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 22, 2010

Illinois DOC: Stop Harassing Prisoners.

Here are a few links about the issues raised in the lawsuit over the Illinois Department of Corrections serving so much soy in its food to accompany the post about the harassment of Larry Harris. It's pretty impossible to find anything about him or the other guy named in the email on the internet yet - they've just been buried in prison for years, both of them. One's a sex offender, the other was convicted of armed robbery. Guess the prison figured no one would care what happens to them anyway. 

What they must not get is that this lawsuit isn't about those guys or just that state. It's about the civil rights of prisoners, and the retaliation these guys are experiencing is standard across the country, wherever prisoners stand for their rights. Whatever we think of their crimes, they're trying to change conditions that all prisoners may be suffering under - and for that, a lot of prisoners' families across the country should help us keep an eye on the guys involved in this lawsuit.

The next logical place for Illinois to implement their soy-toxic diet is in the free lunch programs for kids. They've already started, as I understand. If they can squash this lawsuit - or win it - the state will be feeding the poor nothing but soy for the next few generations, burying any evidence that it ever caused anyone a problem. They start out with stuff like this in prisons because its harder for prisoners than anyone to fight it. So, let's pay a little closer attention to this, now. 

The folks in Illinois really don't want to escalate things by hassling these guys. They aren't invisible anymore. Isn't that like tampering with witnesses - threatening and harassing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against you?  That's not only unethical, I think it's a crime...


Soy in Illinois prison diets prompts lawsuit over health effects

Prison Calls it Food, Inmates Disagree

Taste-testing Nutraloaf: The prison food that Just Might be Unconstitutionally Bad

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