Lawyers Criticize Recommendations on Prison Health Care System Reforms
State lawyers on Monday filed a formal response with a federal judge challenging a report on prison health care that said the state corrections leaders are unable or unwilling to reform the system, the Sacramento Bee reports (Cooper, Sacramento Bee, 11/22).
U.S District Judge Thelton Henderson in June placed the state prison health care system in receivership. Professional search firm Korn/Ferry International was hired to recommend a qualified candidate to take over the system. Correctional expert John Hagar was appointed by the court to make recommendations on immediate steps the state could take to improve the system.
According to Hagar's report, which was issued last week, the state should increase doctors' salaries and take other steps to recruit and retain prison medical workers to begin addressing inadequate conditions within the prison health care system. The report also recommended that responsibility for reforming the prison health care system should be transferred to a panel appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) (California Healthline, 11/15).
State lawyers said legislative approval and action by the controller would be needed before pay raises for medical personnel could be implemented "for any prolonged period of time."
In addition, Hagar's recommended time frame to evaluate candidates for prison clinic vacancies -- 10 days -- is "unreasonable, unmanageable and ensures failure," the lawyers said, adding that 30-day evaluations would be needed.
Henderson has scheduled a hearing for Monday to consider the recommendations (Sacramento Bee, 11/22).