A judge overseeing a class-action lawsuit over the quality of health care in Arizona's prisons said Monday that correction officers cannot take disciplinary
action against inmates close to the time they testify or meet with their lawyers
because it could be conceived as retaliation.
U.S. Magistrate David Duncan repeatedly told Arizona corrections staff testifying that though their disciplinary action might not have been intended as retaliatory, it could be construed that way from inmates and disrupt truthful communications in the courtroom.
Duncan told the Officers that they would have to find another time to enforce that discipline.
The concern over retaliatory action arose because of incidents like one inmate's reassignment into another cell after their bunkmate testified - -
prisoners being put in jumpsuits, and inmates property being moved when the inmate went to testify for the case.
The 2014 settlement was won on behalf of 33,000 Arizona inmates after some complained that their cancer went undetected or they were told to pray to be cured after begging for treatment.
It also alleged that the failure of medical staff at one prison to diagnose the metastasized cancer of one inmate resulted in his liver enlarging so his stomach swelled the size of a pregnant woman at full term.
Attorneys challenging health services in the prison have repeatedly said the state is dragging its feet in making improvements promised when settling the case.