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 15, 2013

TUCSON: CCA Celebrates 30 years of destroying communities!

Evo DeConcini Federal Courthouse, Tucson
may 13, 2013

Approximately 80 people of faith and other concerned citizens turned out in downtown Tucson this week to observe Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) 30th anniversary of incarcerating people for profit. While CCA runs prison for several state entities, they also operate a number of immigrant detention centers in Arizona, including the Eloy Detention Center which has come under recent federal scrutiny due to the high incidence of suicide among detainees. The protest was organized by the American Friends Service Committee of Tucson.

A major issue for many AZ taxpayers is the fact that two CCA board members are also on the Arizona State Board of Regents: Dennis DeConcini and Anne Mariucci. SHAME on them both for profiting from the exploitation of immigrants and incarceration of anyone CCA's lobbyists can help criminalize – they've sold out our future generations for a few shares of private prison stock.

CCA's disrespect for human rights applies to all prisoners, not just immigrant detainees. LaPalma Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ has degraded it's Kosher food program so much that the California prisoners warehoused there are beginning to refuse certain meals and are conducting a public education campaign about religious rights. They have tried for over 1 ½ years to resolve this through CCA”s administrative processes to no avail, and are asking the community to bring pressure to bear now on the political system, as constitutional rights for all prisoners are at stake in this struggle.

Towards that end, I'm encouraging folks to contact Dennis DeConcini and Anne Mariucci at the AZ Board of Regents office – I think it will have bigger impact there than if correspondence goes through CCA channels. Their contact info is:

Arizona Board of Regents
2020 N. Central Ave., Suite 230
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4593
T: (602) 229-2500 • F: (602) 229-2555

If you wish to contact CCA HQ, go right for the top and send your letter to the President, Damon Hininger. He should be able to get your letters if you send them here:

Corrections Corporation of America
10 Burton Hills Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37215
Phone: (615) 263-3000
(800) 624-2931
Fax: (615) 263-3140 

Be sure to put Dennis DeConcini and Anne Mariucci in the cc, so he knows they're waiting for an answer, too. Or you could just make signs for the next protest, if necessary, and send Hininger some pictures expressing your feelings...

 Hang in there, Guys...