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:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City of Hospitality: Globe's Prison town ballot initiative.

The Globe community group "Citizens Opposed to Becoming a Prison Town" just put out this press release today....Congrats to Jim and the rest of the gang out there. Save that little city from becoming another hell like Eloy, known for preying on and abusing prisoners...many of whom happen to be indigenous peoples far from their homes. That's got to be bad Karma for that community.

"Caging Arizona"
Arizona State University, NEEB Hall
Tempe, AZ (May 5, 2011)

Remember, people of Globe: in the end, all that you have is your soul. Please don't let the economic development people ever convince you that selling it would be a boost to your town's character or a blessing to your future and your youth...


Date: June 21, 2011

Press Release: 1,000 Signatures Collected on Ballot Initiatives --- Will Let Voters Decide the Prison Issue

From: Ballot Initiatives Campaign Chairman, Jim Moss

Update: As of Monday, 6-20, just under 1,000 signatures have been collected by community Volunteers to place TWO Initiatives on the ballot at Globe's next regular election in March, 2012. The two Initiatives deal with any new prison project proposed for the Globe community.

1. One Initiative will require Voter approval for any new prison project built within Globe City Limits.

2. The other Initiative will require Voter Approval for ANY Municipal money, resource, or infrastructure to be used in any way for a new prison project located inside, or outside, of Globe City Limits.

The minimum number of signatures required to place these Initiatives on the ballot was 582.

Citizens Opposed to Becoming a Prison Town launched a 10-Day Campaign over a week ago. Tomorrow they will submit 1,000 Official Petition Signatures for Each Initiative, to Globe's City Clerk, to begin the Certification process. The signatures must be validated to make sure signers are registered to vote AND reside within Globe City Limits. The Volunteers who collected signatures were careful about making sure these criteria were satisfied, so the Campaign Committee is confident that a very high percentage of the signatures will be validated.

The number of signatures collected represents approximately 25% of registered voters residing within Globe City Limits. If the Campaign had been extended for a couple more weeks, the number of signatures collected could have easily doubled to 2,000. Very, very few Globe residents opted not to sign when given the opportunity. Hundreds of disappointed area residents living in the Canyon, or just outside the City limits, wanted to sign the Initiative Petitions. In fact, many were downright upset that their voice could not be counted. But, since these two Ballot Initiatives will appear on a Municipal Ballot, only City residents were eligible to sign.

Over the past 10 days, the City of Globe witnessed democracy in action. This year's July 4 Celebration will have an extra special meaning for all who participated in this community endeavor!

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