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:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

AZ Prisons, Parks May Soon Be Private

Why not incarcerate less people in Arizona? Especially those with non-violent sentences. Imposing less long sentences would help cut the budget too. Oh wait, Governor Brewer is linked to private prisons company CCA...

Opponent Says Hundreds Of State Workers Could Lose Jobs
Sarah Buduson, Reporter,

UPDATED: November 30, 2010

PHOENIX -- A state commission studying privatization will likely recommend privatizing Arizona's parks and prisons as a way to help ease the state's budget deficit when it releases its full report in December.

"This is one way to economize in a way that will cause the least amount of pain to the public," said Glenn Hamer, a member of Arizona's Commission on Privatization and Efficiency.

Gov. Jan Brewer created the commission to help Arizona save money.

The state is currently facing a more than $1 billion budget deficit.

"This is 101 for good government to look for ways that you can save taxpayer dollars," said Hamer, who is also the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Hamer said most of the commission's recommendations will be kept secret until the report is released, but he expects the report to recommend privatizing Arizona's state parks and privatizing more state prisons.

"Privatizing prisons is a still good deal for this state," said Hamer.

The issue of privatizing prisons is controversial in Arizona.

Three inmates, including two convicted murderers, escaped from a private prison in Kingman in July.

The convicts went on a crime spree, and they are now charged in the slaying of an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico before they were caught.

The prison came under fire for its lax security procedures.

CBS 5 News then exposed connections between Brewer's top advisers and CCA, a private prison company.

Read the rest here.