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

Greyhounds going to prison

This is awesome. This is what we need more of in Arizona - community groups who give prisoners encouragement and hope. Three cheers to the AZ Dept of Corrections' folks - and any other bureaucrats - who let this one through all the red tape it must have generated.

Phoenix track closing, greyhounds going to Arizona prison

Reported by: Rudabeh Shahbazi
Last Update: 11/09 9:54 pm
ELOY, AZ -- Just a month before the race track at Phoenix Greyhound Park is scheduled to close, a Valley greyhound rescue group is working to place the race dogs in prison cells with inmates.

Racing Home Rescue Group volunteer Marcie Bailey says the dogs will give inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy more hope, company and encouragement. 

"This program could possibly grow to 12 dogs per each 9-week session in both facilities in Eloy," said Bailey. "That could place up to 120 dogs per year into forever homes. Plus, it will heal the spirits and give vocational training to up to 50 inmates looking for unconditional love, some of them for the first time in their lives."

Inmates who have already participated in the program just had a first graduation ceremony and welcomed in four new dogs.

The previous greyhounds were all adopted immediately, two of them by prison employees.

Bailey says the inmates get emotional when it comes time to let the dogs go to be with their new owners. 

"They would have been devastated if they had not gotten another dog," she said.

Each greyhound is adopted for 10 weeks by two inmates, and lives with them in their cells 24 hours a day. 

Retired greyhounds are typically adopted after their racing careers, but often have to be put down if rescue groups can't find owners for them.

Bailey says the inmates teach the dogs basic obedience, and sometimes tricks.

She says the program has been popular on the east coast, but that she is not aware of any such programs on this side of the country.

Experts say greyhounds are great with kids, other dogs and even cats and small animals.

Violent criminals and sex offenders are not allowed to foster the dogs. Bailey says most of the participants are serving time for drug charges.

To see prisoner testimonials about their partnerships with the greyhounds, and to find out information about adoption, visit

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