Arizona Urges Judge Against More Fines In Inmate Care Suit

By Bridget Dowd, Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 8:26am
Updated: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 8:47am

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Arizona Department of Corrections building
Arizona Department of Corrections
Arizona Department of Corrections building in Phoenix.

Lawyers representing the Arizona Department of Corrections are urging a judge to not impose a second round of contempt-of-court fines for failing to adequately follow through on its promises to improve health care for inmates.

Three months ago, the judge threatened as much as $1.6 million in additional contempt fines because she said the state remained noncompliant with many elements of a settlement over inmate care.

A year ago, another judge found Corrections Director Charles Ryan to be in civil contempt of court and fined the state $1.4 million for noncompliance.

The state's lawyers say officials took all reasonable steps to comply with the judge's orders but that a switch in the state's contractor for health care in prisons led to unexpected difficulties that were outside of the state's control.

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