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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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Framing the Governor

Homecoming Parade and the Governor

Sorry these took so long to put up - I actually got myself out of bed Saturday and went to the parade - fortunately I wasn't alone at the head of it. Thanks Matt. I don't know who was down the line further on.

Once the Governor's car passed by I moved in right next to her, sign held high, and managed to walk about 50 yards with the procession before the long arm of the law reached me and steered me back into the crowd. The best image of this we don't have - it's the governor with Marcia Powell at her shoulder - my face isn't even visible. She's straining to keep her back to us as she smiles and waves and throws candy - pretending akwardly that Marcia isn't there, quietly insisting on hers and her sisters' safety and freedom.

That's the photographic image we need to chase every single politician running for office with - either they display openly their total disregard for human life, or they answer what they would do differently to change what happened to Marcia Powell -and what's happening to women in the "justice" system in this state every day.

Read Mona Lynch's book, by the way - Sunbelt Justice. It's all about what we're up against in Arizona - it's like a blueprint to the enemy's HQ - it tells how it was all built, and what the foundation is made of that it rests upon. I'm still working my way through it - drop me a line if you're looking at it too.

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