Cancer inmate gets rare deal from county attorney, will be released from prison to receive treatment

PHOENIX - It's an extremely rare case -- an inmate suffering from breast cancer is about to be released from jail.

It's part of a plea deal with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Ruth Alvarez, was placed in jail, accused of working with a false identity. She is now fighting for her life.

"August of last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer," she said in Spanish during an interview.

She's also fighting for her freedom.

Alvarez finished chemotherapy before she was placed in jail, where she has spent the last 15 days.

But, a mastectomy scheduled for next week, is still on the calendar.

"My biggest fear is missing my surgery outside and having to be here to receive it," she said with tears in her eyes.

The county attorney agreed to release Alvarez with a plea deal. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Officials with the Immigration Customs and Enforcement have also agreed to release her, for now.

While she was granted freedom from jail, she will still have to serve unsupervised probation for a year.

"At the end of the day it was the county attorney reaching out to us and coming to this agreement which she is absolutely excited with and thrilled about. And it's an example of compromise and compromise is good," said Alvarez's attorney Jose Penalosa.

Penalosa said ICE has agreed to revisit her immigration status case after she has recovered from her surgery.

Alvarez is expected to be transported from the Estrella Jail to the Lower Buckeye Jail where she will be released Thursday at 6:00 a.m.


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