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PHOENIX -- A judge has rejected a request by Arizona prison officials to reconsider a ruling that opens the door for thousands of prison inmates to join a lawsuit protesting the quality of health care in state prisons.

The small number of inmates who filed the lawsuit won class-action status that lets other prisoners join the case.

State prison officials argued the ruling by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake was based on an erroneous assumption.

The judge rejected the request Friday. The lawsuit alleges there aren't enough health workers in prisons to treat inmates and that critically ill inmates were told to be patient and pray to be cured after they begged for treatment.

Prison officials denied allegations that the care for inmates is grossly inadequate.

Associated Press,

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