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, April 23, 2011

APRIL 23, 2011: Chavez Plaza to the Capitol: NO SB1070!

From my good friend, Dennis:


On Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 8:53 PM, Dennis Gilman wrote:

Tomorrow, April 23, is a big day for Arizona. It has been one year since Gov. Brewer signed SB1070. We are not the same and never will be.

It has created confusion and given law enforcement carte blanche to harass and intimidate our friends, families and neighbors even as not one official arrest has been made under the law.

It is now common knowledge that the 1070 Boycotts have had such a powerful impact on the business community that it stopped the republicans from passing 5 bills even worse then 1070.

The business community made it very clear by their own testimonies before congress. Yet we cannot forget that under the Obama administration, deportations of non-criminals have increased. Children continue to lose their parents who should've been given legal status years ago. Much of this could've been done administratively despite the lack of republican support.

Young adults raised here are denied education or even the right to work. Those DREAM-ACT students risked so much and fought so hard. What kind of a society would reject them? What kind of world is this where they are Legally considered less then human?

This Wednesday, ICE arrested 40 people working at Chuys restaurant chain. Their crime? Trying to survive. How many children lost their parents because of what was supposed to be an IRS raid? Does the Obama administration really need ICE to be involved in a 400,000 dollar tax debt? Arpaio misused 100 million in tax dollars yet I see no federal action toward him. He is still free to destroy families and our economy with heartless raids designed for self-promotion.

So tomorrow, at 10:00AM we meet, greet and rally. Why? One reason is we forget we are part of a larger community or family. God knows we sometimes fight with each other just like family.

Lets all meet as a family tomorrow. Lets break bread, walk, talk , shout and sing together. Lets stick up for each other. Lets listen to one another.

We need each other. I know I need all of you to teach, forgive and love me. I am so grateful for all of you. Those that decided to get arrested standing up for justice and dignity last summer are my heros. Others who have been arrested simply because of who they are and what they do are also heros. I want to be the kind of person that always has your back.

You are all in my prayers or thoughts-all of you. From students and teachers in Tucson who continue to fight for the Ethnic Studies program that brought us so many remarkable people and saved many from what was referred to as "at risk" youth become amazing successes to the people of Flagstaff brave enough to say unapologetically that EVERY HUMAN has the right to live, love and work wherever they wish.

From the Anarchists who refused to give up our streets to neo-Nazis to the republicans from Mesa supporting the recall of Russell Pearce. From the Barrio committees organizing their neighborhoods to those teaching one another english. From those helping the victims of Arpaio's raids helping children find their parents and put together their lives to those that simply send money to the many lawyers that have given freely.

From the rock stars who give up money, time and even fame to help, to the medical professionals on the streets for us...even willing to offer assistance to those that wish us harm.

From those that have stood ground in front of Wells Fargo for over 3 years to those that stayed at the Capitol every day last summer and those who confronted the hatred this legislative session at a cost to there own careers only to be accused by racist politicians of being paid. From the wonderful churches and atheists who stand on the side of love....together. And, of course, my brothers and sisters who made me stand and film in the pouring, freezing rain in Washington DC as they protested in front of the DOJ making it clear they will not back off until Arpaio is somewhere he cannot hurt anyone anymore.

It's no secret we don't all get along. Sometimes it seems like we fight with each other more then the evil we are supposed to be opposing. But thanks to all of you-I know what it means when they say "It takes a village."

You are all amazing and I am so very grateful for all of you-even the ones that piss me off. We are all more connected then we are able to see sometimes.

Two short videos:
One shows an arrest of a brave, non-violent protester who was brutally detained and arrested last week while Arpaio was bragging about the 100 million he stole from the Tax Payers at the Tea Party.

The other shows Russell Pearce as an "Illegal". Pearce decided to make out a check for 225 dollars to the Fiesta Bowl. But he said he would show us receipts. Show us your papers Mr. Pearce. Illegal is illegal.

Start: Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza
200 W. Washington
End: Arizona State Capitol
1700 W. Washington

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