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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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stop the HATE! Spring Break at AZ State Capitol!

Phoenix student walk-out, Arizona State Legislature. March 4, 2011.

MARCH 14, 2011

11:30am AZ State Capitol

1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Tucson Citizen
by Three Sonorans
on Mar. 10, 2011

As college students prepare for Spring Break next week, and as colleges face 20% budget cuts next year, Arizonans from around the state will be at the State Capitol from Monday to Friday of next week.

The state legislators have not done their most important job, and that is to balance the budget.

Instead they have been distracting the citizens of this great state with all these bogus and unconstitutional bills, everything from having guns in public buildings and universities, to forming the Arizona Rangers, a secret police force for Jan Brewer, a state border wall to be built with detained immigrants, huge 9 digit corporate tax cuts, anti-union bills, and of course the regular slew of anti-immigrant bills.

Arizona have had enough and say YA BASTA!

Caravans will be converging on the state capitol at noon on Monday.

In Tucson we will be meeting at Rudy Garcia Park, on Irvington and 6th Ave, at 8:30am and leaving promptly at 9pm. On Sunday evening from 5-7pm we will be having a sign-making party for our vehicles and person once we get to the capitol at Fortin de las Flores, on the Southeast corner of 31st and 6th Ave.

Russell Pearce first banned Latino activists, then the public, then the media from the senate building. He also took out the concrete/stone benches at the state senate building to tell Arizonans “you are not welcome here, you do not have a voice in your democracy.”

As a special bonus, former President George W. Bush will be visiting the area on Wednesday.

Come join the rest of the people that have had enough, and let your voice be heard!

Many people in Phoenix are opening up their homes for those who need a place to sleep or shower as protesters keep a 24 hour presence to tell Russell Pearce and the nation to stop the hate, fix the state, and BALANCE THE BUDGET!

Our jobs, schools, healthcare, and future depend on it!

For the latest info you can join the Facebook event page in English here, or in Spanish here. Anyone Tweeting from the Capitol will be using the hashtag #AZM14 and #AltoArizona for the Spring Break at the Capitol weeklong event.


posted by


Photos below are from the March 4, 2011 Phoenix student walk-out, where several hundred youth converged on the Capitol protesting the recent anti-immigration laws...

Stay tuned for a week long demonstration at the legislature now. :)

If you can't get to the capitol for any of the demonstrations there this week, try a little anarchy and autonomous action- it only takes one person to make resistance visible, and you can orchestrate something from wherever you are: put a sign on your car, or street corner, or chalk the sidewalks in choice places in your own town (or all of the above, so they think there's more than just one of you out nuts there). It's the conversations with ordinary people walking by that you have and generate about politics in the grocery store parking lot that will in time make a difference.

Better yet, find a place where you're likely to be seen by undocumented youth, and make sure they see your signs of solidarity. Your message will inspire and encourage them at a time when the state is legislating hate in their direction. I run into one of the McCain DREAM Fasters, Carlos, at these demonstrations and still get a big hug every time.

I kind of like the"Phoenix Point of Pride" signs
with the image of the Arizona flag on it, like this one at Wes Bolin up at the Capitol. Just make sure to stay on the public sidewalks, keep it relatively clean for the kids there (their teachers will use your action as a chance to discuss the 1st Amendment, if they're any good), and don't deface any memorials, or you'll make us all pay for it.

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