It can save untold lives and billions of dollars.”...

(finish the story at The Crime Report Blog)

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