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Arizona urges judge against more fines in inmate care suit

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Posted at 6:53 AM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 09:53:18-04

PHOENIX (AP) - 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.