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:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NAACP urges AZ legislators to stop the new Supermax.

As posted here recently, the Joint Committee on Capital Review is meeting this Wednesday morning at 9am in the Senate Appropriations Room 109, June 12, and will be discussing the AZ Department of Corrections' request to build a news $50 million Supermax prison out a tthe Lewis complex in Buckeye. In case you missed my last post on that, here it is:

Why AZ doesn't need another Supermax prison...

from the JCCR website: "The primary powers and duties of the Joint Committee on Capital Review relate to ascertaining facts and making recommendations to the Legislature regarding state expenditures for land, buildings and improvements.  This portion of the state budget is known as “capital outlay. ”"

Below is a copy of the letter just submitted as testimony to the committee by the president of our local NAACP Rev. Oscar Tillman; NLG attorney Dianne Post was instrumental in putting it together. It's coherant and complete - she does her homework.

If you are submitting testimony to this committee, do so today - I understand there will be an opportunity to be heard tomorrow, but they usually have their minds made up beofre these meetings are even held. The DOC gets a rubber stamp on just about everything they ask for from the legislature, which needs to stop before we squander another dollar on this project - it's already sucked up over $5 million in the preparations. 

The NAACP knows just what kind of obscenity Arizona's elected officials plan to saddle future generations with - this prison is what this particular gang of 12's legacy will be, if they let it go through despite all the reasons it shouldn't. 

What will our grandchildren do with these torture facilities when our society has evolved beyond them? We will one day, you know - unless we plan to devolve and descend into more crimnality and vindictiveness and brutality as the rest of the world moves forward, which is kind of how we're heading. Anyone who thinks we can't outgrow our need to incarcerate such vast numbers of people in our country has sold humanity short. 

If you have comments for this committee, bring them in writing when you come to speak Wednesday morning (so you can be sure your text is in the record too) or hand deliver them by the end of the day Tuesday, June 11 (today!) to:

Joint Committee on Capital Review
Joint Legislative Budget Committee
AZ Legislature
1716 West Adams
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 926-5491  

Call if you can't write, and let them know this new supermax is bad for AZ 
and needs to be stopped. It's up to them to do that.
Here's the letter from the NAACP, to give you an idea of just how messed up the AZ DOC is...