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Federal Judge OK’s Arizona Prisons Deal

PHOENIX (CN) — A federal judge Wednesday approved a settlement agreement between the Arizona Department of Corrections and inmates in its 10 state-run prisons, which should improve medical care for prisoners.
Under the settlement, the Arizona Department of Corrections ask the Legislature for increased funding for health care staffing and institute plans to treat prisoners with chronic diseases.
The agency, which admitted no wrongdoing, will also give annual flu shots and provide colon cancer screenings and mammograms to inmates of a certain age.
Corrections officers are to refrain from using pepper spray on prisoners unless there is an "imminent threat" present.
The settlement comes after a 2012 class action in which inmates claimed they were subjected to "unnecessary pain and suffering, preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and death" in Arizona prisons. They also claimed prison staffs were ill-prepared and -trained to handle medical emergencies.
U.S. District Judge David Duncan approved the settlement and authorized Arizona to pay class attorneys $4.9 million in legal fees. He also required the settlement to be placed in each prison library.

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