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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Friday, June 1, 2012

ASPC-Lewis: The cowardly assault of Tyson White.

Only cowards attack individuals in gangs when they have no chance in hell of surviving, much less even fighting back - that term describes the three guys who went after Tyson. When it comes to successfully killing people, AZ prison gangs seem most concerned with weeding out members of their own race, too, not taking on other gangsters (they might get hurt doing that, so if you're threatened by a gang of a different race, don't go running to the one you think will help you just because they have the same skin may be the first person they kill). 

If you're heading to prison soon, don't make the mistake of thinking that these people or their organizations will "protect" anyone inside but themselves in the end. You're better off making one good unaffiliated friend to watch your back in prison than having the entire brotherhood "on your side", since no matter how much money you pay them or how enthusiastic a racist you may be, they'll turn on you and cut you to shreds in a heartbeat if you decide to be your own man. 

I do fear their reach, by the way - I don't doubt that they can get to us out here, too. I just have less respect for prison gangs and their leaders than I do for scum-feeding cockroaches, and I think that needs to be said. They display no real driving ethics or values except for their own profits, and they only seem to know how to exploit hate, fear, greed and violence to attract and repel people with - like so many of our esteemed politicians in AZ do, actually. There's nothing brilliant or admirable about climbing to the top of that heap, either in prison or in the legislature; it's a power structure built entirely on BS, which decomposes and collapses much faster than Truth ever will.

To Tyson's family: We're organizing other family members of prisoners and former prisoners to fight this kind of thing, if you want to connect- assaults under the current administration have tripled, and the homicides have doubled, with no relief in sight. Prisoners are people, too, after all, and deserve better than what Tyson got. Contact me (Peggy) at 480-580-6807 or if you're interested in doing something about AZ prison violence. Let me know even if you just need support and have nothing to give right now; there are people here for you.

--------from the ARIZONA REPUBLIC--------

37-year old Tyson White

Family of inmate in Buckeye prison assault seeks $12 million in damages

The family of an inmate left severely brain-damaged after a prison beating in November says a correctional officer was complicit in the assault. This week, they filed a notice seeking $12 million to settle their claims against Arizona's Department of Corrections.

Tyson White, 37, arrived Nov. 18 at the Lewis state prison in Buckeye. Eight days later, he was assaulted by three inmates who threw him to the ground and repeatedly kicked and stomped on his head and neck.

The three were members of a prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, according to Corrections reports obtained by the family's attorney, Scott Zillinger, through a lawsuit against the department.

White apparently had sought the gang's protection, claiming affiliation with the gang during a prior prison stint. According to department reports, the gang members asked an inmate who served as a "porter," or clerk, for Corrections Officer Doreen Neu to check White's claims.

According to Corrections investigators, Neu accessed White's computer records on Nov. 22, which showed that he was not affiliated with any prison gangs. Four days later, White was assaulted by the gang.

Corrections officials declined to comment on the allegations or to say whether Neu received any disciplinary sanctions. In their report, Corrections investigators note allegations that Neu's porter regularly supplied information from confidential state records to other inmates. It would be a criminal offense for Neu to allow any inmate to view another inmate's records. Neu could not be reached for comment.

White has been in treatment at St. Joseph's Hospital since the assault, with permanent brain damage that leaves him unable to walk, use the bathroom or take care of basic needs without assistance. He was serving a two-year sentence for aggravated DUI.

The attack on White was one of 62 inmate-on-inmate assaults reported by Corrections that month. There were 34 incidents of inmates assaulting staff in November.

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