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 27, 2011

Globe's prison town prospects: with what will crime pay?

This letter is a sorry reflection of all those "economic planners'" and "community leaders" who see only short term cash rewards from private prisons, and have little concern for the long term corrosion it brings to a community - look at what's happened to the City of God, Eloy...who planned all that, anyway? It wasn't the people - it was none other than Corrections Corporation of America and the politicians and businessmen they seduced. The Eloy mayor is even on their payroll.

Those prisons reflect on their host communities, you know, and it's pretty sad what becomes of prison towns once the mentality that abuse of prisoners is an acceptable externality of the market in today's society sets in. Even decent people become complacent with the illusion that they aren't responsible for changing such conditions - they are coopted even in the face of evidence of evil there in order to continue their income, pay rent, cover their health care, assure new books for their kids schools, etc.

This guy talks about how the community will profit from the rewards Emerald and the State collectively promise - but how will this pay? Most residents can't really wish for the children of Globe to be transformed by a prison-dependent labor sector into abusive, callous people capable of
torturing and raping others bound in chains - yet this proposal offers little hope for other ways for townspeople to support themselves that doesn't require that they buy into this racist, misogynistic, repressive system of "justice".

What a new prison will NOT bring is a healthier town, that's for sure. You begin to die the day you break ground. Don't trust anyone who tries to tell you otherwise - they're sucking the real profits off for themselves, and will leave your town to wither once the American prison boom goes bust.

So, good luck to the Resistance in Globe. Don't let the creeps at Corplan/Emerald rape your lovely community of its humanity, at least not while it sleeps. Wake your neighbors up, and fight their propaganda and politics back with everything you have...


EDC president responds to ballot initiatives on prison prospect

Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2011
Arizona Silver Belt

Letters to the Editor

There will more than likely be a public hearing in our area sometime before June 30, 2011 in response to whether the residents of the City of Globe are interested in having an additional prison built within the City limits. At this time none of us know exactly when or if this will be, we only know that the State plans to award contracts on or around July 1, 2011, which will add 5,000 beds into the Arizona State Department of Corrections (DOC) system.

The Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation has been working with Emerald Companies, a private corporation, along with their engineers, developers and the AZ DOC in an effort to bring 1,000 beds to our area. You might ask why the SGCEDC would continue to work on this project after hearing that 2,700 people are opposed to this project. Please let me offer our position on this project. We represent approximately 27,000 residents in southern Gila County and we strongly believe that we have heard personally from the majority who recognize the benefits of this project. While the SGCEDC has made an effort to keep the public informed on this project, we did not feel that it would be proper to debate this project in the media before knowing if it was even available to us.

At this time Emerald Companies have been asked to provide their Best & Final offer, which means that their proposal is being considered. We have assimilated a lot of information and have made this information available to the public at many past meetings, at my monthly Meet & Greet meetings, and a couple of advertisements in the local newspapers. Also Mr. Mickie Nye attended several radio programs with Mr. Jim Moss to thoroughly discuss this project. We have not withheld any facts about this project. The following information has been researched and compiled very carefully to bring you an accurate review of this project. We have heard from many residents and business that this project will offer many more assets to our communities than disadvantages.

A project this size will bring over 300 direct jobs and approximately another 100 indirect jobs. As of the end of 2010 Gila County was suffering with an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent which means that there were approximately 6,000 people either unemployed or actively looking for employment. We believe that this project will help our economy and better the life style of many of these residents. We recognized that this project will also relieve a large strain from our social programs design to help unemployed people. If you are currently unemployed and seeking work locally, please watch for the Public Hearing Notice and join the meeting to show your support for this project.

If a contract is awarded for our area, this project will be totally developed by Emerald Companies. This includes all of the financing arrangements. None of our local governments will be responsible for the financing. Emerald will build this property to the State DOC specifications and the operations will be stipulated by the DOC. Since this project is under an AZ State contract it is strictly regulated by the DOC. The construction of this project will bring a new sewer line through the City’s North East Corridor proposed development. This along with improvements to the water infrastructure will benefit the City of Globe by two million dollars.

What are the monetary benefits? The salary range is $29,000 to $200,000 annually. These are not minimum wage jobs. The current prison located in the same area provides approximately $3.5 million dollars in annual wages along with another half million dollars in local revenues. Economists will tell you that the dollar turns five to seven times before escaping local communities, which calculates out to $20 - $28 million dollars annually. This is a nice clean industry with continuous sustainability. We need these jobs!

I have heard so many stories about the bad things that come with private prisons and I will tell you that I cannot accurately respond about this because, like any private business, they all operate differently. However, I can tell you that we, as a team, have investigated Emerald Companies very thoroughly. They are a very good private prison operator. If they are awarded this contract for a 1,000 bed facility they will have to provide the same service and safety standards that are required within the state operated facilities.

In closing I would like to ask that if you are a registered voter within the City of Globe and are asked to sign any petition to put this issue on the ballot in March of 2012, please strongly consider saying no. This would be a tactic to interfere with the DOC process and the true feelings of the citizens of Globe would not be known until long after the contracts have been awarded. Some other community will receive this huge economic benefit. That would be a shame during these economic times.

Jerry McCreary

SGCEDC Board President

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