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Prison Health Care Becoming Controversial Amid Budget Crisis

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

State officials say it's time to get rid of the court appointed Federal Receiver who's in charge of improving prison health care in California. Jenny O'Mara reports.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown says Federal Receiver Clark Kelso isn't being open about what he's doing.

Brown: "And what the receiver's become is a parallel government, operating virtually in secret, not accountable, not subject to public scrutiny…"

What's more, Brown says Kelso's latest plan to spend $8 billion for seven new prison health facilities has gone too far. He says it's too much money for the cash strapped state.

So Brown has filed a motion in US District Court to have prison medical care returned to the state's control. For his part, Clark Kelso insists his office is being transparent. And Kelso says he's sought input from the state to find ways to save money.

Kelso: "We always anticipated and welcomed further state review and actions that would let us spend less-frankly the state review has been very slow in coming.

Kelso says his position is still needed to ensure California's prison health care is brought up to acceptable standards. A federal judge determined in 2005 that the receiver position was needed to improve health care in prisons.

 

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