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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ASPC-Florence Death in Custody: Karot Phothong, 37.

Condolences to this man's family. Please contact the ACLU of Arizona about your loved one's death; they are filing a class action suit against the state for medical and psychiatric neglect of prisoners. One big concern has been the doubling of the suicide rate under the current administration. Violence has skyrocketed as well. 

Feel free to contact me anytime if you wish to organize with other families who have had similar experiences with the Arizona Department of Corrections, or if you wish to share more of Karot's story. 

Finally, suicide can be a devastating thing to survive, whatever the circumstances surrounding it. You might want to check out Survivors of Suicide, Tucson  for support coping with your loss. For more information about them, contact the executive director, Tyler Woods at 520-861-663.

Take care,

Peggy Plews 
(arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com / 480-580-6807).

Karot Phothong 

(602) 542-3133


For more information contact: Bill Lamoreaux

January 31, 2012

Inmate Death Notification

Florence, Az. – Inmate Karot Phothong, 37, ADC #98842, was found unresponsive in his housing unit Saturday. He was pronounced dead from a possible suicide after medical responders attempted life saving measures.

Phothong, sentenced out of Pima County, was serving 12 years for aggravated assault. He came to ADC Sept. 9, 2005 and was held at the Central Unit, ASPC-Florence.

The death is under investigation by the department.


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