Arizona prisons boss set to testify at contempt hearing

PHOENIX - Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan is scheduled to testify at a court hearing over whether he should be held in contempt of court for falling short on promises to improve health care for prisoners.

The hearing Tuesday was called after U.S. Magistrate David Duncan repeatedly voiced frustration over what he called Arizona's "abject failure" to make the improvements it promised when it settled a class-action lawsuit over the quality of health care for inmates.

Duncan also has threatened to fine the state $1,000 for each instance during December and January in which it failed to make the improvements.

The state has acknowledged that it has more than 1,900 instances of noncompliance in December and January.

That means the state could be fined as much as $1.9 million.

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