A warden for one of Arizona’s prisons was questioned in court over whether an inmate being reassigned to another cell was retaliation for their bunkmate testifying in a lawsuit over the quality of health care for prisoners.
Kim Currier said the change was not retaliatory and occurred because another set of inmates were having issues and couldn’t live together anymore.
U.S. Magistrate David Duncan told Currier officers had 166 other inmates they could have switched instead and the move could appear retaliatory even if it’s not.
Duncan also told the state their methods of communication to relay the court’s directives are not working and sending mixed and contradictory messages.
Attorneys challenging health services in the prisons have repeatedly said the state is dragging its feet in making improvements after settling the lawsuit in 2014.
The hearing follows Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan being questioned in court last month over whether he tried to undermine a court order that prohibited retaliation against inmates who testified in the lawsuit.
Ryan testified about a July 27 email he sent to prisons employees letting them know they had to follow the order. The email also says the decision was based on only the accounts of prisoners.
Ryan had said his comments about the order weren’t intended to be disrespectful.