KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Under Pressure From Federal Judge, Arizona Changes Prison Health Care Policies

Under pressure from a federal judge, the Arizona Department of Corrections has changed some of its policies related to health care in state prisons. 

In Arizona prisons, incarcerated people are forced to pay for their own personal hygiene supplies like soap and toothpaste. If they need medical attention, inmates must pay a $4 copay, just to be seen by a nurse.

After attorneys from the Prison Law Office and the ACLU asked a federal judge to intervene in light of a coronavirus pandemic, the court responded immediately. Judge Roslyn Silver  ordered the Department of Corrections to respond to the concerns by Wednesday.

In response, the Arizona Department of Corrections announced it is waiving copays for inmates with cold and flu symptoms, and making soap available for free.

ADC spokesperson Judy Keane said "These are ADCRR’s latest proactive measures to defend against the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.  They will not be the last." 

The Department also announced new screening measures for employees and inmates on work crews who are reentering the prisons.

In a recent tour,  attorneys for the inmates found squalid, filthy conditions at the Florence prison, which they described as a breeding ground for infection.

ADC said it was also stopping "all routine internal movement of inmates across all Arizona Prison Complexes."

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease 

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.