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Corrections boss defends care provided in Arizona prisons

The Arizona State Prison in Florence.
AP, file
Associated Press
This July 23, 2014, file photo, shows a state prison in Florence. A judge presiding over a legal settlement on the quality of health care in Arizona's prisons imposed $1.1 million in contempt of court fines against the state on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, for failing to follow through on promises to improve inmate care. It marked the second time the state faced penalties for remaining noncompliant with many elements of the deal.

Arizona Corrections Director David Shinn testified at a trial over the quality of medical and mental health care in state prisons that incarcerated people often have greater access to health services than people who aren’t locked up.

His testimony came after the state has faced complaints about poor health care behind bars and been fined $2.5 million for not complying with a settlement over the issue.

The settlement was tossed by a judge who concluded Arizona showed little interest in complying with the deal.

The prisoners are asking a judge to take over health care operations and appoint an official to run those services.