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:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

McCluskey's good conduct record in Kingman.

(FYI: McCluskey and Welch arrested in AZ 8/19/10 post)

More on what a model prisoner McCluskey was, reassuring us that he was properly placed in medium security at Kingman...


Arizona: Fugitive’s Accomplice Offered to Be Informant

An Arizona fugitive’s accomplice was acting as a drug mule for a white supremacy group and agreed to become a police informant weeks before she helped him escape from prison, the authorities said Friday in Flagstaff. The accomplice, Casslyn Welch, and her fiancé and cousin, John McCluskey, are now considered among the most-wanted fugitives in America. The authorities say Ms. Welch helped Mr. McCluskey and two other men escape from the Arizona State Prison in Kingman by throwing wire cutters over a fence. The other two inmates, Daniel Renwick and Tracy Province, have been captured.

Ms. Welch was visiting Mr. McCluskey at the medium-security prison in June when a random search of her and her vehicle turned up marijuana, heroin and drug paraphernalia, said Trish Carter, a spokeswoman for the Mohave County sheriff’s office. Ms. Welch was not jailed because she agreed to become an informant, and she provided information about the suppliers of the drugs, Ms. Carter said. Ms. Welch told investigators that she was being paid by members or associates of a supremacist group to smuggle heroin into the prison, as she had successfully done three times before, but she declined to say who the items were intended for at the prison.

Fidencio Rivera, chief deputy United States marshal for Arizona, said that the authorities believed Ms. Welch and Mr. McCluskey had minimal ties to white supremacy groups in or out of prisons and that “we’re not expending much resources on that right now.”

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