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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Sunday, April 11, 2010

FASCIST SB 1070: Russ Pearce's Laments.

"Illegal Employers": That's a new phrase to me. Wonder if the SBA has heard it and how they like it. 

Anyway, not to worry any more about this horrible legislation, folks – Pearce is already on top of our concerns – we just need to trust him to be acting in “our” “best interests” since he’s clearly a proven American patriot. After all, look at all his years of public service and the legislation he’s already passed. He makes such a good argument that he should be more respected, that I bolded it in red letters below for you.

It will take us at least a generation to undo the damage that his good work has done to Arizona families and communities…and some can never be healed.

Please tell your legislators to shoot this bill down.

---------------- From:  (April 10, 2010 7:47pm) ----------------------------

Some concerns have been raised with portions of the legislation I have introduced, SB 1070 safe neighborhoods; immigration; law enforcement (that will known as:  Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act).  

I would like you all to know that I have made a good faith attempt to address any legitimate issues in a manner that I feel will not weaken the legislation while hopefully still addressing  your concerns. 

As you know we have to examine each issue as it relates to real world implications and from a perspective that will provide judicial clarification if any challenges are brought against this legislation. 

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify exactly what issues have been raised and how they will be addressed in the Floor Amendment sponsored by Representative Biggs on behalf of myself.  

Provisions of the Biggs Floor amendment:

What about states that issue licenses without confirming legal presence?
v     The Biggs amendment clarifies that federal, state or local government-issued ID only provides a presumption of innocence if the entity requires proof of legal presence.

Does local law enforcement have jurisdiction to transport an illegal alien across state lines?
v     The amendment requiring judicial authorization before transporting an illegal alien out of the state, to ensure that law enforcement is complying with federal requirements.  

Are there any provisions that may “open the door” for implementation of REAL ID?
v     The amendment statutorily prohibits the implementation, authorization, or establishment of REAL ID alleviating any concerns raised by the language.

Will this law create a scenario where cities and counties are continuously battling frivolous lawsuits, including lawsuits from people all across the country?
v     The Biggs amendment stipulates that only legal Arizona residents may brings actions against sanctuary cities and requires and loser pays all reasonable cost and attorney fees. 

NO ONE fights any harder for freedom, limited government and public safety than I do.  Our laws must be enforced, our borders must be secured and citizens have a Constitutional right to this protection under our laws and our Constitution.  I will continue to defend States Rights and our Constitutional liberties.  We must support our law enforcement officers in the protection of Life, Liberty and Property, that includes the rule of law.  

I have two legal opinions which are attached.  However, in spite of this, some folks continue to promote concerns that are not in the bill and are already prohibited by law and the Biggs amendment will even make clear and prohibit Arizona from participating in any form of national ID. 

I have spent several hours working with Governor's Office, F.A.I.R. to address these concerns and others.  I have put words in which will be in the amendment Tuesday, April 13th, prohibiting a form of National ID or radio chip of any kind as indicated in the Obama plan for new ID. 

I also will strengthen the civil rights provision that is already in the bill to prohibit any racial profiling.  I have also strengthened other areas of concern.  I also added language to make sure the verification of information is about aliens and the transportation part is for those in furtherance of an alien remaining in the U.S. such as sanctuary movements or smuggling and NOT a little ole lady taking someone to church or a good Samaritan or any emergency medical needs.  In 25 years there has never been a prosecution of anyone for simply taking someone to church, a church outing, boy scout outing, etc.  I am disappointed some continue to ignore the simple and plain language in the bill.  

SB1070 is the most comprehensive enforcement bill in the nation, it will remove all "illegal" sanctuary policies that exist in many of our cities, and it will allow law enforcement to enforce our immigration laws as intended.
I guarantee this will save lives, American jobs, reduce the cost of government, improve neighborhood safety, improve congestion, move toward smaller classrooms, shorter lines in emergency rooms, reduce rapes and molestations and reduce the number of deaths and maimings of our citizens and more.

Please note that Phoenix has had a more than 50% reduction in homicides this year over last year, after we passed employer sanctions and other illegal alien legislation, and our illegal alien population has decreased by twice the national average in the past two years saving lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in services.

SB1070 will add a "trespass" provision to law enforcement giving them the ability to hold an illegal alien under state law if need be or to just a phone call to ICE and turn them over to ICE.  This provision will allow our law enforcement folks to complete investigations on a suspect and not allow them to be deported before the investigation can be completed.  It also goes after illegal employers and illegal aliens soliciting work and provides for law enforcement to more easily enforce public safety issues on busy streets.

AS I have promised: SB1070 will be amend to clarify issues of concern, but will not be weakened so it jeopardizes our ability to enforce our laws appropriately and withstand future court challenges by the normal suspects.  

(The civil rights activists, you mean? - this italicized comment inserted by Peg. Words below are his, though...)

I must admit, I am disappointed in some folks who have expressed unwarranted concerns in my opinion.  I have worked for over 30 years to protect states sovereignty and in defense of our Republic as intended by our Founding Fathers.  You would think after years and years of caring the torch of freedom, states rights, limited government, in defense of Constitutional government in defense of Life, Liberty and Property some would have a little more trust. 

To be sure, I have asked for additional legal opinions and have been assured by several competent independent Constitutional attorneys, legislative council attorneys and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office that my interpretation is correct.  However, I want to be very clear and will add language to eliminate those concerns as best as I can.

We have already passed legislation to prohibit the State of Arizona from participation in any kind of National ID or Real ID Act and it is current law.  This bill did not and does not change that.  Having said that, I will put language in the bill that enhances the clarity on these issues of concern and make it very clear that nothing in this bill will allow Arizona to be a part of any national ID program. 
There will be similar language to deal with concerns over improper or prolonged detention.  I have had Legislative Council and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office examine this legislation and both have assured me it does allow for any kind of National ID or expand ID requirements in any way.  I have also attached the letter from the MCAO that answered my questions.  I am also pasting the legal opinion from the Arizona Legislative Council at the bottom of this email.

I will make some changes (in the Biggs amendment) to protect the first responders and those good Samaritans transporting illegal aliens (little old ladies taking someone to church) are not in jeopardy in any way.  They are not now under this bill, because they must be committing an additional criminal offense to the state law to be so charged, but I will make it even clearer in the new language.

We should be able to have this bill heard the first of next week on the House floor for COW and 3rd Read.

I will keep you appraised on our progress.
For Liberty,

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