Arizona reaches settlement in prisoner health care case
Arizona reaches settlement in prisoner health care case

[JURIST] A federal court on Wednesday approved [ACLU press release] a settlement agreement [text, PDF] between the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) [official website] and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] in a class action lawsuit over the health care system within Arizona prisons. The agreement requires the ADC to meet more than 100 health care performance measures [Arizona Central report], including monitoring individuals with chronic conditions. Additionally, the ADC must increase the amount of time inmates with serious mental illnesses spend outside of their cell on a weekly basis from six to 19 hours.

The treatment of prisoners and prison reform [JURIST podcast] is a growing concern worldwide. Last April experts from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] voiced concern [JURIST report] about the lack of medical treatment to two political prisoners in Iran who were at risk of dying in detention, given that the government had not responded to requests for specialized medical treatment. Last February New York agreed to prison reforms [JURIST report] that would reduce the use of solitary confinement and ban solitary confinement for prisoners under 18 years old, pregnant inmates, and developmentally disabled and intellectually challenged prisoners, a move which was argued might spark other reforms [JURIST op-ed]. In October 2013 UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez [official profile] encouraged governmental review [JURIST report] of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners [text, PDF] adopted in 1955, with particular emphasis on limiting solitary confinement.