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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Sunday, March 2, 2014

PUENTE families to break their historic fast to end deportations.

This hunger strike at ICE in Phoenix these past two weeks has really been historic - don't miss it before the camp breaks down, if you haven't already been by. The president should be ashamed for having organizers arrested and one family's son deported in retaliation, but his administration's  cruelty and oppression has only made the PUENTE movement stronger.

If you have any idea how deeply members of this remarkable community love one another and labor for justice, you will do everything you can to celebrate with them as the hunger strikers break their fast at 5pm Monday evening, March 3 in front of Phoenix ICE. Their spirit of hope and resistance is infectious; they've convinced me that any evil empire can be overcome and a new world is possible if only we put our heads and hearts together and take action. 

Please sign the families' petition here. And keep telling ICE to set their loved ones free at 202-732-3000.

from the PUENTE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT (March 2, 2014)

Join us this Monday at 5pm to celebrate our community in resistance, honor the leadership of the brave freedom fighters who have been on hunger strike, and plan together next steps in the fight against deportations.

Despite deportation, hospitalization, a police raid, and violent hate directed our way on a daily basis, we will come together Monday evening, as planned, to break bread with the hunger strikers as they end their fast.

While the hunger strike ends on Monday, our fight for justice for our entire community goes on, strengthened by the commitment and leadership of the hunger strikers inside and outside of Eloy Detention Center.

During the last two weeks, our community has faced many trials, but they are many of the same struggles we face in private every day. Our action has led many to take notice of the crisis of deportations, and to join us in lifting up the call to the President that it is his duty to take immediate action to halt deportations.

Please bring food to share (and a friend) if you are able.

Vengan este lunes a las 5:00pm para celebrar nuestra comunidad en resistencia, honrar el liderazgo de los luchadores por la libertad valientes que han estan en huelga de hambre, y planificar juntos los próximos pasos en la lucha contra las deportaciones.

A pesar de la deportación, hospitalización, una redada de la policía, y el odio violento dirigida a nosotros cada dia, nos reuniremos la noche del lunes, como ya planeabamos, para comer con los huelguistas de hambre, cuando terminan su ayuno.

Mientras que la huelga de hambre termina el lunes, nuestra lucha por la justicia para toda nuestra comunidad continúa, reforzado por el compromiso y el liderazgo de los huelguistas de hambre dentro y fuera del centro de detención Eloy .

Durante las últimas dos semanas, nuestra comunidad se ha enfrentado a muchas pruebas, pero son muchas de las mismas dificultades que enfrentamos en privado todos los días. Nuestra acción se ha llevado a muchos a tomar nota de la crisis de las deportaciones, y se unan a nosotros en el levantamiento de la llamada al Presidente que es su deber de tomar medidas inmediatas para detener las deportaciones.

Favor de traer comida para compartir ( y amigo ) si usted es capaz