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:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

AZ Republic: GEO Group Goodyear Public Hearing

---------from the Arizona Republic--------

Prison proposal for Goodyear draws fire
Geo Group Inc.'s plan to construct a private facility spurs opposition

Bob Ortega
Arizona Republic
August 11, 2011

Geo Group Inc.'s proposal to build a 2,000- to 5,000-bed private prison in Goodyear ran into fierce public opposition Wednesday, with much of the anger at a public hearing coming from residents who said the state has broken a promise made at the time the nearby Perryville state prison was built.

Geo tried to head off criticism, saying its prison would be built to far higher security standards than the state requires, with several extra layers of fencing and security devices and with more staff.

Company CEO George Zoley also stressed the economic benefits of adding up to 1,000 construction jobs and up to 1,100 permanent jobs if the largest alternative were selected.

But despite giving a far more detailed presentation than rival bidder Corrections Corp. of America provided at a hearing in Eloy one night before, Geo Group ran into a buzz saw.

Litchfield Park Mayor Thomas Schoaf, in a statement read by City Manager Darryl Crossman, called the proposal "a slap in the face to our residents," a direct threat to the public safety of the area "and a threat to the public welfare of our communities."

Schoaf, in an argument echoed by others, said that when the state built the Perryville prison in 1980, the Legislature overcame local opposition by promising to limit the facility to 1,400 minimum-security women prisoners.

But by 1989, the state began sending male, higher-security inmates there. Perryville now houses just under 3,500 inmates.

Schoaf called a further prison expansion preposterous.

"I'm the guy who founded this company in 1984 . . . and I'm accountable to you," Zoley promised at the hearing.

But when he declined to answer a question about the ratio of correctional officers to prisoners, Dianne Post, the NAACP's Maricopa County representative, argued, "He says, 'I'm accountable to you.' How? He won't tell us his staff ratio. They're not accountable."

Other speakers alternated between those in construction - "We all need jobs, we need jobs in this area," said John Coffman - and those peppering the company with questions, criticizing its record and political donations, or arguing, as Goodyear resident Barb Julien said, "If this area had a Scottsdale ZIP code, we wouldn't be holding this meeting tonight."

Geo., based in Boca Raton, Fla., is a publicly traded company with about 78,000 beds in 116 corrections and treatment facilities in the U.S. and three other countries. It recently bought a company that uses ankle-bracelet tracking devices to monitor about 60,000 probationers and parolees.

Geo operates three prisons under contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections: Phoenix West, a minimum-custody prison that can hold 495 inmates; Florence West, which can hold 750 inmates; and the Central Arizona Correctional Facility, also in Florence, which can hold 1,280 sex offenders.

In addition to the Goodyear proposal, Geo is proposing an alternative plan to provide 2,000 or 3,000 beds in San Luis, southwest of Yuma.

Wednesday's hearing was the second of five being held this week and next over proposals by Geo, CCA, Management and Training Corp. and LaSalle Southwest Corrections. The hearings continue today in Winslow and next week in San Luis and Coolidge.

No comments: