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, March 19, 2010

Inmate’s family wins against First Correctional Medical: Delaware.

Catching up with the guys at Private Corrections Working Group (PCWG - formerly PCI), the experts on the private prison industry. I can't keep up with their emails, so hee's a bunch more from the past few days. Sorry to dump so much at once. Will try to keep them relatively in order as they arrived...

I guess the message to PO's on this one is that it had better be a really good reason before you violate someone - don't do it just to put a little fear into them. That kind of harassment and stress kills some of us.

Inmate’s family wins award against First Correctional Medical: Delaware.

Mar 10, 2010 6:58 pm US/Eastern

Family Of Suicidal Del. Inmate Awarded $850

KRANDALL CHASE, Associated Press Writer

DOVER, Del. (AP) ― A federal judge in Wilmington has awarded $850,000 to the family of a Delaware prison inmate who hanged himself in 2004.

Judge Joseph Farnan ruled Tuesday that the widow of Christopher Barkes was entitled to $150,000 for mental anguish stemming from her husband's death. Barkes' two daughters, meanwhile, were awarded $350,000 each.

The family sued First Correctional Medical Inc., the former medical care contractor for the state Department of Corrections. Farnan entered a default judgment against the company in 2008 after a representative failed to appear at a court hearing.

Barkes, who had a history of substance abuse and suicide attempts, hanged himself with a sheet one day after being arrested for violating probation.

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