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Judge says Arizona's prison health care is still 'grossly inadequate'

A federal judge has ruled that Arizona has continued to not comply with a lawsuit settlement in which it promised to revamp care in the state prison system. 

The ruling says that despite the 2015 settlement to a lawsuit filed three years prior, the state has still not held up their promise for better prison care. Gov. Doug Ducey had signed an agreement to do so his first year in office.

Hear Jimmy Jenkins discuss the ruling with host Steve Goldstein on The Show


The judge says the prison care is "plainly grossly inadequate" and state officials are acting "with deliberate indifference'' to the substantial risk of harm to inmates.

Twice, Arizona was fined more than $1 million for its failure, but at this point it is unclear what else the judge will do to get the state to comply.

One rare legal option is taking the prison management away from the government and giving it to someone appointed by — and answering directly — to the court.

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Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.