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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Florence Central: Witness to an execution wanted.

Back to business as usual. I wonder if it even occurred to the ADC before posting this notice that they just had two suicides in this unit. In fact, this notice was issued the day the last one occurred there. Now they can't wait for the execution. This is what they're really good at.


(602) 542-3133

Media advisory

For more information contact:
Barrett Marson
Bill Lamoreaux

Sept. 30, 2010
Execution witness requests

Phoenix, Az – The Arizona Supreme Court has ordered the execution of inmate Jeffrey Landrigan, #82157, on Oct. 26, 2010.

Members of the media may submit a written (email) request to witness the execution to the Media Relations office. Each request must include the name, social security number and birth date of the journalist requesting access. Witnesses will be selected 15 days prior to the execution. Five members of the media will be selected to represent the media pool.

The execution is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday Oct. 26 at the Central Unit of ASPC-Florence.

Ironically, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was recently interviewed about the death penalty...

From the Arizona Death Penalty Forum:

Retired Supreme Court Justice Regrets 1976 Vote Upholding the Death Penalty

In a recent interview on NPR, newly-retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said he particularly regretted one vote during his 35 years on the high court--his 1976 vote to uphold the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia. Stevens remarked, "I thought at the time . . . that if the universe of defendants eligible for the death penalty is sufficiently narrow so that you can be confident that the defendant really merits that severe punishment, that the death penalty was appropriate." But, over the years, he added, "the Court constantly expanded the cases eligible for the death penalty, so that the underlying premise for my vote has disappeared, in a sense." Justice Stevens also said that the court has made death penalty procedures more sympathetic to prosecutors: “I really think that the death penalty today is vastly different from the death penalty that we thought we were authorizing.”

The interview was conducted by NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg. She wrote more about Stevens's views: "The court, he notes, has become more permissive in allowing prosecutors to object to seating jurors who have qualms about the death penalty. The result is that instead of getting a random sample of jurors, jury panels are more supportive of the death penalty. In addition, the court now allows the relatives of crime victims to testify during the penalty phase of a capital trial. These so-called victim impact statements were once ruled too incendiary to be permissible, but four years later, a more conservative court reversed the decision. All of this, says Justice Stevens, has changed the nature of the death penalty as he and the court envisioned it in the 1970s."

(N. Totenberg, "Justice Stevens: An Open Mind On A Changed Court," NPR, October 4, 2010). See U.S. Supreme Court. The vote upholding the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia in 1976 was 7-2. Among those in the majority were Justices Blackmun and Powell, in addition to Justice Stevens. Since then, all three Justices have said they had changed their minds about the death penalty and no longer believed it was constitutional. If those Justices had voted differently in Gregg, the death penalty would probably have been ended by a 5-4 vote in 1976. It had already been struck down 5-4 in 1972 in Furman v. Georgia, and Gregg was the test case to see if it could be reinstated.

No comments: