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Lawyers Say Mentally Ill Inmates Are Suffering In Maricopa County Jails

Lawyers pressing a decades-old lawsuit over conditions in Maricopa County jails say inmates with serious mental illnesses are suffering needlessly.

The lawyers have submitted a new court filing, which says Maricopa County officials have not complied with a federal judge's requirement that mentally ill inmates be brought to outside hospitals if they can't be adequately treated in jail. It's unclear what sort of consequences the county would face if the judge finds it did not comply with the requirement.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 1977 amid allegations that the civil rights of inmates had been violated. It lingered for decades, and a judge concluded in 2008 that the county provided inadequate medical and mental health care, unsanitary conditions and unhealthy food inside the jails.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)