Im­pact of Calif. prison rul­ing

Poor care cited in rul­ing to re­lease Calif. in­mates

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page - Re­becca Vesely

Se­vere prison over­crowd­ing is a vi­o­la­tion of in­mates’ con­sti­tu­tional rights, a 5-4 ma­jor­ity of the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.

Cal­i­for­nia has one of the largest and most trou­bled prison sys­tems in the nation, and now must cut its in­mate pop­u­la­tion by about 32,000 prisoners within the next two years, the court ruled last week in an opin­ion cit­ing in­ad­e­quate med­i­cal and men­tal health care for the in­car­cer­ated.

The rul­ing sends a mes­sage to states that they must deal with over­taxed pris­ons be­cause se­vere over­crowd­ing can lead to de­fi­cien­cies in health­care, said Re­bekah Even­son, at­tor­ney with the not-for-profit Prison Law Of­fice at San Quentin, Calif., which ar­gued the case be­fore the court. How­ever, Even­son said Cal­i­for­nia is an out­lier.

“The re­al­ity on the ground is that the Cal­i­for­nia prison sys­tem is vastly more over­crowded than any other state ex­cept per­haps Alabama,” Even­son said, adding that Alabama is a much smaller state. “We’re out of the ball­park.”

The high court’s de­ci­sion backed what lower courts have been say­ing for decades: Cal­i­for­nia prisoners are re­ceiv­ing woe­fully in­ad­e­quate health­care, and cur­tail­ing over­crowd­ing is nec­es­sary to im­prove the

A Supreme Court rul­ing last week cited in­ad­e­quate med­i­cal and men­tal health care for prison in­mates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.