Brown, Prison Officials Discuss Health Care Services, Other Issues
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) met with the wardens of 34 California prisons and top prison system administrators to discuss inmate overcrowding, health care services, drug treatment, mental health services and other issues, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Cadelago, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 11/19).
Brown said he scheduled the meetings to learn more about the conditions at prisons as officials work to comply with a court-ordered reduction of the state inmate population (York, Los Angeles Times, 11/19).
In 2006, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that federal oversight of the prison system was needed after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of medical malpractice or neglect.
In June, three federal judges ordered Brown to release about 9,600 inmates -- or 8% of the inmate population -- by 2014.
In late September, the judges rejected a request by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for an additional three years to carry out the inmate reduction order but granted California an additional four weeks to meet the cap.
The judges also ordered the state and inmates' attorneys to "meet and confer" on "a durable solution to the prison crowding problem." The judges said that attorneys "may also discuss any necessary or desirable extension" of the compliance deadline.
In October, the judges extended the deadline for the state to comply with the cap until the end of February 2014 (California Healthline, 10/22).
Update on Court-Ordered Meetings
On Tuesday, Brown said that meetings in recent weeks with prisoners' attorneys have been "collaborative and informative."
He added, "I'm reasonably optimistic that we're going to come to [a compromise] that we can make work."
Don Specter of the Prison Law Office declined to comment about the meetings, but said he is "glad to see that the governor is optimistic."
Brown Calls for Another Delay
However, Brown is planning to call for another extension to comply with the court-ordered reduction.
Citing recent problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, he said, "When government embarks on major programs, it should do so with humility and caution and a lot of planning" (Los Angeles Times, 11/19).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.