Senate Subcommittee Rejects Funding Request for Construction of Inmate Mental Health Facilities
A California Senate budget subcommittee on Thursday rejected a $12 million request by the Department of Corrections to build three new mental health facilities for prison inmates, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. The department was ordered by a federal judge 10 years ago to improve psychiatric care for inmates.
According to Margot Bach, spokesperson for the department, the agency is considering building mental health facilities at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, a state prison near Sacramento and the California Institution for Men in Chino to provide treatment for the estimated 20% of inmates with mental illnesses.
Each of the proposed treatment centers would cost about $500 million and house 1,500 to 2,000 inmates.
Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), chair of the subcommittee, said, "This is a major request that I find absolutely abominable."
Romero's Chief of Staff Richard Zeiger said the request was "an enormous amount of expenditure without putting up capital." He added, "We just think the department needs to do the work in demonstrating why this is the right model."
Youth and Adult Correctional Agency Secretary Roderick Hickman said, "As we go forward in corrections in trying to provide the best physical and mental care for our inmates, we need to have appropriate facilities and staff. We have a responsibility to public safety" (Linn, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/20).
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson will begin hearing testimony May 31 through June 9 to determine whether to appoint a receiver to manage the state prison health care system, the Sacramento Bee reports. Henderson is expected to hold a hearing on the appointment of a receiver on July 11 (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 5/22).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.