Judge Orders Change in Oversight of California Prison Medical System
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson removed Robert Sillen from his post as California's prison medical receiver, the AP/Ventura County Star reports.
Henderson, who appointed Sillen to the receivership in April 2006, praised Sillen's "unique skills and bold, creative leadership style" in his efforts to improve medical care in California's prisons. Henderson added, however, that further improvements to the prison medical system demand "a substantially different set of administrative skills and style of collaborative leadership" (Thompson, AP/Ventura County Star, 1/24).
Henderson immediately replaced Sillen with Clark Kelso, a McGeorge School of Law professor who has served as California's chief information technology officer since 2002 under both Govs. Gray Davis (D) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
In his order, the judge said he hoped Kelso could move from an "investigative and evaluative phase" and "into an implementation phase" to bring prison medical care into Constitutional compliance (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 1/24).
Kelso said he would develop a "strategic business plan" in an effort to return oversight of prison medical care to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation within four years.
Sillen declined to comment on the matter (Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times, 1/24).
- "Judge Replaces State Overseer of Health Care for Prisoners" (Cathcart, New York Times, 1/24).
- "New Overseer for Prison Health Care System" (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/24).
- "Prison Health Czar Shown the Door" (Feder Ostrov/Bailey, San Jose Mercury News, 1/24).
Three broadcast programs recently reported on the new receiver. Summaries appear below.
- Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News": The segment includes comments from Kelso (O'Mara, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/24). Audio and a transcript of the segment are available online.
- KPCC's "KPCC News": The segment includes comments from Kelso and Sillen (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/23). Audio of the segment is available online.
- KPCC's "Patt Morrison": The segment includes a discussion with Kelso and Don Spector, director of the Prison Law Office (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 1/23). Audio of the segment is available online.