Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign
AFSC-Arizona staff are amazing advocates for prisoners - and as such, are true blessings to our communities. Spend time on their site - lots of resources.

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. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Corizon HealthScare: Meet me in St. Louis...


The article below was posted from the AP to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. This was the comment I left for their readers: 

Corizon has been nothing but disastrous to Arizona state prisoners, ignoring too many to death and leaving their families devastated. We've had a whistleblower speak out and a class action lawsuit here (Parsons v Ryan), exposing how evil they are - as well as numerous protests by prisoners' loved ones and interviews with survivors, but it has been to no avail. 

Some think that's due to Good Old Boy Terry Stewart's influence in AZ (he's the former AZ DOC director - Chuck Ryan's mentor - now in bed with the folks at Corizon Healthscare), but I can't explain why other states still have contracts with them. Voters should really scrutinize things closely if their jails or prison systems are going with these folks and renewing contracts year after year, there's probably something dirty going on that keeps them sucking your tax dollars up for their profits at the expense of some of your most vulnerable citizens. Stop the privatization all together, if you can. It doesn't deliver what it promises, and you'll end up paying more after too many die in the end.

Posted as Peggy Plews

God only knows why the new governor, Doug Ducey, has retained Chuck Ryan after the embarassment his administration was to Brewer - must have something on that guy, too. It's like the whole Republican party here just dug their heads in the sand when it comes to the AZ DOC, though, not just the chiefs. Their mascot should be an ostrich, not an elephant. Elephants are, after all, thoughtful, compassionate, and wise...

By the way, if you're fighting these bastards on behalf of a loved one at the AZ DOC, follow the links to these older pieces, but be sure to be current on the relevant AZDOC policies (Department Orders) and send them the right copies - the docs and links in these old posts have probably expired.

 Corizon's Cruel and Unusual Greed: Follow the Money with Prison Legal News

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

 

Corizon's deliberate indifference: fighting back.

 

artwork is mine....


------------from the St Louis POST-DISPATCH--------
St Louis Post-Dispatch
Janaury 20, 2014 


Months after he landed in Florida’s Manatee County Jail, Jovon Frazier’s pleas for treatment of intense pain in his left shoulder were met mostly with Tylenol.

“I need to see a doctor!” he wrote on his eighth request form. “I done put a lot of sick calls in & ya’ll keep sending me back and ain’t tell me nothing.”

Four months later, after Frazier’s 13th request resulted in hospitalization and doctors diagnosed bone cancer, his arm was amputated, according to a lawsuit by his family.

But the cancer spread. Frazier died in 2011 at age 21, months after his release.

As an inmate, his medical care had been managed not by the county sheriff’s office that runs the jail, but by a private company under contract.

That company, Corizon Health Inc., is under growing pressure after the loss of five state prison contracts, downgrades by analysts and increasing scrutiny of its care of inmates held by some of its largest customers, including New York City.

Corizon, responsible for 345,000 inmates in 27 states, including Missouri, is the country’s biggest for-profit correctional health provider, but it’s just one of many firms vying for billions of public dollars spent on prisoner care.

Corizon was established in 2011 when privately held Valitás Health Services Inc., the Creve Coeur-based parent of Correctional Medical Services Inc., acquired America Service Group Inc., a Tennessee-based provider of prison health services.

With corporate headquarters in Brentwood, Tenn., Corizon touts Creve Coeur as home to its operational headquarters.

For-profit prison care raises questions about ceding public responsibilities to private companies. It turns, though, on a thornier issue: How do you ensure care of people who society mostly would prefer not to think about?

Inmates “are still human beings. I think some people forget that, I really do. They’re somebody’s child,” said Shirley Jenkins, Frazier’s grandmother.

PRIVATIZED CARE

States spend $8 billion a year, a fifth of their corrections budgets, on prison health care, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation. Local jails spend millions more.

Some critics fault the idea of privatizing the job.

“The problem is a structure that creates incentives to cut corners and deny care to powerless people that have no other options,” said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project.

Others say deficiencies with prison care go beyond whether it is privatized.

“I don’t have a great love for private health care ... but I don’t think that they’re the source of the problem,” said Dr. Marc Stern, former health services director for Washington state’s prisons. Stern, who once worked for a Corizon predecessor in New York state, issued a 2012 report criticizing the company’s care of Idaho prison inmates while serving as a court-appointed expert.

“I think the problem is how much money and effort we are willing to put into correctional health care,” Stern said.

Some critics, though, say Corizon is notably problematic.

“We get letters from prisoners about medical care not being provided, and the list is endless. And it’s increased tremendously since Corizon took over,” said Randall Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice Institute, who represents inmates petitioning for care.

Corizon says it strives to provide quality care.

“We are always troubled by any questions on the care provided to our patients and view this as an opportunity to reconfirm our commitment to operational ethics and professionalism,” company spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern said in a written statement. The company declined to answer questions.

The criticism surrounding Corizon isn’t new. Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, which later became Corizon, was the main subject of a 1998 Post-Dispatch investigation of for-profit prison health care providers. Looking at CMS and other firms, the investigation found more than 20 cases nationwide in which inmates died as a result of alleged negligence, indifference, understaffing, inadequate training or cost-cutting.

In 2012, Corizon was sued for alleged medical missteps in the death of Courtland Lucas, an inmate in the St. Louis jail. He died May 25, 2009, from complications of a heart problem, congenital aortic valve stenosis, while under the care of CMS. The lawsuit was settled in the fall of 2014, but the terms were not disclosed.

Corizon’s struggles are widespread.

Its care of the 11,000 inmates at New York City’s Rikers Island is under “comprehensive review” by officials, who say they are concerned about problems including at least 16 deaths since 2009.

Arizona hired Corizon last year to replace Wexford Health Sources Inc. after its care came under fire. But an advocacy group warned that “if anything, things have gotten worse” in state prisons. Arizona and the ACLU recently reached a settlement calling for more monitoring of inmate care.

Meanwhile Corizon has lost long-standing prison contracts in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, Tennessee and Pennsylvania since 2012. Auditors in three states documented problems, including slowness to address poor recordkeeping and inmates’ urgent requests for off-site care.

Corizon, which generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2013 and is owned by a Chicago private equity firm, has battled stiffening competition. In recent months, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have downgraded Corizon’s holding company, citing financial underperformance, contract losses and competition that has squeezed profits.

The connection between Corizon’s contract losses and questions about the quality of care it provides is not clear.

But the challenges are evident in Florida, where a year after the state privatized prison care and awarded Corizon a $1.2 billion contract, news reports point to rising inmate deaths. If the company does not address substandard care, the state’s corrections commissioner wrote to Corizon’s CEO in September, Florida may begin withholding payment.

In Minnesota, an audit last year found that inadequate communication between prison staff and Corizon doctors during overnight hours “may have been a contributing factor to inmate deaths.”

But in announcing Minnesota’s change of contractors, the corrections commissioner said Corizon had provided “excellent” service. In a written response to questions, the state corrections department said its decision was not related to the audit. It would not comment on inmate deaths.

Corizon’s work in local jails also has come under scrutiny.

In October, Volusia County, Fla., officials questioned Corizon executives about lawsuits and its financial stability before voting unanimously to switch contractors. The hearing was held in the shadow of a lawsuit filed locally by the family of Tracy Veira, an inmate who choked to death in 2009 in a cell where she was supposed to be under watch while detoxing from painkillers.

A nurse working for one of the companies that merged to form Corizon saw an ailing Veira in the jail’s clinic the afternoon before she died. She told a supervisor the inmate looked as if she needed hospitalization, but Veira was instead sent back to her cell, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

When the commissioners questioned Corizon’s executives, there was no mention of Veira. But Commissioner Deb Denys said she was mindful of the case, scheduled for a July trial.

“I think everybody was,” Denys said. “Sometimes you don’t state the obvious.”

Jennifer Mann of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.