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)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DEATH YARDS: Deliberate indifference pays, while prison healthcare deteriorates under Corizon.

(Edited November 6, 2013)

Thanks to the ACLU-AZ et al for their on-going labor of love with Parsons v Ryan
If you have questions or complaints about AZ Department of Corrections' prisoner health care, contact them at

P.O. Box 17148
Phoenix, AZ 85011

And many thanks to Caroline Isaacs at the AFSC-Tucson for this report, below. 
If you have questions about privatization of prisons or of prison health care, stopping the new Supermax, or the state of solitary confinement in Arizona, contact Matt Lowen or Caroline Isaacs at 

103 N Park Ave. Suite 111
Tucson, AZ  85719



Caroline Isaacs : 520-256-4146 :
Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :

NEW Report: Prison Healthcare in AZ Worsens Under Private Prison Co. Corizon


50 Inmate Deaths in the First 8 Months of 2013

PHOENIX, ARIZONA — On Wednesday, November 6th, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSCAZ) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUAZ) will hold a press conference in front of the Arizona Department of Corrections Building to coincide with the release of a new report which documents that the same problems—delays and denials of care, lack of timely emergency treatment, failure to provide medication and medical devices, low staffing levels, failure to provide care and protection from infectious disease, denial of specialty care and referrals, and insufficient mental health treatment—have continued and, arguably, worsened under the current for-profit healthcare contractor, Corizon.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSCAZ) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUAZ) are decrying the continued deterioration of the quality of medical care in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).

In March of 2012, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against ADC, charging that prisoners in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections receive such grossly inadequate medical, mental health and dental care that they are in grave danger of suffering serious and preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and even death. AFSC reports that there have been 50 deaths in Arizona Department of Corrections custody in just the first eight months of 2013. That is a dramatic increase from previous years. The Arizona Republic reported 37 deaths in 2011 and 2012 combined.

The report charges that the deficiencies in quality of care are not isolated to one or two locations or individual “bad actors,” but clearly represent system-wide dysfunction. The report contains 14 specific case studies to illustrate these issues, as well as extensive documentation of the administrative, organizational, economic and political factors that are contributing to the problem. This includes the process of privatization of medical care.

Delays and a reissue of the Request for Proposals (RFP) made the privatization process drag out for over two years. In the meantime, medical staffing levels plummeted and health care spending in prisons dropped by nearly $30 million. The departure of Wexford, followed by the award of the contract to Corizon created additional upheaval, delays, and changes in staff, procedures, and medications. The report concludes that contracting out the medical care at ADC has resulted in more bureaucracy, less communication, and increased healthcare risks for prisoners.

“The Arizona Department of Corrections needs to get its own house in order,” says report author Caroline Isaacs. “Arizona needs to stop wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars on cancelled contracts and wrongful death lawsuits and take responsibility for correcting these problems.”

For more information, please contact Caroline Isaacs at 520.623.9141 or by email at