PO BOX 20494


Established: July 18, 2009
Editor: Peggy Plews

This site is 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's perspective.
We don't simply need to shut down the prisons: we need to rewrite the way the rules around perpetrating harm against people and property are made in the first place, so that humanity, not politics or profit comes first. The current system doesn't prevent people from being victimized as it is - it simply prescribes rules for who does and doesn't get hurt or get to violate others, and mostly punishes the poor, the seriously mentally ill, and people of color. That's not a good enough foundation for a system based on achieving true justice.

From re-prioritizing our world, our ideas around what is crime and how to punish it would look much differently...Critical Resistance is a good source for more info on that.

I'm a freelance writer and human rights activist with no legal training or college degree. But if you are the loved one of a prisoner who needs help fighting for themselves, feel free to contact me - I'll do what I can. Emailing me works best: but 480-580-6807 is ok too.



Petition by the family of Tony Lester, victim of suicide in AZ DOC custody.

Prisoners and Families: Send your SOS to the DOJ!

We really need those of you out there who have been in an AZ prison, have lost a child or other family member in an AZ prison, or have a loved one in an AZ prison now, to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (that one is mine) about the need for a federal intervention here, and send me a copy, with a nice photo, if you have one, of the beloved prisoner - I don't have to post your letters and pictures, but please tell me if I may, with or without names.

If you need some motivation, see what the Governor had to say to him about the swell state things are in here. Don't let her pass that BS off on him unchallenged.

When the truth of prison rape and violence is made public and appeals for relief come directly from those affected, the rest of the community identifies better with prisoners as people, and it puts more pressure on the feds - as well as the governor- to act. And you are the ones with the most at stake here. So, please back me up on this argument I'm making, folks. If the feds listened to me, they'd have been here long ago - I need your support!

And don't just "like" me on Facebook or the Daily KOS - SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!

US Attorney General Eric Holder
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20530

Send word to your loved ones in prison to write the AG as well, and to send me copies if they want me to post their letters, too.

THE I-Files: Teens in Solitary Confinement

Published on Jun 26, 2014

"Alone" was produced Daffodil Altan. It was reported by Altan and Trey Bundy, edited by David Ritsher and Andrew Gersh, and filmed by Marco Villalobos. The senior producer was Stephen Talbot. The executive producer was Susanne Reber.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison (HBO)

Published on Jul 20, 2014

America's prisons are broken. Just ask John Oliver and several puppets.

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