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 26, 2009

How do we put up with these guys? From the Huffington Post:

Arizona Lawmaker Rants on House Floor About Bisexual School Principals in Charge of Restrooms

 PHOENIX, AZ -- With one of the worst budget crises in the nation, Arizona lawmakers have had a particularly stressful job this year. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer even called the capitol a "hell hole." On Monday, the stress was too much for one Arizona lawmaker who launched into a strange rant on the Arizona House floor in which he cataloged nonexistent education jobs, including the Bisexual Principal of Restrooms and later suggested that legislators let the state go bankrupt.

 The rant begins about a minute into the video with Rep. Ray Barnes(R) talking about the way school administration has changed since he was in school,
[1:12] When I went to school, we had the superintendent of schools, and that was it. And then for the school itself, it was the principal. And the assistant principal was the English teacher. And when the principal wasn't there, a substitute came in and took the English teacher's place, and she became the principal.

Now. You have the superintendent, the deputy superintendent, the superintendent of communications, the superintendent of sports, the superintendent of government affairs. You got the principal, the assistant principal, the assistant to the assistant principal, the principal of recess, the principal of discipline, the principal of sports. And I'm sure unless we got a bisexual teacher somewhere, there's probably a principal of the girls restrooms and a principal of the boys restrooms. And that bothers me because I'm telling you that's not [inaudible] padding the books...
The rant was interrupted about a minute later [2:12] when Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) makes a point of order, saying, "Impugning. I think, lack of decorum, something inappropriate. Please keep your comments to the bill and not to people's orientation. Thank you."

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