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Arizona severs ties with prison health contractor

An inmate stands at his cell door Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009 at the maximum security facility at the Arizona State Prison in Florence. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Arizona Department of Corrections says it has severed ties with a Pennsylvania company and has hired a new contractor to provide health services for all inmates in the state prison system.

The agency announced Wednesday that “unforeseeable challenges” have resulted in the termination of its contract with Wexford Health Sources Inc.

The agency says Corizon Inc. will take over March 4.

Corrections officials had criticized Wexford’s performance in the past, but the company argued that it was hindered in part by a lack of cooperation from the state.

The legal director for ACLU of Arizona, Dan Pochoda, says there’s no reason to think replacing Wexford with another for-profit contractor will solve what he called a crisis in Arizona’s prisons.

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