Arizona officials threatened with contempt over prison care

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PHOENIX (AP) -

A judge has warned Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan could be held in civil contempt of court for falling short in improving health care for inmates.

The order Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate David Duncan also said the state could face fines for not making the improvements when it promised when settling a lawsuit that alleged inmates were getting shoddy health care.

[RELATED: Arizona prisons ordered to improve health care for inmates]

[READ MORE: Prison healthcare company contracted with state requests another rate increase]

Duncan says officials will be required early next year to file a list of every instance during December in which it was unable to comply with the changes. 

He threatened a $1,000 fine for each instance of noncompliance.

[MORE: Hearing focuses on retaliation complaint against prisons]

The magistrate also said he will impose civil contempt sanctions against Ryan and another prison official if there is convincing evidence that they haven't taken reasonable steps to make the improvements.

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