Health Care Services Lacking at Corcoran State Prison, Report Finds
Medical care at Corcoran State Prison is lacking, putting the health and safety of inmates at risk, according to a report filed in federal court by independent investigators, KPCC's "Represent!" reports.
The report comes amid ongoing efforts to improve prison health care services in California (Small, "Represent!" KPCC, 7/29).
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 April, a panel of federal judges rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) request to end a court-mandated prison population cap. The judges ruled that the cap is necessary to address substandard conditions that have resulted in unconstitutionally poor inmate care.
On May 2, Brown filed a proposal to comply with the population cap.
In June, three federal judges rejected the plan, ordering Brown to release about 9,600 inmates -- or 8% of the inmate population -- by 2014.
If the state does not comply with the order by the end of the year, officials will have to release inmates based on a list of "low-risk" offenders, according to the judges.
Earlier this month, Brown filed a request with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for a stay of the order (California Healthline, 7/22).
Details of Corcoran Investigation
The independent investigation found several problems at Corcoran State Prison, including that:
- Medical staff repeatedly failed to wash their hands before treating patients;
- Medical supplies and devices were stored in unsanitary conditions; and
- Health care officials failed to conduct oversight and reviews of clinicians.
Investigators also found that a high rate of inmates contracted bacterial infections from unsanitary intravenous lines in the prison's acute care hospital. Such infections can lead to sepsis and are potentially fatal, according to KPCC's "Represent!"
Charles Carbone -- an attorney representing prisoners at the facility -- said, "There are very serious concerns over medical neglect at Corcoran." He added that there is "a very acrimonious climate between the prison's staff and the prisoners."
The Department of Corrections declined to comment on the findings ("Represent!" KPCC, 7/29).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.