Hearing on Funding for Prison Medical Care Starts Today
Prison medical receiver J. Clark Kelso is expected today to ask a federal district court in San Francisco to force the state treasury to release $8 billion for improvements to prison health care, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
Kelso said the state has refused to provide him with any of the funds he requested and wants Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and state Controller John Chiang to be held in contempt of court. He is asking U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson to fine the state about $2 million a day for each day it withholds the money.
The Schwarzenegger administration's main argument is that federal law prohibits judges from ordering states to build new prisons. Earlier, the state approved aÂ $7.4 billion plan to build more space and address crowded prisons.
Kelso has said that the U.S. Constitution supersedes federal law. According to previous legal rulings, poor prison conditions violate California inmates' constitutional rights.
Kelso said he plans to spend $2 billion to improve existing prison health care centers and another $6 billion to add new ones (Thompson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/5).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.