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County seeks end to judge's supervision over jails

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PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County officials in metro Phoenix are asking a judge to end his oversight over medical and mental health care services for inmates who are awaiting trial in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails.

The oversight by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake arises from a 36-year-old lawsuit over jail conditions.

The judge is examining the issue in an evidentiary hearing that's expected to end Thursday.

Five years ago, Wake concluded the county provided inadequate medical and mental health care, unsanitary conditions and unhealthy food inside the jails.

The judge's supervision of the sheriff's office effectively ended in May 2012.

But the judge continued his oversight of the jails' medical and mental health operations, which are run by the county.

Lawyers who pushed the lawsuit say inmate care is still plagued by deficiencies.

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