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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Monday, April 18, 2011

Phoenix PD sends suicidal man off bridge.

What is wrong with the Phoenix PD? Don't they know how to deal with suicidal citizens without killing us? They would have probably been safer diving behind their cars than firing at him like this, when they thought they were in danger - then he would have had to advance from his position on the wall of the bridge, and they could have hit him with all the beanbags they wanted without sending him off the edge.

I know - Monday morning quarterbacking is easy to do with the cops, and I'm sure they hate it when this kind of thing happens - they all want to be the heroes who save the day- but if we don't rethink how some of these scenarios could otherwise unfold, how will they ever change?

If you need help getting through a crisis, and can't get it from a friend - or just need to bounce things off an objective third party - call these folks, not the police:

National Suicide Hotline:

(Veterans press 1)


Threat on Phoenix overpass closes, backs up eastbound I-10
by Shala Marks and Kiali Wong - Apr. 18, 2011 12:02 PM
The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

A man is dead after threatening to jump off the Interstate 10 overpass at 43rd Avenue early Monday in Phoenix, forcing the closure of eastbound I-10 at 51st Avenue.

The closure created a massive backup on Interstate 10. On-ramps to eastbound I-10 were closed at 83rd, 75th, 67th, 59th, 51st and 43rd avenues. Traffic was backed up to at least 75th Avenue, a more than 4-mile backup, causing commute times of more than two hours for many drivers.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety recommends McDowell and Buckeye roads as alternate routes. Traffic appears to be heavy on these and other surface streets near the interstate.

The freeway was expected to closed "a couple more hours," said Sgt. Steve Martos, spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department, at about 11 a.m.

The 40-year-old man was first spotted by a person driving on Interstate 10 at about 4:30 a.m. Monday, said Sgt. Steve Martos, spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department. The driver called Phoenix police after seeing the man apparently standing outside of the railing on the 43rd Avenue overpass.

Police arrived, and the man told them to back away, Martos said. The man, who had an article of clothing wrapped around his right hand, also told officers he had a gun.

Officers tried to negotiate, Martos said. The man told officers about his family and how to contact them.

A semitruck was parked underneath the man in case he jumped, Martos said.

At about 5:30 a.m., the man stood up and started to approach police, Martos said. He pointed his right hand and five officers, fearing for their safety, opened fire with beanbag rounds and rifle rounds. A handgun also was used, Martos said.

Officers are unclear if the man jumped or if he was shot and fell off the overpass. Police didn't immediately know if any of the rounds hit the man.

The man fell just north of the semitruck because he had moved from his original position on the overpass, Martos said.

It is unknown if the man had a weapon, Martos said.

After firefighters determined the man was dead, authorities backed away, Martos said. A Phoenix police crime unit is processing the scene, and a helicopter is taking pictures.

A medical examiner also has been called in, Martos said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I married in to my husband this is his stepfathers cuzin and I would have to say I am very disapointed on how they handled the situation. Bobby did not deserve to die in this way Man for them to shoot him five times? Give me a brake. But that's what maricopa pd is becomming like just as bad as buceye poliece dirty. It makes me really sick what ever happened. To the honst and real cops? This issue further needs investagated