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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Thursday, February 27, 2014

PUENTE hunger strikers undeterred by Phoenix Police violence and arrests.

I arrived at the PUENTE encampment Tuesday night just after the cops raided it - they waited until after the 10pm news was over and most witnesses had gone home, then shut down all the streets in the vicinity of ICE beofre moving in. There were still about 50 uniformed cops packing up the tents and other property (apparently being organized/directed by Sgt Mark Schweikert - he and his Red Squad were there, doing their dirty work). It was overkill, dear taxpayers.

I was particularly troubled to hear these two supporters' accounts of the raid. I hope the Phoenix Police are held to account for their violence.

PUENTE hunger strikers continue their vigil outside of ICE today, sans the tents. The Phoneix Police have done what they can to harass organizers and hunger strikers since the raid - following them to their homes, circling PUENTE's office in their cars, and taking photos of people supporting the strike at ICE. PUENTE members refuse to be intimidated into the shadows.

Please support their efforts by calling ICE to ask that their loved ones be released. One young hunger striking prisoner - Jose Valdez' son, Jaime, has been deported as punishment for his protest already. Other prisoners joining in this effort have been placed in solitary confinement.

Hunger Strike Encampment Evicted by Phoenix PD, 2 Supporters Arrested as Detainee Faces Immediate Deportation

Contact: Caroline Picker, 510-501-7276,, Puente Movement

At approximately 11 pm on Tuesday, February 25, 30 Phoenix police officers descended on the Not1More Hunger Strike encampment, confiscating the striker’s supplies and arresting two supporters, Carlos Garcia and Erika Andiola.  The police reportedly surrounded the sleeping hunger strikers and supporters, aggressively disrupting the peaceful encampment.

The arrests follow several days of threats from the Phoenix PD to evict hunger strikers exercising their right to peacefully assemble.  The group has been fasting since last Monday, President’s Day, in order to demand that ICE free their loved ones from detention and that President Obama take immediate action to halt deportations.

One of the hunger strikers, Jose Valdez, received a phone call from his son, Jaime, in Eloy Detention Center this evening, alerting him that ICE is planning to deport Jaime tonight as retaliation for participating in the hunger strike and organizing to stop his deportation and secure his release.  Jaime has an appeal pending with the 9th Circuit, and is therefore being illegally and unjustly deported before his immigration case has concluded.