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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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Monday, June 20, 2011

AZ Private prison Bids in: March 2011

This is actually old news...all these prison profiteers are horrible - especially CCA. Just Google their abuses in Eloy this past year. We need the legislature to order some kind of oversight committee for these private prison, folks...


Prison bids are in; Emerald Corrections bids to build in Globe

Modified: Friday, Mar 4th, 2011

Arizona Silver Belt

PHOENIX — Five bidders have submitted proposals to the Arizona Department of Corrections to build and manage private prisons to be contracted with the state of Arizona. Last month, a second, revised Request for Proposals for 5,000 beds to be contracted out through privately-run correctional facilities was announced by the ADOC. The RFP closed on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. with five companies making bids, one more than during the first round of bids, which was cancelled after three convicted murderers escaped from a private prison in Kingman on July 30, 2010.

According to the DOC these bidders are:

- CCA (Correction Corporations of America), founded in 1983, is the largest private corrections company in America with more than 60 prisons in numerous states across America, of which the company owns 44 outright. Based out of Nashville, Tenn., CCA runs private prisons in Florence and Eloy in Arizona.

- GEO Group, Inc., founded in 1984 and based in Boca Raton, Fla., currently runs private prisons in both Phoenix and Florence and manages and/or owns 118 correctional, detention, and residential treatment facilities nationwide.

MTC (Management and Training Corporation), founded in 1981, is headquartered in Centerville, Utah. MTC holds 24 government contracts to operate correctional facilities in seven states, including the prison in Kingman, Ariz. from which three convicts escaped in July of last year, and a prison in Marana, Ariz. MTC is also a leading Job Corps management contractor with the U.S. Department of Labor at centers across the United States. MTC is the third largest operator of private adult correctional facilities.

Emerald Correctional Management, founded in 1996, with corporate headquarters in Lafayette, La., runs six private prisons in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and in San Luis, Ariz. Emerald is proposing to build a 1,000-bed medium-security prison near the Gila County Fairgrounds in Globe City limits.

LaSalle Southwest Corrections, founded in 1997, currently runs 10 private prisons in Texas and Louisiana. Company headquarters are located in Ruston, La. LaSalle did not bid in the first round of the RFP.

Although the bidding has now closed, no further information is being released by the DOC until the bids have been awarded. Before the bids are awarded state law requires the DOC to hold a public hearing at each/any of the chosen sites for a proposed prison. This meeting will be conducted by the DOC, giving the community the opportunity to voice their support or opposition and provide input.

The initial RFP was canceled on Sept. 1, 2010 over concerns raised about the design of privately operated prisons after a July 30 breakout of a private prison in Kingman made national headlines. Emerald Correctional Management submittted a proposal in the first round to build a private prison northeast of Globe on state land. According to representatives of the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which has supported the bid for a private prison in Globe in both RFPs, the original bid was for a 1,000-bed prison complex. To date no drawings of the proposed Globe prison complex, site plans or other documentation as to the size of the facility have been released to the Globe-Miami public by Emerald or the EDC.

Emerald Corrections currently runs six medium-security prisons at Epps, La. with a 732 inmate capacity; San Luis, Ariz. with a 450 inmate capacity; LaSalle County Regional Detention Center at Encinal, Texas with a 566 inmate capacity; Sierra Blanca, Texas with a 1,000 inmate capacity; Haskell, Texas with a 548 inmate capacity; and Carrizozo, N.M. with a 120 inmate capacity.

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