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Saturday, January 19, 2013

State prisons not ready to end court oversight, official says

A court-appointed monitor said Friday that Gov. Jerry Brown's quest to end judicial oversight in state prisons is "not only premature, but a needless distraction" from improving care for mentally ill inmates.

Special Master Matthew Lopes cited dozens of suicides last year, long isolation instead of treatment and lapses in care as reasons federal oversight should continue.

Lopes' assessment, in a report filed Friday with the U.S. District Court, came after he visited two-thirds of California's prisons. He had intended to see all 33 lockups, he said, but soon determined that only Sacramento — not individual wardens — could fix the underlying problems with mental health treatment in the corrections system.

A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the agency would have a full response to the 609-page report later.

Brown wants the courts to halt oversight of the mental health services and withdraw orders to reduce overcrowding. He declared last week that California has "one of the finest prison systems in the United States" and that inmates get "far better" medical care, including mental health care, in prison than those outside.

Lopes disagreed.

"Any attempt at a more abrupt conclusion to court oversight would be … not only premature but a needless distraction from the important work that is being done in the quality improvement project," he told the court…..State prisons not ready to end court oversight, official says - latimes.com

1 comment:

Relavent said...

Telegraphing the regression of the success of the healthcare system, may have been a key factor in this decision. Common sense would imply if hiring more medical staff was necessary to bring the department into compliance. How in hell is the reduction of those same positions suppose to maintain the high standards it took 17 years to obtain, basically by the federal court's legal force.

In the haste to get out from under the control of the recievership. Very little attention was paid to what it is going to take to maintain the high level of inmate medical care. The reduction of medical and custody staff is definitely not the answer.

There was a legal consideration the State of California should have brought to the attention of the Federal Court in the beginning of the legal battle. The healthcare delivery system and the prison overcrowding problems, should not have been attached as one solitary issue.

The healthcare delivery system problems and the overcrowding dilemma both had their own set of causes and effects. Unfortunately a microscope wasn't used to get that clearer picture, that should have uncoupled these seemily undaunting problems for CDCR.