Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Judge Henderson Orders End of Receivership

Today, Judge Thelton Henderson of the U.S. District Court expressed satisfaction with the improvements to prison health care, and ordered the federal Receiver, Clark Kelso, to report by april 30th when the receivership should end and whether the prison health care system will remain under federal oversight.

The Associated Press and the San Francisco Chronicle report:

The ruling marks an important milestone in a process that began nearly six years ago when the judge appointed a receiver to run California's prison medical system after finding that an average of one inmate a week was dying of neglect or malpractice. He cited inmate overcrowding as the leading cause, but said in Tuesday's order that conditions have improved.

He praised the better conditions throughout the system, particularly noted during inspections of medical facilities by the prison system's independent inspector general.

"Significant progress has been made," Henderson wrote, citing the receiver's own report to the federal court last week. "While some critical work remains outstanding — most notably on construction issues — it is clear that many of the goals of the Receivership have been accomplished."

While the Prison Law Office expressed concern that the Receivership's end is premature, it might be a wise thing to start preparing for the shift in health care with the realignment. Counties will have to incur some of the costs for inmates' health. But it's worthwhile to remember that serious offenders, who usually serve more time, will remain in state prisons, and their lengthy prison sentences also implies that they age in prison and thus require expensive care.

Many thanks to Brooke McCarthy for alerting me to this.

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