Reports Say California Youth Authority Facilities Provide ‘Inadequate’ Health Care, Mental Health Services
California Youth Authority facilities, part of the youth corrections system, are "dangerous," and their health care and mental health services are "inadequate," according to a series of reports released Monday, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 2/3). CYA on Monday released five reports evaluating living conditions, violence, education and mental health and substance abuse services in CYA facilities, the San Jose Mercury News reports (De Sa/Gladstone, San Jose Mercury News, 2/3). The report found that wards with broken bones were denied prescription pain medication and that wards with asthma did not have access to inhalers. The reports rated CYA health care overall as "poor," noting a systemwide lack of preventive health care, the Los Angeles Times reports (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 2/3). A separate report on mental health released last week found that the CYA is not meeting recognized standards of care in treating incarcerated juveniles with mental illnesses. About 4,400 juvenile inmates ages 24 and younger are incarcerated in CYA facilities, which have an annual budget of $450 million. The reports are the result of a lawsuit filed by the Prison Law Office on behalf of CYA wards (California Healthline, 1/28). The reports recommend that CYA reorganize some of its programs and spend more money to "upgrade" other programs, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 2/3).
Rodrick Hickman, secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, has ordered an immediate review of the reports' findings and will correct the problems as soon as possible, Tim Kindel, agency spokesperson, said (Sacramento Bee, 2/3). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday called for a "blue-ribbon commission" to investigate conditions in youth and adult correctional facilities, the Mercury News reports. "[W]e want to really bring order in there, because it can't continue on like that," Schwarzenegger said (San Jose Mercury News, 2/3).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.