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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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Prison: Globe's bright hope for their children's future.

I just feel profoundly sad now every time I read an article like this...what about the imprint that economic dependence on crime and punishment leaves on the soul of a community? How is that a blessing for future generations? 

If you build it, they will come...


Posted: Wednesday, Apr 21st, 2010
BY: Andrea Marcanti/Staff Writer

GLOBE — After two hours of debate and discussion, Globe City Council voted in support of the private prison proposal introduced by the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation at the April 12 meeting.

What was initially presented to the council as an “out of city limits” correctional facility was later discovered to be inside the city’s annexed land on Globe’s northeast corridor. “We thought that the entire track was outside of city limits,” said James Parkey of Corpplan Corrections. “But after looking at it further we found it was in the limits, which puts the City of Globe in control of this proposal.”

Parkey along with Mike Moore from Emerald Correctional Management were on hand to answer questions about the project. Together with EDC Director Melissa Woodall, the group stressed the possible 40 to 60 million dollar economic footprint the prison could have on the area, the 300 plus jobs it could create, and of course their May 9 deadline to get proposals into the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Woodall explained at last week’s meeting that the state of Arizona offered a proposal to construct private correction facilities to house 5,000 beds.

The construction of these prisons would allow the state to transport inmates back to Arizona that are currently doing time out of state. “The state is looking to move the dollar back to Arizona where the citizens can benefit,” said Moore.

And with time passing and only a few weeks to submit their proposal, Emerald Corrections are looking to get the cities support in order to be placed on the “short list” with the state. “There are several other cities and towns looking to be awarded these beds,” said Moore.

The economic impact a facility of this size will have on the city is massive. “The city would get a monthly revenue check per inmate per month but it would depend on the monthly per diem that the state pays,” said Moore. “It does pay and it’s a sizable number.”

Another possible money making impact discussed lies in the Census money that could be received. “I know the Census money could be up to $1,500 per year per inmate,” said Councilwoman Thea Wilshire. “The fact that the site is already in the city is a pro to me.”

The city also looked at the possible $350 per person per year in state shared revenue, and the possible help with sewer infrastructure to help with the northeast area plan to expand Globe.

Both positive and negatives were discussed by the council and public in attendance. A big question regarding the cities lack of water was asked by Councilman Terence Wheeler. “We have a weak link in this city and that’s water,” said Wheeler. “Water is the most important commodity we have.” At the time of the discussion the EDC could not produce the numbers regarding the water usage and how that would affect the city. However, in an email received Tuesday morning, EDC member Mickie Nye felt it was important to produce these water numbers in relation to both the prison and Job Corps projects. “The northeast area plan is not homes but people, and I think the number is more like 4 thousand people if maximum build out were to occur. That is based on zoning densities. Assuming 150 gallons per day per person for 4000 people consumption would be about 674 acre feet. So taken together and assuming max capacity for both, the two projects would not exhaust the current excess capacity and would leave about 214 acre feet to support future development east of the groundwater divide, including the Job Corps (maybe 50-acre feet) and the large block of Freeport property (which also will need water). For now, there is enough water to go around.”

While other concerns expressed by the public were in regards to the possible psychological and cultural impact of having this type of facility in our city, and will Globe become a “prison town” like Florence.

The city moved forward to vote four to two in favor of supporting the prison proposal.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Arizona is unique in that it distributes a large amount of state money to localities on the basis of total population. But the benefits in federal funds is not $1,500 a year. The overwhelming majority of federal funds distributed in part by Census data is in the form of block grants to states.

Manipulating Arizona's take of federal Medicaid or highway funds will not bring any benefits to Globe. But a new prison could have lasting, Florence-style, negative effects.