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 who I've been supporting, Jessie Burlew.

I will miss my work and the people who have supported me - but I have been most especially grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I have 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)


ALONE: Teens in Solitary Confinement

AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Corizon and the AZ DOC: Prisoners & Families, Know Your Rights.

UPDATE: this is the most current contact info for Corizon and their records office, as of June 18, 2013:

Corizon Health

950 W. Elliot Road, Ste. 220
Tempe, AZ 85284

480-897-9515 main number
480-897-9515 x 2513 
Madeline Carney, Medical Records  

480-897-9608 fax

Original Post: March 5, 2013
Well, folks, Corizon took over the AZ Department of Corrections' health service delivery system on March 1, for better or worse. The info page at the bottom of this post is from the AZ DOC's Health Services Division website: follow the link in the heading down there to be sure you have the most recent info. 

Given how disastrous for sick prisoners the Wexford takeover was in July 2012, please make sure that if you have a loved one in prison both you and they know their health care rights.  As mentioned earlier, I'm not real optimistic they'll be any improvement over Wexford, so steel yourselves, now, to have to fight for them. I'm not an attorney, but I can direct you to some who can offer professional help if you have resources. If you don't, I can help you help yourselves, I hope. I'll try, anyway, so contact me if you need to access some support or concrete assistance navigating the AZ DOC, or if you have major human rights violations in custody to report - I'm tracking that kind of thing:

Peggy Plews /  PO Box 20494 / PHX,  AZ 85036

As for what to arm yourselves and imprisoned loved ones with: 

 1. First, read and send prisoners my October 23 Health Care letter (sorry, it needs to be updated with Corizon's info will do that ASAP), here:

2. Along with that letter, they'll need my AZ Prison Watch Newsletter (Valentine's edition).  This one talks about filing grievances to advance prisoner health care claims:

3. This is the AZ DOC Policies page where the most recent policies are posted. Click on the links for DO 1101: Access to Health Care, and DO 802: Grievance Procedure, and whatever else seems to pertain, given your situation, and send them to your loved one in AZ DOC whether they need them now or not. Download these as PDF files, then - unless you're dealing with vision issues -  print 2 pages to a side for economy.

4. Here are the chapters to the Columbia University Jailhouse Lawyers Manual that prisoners will especially need as well, if fighting for health care rights. They'll need other chapoters as their battle advances, so keep the TOC link handy.

5. For families and advocates, the people who are at the top of the Parsons v Ryan class action suit filed by the ACLU are AZ DOC Director Charles Ryan and DOC Health Services Division Director Richard Pratt. Their email addys are: and rpratt@azcorrections.govThose are the guys whose desks the buck is supposed to stop at, anyway. 

The AZ DOC street address, for registered, return-receipt mail (better than certified, I'm told), is 1601 W. Jefferson St. PHX, AZ 85007.

6. Read this post about the suicide of Tony Lester, and watch the video there before you write to the DOC. We need to all work together to change the system, not just get your loved one an exception to the rule of indifference. Make sure you have the right witnesses in the cc line of your email/ letter. This is the most current list of whom to include, as rule of thumb: 

Margaret Plews,  at
Darrell Hill at the AZ ACLU
AZ House Minority Leader Chad Campbell
your own legislator (find them here),
KPNX investigative reporter Wendy Halloran
and, if it involves a prisoner with a mental illness or developmental disability, include Jennifer Alewelt from the AZ Center for Disability Law

7. Here's the link to the ACLU of AZ's website - ask them for printed complaint forms to send into the prisons. The may not be able to intervene in your particular case, but they need to be kept informed about current health care struggles at the AZ DOC while they slog it out in court. Here's the text of the actual class action suit, too, Parsons v Ryan. It's full of useful descriptors and legal references for articulating prisoners' medical and mental health care complaints.

I can't stress enough how important it will be that your loved ones in  prison are themselves studying this material, filling out grievances properly, and requesting things from the prison library like the packet for filing Section 19983 Civil Rights claims in federal court (see DO 902 Attachments A & B). That applies even if you expect to hire legal help for them - they need to do their part right, or no one can help much.

Oh by the way, none of the above respects the usual chain of command the AZ DOC wants you to follow, except for the process the prisoners themselves must comply with to "exhaust administrative remedies". This strategy for families to advocate is designed to empower you to access the decision-makers at the AZ DOC with regards to your loved one's needs. Keep things in writing and keep making the top people responsible - they will try to dismiss, appease, and stall you, and make you think your correspondence does no good. As long as the prisoner you love is doing their part, don't believe the DOC - just keep making sure that paper trail of neglect and gross indifference leads right back to Ryan and Pratt.

Finally, if you can download, print and mail the NLG Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook in to prisoners, please do. It's taking the National Lawyer's Guild forever to send these to them for the $2 promised.

Let me know how things are going out there, so I can keep the pressure on the right people over the most pressing issues and give families and prisoners the most current and useful information.

Good Luck -

Peggy Plews

------from the AZ Department of Corrections' Health Services Division Website----------

Inmate Health Care at the Arizona Department of Corrections is provided by Corizon (

Corizon clinicians maintain open dialogue with our patients about their health. If a patient has questions or a health concern, they may submit a Health Needs Request (HNR) Form, which will be addressed in a timely manner. We also encourage our patients to have open conversation with loved ones regarding health conditions and behaviors that can optimize their health.

In an effort to respond to inquiries from loved ones regarding our patients, we provide "Constituent Services" to address questions or concerns. Family members or friends may:
  • Ask questions about Corizon's medical policies
  • Report a patient's serious health-related conditions
  • Request patient-specific health information

Each patient's health information is protected by law, so in order for any information to be released, the patient must have a current, signed release form on file giving Corizon permission to share health information with the family member or friend. With the appropriate documentation, Corizon strives to respond to inquiries within one business day.

For Health Information Access, please use the following contact information:

To contact the ADC Health Services Contract Monitoring Bureau, please call 602-364-2900.


Effective March 4, 2013, Corizon contracted with the Arizona Department of Corrections to provide full service medical care to the inmates housed at the following prison complexes:
  • Douglas
  • Eyman
  • Florence
  • Lewis
  • Perryville
  • Phoenix
  • Safford
  • Tucson
  • Winslow
  • Yuma
To request any health related information for inmates at these locations, please call toll free 1-855-276-5416, or email your request to