Friday May 06, 201103:31 AM GMT
Inmate healthcare remains poor in California
Fri May 6, 2011 3:32AM
Ross Frasier, Press TV, Los Angeles
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An independent review says medical care remains below acceptable

levels in more than two-thirds of California state prisons.

The review shows just nine of the 33 adult prisons met minimum health
care standards.

The review is the first independent look at all the facilities in the
state's prison system.

It was ordered after a federal judge found that poor care was causing
the death of an average of one inmate each week.

The review comes as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a ruling to force
California to improve the care of physically and mentally ill inmates.

Mark Kleiman is a public policy professor at the University of
California Los Angeles.

Kleiman says over the past 20 years the state's inmate population has
nearly tripled.

He says the U-S Supreme Court became involved when the overcrowding
became too deadly to ignore.

The federal court is expected to issue it's final ruling next month.

In the meantime, state lawmakers want to put more money into the
prison system to improve health standards.

But the state is already spending nearly 50-thousand dollars annually
on each inmate and taxpayers are hesitate to see that number rise.

In fact, since 1990, California's state prison spending grew 25 times
faster than state spending on higher education.

Currently the state pays less than 10-thousand dollars per student.

For their part, state lawmakers are attempting to handle the prison
crisis before the federal court steps in.

California Governor Jerry Brown wants ease overcrowding by
transferring tens of thousands of non-violent criminals to county
jails.

But many of those facilities are already at capacity and will be
unable to take in as many inmates as Governor Brown would like.


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