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PHOENIX -- A handful of Arizona prison inmates who sued the state over the quality of health care at the state's prisons won class-action status that lets other prisoners join the case.

The class is defined in an order Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake as prisoners who are or will be subjected to untimely access to care, a failure to receive necessary medication, an insufficient health staff, a failure to provide care for chronic diseases and other alleged failures.

The prisoners pushing the lawsuit also won subclass status for all prisoners who are or will be put in isolation in a cell for 22 hour or more each day at five prison units.

Prison officials have denied the lawsuit's allegations that the medical care for inmates is grossly inadequate.

Associated Press,

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