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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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Corruption and extortion at the AZ DOC: There are no safe places in prison....

To paraphrase a young transgender activist in Phoenix, the best we can do in such a dangerous world sometimes is help people create places they can be brave, because safety isn't attainable. That means looking out for eachother. This is especially the case when you're confined in hell where the people responsible for assuring your safety who hold the keys to your cage are the ones perpetrating the worst violence. The prisoners who most often end up being victimized by sociopaths behind bars in orange and brown alike are the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, the very young, the very old, gay and transgender prisoners, and others who are socially-isolated. Take it as a given that the prisons are being run by bullies of all kinds, including the ones they call noble public servants. Good for this prisoner and his family for busting this one.

Sadly, this story of a prisoner being threatened and extorted with the complicity of a law enforcement officer is not that far out - if you have a loved one telling you similar stories, don't just assume they're lying to make their jailers look bad. It's so hard to substantiate their corruption, too - this guy was just an idiot; he could have made a fortune smuggling contraband and giving intel to the gangs instead, like so many other officers get away with.

Families, if you're dealing with extortion or have evidence of officer corruption, feel free to contact me and I can help you make sure it gets followed up on. Often the DOC minimizes extortion when it happens at the hands of other prisoners and the victim is seeking protective custody - "tell him he should pay his debts", is often the response I've heard families get - so don't take that as a sign that it's okay for it to happen to you or your loved one. My name is Peggy Plews; contact me at or 480-580-6807.

Firehouse Gallery, Phoenix 
(September 2013)


Arizona detention officer Jordan Martie faces extortion charges

November 22, 2012

WINSLOW, AZ - Authorities say a former Arizona Department of Corrections Officer has been arrested for allegedly taking part in the extortion of an inmate.

Jordan Martie, 22, of Winslow, is accused of multiple counts of theft by extortion, fraudulent schemes and artifices and attempted fraudulent schemes and artifices.

Facing the same charges is a fellow inmate who allegedly took part in the scheme. Authorities have not released his name pending formal charges.

Martie had worked for DOC since February 11, 2013 but has resigned his position.

According to DOC investigators, Martie and the suspect inmate concocted a scheme in which the inmate threatened a fellow inmate at Arizona State Prison Complex – Winslow and demanded $900 in protection money.

Martie then allegedly offered to personally protect the victim inmate in exchange for the money to be paid by the victim’s family.

Martie allegedly made contact with a family member of the victim, saying the victim’s safety and well-being depended on Martie getting the money and gave them instructions on how to make the payment.

The victim’s family member made a partial payment, then contacted the DOC’s Criminal Investigations Unit at ASPC – Winslow and an investigation was launched.

Enough evidence was collected to arrest Martie and to prepare charges against the suspect inmate, authorities said.

The case has been turned over to the Navajo County Attorney’s Office.