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:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Tough on Crime" Pima Prosecutors: Double standards for cops.

 Something's wrong with this picture... Arizona has guys doing 200 years for possessing child porn, and yet this ex-officer below (he was with the ADC at the time he was assaulting this girl) may only get a year in prison and probation for raping a 14-year old girl?  

Barbara LaWall, the Pima County Attorney, is one of the main prosecutors resisting all sentencing reform efforts and promoting propaganda to undermine us. According to her own standards, her office just sold the public out with this plea...they're the ones with all the discretion about how to charge us, after all. They cut this guy a huge break. Contact them with your thoughts on the matter at:

Pima County Attorney's Office
32 N. Stone Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85701
(520) 740-5600


Former Arizona DOC officer admits to sex with girl, 14

Kim Smith, Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 12:25 pm

A former Arizona Department of Corrections officer will be spending at least the next year behind bars after admitting Wednesday he had sex on multiple occasions with a 14-year-old girl.

Robert Joseph Hamm, 32, pleaded guilty to sexual conduct with a minor and assault in Pima County Superior Court.

Hamm is facing between one and two years in prison on the assault charge. He could be placed on probation on the sexual conduct charge or receive between five and 15 years in prison.

According to court documents, the girl's mother read her diary after catching her sneaking out of the house in August. The diary contained explicit details of sexual encounters between the girl and Hamm. When interviewed by authorities, the girl acknowledged she and Hamm had sexual intercourse on three occasions.

At the time, Hamm denied having a relationship with the girl, but said "anything was possible while he is passed out from alcohol," court documents state.

Hamm, who met the girl through her parents, was indicted on three counts of sexual conduct with a minor on Aug. 16.

Judge Richard Fields will sentence Hamm Dec. 1.

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