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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Friday, November 5, 2010

Father, son, brother, friend: losing Mando Lugo (Updated)

(Update: November 4, 2010)

Armando is now listed by the department as being a victim of homicide, having apparently been strangled in the shower. The report I received, however, detailed more about how hard the ADC staff tried to revive him (they even took a video of officers performing CPR), how "diligently" they worked to write reports on his death, and how the Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) went about examining the scene of his death than it did his actual murder - leading me to think that they have no clue what happened.

In fact, it's unclear that the investigation has even been completed, or where it was going. The CIU report on him is basically just a bunch of BS and filler - a more thorough investigation would have been done on a K-9 dog.

I hope the Lugos sue the state for everything they can - at least enough to support his children and grandson. The man deserves better than that - as does his family. All the prisoners do.

(Original post 10/13/10)

Armando Lugo, a prisoner at ASPC-Lewis/Morey Unit in Buckeye died on March 26, 2010 after being found unresponsive in the shower area. He was 36 years old at the time of his death, and more than halfway through a prison term for burglary.

I've requested records from the AZ Department of Corrections about the cause of his death, as it's been under investigation by their Criminal Investigations Unit since March, as far as I can tell. I expect to hear back from general counsel Karyn Klausner any day now, and will post what relevant information I find as soon as I have it.

Below is Mando's obituary from the Douglas Dispatch, followed by thoughts from just a few of the many loved ones he left behind...he was clearly a dear soul to a number of people. Our condolences to all for your loss.

------------from the Douglas Dispatch------------

"Armando Lugo passed away on March 26, 2010. Armando was born in Douglas on February 17, 1974 to David and Anita Lugo. Armando attended Douglas schools and worked as a Restaurant Manager most of his life. He was preceded in death by his Step-father Mario Manuel Sosa.

Armando is survived by his father and mother, David and Anita Lugo. His son; Armando Lugo, Daughters; Jasmine Ballesteros, Jaclyn Lugo, Grandson: Hector Manuel Madrid. His Brothers; Michael, Gabriel, and Mario (Diana.) Sister Gina (Juan). "

Armando is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Douglas.


ALBERTO DOMINGUEZ wrote on Apr 9, 2010 8:08 PM:

" Armando was a great person my condolences to michael ,gina ,and the rest of the family may god give you strength and peace god bless you all. "

Alma Villa Larios wrote on Apr 7, 2010 4:05 PM:

" OMG I just learned of Mando's passing! WOW he was a great friend in high school and will surely be missed. "

friend wrote on Apr 7, 2010 12:03 PM:

" Mando was a beloved friend of my family. He was known to love him family very much. Always looking forward to the day ahead. He will be missed. "

Porky and familia wrote on Apr 1, 2010 1:26 PM:

" I will always remember our school days and your great sense of humor. My condolences to your wife, kids, and familia. May you rest in peace. Until we meet again, amigo! "


Mando's family and friends are welcome to contact me (Peggy) at, or 480-580-6807 if there's any other information you'd like to add to this post, or if you'd like to organize with other families to change that place: this shouldn't ever have to happen again.

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