Legislative Committee Denies Funds to Fight Prison-Care Lawsuit
A state Senate Budget Committee subcommittee yesterday refused to approve $12 million sought by Gov. Gray Davis' (D) administration to fight a class-action lawsuit charging the state with denying inmates "proper" medical care, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 5/17). The suit, which was filed on behalf of the state's 160,000 inmates, alleges that California's prison health care system "systematically ignor[es]" prisoners' health needs and suffers from "poor training, staff shortages, delays in access to doctors and tests, interference by guards and defective care for HIV-positive prisoners" (California Healthline, 4/6). Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) has warned that the cost of defending the suit could "balloon" to $33.7 million. Members of the subcommittee "demanded that administration officials justify the expenditure." Subcommittee Chair Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) said he was "especially interested" in Davis' decision to contest the suit instead of spending the money on improving inmate medical care (Los Angeles Times, 5/17).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.