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 25, 2009

Fox and CCA Pushing Privatization.

Go to the fox news site for the actual video - transcript below doesn't make much sense. It's pretty blatant propaganda on Fox's part...Anyway, remember that those private prisons are going to have vested interests - which will lobby legislators - in toughening sentencing laws and undermining mechanisms for prisoners or advocates to appeal  rights violations...they are a toxic presence in this state...this isn't just about Wickenburg.


How Private Prisons Turn a Profit

Published: Wed, 25 Nov 2009
Description: Corrections Corporation CEO Damon Hininger weighs in on state prison costs.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
" Go back everyone corrections -- of America runs over sixty prisons in nineteen states often charging less -- what -- cost for the state himself the house the inmates. Joining us now is David hiding there is president and CEO of corrections corporation of America welcome to the program -- and -- Good morning and happy Thanksgiving happy thing you know generally we -- I try to start added he's pretty plainly like how business but it doesn't necessarily seem appropriate in this case. If current trends. Is that softer. -- there. I'm sorry and the says. I can hear you now I'm sorry they got a -- no problem no problem I was gonna ask sort of out.

How trends czar you know we we hear a lot about trends of crime but we also hear stories about prisons that it and letting people out early because of cost problems how are you --"

" Trends. You know our biggest challenge right now is with our state customers as you mentioned earlier we do business with nineteen states around the country. And as a -- with all the challenges in this very tough fiscal environment that policies affecting. Our book of business rolled -- to the state department of corrections that we contract with. So here in the short term states are have to make very difficult decisions as to relates to.
Over cried in their systems potentially earlier release in early parole. Trying to balance all those different issues with the backdrop of a very tough fiscal environment so it has had. Some impact on our operations here this past year and we -- going in the next year. And even if the next fiscal year 2011 it's gonna have impact our customers."

" The Damon how much of an impact on your business because more specifically states like Colorado are trying to. Reduce their prison populations. And cut sentences how much success do you think though. The states will ultimately have what that and what will be the ultimate. Impact on your operations."

" Colorado's a great example -- as you're well aware they announced late this summer the the plan initiative to. A release inmates out of their system and an accelerated way in and let people out early. Before they complete their sentence. All it is a challenge it is a challenge -- in Colorado and other states as they try to do these type of initiatives. The ramifications as relates to. Public safety. And the concerns by the general community in the legislators about these and may be released earlier often does -- some political issues. And you also have to -- appeared challenge of execution from the parole board and the stakeholders and make those decisions so. It's really kind of thought wait and see. For us right now Colorado and other state that they consider these tough decisions."

" Why are states so inefficient running Iran prisons right I mean it's a bit of assault all TI know when you look at the prices 125 bucks per inmate per day for California. I meet the costs are staggering to the taxpayer. Why there's so many problems running prisons for states."

" Well it's an excellent question there's three ways that we provide value one is the cost of the capex -- of the cost of the bricks and mortar of the prison. California the great example. We can build a facility. With all the state of art technology -- security of it over the range of 55000 to 65000 per bed. That compares to states building that same type of facility. -- work 82. 300000 dollars or more and you -- California. We've seen numbers north -- 300000. From bad to build new that's in California. She's got that cost difference there that's -- by you right back to the state. But he also is the the timing of those beds we can build a facility of one to two years. Verses that state taken three to seven years if not longer so we're dollar more cost effective but also bring -- on a lot more official based. Later states are slower and more expensive in the private sector that's kind of why -- ask you to question you tonight sort of media and it's.

Absolutely any other thing too is that we're not confined to a certain geographical area. So we can find the the best place in the country to build a facility and really still in a page from the manufacturing industry. We're the best place to buy -- reasonable realistic figure get a great workforce. You know 60% of percent of our crosses the labor so -- good workforce there -- pay a fair wage you get a break qualified work force enough rope bike path back up to the state. So we look at California again where you've got the state paying Clark -- 607080000. A year. We go to Arizona and fun -- workforce between 3540000. Years natural value that we passed back onto the state. David hiding your presidency of corrections corporate America have a happy Thanksgiving David thank you very much for joining us thank you --"

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