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, December 21, 2011

AFSC: The Arizona Prison Report

----------from the American Friends Service Committee-------

Arizona Prison Report Summary Cover
This report will be the first of its kind in Arizona. To date there has been no government or independent analysis of the performance and quality of all prisons in the state. Given that private for-profit prisons have operated in Arizona for decades, this fact in itself is shocking. Arizona has invested millions of taxpayer dollars in for-profit prisons but has provided no evidence that these prisons are safe, cost effective, or competent at fulfilling the job taxpayers pay them to do.

When AFSC learned that the state had not properly monitored and reported on for-profit prison operations, as mandated by law, AFSC undertook its own investigation into the prison industry in Arizona.

The conclusions  are based on data from published studies, news reports, state audits, Department of Corrections data and safety inspection reports, and first-person testimony. The full report will paint a more complete so far available picture of the performance of for-profit prisons in Arizona.

Included in the study are data on six prisons operated by Corrections Corporation of America that are located in Arizona but do not contract with the state, putting them outside state oversight. This data provides a unique glimpse inside a group of prisons that most Arizonans don’t even know exist.

Below you will find the preliminary report summary, and much the data used for the main report.  Additional data will be posted, along with the complete report.
In response to public pressure, the Arizona Department of Corrections agreed in August 2011 to prepare a report of its own. AFSC believes that the public deserve an independent assessment before the signing of contracts for additional for-profit prisons.

Arizona Prison Preliminary Report Summary

Released December 19, 2011.  This is the preliminary report summary.  It provides insights into the full report material, and highlights some of the key findings. AFSC is releasing these preliminary findings to help the public understand the scope of the problem caused by prison privatization in Arizona and to encourage more discussion and review before any more public funds are spent on private prison beds.

Gaming the System

Gaming the System
How the political strategies of private prison companies promote ineffective incarceration policies.

In Their Own Words

As the federal government continues its reliance on immigration detention, more and more people, including thousands in Arizona, are forced to endure injustices and inhumane treatment. Through contracts with private corporations and local county jails, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains 3,000 immigrants on any given day in Arizona - a 58 percent increase over the past six years.

Arizona Department of Corrections Data and Information Report

This copy of a PowerPoint presentation by Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan reviews basic statsics for the Arizona prison system in 2011, with projections for 2012.

Auditor Report on Hawaii's Private Prisons

Hawaii Audit prison
Department’s misleading cost data and improper contracting make prison solutions more elusive.

Security Assesment of MTC Managed Prisons

Security Assesment of MTC
Arizona Department of Corrections Offender Operations' security assessment of Management and Training Corporation's (MTC) running of Arizona Prisons; Florence West, CACF, Marana, and Phoenix West.

Report on Kingman Escapes

Kingman escapes
Arizona Department of Corrections' report on Kingman facility from which two inmates escaped.

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