Sickest Calif. Inmates Cost Millions
The head of Prison Health Care Services wants to find a way to release some of the sickest and most expensive inmates in state prisons. Twenty-one inmates cost taxpayers more then $40 million in medical bills last year.
Some of the inmates are on ventilators, others need feeding tubes. They are all medically incapacitated, but in California they are not eligible for compassionate release because they have more then six months to live.
All 21 inmates are in hospitals outside of prison which means they must be guarded 24 hours, seven days a week. The costs add up to as much as $2.5 million per year to treat one inmate.
Clark Kelso is the receiver in charge of Prison Health Services in California.
“Those people need to be put on a parole type of status where you don’t have to have 24 hour guarding.”
The state legislature is looking at a medical parole bill. Kelso estimates releasing just 32 of the sickest inmates would save more then $200 million over five years.