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:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CCA Eloy Death in Custody: Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales, 24.

So much work is being done in this state organizing people for migrant justice, that I seldom focus on detention facilities and the despair and violence behind those bars. Tonight I must, though, as a 24-year old woman has hung herself  at a private prison run for ICE in Eloy, AZ - a classic southwest prison town, pretty much owned and ruled by Corrections Corporation of America.  The facility she died at was the Eloy Detention Center, which is one run by CCA.

That facility was featured in this article by the AZ Republic in 2009. Things haven't improved much there, I don't think. Here is a PDF print out of all ICE detainee deaths from 2003 - Dec 2012, so you can see for yourself the history.

My condolences go out to Elsa's  family and her community.

Arizonans were already planning to protest CCA in Tucson this month: if migrant justice matters to you, please join us.

Also, if you care about what happned to this woman, know that there are plenty more people in her shoes you can still help. Sign up with PUENTE and stay tuned for their announcements and direct actions. Sign this petition, please, to free the victims of Arpaio's latest raid. And demand of your congressmen and communities an end to migrant detention NOW.

Rally at ICE in Phoenix to stop detention and deportations...
Winter, 2013

ICE Detainee Dies at Eloy Facility

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:29 am

PHOENIX (AP) — Federal authorities say a Guatemalan woman in custody at the Eloy Detention Center has died from an apparent suicide.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday that 24-year-old Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales was found hanging in her cell Sunday evening by another detainee.

 They say detention facility staff called 911 and emergency medical technicians responded to the scene, but were unable to revive her.

Authorities say Guadalupe-Gonzales was arrested for allegedly being in the country illegally. She had been detained since March 20 as she awaiting immigration hearings.

They say she was taken into custody March 18 by U.S. Border Patrol near Nogales, Ariz.

While at the detention center, ICE officials say Guadalupe-Gonzales received two routine medical screenings, but didn’t seek any medical or mental health treatment.