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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The group for direct action against the prison state!

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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fight state violence: Phoenix Copwatch training April 2.

"Abolish the police"
International Day Against Police Brutality
AZ State Capitol / March 15, 2011


Saturday, April 2nd, 2011


The Firehouse 1015 N. 1st St. in Phoenix (just north of Roosevelt)

Are you interested in joining Phoenix Copwatch? If so, now is the time to join. We patrol the streets to monitor police activity, organize events against police brutality, and educate the public about their rights during police encounters. Anyone (besides law enforcement) can join. All you have to do is attend one of our trainings. If you have any questions, please call 602-337-7188, or email

Copwatch Principles

· The struggle against police brutality is a struggle against racism

We believe that police brutality is widespread in our communities and that much of it is directly related to the long history of white supremacy in this country. Therefore, we consider the struggle against police brutality to be a struggle against racism.

· Copwatch opposes all forms of oppression

Copwatch is opposed to all forms of oppression even though we are organized to focus on the fight against police abuse. We believe the police mistreat people based on real or perceived ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.

· The goal of Copwatch is to observe and record the police

We monitor police activity when they interrogate people on the streets, and we offer assistance to victims of police abuse when we can.

· Copwatch does not provoke confrontations with the police.

We do support the principle of self-defense against police attacks.

· Copwatch is an independent organization

We don't work with any law enforcement agencies, government agencies, or political parties.

For more information about Phoenix Copwatch, visit

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