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:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

MCSO jail prisoner violently assaulted.

What part of PREA doesn't Sheriff Joe and the MCSO Understand?

What is wrong with them?There's no reason this guy should have been sharing a cell with someone. That was hardly protective custody. He should also be in a hospital room where he can be reasonably safe and start to recover from the trauma of what just happened, not the jail setting. One or more cops or guards probably set him up in the first place.

PREA is the Prison Rape Elimination Act: If that's how this fellow was assaulted, then I hope the DOJ is all over this. Perhaps they will look at it as part of a CRIPA investigation: how many prisoners have been murdered, raped, or died of medical neglect on Arpaio's watch?

If you're thinking "maybe he deserved it", then you're a big part of the problem of perpetual violence in our society: the part that tolerates violent crime when you approve of how the victim is selected. Prisoners are dependent on the state for their safety, and in this guy's case, should be presumed innocent before trial. Even once convicted, it certainly shouldn't be up to other prisoners or even guards how one gets punished - that's what the judge does.

The MCSO failed to keep that man safe - I don't know how putting another prisoner in there with him (one being held for assault himself) was anything but reckless disregard for human life. It was criminal.

* Note how the AZ Republic decided to first identify this victim by his suspected crime, not by the fact that he was victimized.

Sexual assault suspect found in cell lying in pool of blood

by Kyle Daly
Jun. 4, 2010
03:26 PM

The Arizona Republic

A Scottsdale man who was facing sexual assault charges was in critical condition after he was found in his jail cell lying in a pool of blood early Friday morning at the Lower Buckeye Jail in Phoenix, according to a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office news release.

The man's cellmate, Lamont Rider, 28, was sitting on his bunk when detention officers discovered the scene at about 3:50 a.m., according to the Sheriff's Office. The Scottsdale man was taken to a hospital where he was in serious condition.

Just before the Scottsdale man was discovered, detention officers had performed a cell-block check, according to authorities. An inmate in a nearby cell called officers on his intercom and said he heard cries of help coming from the next cell.

Jail detectives suspected that the victim's cellmate might have assaulted the Scottsdale man. Rider was in jail because he faces a minor assault charge, according to the Sheriff's Office. The Scottsdale man has been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.

The victim underwent surgery early Friday morning and is under watch in a secure section of the hospital.

Both men had requested administrative segregation for fear of their safety in the general population. The two had been in the cell together for less than 48 hours.