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:

Monday, March 31, 2014

ASPC-Winslow/Kaibab lockdown: Racial conflict, violence escalating.

UPDATE: as of Friday, May 16, 2014

Former DW: Brown on Black DOC race war fueled by institutional white supremacy.

---------------------Original Post (3/31/14)--------------------

This is why Winslow has been on lockdown lately. Why can't you guys see that you're only doing yourselves in when you attack each other this way? All the state has to do is let you kill each other off, then you'll never be a threat to them or the authority of the AB. The enemy, you see, is not the guy you were told to hit - its the one standing on the sidelines laughing at you all.

Here's the news I received of the situation on Kaibab from a prisoner caught in the middle. If anyone else has direct info about what's going down on Kaibab, please contact me:

--------------------below is from the AZ Republic on Friday------------------

Inmates hospitalized after Ariz. prison brawl

D.S. Woodfill, The Republic |  


State prison officials said prisoners are recovering in the hospital after a fight between "several dozen" Black and Hispanic inmates on March 20.

Doug Nick, communication director for the Arizona Department of Corrections, said the fight at the Arizona State Prison Complex- Winslow prison was between Hispanics and Blacks.

"That would be an indicator there were some disputes of (a racial) nature," he said.

Nick said he could not disclose many details because the fight is the subject of a criminal investigation, but that none of the inmates have life threatening injuries.

The fight broke out on prison grounds at some point in the afternoon of March 20, and guards rushed in using several non-lethal measures to suppress the disturbance, Nick said. A unit at the prison was then locked down.

No employees were injured, he said.

It's not clear what if any weapons were used in the fight, he said

"Inmate altercations are not – sad to say –uncommon," Nick said.