For failing to improve inmate healthcare following a 2014 lawsuit, the Arizona Department of Corrections was found to be in civil contempt of court along with its Director Charles Ryan and Medical Director Richard Pratt.
A judge on June 22, found Arizona’s prisons chief to be in civil contempt of court and fined the state $1.4 million for failing to adequately improve healthcare for inmates.
The decision involving Corrections Director Charles Ryan stems from the state’s acknowledged failure to follow through on some improvements that it promised in 2014 when it settled a lawsuit over care.
The Department of Corrections plans to appeal the ruling and is confident the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will reverse this decision saying in a statement, “it is both contrary to evidence and the law.
The lawsuit said some prisoners complained their cancer went undetected or they were told to pray to be cured after begging for treatment.
Sanctions of $1.45 million were placed upon the department along with a demand from Magistrate Judge David Duncan for proposals to be submitted by Ryan and Pratt regarding how the money can be allocated to better prison healthcare conditions.
Spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, Daniel Scarpinato called the decision “unjustified,” in a tweet Friday evening, stating, “we stand by Director Ryan.”
Corizon Health Inc., Arizona prison healthcare provider, was not part of the lawsuit, despite the blame Ryan placed on the company for not making necessary changes. The state has acknowledged 1,400 instances from December to January where promised improvements were not met, yet it denies claims to providing “shoddy care,” according to the Associated Press.
Corizon’s CEO Steve Rector also criticized Duncan’s actions, issuing the following statement:
“This legal battle unfortunately also underlines why incarceration policy is best made under the direction of Arizona’s elected policy leaders, the governor and State Legislature and not in courtrooms.”
For details on what occurred prior to this ruling, refer to this Hertel Report article.
Read more about the ruling at azcentral.
For the breaking story, visit AP News.