The Califorian — The day after a federal receiver ordered two state prisons to exclude inmates especially vulnerable to valley fever, experts hailed the directive as a step toward addressing an alarming public health problem.
Meanwhile, the state grappled with how to digest the directive.
"We still need to evaluate the receiver's authority to make decisions about where people are held," said Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
"Obviously the receiver has full authority from the court over the provision of health care, and CDCR has provision over custody issues -- in other words, where people are held. This obviously is an issue that might be in between that needs to be resolved."
In his directive, medical receiver J. Clark Kelso ordered that inmates who are at high risk of contracting valley fever and more likely to die from the disease should be expelled from Pleasant Valley State Prison near Coalinga and Avenal State Prison in Kings County. The goal of the policy is to reduce the risks of the disease to a "reasonable level," according to an email detailing the new policy.
The order includes African Americans, Filipinos, inmates older than 55 and inmates with HIV or suppressed immune systems. It applies to about 40 percent of approximately 8,200 inmates at the two prisons, according to Joyce Hayhoe, director of legislation and communications for the receiver's office. continue reading...