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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Saturday, March 19, 2011

How anti-immigrant laws harm law enforcement efforts.

Not that I agree with the report - but then, I'm from the "No Borders" and "Abolish the Police" camp. It's worth looking at for those of you really concerned about law enforcement's concerns with SB1070 and all the other nasty legislation Russ Pearce is trying to push through this session, though. Here they are, in fact.

2011 Anti-Immigrant Bills in the Arizona Legislature

Click on each bill for a description

1. SB 1309/HB 2561: Arizona Citizenship
2. SB 1308/HB 2562: Interstate Compact; Birth Certificates
3. SB 1406: Interstate Compact; Border Fence
4.  SB 1405: Immigration Status; Hospital Admissions
5.  SB 1611: Immigration Omnibus
6.  SB 1465: Valid Identification; Consular Cards; Prohibition
7. SB 1490: Illegal Alien; Food Service Workers
8. SB 1342: Arizona Rangers; Border Security Activities
9. SB1117/HB 2537: Immigration Legislation Challenges
10. SCR 1006: Border Security Plan
11. SB 1222: Public Benefits; Eligibility; Required Proof
12. HB 2505 – School Pupils; Lawful Status; State Aid
13. SB 1225: Forgery; Human Smuggling; classification
14. HB 2179: Schools; Students; Data Collection
15. SB 1407: Schools; Data; Noncitizen students
16. SB 1368: Human Smuggling Organization; Offense; Penalty
SB 1495/HB 2070: Arizona State Guard; Establishment
18. HB 2181: National Guard Mobilization; Border
19. HB 2405: Human Smuggling Organization; Offense; Penalty
20. SB 1046 – Juvenile corrections; discharge; ICE detainers
21. HB 2439 – Driver license requirements; violation; misdemeanor
22. SB 1607/SB 1141: Schools; Residency Requirements
23. SB 1012: Tech Correction; Technical Registration Bd.  Striker: Fingerprint Clearance Cards; Citizenship Status
24. HB 2624: Public benefits; reporting fraud
25. HB 2677:  International Money Wire Transfer Assessment
26. Striker Amendment – HB 2191:  Actions By Illegal Aliens Prohibited

27. HB 2718: Public Safety Equipment Fund

 The following were defeated this week, but could still be resurrected:

SB 1308
SB 1309
SB 1405
SB 1407
SB 1611

Posted by Deport Nation on Thursday, March 17, 2011

Immigration enforcement by local police is having a chilling effect on how residents interact with them, warns a report from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

“The last thing we need is for laws to undermine the trust that police departments have built up with the community,” said Jerry Murphy, PERF’s Director of Homeland Security and Development, during a conference call with reporters.

Police and Immigration: How Chiefs are Leading their Communities through the Challenges explores six case-studies conducted between December 2008 and September 2009 in New Haven, CT; Prince William County,VA; Montgomery County, MD; Phoenix, AZ; Mesa, AZ; and Minneapolis, MN.

It finds these local law enforcement agencies are struggling with a political atmosphere that limits the “discretion of police to deal with immigration enforcement in ways they consider best. Officers are concerned about the reluctance among immigrants to contact police to report crimes even if they are victims or witnesses.

“In many places, police chiefs and police departments have become the public face of the immigration debate,” Murphy added. “There are a significant number of police departments that have been pulled into the debate and ask the question ‘what is our designated role in enforcing immigration law?’”

While the report provides immigration reform recommendations to Congress, it also offers suggestions to local police where federal and state education, oversight, and outreach regarding enforcement fall short:

   * Officers should be prohibited from arresting or detaining persons for the sole purpose of investigating their immigration status.

   * Officers should monitor indicators of racial profiling, investigate violations, and sanctions offenders.

   * Local police agencies should become knowledgeable about programs such as 287(g), Secure Communities, and state or local initiatives to ensure that the programs meet the agency’s specified goals for participation.

   * Local police should develop comprehensive written policies and procedure regarding handling of undocumented immigrants.

   * Local police agencies should educate their communities about their role in immigration enforcement, especially the legal authorities and responsibilities of local police and federal law enforcement and engage immigrant communities in dialogue about department policies.

Back in August, Deportation Nation reported on a conference convened by the Consortium for Police Leadership in Equality (CPLE), where police chiefs from 27 major cities expressed concerns about the extra burdens created by federal programs like Secure Communities and 287(g) as well as Arizona copycat bills pending in dozens of states.

A June 2010 by the CPLE pointed to the negative effects created when police officers doubled as immigrant agents. It found that 1 in 3 Salt Lake City, Utah, residents are unwilling to report drug-related crimes when law enforcement can detain someone based on their immigration status. Undocumented immigrants, as well as Latino and White citizens, were more likely to leave drug crimes unreported.

Meanwhile, at the July 2009 Summit on Immigration Enforcement of more than 100 police chiefs and other local stakeholders, participants expressed frustration with the lack of response from ICE to police concerns.

During Wednesday’s call, Chief Christopher Moore of the San Jose Police Department in California said it was “troubling” that crimes went unreported in his community because people were afraid of police, who now play a role in immigration enforcement.

“We’re looking to strengthen our relationship [with the community],” said Moore, who in his first big policy move last month as police chief, announced plans to broaden the definition of racial profiling and investigate more claims of biased behavior by officers.

Chief Victor Rodriguez of the McAllen Police Department in Texas, echoed Moore’s concerns. Earlier this month, Rodriguez was one of several police chiefs and sheriffs that met at the Texas Capitol to denounce proposals that would give local police more immigration enforcement responsibilities.

“It’s my position that if we continue to go down this path, we’ll make our communities more dangerous,” Rodriguez said.

We’d like to know your thoughts on the PERF’s findings. Click this link to mark up the report with your comments.


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