State Asks Court To End Federal Oversight of Prison System
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Aired 5/8/12 on KPBS News.
California officials want a federal judge to end oversight of prison medical care in 30 days. That's the thrust of documents filed with the federal judge who seized control of state prison health care nearly a decade ago.
Corrections officials claim healthcare is "wholly transformed." That inmates now get good care, from good doctors, in good clinics, and that California's got the "will, capacity, and leadership" to keep it up. They've asked the federal judge to relinquish control in 30 days.
But the receiver that the judge appointed to improve state prison healthcare thinks oversight should last another year and a half. He said that's to ensure upgrades to medical facilities - and compliance with a federal court order to reduce the inmate population by 40,000inmates.
Corrections recently unveiled a plan that would stop short of that number to save money. Attorneys for inmates said the plan "intentionally flouts" the court order and casts doubt to California's commitment "to ensure the receiver's hard-won improvements to healthcare do not evaporate." They want to see medical improvements adopted in state regulations - before the court bows out.