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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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Border Action Network on SB 1070.

From the Border Action Network:

Urgent State Action Alert!
The KEY VOTE on Russell Pearce's SB1070 will be this Tuesday!

For the last seven weeks we have been fighting what would become the nation's toughest, most far-reaching anti-immigrant law in the nation. Your emails, phones calls, faxes and postcards have slowed the bill down.  In fact, we were told over a month ago that this bill was a done-deal! But it's not over yet.
On Tuesday, April 13th the House Committee of the Whole will vote on SB1070. This is the last vote in which debate will actually happen.  We must defeat this bill and we must defeat Russell Pearce!  

If you have any doubts about Pearce's irrational, single-minded focus on pushing immigrant families and everyone in the state further down the path of backwards policies, watch an interview with the Senator on the Sunday Square Off:
Note: not a single statistic he tosses out is true. We'll get to that another day…
Here's what is happening:

A bill needs 31 affirmative votes to pass the Arizona House of Representatives. The Democrats assure us that they are voting against the bill. There are 35 Republicans in the House. There are 3 who have said they are opposed to bill and will vote against it.  There are a half dozen others in the fence because they have concerns - from churches being potentially charged criminally for "harboring," to no protections for victims or witnesses of crime, to the hidden costs this bill could mean to Arizona, to everyone, regardless of their immigration status, having to carry identification or else risk arrest. 

But some of these concerns could be placated by amendments that will be introduced on the floor on Tuesday. Russell Pearce swears he has the votes…let's make even more of a liar out of him!

Here's what you can do

1. Forward this action to everyone in your address book (you will be shown how after you send your email).

2. Send an email and call your two representatives TODAY and TOMORROW. Their phone numbers will be listed after you submit your Zip Code and before you send your email.

3. If the bill passes on Tuesday, we will return to the Governor's office on Wednesday, April 14th to deliver thousands more postcards at 12:00pm. Please join us!

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