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 7, 2013

Executing innocence: AZ police and prosecutorial misconduct work hand in hand.

Shame on the AZ Attorney General's office and the Maricopa County Attorney for not disclosing any of this during Debra Milke's prior hearings.  They would sooner let an innocent woman be executed than admit that their colleagues made a serious mistake when they prosecuted her based on Saldate's testimony in the first place.  She's STILL sitting on death row because of this pig Armando Saldate - he's the one who should be doing hard time, but the AZ AG's office apparently didn't think he did anything wrong, because they still wanted to kill Debra. 

We'll see if Bill Montgomery really believes Saldate's testimony - or is willing to use it to prosecute Debra Milke again. He'll probably offer to let her walk free with time served if she pleads no contest to the murder of her son, just to mitigate the liability the state has for her wrongful imprisonment; a cowardly thing to do, for a  prosecutor, I think. That's what AZ did to Bill Macumber and Louis Taylor.

Thanks again to Wendy Halloran and Channel 12 News for holding the "justice" system accountable again. This is one more reason why prosecutors need to have consequences when they refuse to turn over critical information to the defense, and otherwise engage in malicious and wrongful prosecutions.


"Sex, Rent and the Constable" (CH12/KPNX)