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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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Honolulu to Eloy: Medina's family seeking answers.

From our friends in Honolulu at KITV 4 ... no surprise here from CCA. They don't need to deal with grieving families -what profit is there to be extracted from a man once he's dead, except by an undertaker? They passed off his belongings as carelessly as they are letting these guys get slaughtered.

I have such a hard time believing that some communities actually want these private prisons in their backyards. They dehumanize staff as much as they do the prisoners. That's got to have an effect on the ethos of a town...

What do the people of Eloy say about all this anyway? They welcomed CCA with dollar signs in their own eyes:
Are they ethical business men and women willing to take responsibility for the consequences of their investment? Do they have a human rights committee overseeing prisons in their town, holding these people accountable? Or do they just rant when articles come out about these things, then quietly wash their hands of the blood spilled in their presence?

What do the people of Eloy have to say to the people of Hawaii and - more pointedly - to this man's family? Why has your prison not been able to keep those in its custody and care safe from harm?


Hawaii Family Seeking Answers About Inmate's Death

Snubbed By Arizona Prisons Officials

POSTED: 11:44 pm HST June 18, 2010
UPDATED: 3:15 pm HST June 19, 2010

Clifford Medina, 23, died in his prison cell at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., June 8.

Eloy police said Medina's cellmate, 21 year-old, Mahinauli Silva admitted to strangling Medina.

Loke Medeiros, Clifford Medina's aunt, and his sister, Roseanna Medeiros, flew to Arizona from their Puna, Hawaii, home Wednesday, hoping to find out what happened. They said felt they needed to travel to Arizona after receiving no information from Hawaii prisons officials.Clifford Medina was among 1900 Hawaii inmates in Saguaro. Hawaii has been sending inmates to the privately run Arizona prison since 2007 to ease prison overcrowding here.

Roseanna Medina said she and her aunt went to Saguaro Correctional Center Friday to ask for an appointment with prison warden Todd Thomas. They were told the warden was too busy to see them. Then, they said another official brought them a box of Clifford Medina's personal belongings, asked them to sign for it, and then turned on his heels without saying another word to them.

"It was very disappointing," said Roseanna Medeiros. "There are so many questions we hoped to have answered, and so much we wanted to find out that only the prison staff could have told us."

"They were just rude," said Loke Medeiros. "I couldn't believe they wouldn't talk to us.Medina was serving time for burglary, theft, jumping bail and assaulting a law enforcement officer."Even though he was in prison, he should have been safe. It's very sad," said Roseanna Medeiros.

A team of investigators from Hawaii has been at Arizona prison since Tuesday to investigate Medina's death.

Medina is the second Hawaii inmate to be killed at Saguaro Correctional Center in less than four months. Bronson Nunuha of Maui died of multiple stab wounds in the neck February 18. Two Hawaii inmates, Miti Maugaotega and Micah Kanahele, were indicted May 20 on first degree- murder and gang related charges in Nunuha's killing. A spokesman with the Pinal County attorney's office prosecuting the Nunuha case said the prosecutor is reviewing a possible death penalty sentence if the two defendants are convicted.

Clifford Medina's aunt and sister said they will remain in Arizona next week still hoping to get a better sense of why he died, and why more was not done to protect him and to supervise the inmate police say killed him.

They said they don't want it to happen to anyone else.