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The Latest: Expert picked in suit over inmates’ health care

December 6, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on a hearing Thursday in a lawsuit over the quality of health care in Arizona’s prisons (all times local):

4:33 p.m.

A judge presiding in a settlement over health care in Arizona’s prisons has appointed an expert to examine the method for determining whether the state is making the changes it promised to make to inmate care.

Dr. Marc Stern was appointed Thursday by Judge Roslyn Silver.

Three weeks ago, the judge said in an order that evidence has shown the Department of Corrections had manipulated the process for monitoring compliance with the settlement.

The hearing Thursday was the first held in the case since Corrections Director Charles Ryan was held in civil contempt of court for failing to make many of the promised improvements.

Silver said hiring an expert was a more attractive option than throwing out the settlement and conducting a trial.

10:57 p.m.

A judge presiding in a settlement over health care in Arizona’s prisons will hold a hearing Thursday after previously raising the possibility of throwing out the agreement over what she said was the state’s pervasive noncompliance with the deal.

The agenda for the hearing is unknown.

It will mark the case’s first hearing since Corrections Director Charles Ryan was held in contempt of court for failing to make many of the improvements.

The suit alleged that some inmates in Arizona’s 10 state-run prisons complained that their cancer went undetected or that they were told to pray to be cured.

Judge Roslyn Silver says the state’s insistence on defending its noncompliance is ill-advised.

State lawyers haven’t yet said whether they will continue with the settlement or resume litigation.

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