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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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Goodyear Opposes Prison Expansion.

from the city of Goodyear's website, following the City Council's unanimous rejection of a private prison proposal from GEO Group...


City Opposes Prison Expansion in Goodyear

Many citizens have contacted us recently voicing opposition to the proposed expansion of Perryville Prison by as many a 5,000 male inmates over and above its current 3,467 female inmate population. As a result of our citizens’ concerns, the Goodyear City Council voted 6-0 on August 22nd to oppose the Department of Correction’s expanding its facility in Goodyear. The city and its residents are entitled to make their concerns known and perhaps influence the final outcome.

Key reasons why the City Council voted unanimously to oppose the prison expansion in the middle of our growing community are our serious concerns over possible negative economic development impacts of such a large prison expansion:

  1. Real property values in the surrounding areas will plummet.
    • Among those impacted will be the high-end resort-style master planned Robson community of Pebble Creek, as well as property that is currently available for development.
    • The interchange at I-10 and Loop 303 will be one of the busiest freeway interchanges in the state and all property in the area will be primed for high quality development
    • Palm Valley 303, a 1,600-acre world class business park, is strategically located just north of the interchange and is already attracting quality companies such as Sub-Zero.
    • Businesses are looking for visible employment corridors like Loop 303 at I-10 that promote:
    • high quality corporate image
    • desirable lifestyle
    • stable workforce

  2. Companies considering moving to the high-end Palm Valley 303 complex will have to travel north from I-10, past an even larger, more imposing prison complex.
  3. The city's image will deteriorate and strong companies will take their business elsewhere and that will mean a loss of jobs for the residents of Goodyear.

We need to make our voices heard. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to make your feelings about this prison expansion known before September 16th by contacting the Department of Corrections to share your objections or to voice your support. You must note on your correspondence that this is in “opposition to or support for the 5,000-bed expansion to Perryville Prison in Goodyear.” E-mail or mail to: ADC Procurement, 1645 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85007.

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