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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Friday, January 15, 2010

Andrew Thomas' Accidental Felons and Wrongful Convictions.

From the publisher's site for Accidental Felons by Daniel Horne, a worthwhile read about the politics of the Maricopa County Attorney... 
Maricopa County is a place where first-time DUI offenders can find themselves facing thirty years in prison, where parents can find themselves woken up in the middle of the night, their bedroom filled with armed men and drawn guns, their home being invaded after the County Attorney suspects their child of viewing porn. The sheriff's challenger in the last election woke up one morning to find himself defending allegations that he had raped his mother. And, the prior County Attorney, a Conservative Republican, ran television ads asking people to vote for the Democratic challenger of the existing County Attorney.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas are the two most controversial lawmen in the United States today. They both reside in Maricopa County, Arizona, where their respective departments are fraught with lawsuits and investigations of wrongdoing ... all at taxpayer expense. Yet they remain defiant that their ultra-rightwing form of Western justice is what the American people want.

This story takes you through the heart-wrenching experience of one suburban family's tragic encounter with Maricopa County justice soon after having their second baby. It shows how the Maricopa County Prosecutor abuses mandatory minimum sentencing to manufacture violent criminals out of ordinary citizens, and it exposes the dangerous truth about Sheriff Arpaio's infamous Tent City found nowhere else. 

About the Author
Daniel Horne has an MS Degree in Finance, a BA Degree in Business, and an AA in Engineering. He has worked as an engineer, operations manager, and most recently as a Chief Financial Officer. Daniel Lives with his wife and two children in Arizona.

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