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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AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CORIZON at ASPC-Perryville: Deliberate indiference to our elders.

I received the following letter from a woman at ASPC-Perryville who is deeply concerned for a friend’s welfare, and hopes that publishing her story will help improve the quality of care she gets from Corizon staff and the AZ DOC. She’s one of few women I’m in touch with who really knows how to fight back through the grievance process and civil rights suits. Thank you, Laura Medley. You rock!

 prisoner Dominique Keys

“In 2006, Dominique Keys developed osteomyleitis. This is an infection of bone marrow and/or bone structures usually caused by a bacteria. For months she had a fever up to 104 degrees, and AZ Department of Corrections (DOC) medical told her nothing was wrong with her.

Without her knowledge, this infection ate through the spinal vertebrae causing two cervical fractures. For months medical left Dominique in her cell partially paralyzed in her own urine and feces telling staff that there was nothing wrong with her.

By January 2007, (medical) sent Dominique to the hospital where the fractures were discovered. After which Dr. Naftaly Attias performed a corpeltomy fusion at C 5-6, C4-7 with a steel cage. The doctor did not bother to tell Dominique that he had accidentally drilled a hole through her spinal cord. In fact, she didn’t find this out until 2012.

By 2013, after Corizon assumed the control I wrote a letter to Corizon’s legal department. Dominique was examined by a physician at St. Luke’s Hospital who stated that the damage to her cervical spine was irrepairable and re-affirmed that she still required a second surgery(A spinal rod). The surgical consult was approved in December 2013, however, nothing has been done.

I filed a medical malpractice case against Dr. Attias in Maricopa County Superior Court (CV 2012-017403) I waived all of the motions and oral arguments for Dominique. Even with a court order, it has taken months just to get a copy of her medical records. Just short of a contempt ruling.

ADOC did not want the release of these medical records not only because of the spinal issues, but because of several issues. In 2011, Dominique fell transferring from the toilet to her wheelchair. You could clearly see a dislocation of her left shoulder and medical refused to address the issue.

So, once again I wrote a letter to Corizon’s legal department. Last November, St. Luke’s hospital performed an MRI. All of the muscles tore, arthritis, and healed improperly, rotator cuff blown out and she requires complete joint replacement. Even with surgery, Dominique will never have full use of her left arm and shoulder. 3 months later, medical claims that they’re trying to find a doctor to perform the procedure.

Dominique had cardiac issues. Specifically aneurysm on the carotid artery with high blood pressure and several blocked arteries. After DOC was notified that Dominique required cardiac surgery, it’s been several YEARS since she has been seen by a cardiologist.

Dominique is a 70-year old woman. With respect to her spine, intermittent paralysis and extreme pain. These assholes wouldn’t even approve her with a wheelchair. Her daughter bought her a wheelchair. She’s in agony with her shoulder. With the cardiac, the pain has her blood pressure at stroke levels.

Nothing is being done and essentially ADOC wants her to remain in a cell, shut up and die! At this point, in considering adding Arizona as a party to the Attias lawsuit just to obtain orders for medical treatments…”

Dominique apparently just returned to Perryville from the hospital on 5/11/14 - I dont know what procedure she may have had there, but expect to hear back from her friend soon.

Please, readers, contact Governor Brewer’s office and urge her to appoint an executive team to investigate the privatization of the DOC’s health services - the performance of these private companies has been criminal, for which they are making a profit off of the tax dollars stolen from our schools to care for prisoners - in fact, Corizon is being paid over $300,000 a day to deny prisoners the essential care they need.

Governor's Office
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

(602) 542-4331


 You can also complain directly to Corizon about Dominique’s care at 1-855-276-5416
 or by E-MAIL: 

For those of you who are also fighting for a loved one’s medical care at the AZ DOC, please refer to these posts below, and call or email me if you need help. Your loved ones MUST be filing grievances, not just more HNRs, if they aren’t getting the care they need. Reach me, Peggy Plews at 480-580-6807 or

photo by PJ Starr / Chalk art by Margaret J Plews
Phoenix, AZ (Thanksgiving 2011)