Revised Plans Call for Dropping Mental Health From Prison Overhaul
On Tuesday, federal prison health care receiver J. Clark Kelso said he plans to present recommendations for a new plan to address problems in California's prison medical system that would reduce current cost projections, the Ventura County Star reports (Rochester, Ventura County Star, 2/4).
Kelso's proposal comes after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) last week criticized Kelso's plans for including yoga rooms and other amenities (Rothfield, Los Angeles Times, 2/4).
Brown and Schwarzenegger are asking a federal judge to terminate the receivership and restore state authority over prison health care (Richman, Oakland Tribune, 2/3).
Kelso's Revisions, Brown Response
Kelso proposes eliminating the mental health services portion of the plan, which would cut down the number of proposed prison hospitals from seven to three.
Kelso said his initial proposal included treatment beds for inmates with mental illnesses in response to a 2008 request from the governor's office (Ventura County Star, 2/4).
Kelso originally proposed seven facilities as part of an overhaul plan that was projected to cost $8 billion.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson removed the prison medical system from state control more than two years ago after concluding that health care did not meet constitutional standards (California Healthline, 12/11/08).
Brown said that mental health should remain a part of the prison overhaul plan, provided that the cost is not unreasonable.
Kelso said he will meet with corrections officials this week to further discuss his revised plan (Oakland Tribune, 2/3).
Brown Opinion Piece
Kelso's "massive plan" to overhaul prison health care "simply doesn't square with the belt-tightening taking place" as a result of the state budget deficit, Brown writes in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece.
Brown concludes, "The time has come to terminate the receivership and return control of prison health care to the state" (Brown, Sacramento Bee, 2/4).
KPCC's "KPCC News" included a segment on Kelso's revisions.Â The report includes comments from Kelso and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matthew Cate (Mitric, "KPCC News," KPCC, 2/3).
In related news, a panel of federal judges began hearing closing arguments Tuesday in a case that calls for the early release of prison inmates, arguing that overcrowding is the primary cause of lapses in prison health care in California.Arguments will continue today (AP/Stockton Record, 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.