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Judge asks whether prison health care deal should be tossed

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Posted at 12:29 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 15:29:48-04

PHOENIX (AP) - A judge who has criticized Arizona's noncompliance with a settlement requiring better health care for prisoners has ordered lawyers in the case to say whether they want to throw out the deal and bring the case to trial.

The order Friday by Judge Roslyn Silver offers the state the option of making a good-faith reaffirmation of its promise to comply with the settlement, drawing up a replacement agreement, or throwing out the 2014 deal and heading to trial.

The order came after a court-appointed expert issued a report saying understaffing, inadequate funding and privatization of health care services are significant barriers in improving inmate care.

The state's noncompliance has so far been costly.

In June 2018, the state was fined $1.4 million for noncompliance with elements of the settlement.