U.S. seizes state prison health care Judge cites preventable deaths of inmates, 'depravity' of system
CA - A federal judge, saying he was acting urgently to stop the needless deaths of inmates because of medical malfeasance, ordered Thursday that a receiver take control of California's prison health care system and correct what he called deplorable conditions.
Experts said the order by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco was unprecedented in its scope given that the prison system provides health care to roughly 164,000 inmates at an annual cost of $1.1 billion.
The order also was an embarrassing blow for the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, which has promised to deliver major medical reforms for nearly two years but, Henderson said, has utterly failed.
The prison medical system offered "at times outright depravity, and I intentionally call it that," said Henderson.