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:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Perryville prisoner escapes.

Please be careful and don't hurt anyone out here, Dyan...


Prison inmate escapes from work crew in Tolleson

by on Sep. 30, 2011, under Arizona Republic News

An inmate escaped from a work crew in Tolleson just after 11 a.m. Friday, the Arizona Department of Corrections said.

Dyan Castorena, 40, was working at Manheim Auto Auction at 201 N. 83rd Ave. in Tolleson when she took a car from the auction, authorities said. She was last seen driving west on Van Buren Street in a silver Toyota Camry.

Castorena was sentenced to 18 months for theft and had been serving that time in Perryville Arizona State Prison Complex since July, according to records.

Perryville and Lewis prison complexes have dispatched Department of Corrections teams to apprehend Castorena.


Anonymous said...

What hasn't been said is that this inmate has served time previously for another charge, did her time and was released. She is not a new number... Also this inmate had only been working at that job for less than 2 weeks. I know it is hard doing prison time but really?? Only 1.5 years??? I estimate she would have been released in around 9 months... Also how the heck did she get access to those keys???

SJ said...

I was at that facility,(recently) worked that same job for about six months, and access to the keys/vehicle is not hard, though it is stupid to escape when you're only doing such a short time. With the senticing, she will most likely do more when than 18 months when caught. So I've heard, though not sure on how much to beleive...escape from prison in AZ is an additional 5 years. And I'm sure they'll add grand theft auto charges, and maybe others. It's so sad, as well as stupid, what she chose to do. I remember working there always "fantasized" like...what if I left...but DAMN to actually do's not in the prisoners best interest. Not trying to give kudos to the prison, but, of all the places to be in Perryvile, she was on the best yard, and (in prison value), making good money!