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Plaintiffs In Arizona Prison Health Care Suit Call For Receivership, $24 Million In Fines

The Arizona Department of Corrections is potentially facing additional fines and oversight for failures to provide adequate health care in state prisons.

Attorneys for people incarcerated in state prisons told a federal judge on Friday that they now believe the state is liable for an additional $24 million in fines for failing to meet performance benchmarks in an ongoing settlement over prison health care.

The state has so far been hit with  two previous contempt fines in the case,  totalling $2.5 million.

Additionally, ACLU attorney Corene Kendrick, representing the prisoners, is calling on presiding Judge Roslyn Silver to appoint a receiver to take over health care services.

“It’s the federal court basically taking control because either the state officials are unable or unwilling to follow the law," Kendrick said.

If Silver does levy more fines, plaintiffs’ attorneys are asking that the Department of Corrections be forced to pay, instead of recouping the cost from its private health care contractor, Centurion of Arizona.

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.