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:

Monday, May 13, 2013

AZ Death Row Deaths in Custody: Suicide of Milo Stanley, 50.

Arizona death row inmate is apparent suicide 

by Paul Davenport, Associated Press

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 2:38 PM
Updated Friday, May 10 at 4:03 PM 

PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona death row inmate who murdered his wife and young daughter nearly 27 years ago died Friday in what the Department of Corrections called an apparent suicide.

The department said Milo Stanley, 50, was found hanging in his cell at a unit of the Eyman prison complex in Florence and that his death would be investigated by the department and medical examiners.

Stanley was convicted in Yavapai County of fatally shooting his wife, Susan, and 5-year-old daughter, Seleste, in 1986.

A Corrections Department description of Stanley's criminal history said he shot both victims in the head during an argument with his wife over his drinking.

He then dumped the victims' bodies on the side of a road in a remote area, returned to his Clarkdale home and put his 1-year-old son to bed and called police to report his wife and daughter missing but confessed the next day, the description said.

After a 2 1/2-week trial in 1987, Stanley was convicted and then sentenced 2 1/2 months later to death for killing his daughter and to life in prison for killing his wife.

A federal court docket indicated that Stanley had an appeal pending with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding whether he received effective legal representation during sentencing.

Paula Harms, an assistant federal public defender listed as representing Stanley in the appeal, did not immediately return a call for comment.

In a separate matter, Stanley was among six Arizona death row inmates who were plaintiffs in federal litigation challenging Arizona's execution protocol as unconstitutional. In that now-ended case, federal courts upheld the protocol, but the state made some procedural changes sought by the inmates' attorneys.

The last suicide of an Arizona death row inmate took place on March 14, 2010, when James Adams, 46, was found hanging in his cell.

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