A judge has found Arizona's prisons chief to be in civil contempt of court and fined the state $1.4 million for failing to adequately improve health care for inmates.

The decision Friday involving Corrections Director Charles Ryan stems from the state's acknowledged failure to follow through on some improvements that it promised in 2014 when it settled a lawsuit over care.

The Arizona Department of Corrections says it plans to appeal the civil contempt of court ruling. It also said it was confident an appeals court will overturn the decision because it's contrary to the evidence and law in the case.

The lawsuit said some prisoners complained their cancer went undetected or they were told to pray to be cured after begging for treatment.

It also claims the failure of the medical staff at one prison to diagnose the metastasized cancer of an inmate resulted in his stomach swelling to the size of a pregnant woman at full term.

The state denied the claims that it was providing shoddy care.