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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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ASPC-Tucson/Whetstone Boils over...UPDATE

UPDATE: March 10, 2013 - The post below is out of date.

 AZ Legislature (July 2012)

UPDATED  on March 5, 2013 3:00 am 

(from 10:04pm March 3, 2013)

First, don't believe everything the AZ DOC tells us this time about how it's just the prisoners being racist and violent. Remember Santa Rita? They lied about the Botulism, too.

It troubles me this happened on a minimum security yard; I hardly ever get distress letters from guys fleeing the violence or racism on lower than a 3 yard, so any insight folks may have out there would be welcome. 

The only word I have so far is that jobs were moved to Catalina a few months back, plunging people into more desperate poverty and idleness - driving up the drug trade, and causing a lot of guys to get chased off the yard over bad debts... that stuff follows you every yard you land on now, by the way, thanks to cell phones. They really will kill you over $80 if you mess with the wrong people.

I also hear that it's not uncommon for gangs to hit prisoners of their own race who they've put a green light on for one reason or another by causing a "racial" distraction elsewhere on the yard so the assailant has a better chance of taking cover and their victim looks like one of the victims of the brawl. At least, that's what some prisoners have said.

Some prisoners also believe that some recent homicides have been staged to look like suicides - which is actually true since Chuck Ryan took over the DOC, according to the state's own records. 

Anyway, if you know someone on this yard at ASPC-Tucson/ Whetstone, please find out what happened so I can post a narrative other than the state's, which minimizes it's own role in causing such uprisings, and only knows how to answer resistance and disorder with its own violence - and more cages and chains. 

Find me here:

Peggy Plews / PO Box 20494 / PHX, AZ 85036


400 Inmates Fight at Arizona Prison; 19 Injured

ABC News / Associated Press
March 4, 2013

An Arizona prison complex remains on lockdown after a fight broke out among 400 inmates.

State Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux says the staff quickly stopped the fight that broke out Sunday morning at a minimum-security unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson.

Lamoreaux says two staffers suffered minor injuries and 17 inmates were taken to area hospitals with injuries. The extent of the inmates' injuries wasn't immediately available.

The prison is investigating the cause of the fight, which broke out in the Whetstone Unit. Nearly 1,250 prisoners are housed in that unit, which is one of eight at the prison.

Prison officials cancelled visitations for the day to the entire prison after the fight.

-----Here's a bit of an update from the AZ DOC Website, as of March 5, 2013----