Prison Health Care Reformer Proposes New Medical Facilities
Robert Sillen, the court-appointed receiver in charge of reforming the state's prison health system, on Thursday said that he would like to use six existing prison properties as medical and mental health facilities, the Sacramento Bee reports (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
Sillen is working with the State Department of Finance to borrow at least $1 billion for the plan, which would provide 10,000 treatment beds. Sillen wants the facilities to be located near cities to attract medical staff (AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/17).
During his testimony Thursday before the Little Hoover Commission, Sillen said that he would not hesitate to use his court-appointed authority to bypass legislative approval and "seize" money from the state budget to fund his recommendations (Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) this summer followed Sillen's suggestion and proposed building two new prisons to house 10,000 inmates with physical or mental illnesses. However, the Legislature ended its session before approving the plan.
H.D. Palmer, Department of Finance spokesperson, said that the governor will propose the plan when the Legislature convenes in January 2007 (AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/17).