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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Daddy comes to town: ACLU National Prison Project

ACLU-Arizona: "Demolish the Prisons"

Ringed by the names of those who have died in AZ State custody

of neglect, suicide, and violence since Jan 2009

Phoenix, AZ (April 25, 2011)

The National ACLU's David Fathi and the Prison Law Office's Don Specter are in Phoenix this week, finally. As I write, they should be wrapping up interviews of prisoners at the AZ state supermax facility in Florence, ASPC-Eyman.

The National ACLU had already made the misuse of isolation and detention for managing symptoms of mentally ill prisoners a national priority, so this shouldn't be a surprise for the ADC...nor should the fact that they're interviewing some of my correspondents. Apparently their arrival is causing quite a stir, though - the guards are the ones who called Fathi "Big Daddy".
They had a bit of cleaning up to do for their arrival, I imagine.

No deal is done yet - they're still just exploring the evidence and talking to possible litigants and witnesses, as far as I know. They need to see that there's a social movement here that will support their intervention, so step up with the actions and agitation. Remember to come to the following events:

Today, April 26, 2011


MI in the CJ System Roundtable:

Punitive or Restorative Justice?

ASU Art Museum
1th St/Mill Ave

Sunday, May 1: May Day Rally.


Speakers 1:30

Margaret T. Hance Park

south of the Phoenix Public Library, Central St, Phoenix


Thursday, May 5, 2011

5:00 pm


Neeb Hall, ASU-Tempe

Those of you in prison but not at Eyman, take heart - we've got a whole lot going on both out here and behind bars now, and you won't be left behind. Be persistent keeping me posted about how things are in there - but by all means, direct your eyewitness correspondence about conditions of confinement to the ACLU-AZ (PO Box 17148, Phoenix, AZ 85011), not me, right now. I have the ACLU's assurances that they won't lose any letters, and they'll no doubt try to help me find solutions to the things they can't address, to the extent that such a role is appropriate for them.

Learn to grieve things properly, and keep the frustration and violence down. Help each other out more than usual; you need to not only get through this, but you need to be vocal and visible, now that there's a light shining in there, and responsible with your complaints.

Thanks go out to the prisoners willing to put themselves out there for the rest of the folks right now, as well as to Dan Pochoda and Darrell Hill at the ACLU-AZ, and Mary Lou Brncik, Carl Toersbijns, Patti Jones, and Ken Jacuzzi, especially, for being such aggressive advocates for prisoners with serious mental illness.

No comments: