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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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Corizon at ASPC-Tucson/Rincon ICU: patients, staff infested with parasites

I find the institutional neglect of the elderly, non-verbal, and dying especially heinous. It's no wonder that Corizon and the DOC decided to cut corners with the prisoners who are least likely to be able to fight back. My deepest gratitude to the health care professional who had the courage to report all this to the public that is paying for it - and to all the folks still  working for Corizon who are delivering the best care they can under the worst of conditions. At least the prisoners know who the good guys among you are.

I'll post Director Ryan's answer when it comes.


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CORIZON's deliberate indifference: parasitic infestation of the elderly, sick and dying at Tucson/Rincon ICU..
1 message

Arizona Prisonwatch                Tue, Apr 29, 2014  7:43 PM



Cc: "" ,, Governor Brewer , "" , "" , Daniel Pochoda , Caroline Isaacs , Peri Jude Radecic , Richard Pratt , Donna Leone Hamm

Charles Ryan, Director
Arizona Department of Corrections
1601 W. Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85007
April 29, 2014

Director Ryan:
I'm writing with grave concern about the welfare of both the patients and medical staff of ASPC-Tucson/Rincon's Intensive Care Unit. I've heard complaints from a former Corizon employee that there's a serious, ongoing outbreak of blood sucking parasites (scabies) among both the patients and employees there needing immediate intervention. The public health department wont take any action, but I do expect you to.

Apparently the physician in charge is in deep denial about this infestation, and is thus refusing to properly treat the sick and dying people who have been infected with scabies. At least 7 Corizon employees have been infected by scabies as well, but have been denied time off to treat their own conditions because there are no other staff to cover their shifts. Thus, they risk spreading the parasites to other patients, many of whom are elderly or have compromised immune systems already - which is why this outbreak is an urgent matter to attend to, whether or not there are any prisoner grievances. Patients who are too far gone may not even know that they've been infested with these parasites to file a complaint - they just lie there and suffer.

That's not all that's going in in that unit, though. The DOC is complicit in the neglect by ignoring staffing needs in the ICU - my source tells me she worries that some of the sick and dying may not even be getting fed regularly or having their soiled sheets changed enough because the place is so drastically understaffed. Many of those patients who need help eating and toileting don't have the voice to complain or the coherence to know they missed lunch or wet the bed. You have a special duty to look out for them when you hear that the people you hired to do so are not.

The former employee I spoke to also alleges that at least one prisoner has died recently due to negligence on Corizon's part, a death which was reported as being from "natural causes". Thus, each one of those ICU patients should have a through medical evaluation done by someone not affiliated with Corizon to prevent another wrongful death. And really, all the health units with seriously disabled and non-verbal patients should have extra oversight from the DOC. The worst abuses always happen to those who can be expected to remain silent.

On other yards I know that Corizon abruptly stopped pain medication regardless of how severe the patients condition was, and only transitioned those prisoners to alternative meds for relief if they fought for it, which few prisoners know how to even do. Unfortunately, the demented and brain-injured patients you imprison who will never be able to advocate for themselves effectively or "exhaust administrative remedies" so they can sue you all, making them easy prey for profiteers like Corizon. Those people just  look for the most vulnerable and ignored population to cut their corners with. That's where you need to be looking, too.

From what my source has told me about the overall situation in Rincon's ICU, patient records and staff logs should be immediately seized and inspected so they can't be tampered with, while interviews are conducted with staff about evidence of criminal wrongdoing in regards to those patients by Corizon. I frankly think what Corizon is doing amounts to stealing resources from both the patients and the state, and defrauding us all by not delivering what they have been paid for and have promised.  The consequences of such a violation of that contract has no doubt been deadly to more than one of their imprisoned patients.

Please assure me that you will send a health care team into Rincon ICU immediately to deal with this situation and evaluate those patients and their records, and make sure that all receive the necessary treatment for their ailments, be it scabies, Alzheimers, or cancer. If your DOC employee monitoring Corizon at Rincon was doing their job thus far, you wouldn't be getting this letter from me, so I wouldn't count on them to do the job right now - they would just have incentive to downplay everything so they don't look like a fool. Please evaluate whether your Corizon contract monitoring staff are just oblivious, deliberately indifferent, or actually complicit in hiding Corizon's crimes against the people of this state.

I'll have public records requests pertinent to this email in to your legal department by the morning. I'll also pass your contact information on to the former Corizon employee I spoke to, who may be willing to speak to DOC investigators if you plan to take this seriously. Just let me know who she should contact.

Margaret Plews

Margaret J. Plews, Editor
Arizona Prison Watch
P.O. Box 20494
Phoenix, AZ 85036

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