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, April 10, 2011

AHCCCS Transplant funds restored, at a high cost to others.

"The dying are taxpayers, too."
AZ State Capitol/Wes Bolin Plaza
February 28, 2011

Under the plan that restored the 2010 AHCCCS (medicaid) cuts, over a hundred fifty thousand "childless adults" in AZ won't receive health care coverage when they get ill, "saving" the state $190 million. Folks whose medical bills reduce their spendable income to less than 40% of the federal poverty rate are also screwed ("saving" the rest of us $70 m).

Not only do we lose federal funds for health care now, but it's guaranteed that we'll be spending more than twice as much incarcerating the mentally ill patients who lose their benefits and can no longer obtain the medications or treatment they need when they decompensate - because the people who voted for this woman are much more willing to spend their taxes on prisons (which so many profit from) than health care for the wonder we have one mentally ill person in our hospitals for every ten we decide top incarcerate, with little or no care.

That's appalling.

Give my Taxes to AHCCCS!

Thanks a lot, Brewer. You're a real swell human being.


Janice K. Brewer, Governor
Thomas J. Betlach, Director
801 East Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85034
PO Box 25520, Phoenix, AZ 85002
Phone: 602-417-4000
Our first care is your health care

DATE: April 7, 2011

TO: Interested Stakeholders
FROM: Marc Leib, MD, Chief Medical Officer

SUBJECT: Transplant Restoration


As part of the recently enacted budget, the Arizona Legislature adopted Governor Brewer's Medicaid Reform Plan which restores funding of previously covered transplants for adults that were eliminated effective October 1, 2010. Retroactive to April 1, 2011, AHCCCS will once again cover the following transplants for members 21 years of age and older:

Pancreas-after-kidney transplants

Liver transplants in patients with Hepatitis C

Allogeneic unrelated hematopoietic cell transplants

Heart transplants in patients with non-ischemic cardiomyopathies

Lung transplants

Heart-lung transplants

Transplants that were not covered by AHCCCS prior to October 1, 2010, including pancreas only transplants, partial pancreas transplants and pancreas islet cell transplants, are not affected by this legislation. Those transplants remain non-covered. In addition to the medically necessary transplants covered for adults, AHCCCS continues to cover all medically necessary, non experimental transplants for members under the age of 21 years as required by EPSDT.

Coverage criteria for restored transplants will be the same as the criteria in place prior to October 1, 2010. Physicians with patients they believe meet the criteria for any AHCCCS covered transplant should contact the AHCCCS health plan in which the patient is enrolled to refer the patient for transplant evaluation.

For more information, please see the AHCCCS website at:

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