Federal Takeover of Health System Marred Tenure of Corrections Secretary
The appointment of a receiver to oversee the California prison health care system is one of the "most notabl[e]" shortcomings of Roderick Hickman's performance as secretary of the Department of Corrections, the Contra Costa Times reports. Hickman announced his resignation Saturday (Davis/Bailey, Contra Costa Times, 2/28).
Senior U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson on Feb. 14 named Robert Sillen, Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System director, as the federal receiver in charge of reforming the state's prison health system. Henderson's order suspended Hickman's authority over the prison health care system (California Healthline, 2/15).
As corrections secretary, Hickman was charged with addressing a "panoply of problems," including inadequate health care, overspending, violence and civil rights lawsuits brought against the state by inmates.
Jeanne Woodford, a former warden at San Quentin State Prison and an undersecretary of the corrections department, is serving as acting secretary of the department (Contra Costa Times, 2/28).
Several broadcast programs reported on Hickman's resignation:
- KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?": Guests on the program included Bill Boyarsky, senior consultant for the Center for Governmental Studies; Lance Corcoran, spokesperson for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association; Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles); and Don Specter, director of the Prison Law Office (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 2/27). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "Talk of the City": Guests on the program included Chuck Alexander, executive vice president of CCPOA; Romero; and Jennifer Warren, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times (Felde, "Talk of the City," KPCC, 2/27). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KQED's "The California Report": The segment includes comments from Joe Gunn, executive director of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) Corrections Independent Review Panel; Specter; and Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) (Campbell, "The California Report," KQED, 2/28). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- NPR's "All Things Considered": The segment includes comments from Judy Campbell of KQED (Block, "All Things Considered," NPR, 2/27). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In related news, "California Connected" -- a weekly, hour-long newsmagazine produced by PBS stations in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco that covers state events and issues -- on Friday examined the California Medical Facility, a prison in Vacaville that allows inmates to volunteer to assist in providing pastoral and hospice care in the treatment of terminally ill, non-violent inmates. The segment includes comments from:
- Rev. Keith Knauf, director of pastoral care services at CMF;
- Father Patrick Leslie, former public chaplain for the facility;
- California residents who volunteered to help establish the hospice program; and
- CMF inmates and their families (Cary, "California Connected," KVIE, 2/24).
The complete segment is available online in QuickTime media format.
In addition, the program included an interview with Woodford about changes over the last 30 years in the state's prison system ("California Connected," KVIE, 2/24). The complete segment is available online in QuickTime media format. 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.