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 19, 2010

More new Prisons: MTC In Pinal County.

Arizona: MTC plans
New prison could land in Pinal County
By Michael K. Rich 

April 14, 2010 

A new housing structure could be built 20 miles southeast of Maricopa; however, most residents won’t like what it takes to qualify to get a room.

“We have responded to a request put out by the state looking for companies to build a 5,000-bed prison,” said Carl Stuart, communications director for Management and Training Corp. Management and Training is a Utah-based company that runs private prisons and Job Corps sites across the country, including two private prisons in Arizona.

In early February, the Arizona Department of Corrections began accepting bids and will continue to do so until May 7. State law requires the department to award 20-year contracts by June 30.

“Arizona prisons are overcrowded, and we need more room,” said ADOC spokesman Barrett Marson.

The proposal the company submitted to the state calls for the prison to be constructed on 226 acres of county land near the southeast corner of Montgomery Road and Selma Highway. The facility would house male minimum- to medium-security level non-violent criminals.

Although a land purchase is yet to be made, the company has an option on the parcel identified for the project and is already looking to schedule a hearing before the Pinal County Planning and Zoning Commission on May 20, and before the county Board of Supervisors on June 2.

The company would also be required to host several public hearings and receive zoning and site approval for the site. The prison would take between 12 and 24 months to construct and would cost between $100 to $300 million. The facility would have an annual payroll of $30 million to $40 million, and employ 600 to 1,000 people.

“Any employment opportunity that presents itself to the people of Maricopa is fantastic news,” said Danielle Casey, Maricopa economic development director.

If you’re interested in learning more about the site, a public meeting will be held tonight at Francisco Grande, 2684 Gila Bend Highway, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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