Appellate Court Rejects Gov.’s Bid To Remove Prison Medical Receiver
On Friday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling rejecting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) bid to eliminate the court-appointed receiver tasked with overseeing and fixing California's prison health care system, the Sacramento Bee reports.Â
In February 2006, San Francisco U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed J. Clark Kelso as the prison medical receiver after concluding that California's prison health care system was so poor that it violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The receiver was granted all the powers of the secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation with respect to the delivery of inmate medical care.
Last year, Schwarzenegger and Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate asked Henderson to replace Kelso with a special master who would be limited to assisting in the development of corrective plans. Henderson rejected the request, prompting Schwarzenegger to appeal, arguing that the judge overstepped his authority in appointing the receiver in the first place (Walsh, Sacramento Bee, 5/1).
The appellate court also dismissed state officials' request to terminate the federal receiver's plans to build additional prison hospitals. Â
Initially, Kelso ordered the construction of 10,000 new hospital beds at a cost of about $6 billion. The receiver since has revised his plan to build two prison hospitals that would house 3,400 inmates for about $1.9 billion (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
In its decision, the appeals court said that "the state is in a poor position to assert this objection to the receivership," noting that the receivership "was imposed only after the state admitted its inability to comply with... orders intended to remedy the constitutional violations" (Sacramento Bee, 5/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.