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Paroling Inmates On Life Support Could Save California Millions

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Aired 9/3/10

A bill that would release sick prison inmates on parole is one step away from becoming law. Both houses of the state legislature passed a medical parole bill that would save the state millions of dollars.

— A bill that would release sick prison inmates on parole is one step away from becoming law. Both houses of the state legislature passed a medical parole bill that would save the state millions of dollars.

A sick prisoner sleeps in the hospital unit at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.
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Above: A sick prisoner sleeps in the hospital unit at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

Some of California’s sickest prison inmates are in comas, and some are hooked up to life support.

Clark Kelso is the federally appointed receiver in charge of prison health care.

"They are really incapacitated and not able to move. They pose no threat to public safety,” says Kelso.

Kelso says the new medical parole bill could potentially release 30 of these inmates, saving the state $40 million in health care costs.

However, taxpayers would still foot the bill. Once on parole, most of the inmates’ health care bills will be covered by the federal government.

The governor has 30 days to veto or sign the bill into law.

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