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:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Diverting mentally ill from the CJ system: Communtiy Roundtable FEB 2012

First Contact: Mental Illness in the CJ System

Sponsored by David's Hope and the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition

FEBRUARY 2, 2012

7:00 - 9:00 PM

Taking place within the historic

Sign in begins 6:30pm.

Forum is free and open to the public.

Please join us in this mediated discussion regarding those with mental illness,
as their lives intersect with law enforcement.

Parking is available in ASU Visitor lots where credit cards may be used. There is also a public lot on the northeast corner of N. Central and E. Fillmore which requires $5 cash and has no time limit

MORE INFORMATION: 602-774-4382

Roundtable Participant List 
February 2, 2012
Cecil Ash Arizona State House of Representatives
Barbara Broderick Chief, Maricopa County Adult Probation
Chris Carson CEO, ConnectionsAZ
Tom Chabin Arizona State House of Representatives
Justin Chase Director of Crisis Services, Magellan Health Services of Arizona
Sean Connolly Lieutenant, Phoenix Police Department, South Mountain Precinct
Joy Green Advocate and Board Member, David’s Hope
Laura Irish Director of Mobile Crisis, TERROS Behavioral Health Services
Nick Margiotta Director of Crisis Intervention Training, Phoenix Police Department
Bill Montgomery Maricopa County Attorney
Frank Munnell Chief, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
Dawn Noggle Mental Health Director, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services
Suzanne Rabideau CEO and President, Crisis Response Network Inc.

7:00 pm Dr. Michael Shafer, “Five Reflections” Director, ASU CABHP
7:10 pm Roundtable Dialogue
8:00 pm Audience Q&A
8:50 pm Closing remarks, Mary Lou Brncik, Founder, David’s Hope

Special thanks to Emily Jenkins, President and CEO of the AZ Council of Human Service Providers and Kelly Carbello, Executive Director of David’s Hope, for moderating this forum.

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