Arizona Facing Millions More In Fines For Failure To Comply With Prison Health Care Settlement

Published: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 8:53am
Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 11:34am

The Arizona Department of Corrections is facing millions of dollars in fines each month if it fails to comply with an ongoing settlement agreement over health care in state prisons.  

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a $1.4 million fine against Arizona over poor prison health care that was first issued in June 2018.

Upholding the lower court’s power to enforce the settlement agreement reached in the Parsons versus Ryan case has paved the way for the judge overseeing the case to issue a new warning for the state.

In an order filed this week, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver said the Department of Corrections could now face more contempt fines of $100,000 for each violation of 125 separate settlement provisions.

Attorneys representing the inmates in state prisons say the most recent tally of performance measure failures would have cost the state several million dollars for just one month.

The state has until March 1 to comply.

Prison Law Office attorney Corene Kendrick said she hoped Silver's order warning of massive new fines "will motivate the state to comply with the settlement agreement" to ensure proper care for her clients.  

"If it doesn’t, then the 9th Circuit has made clear that she has the power to hold them in contempt and fine them," Kendrick said.

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