Prisons Will Need Additional Funds for Health Care
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will need an additional $370 million, in part to comply with terms of three lawsuits related to inmate health care, the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Martin/Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21).
The Department of Finance said the corrections department will need an additional $150 million in fiscal year 2005-2006 and an additional $231 million in FY 2006-2007, largely because of added medical costs. The corrections department's budget currently is about $8 billion annually (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 4/21).
The top prison medical administrator appointed by Schwarzenegger said costs likely would continue to increase (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21).
In related news, Jeanne Woodford, acting secretary of the corrections department, on Wednesday announced that she would resign from the position after two months on the job, the Chronicle reports (Martin/Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/20).
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, who placed the state prison health care system in receivership, said he was "deeply disappointed" that a memo from Woodford to employees did not include reform priorities, including the system's health care crisis (California Healthline, 3/15).
Woodford's announcement follows the February resignation of Roderick Hickman, who said California's "political environment and the power of special interests ... work against efforts to bring about lasting reform" in the system. An official familiar with the matter said Woodford had recently expressed similar concerns, the Los Angeles Times reports (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 4/20).
Schwarzenegger on Thursday appointed James Tilton as acting secretary of the corrections department. Tilton has worked as a program budget master for the finance department since 2003. In the 1980s and 1990s he served as deputy director of administrative services in the corrections department (Warren/Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 4/21).
Meanwhile, the federal receiver appointed by Henderson to reform the prison health care system began his job on Monday (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/20).