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Judge Orders Parties To Renegotiate Arizona Prison Health Care Settlement

A federal judge is giving the parties in the Parsons vs. Ryan prison health care lawsuit 60 days to renegotiate a settlement over conditions in Arizona prisons. 

In 2012, the original lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging unconstitutional health care conditions for people incarcerated in state prisons. Three years later, in 2015, the court approved a settlement, avoiding a trial.

Now nearly five years later, attorneys for the inmates say the state has not lived up to its end of the bargain.

Attorneys for the state argue they have made progress and said they will work to narrow the scope of the remaining health care issues in a new settlement.

U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver warned the parties if they can’t agree on how to fix the system, she will send the case to trial. "Each side must approach these renewed negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement which will finally end this litigation," Silver wrote.

Magistrate Judge Deborah Fine will preside over the new negotiations. The parties have until Jan. 13 to file a status report on the settlement discussions.

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Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.