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Arizona Loses Contempt Appeal In Prison Health Care Case

An appeals court has upheld a 2018 contempt-of-court ruling against now-retired Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan for failing to follow through on promises in a legal settlement to improve health care for prisoners.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the state’s arguments that the judge who found Ryan in civil contempt didn’t have contempt powers available to enforce the 5-year-old settlement.

For several years, the state has been dogged by complaints that it was dragging its feet in complying with the 2014 settlement, which resolved a lawsuit that challenged the quality of health care for the state’s 34,000 inmates.

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