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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Jersey Reform Initiated by Citizens

An example of a citizen's group pushing though criminal justice reform...

To: The Governor of NJ, The NJ State Senate and The NJ State House


A sweeping bill package sponsored by six Assembly Democratic legislators, lead by Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, to improve rehabilitation in New Jersey prisons and to save taxpayer dollars by cutting recidivism and giving released inmates an improved chance of success was advanced Monday November 22, 2009 by an NJ Assembly panel. Make sure that needed criminal justice policy changes take place under this administration!
Show NJ Legislators the support for YOUR Public Safety and Prisoner Reentry Bills: 
A4197 – Strengthening Women and Families Act
A4198 – Post-Release Employment Act
A4199 – Administration of Correctional Facilities Act
A4201 – Reduction of Recidivism Act
A4202 – Education and Rehabilitation Act
A4203 – Criminal Penalties Act 

Here are a brief description of the bills introduced by Bonnie Watson Coleman that reflect the outpouring of experience, expertise, and evidence that you all have provided throughout the series of “Counting the Costs” hearings over the past year! These bills are well informed, carefully shaped, and a result of your collective voice.  These bills belong to you:

1) Strengthening Women and Families Act: A4197
Lifts the felony drug ban on TANF, General Assistance and food stamps
Eliminates the prison phone surcharge
Establishes a commission to strengthen bonds between incarcerated parents and their children
Appoints an Assistant Commissioner for Incarcerated Women
Prohibits transferring female inmates to male institutions
Requires classification assignments to place inmates in facilities close as possible to family
Establishes the Division on Women as the semiannual depository for all female inmate complaints

2 )Post-Release Employment Act: A4198
Creates a restricted use driver’s license for the purpose of getting to work, education, training, & dr’s
Removes categorical employment bars for: limousine services, places that serve alcohol, airports, etc
Bans the criminal background question box on state, county, and municipal job applications
Prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of a criminal record
Requires employers to consider a returning citizen’s certificate of rehabilitation

3 ) Adminstration of Correctional Facilities Act: A4199
Increases the non-“taxable” amount accrued for inmate accounts
Establishes the Dept of the Public Advocate as the depository for all inmate complaints
Requires ACA-based correctional officer training as requested by officers

4) Reduction of Recidivism Act: A4201
Allows for a 90-day grace period for outstanding fines
Provides returning inmates with: photo ID; medical records; rap sheet; accounting of fines owed; etc
Eliminates the post-release Medicaid enrollment gap
Establishes a Prisoner Reentry Commission
Establishes a Blue Ribbon Panel for Review of Long-Term Prisoners’ Parole Eligibility
Mandates the use of “community corrections” for all those released from prison

5) Education and Rehabilitation Act: A4202
Reviews vocational programs in order to meet demand job skills and standards
Requires inmates to achieve 12th grade literacy with few exceptions
Requires DOC to make GED classes available to all inmates who request
Requires GED certificates to be issued by Dept. of Education (DOE)
Allows formerly incarcerated persons to visit any prison in the State for motivational purposes
Caps parole ‘hits’ at 3 years before being given another hearing
Allows inmates to enter agreements for ed, trng, etc that decreases parole terms
Provides credits for educational achievements

6) Criminal Penalties Act: A4203
Provides discretion to courts to reduce accumulated fines and penalties
Requires family impact statements on pre-sentencing reports
Includes restorative justice mediation as an alternative sentence
Expands access to expungement

Come out to make sure that needed criminal justice policy changes take place under this administration!
Show NJ Legislators the support for YOUR

Public Safety and Prisoner Reentry Bills:
(Call #609-396-8900 x22 or 856-952-5140 for more information)

No comments: