Arizona prisons boss set to testify at contempt hearing

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Charles Ryan (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Charles Ryan (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (AP) -

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.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Arizona officials threatened with contempt over prison care]

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.

[RELATED: Arizona prisons ordered to improve 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.

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

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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