Report on Chino prison cited problems threatening inmate health

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MIke Roe/KPCC

One of the medical filerooms at Chino's California Institution for Men prison.

Independent prison medical expert Dr. Ron Shansky inspected the California Institution for Men in Chino in 2007 to determine if overcrowding prevented adequate medical care for inmates.

In a report filed with the U.S. District Court of Northern California Shansky concluded that overcrowding perpetuated medical lapses that could threaten inmates’ health. He found that prison staff failed to conduct intake history and physical exams for a third of incoming inmates within a required two-week period.

CIM’s current Chief Medical Officer Dr. Muhammad Farooq says CIM now conducts those exams within the allotted time.

Shansky found that medical records were severely backlogged. In one filing room Shansky noted "5 linear feet" of loose medical results waiting to be filed. In 2010, staff have whittled that backlog to about one foot – but still struggle to keep up.

In 2007, Shansky found clinical space insufficient and he gave the example of a clinic where the treatment area was so small that sick inmates had to wait on bleachers outside to see the doctor – they still do. Only now CIM’s erected a cloth canopy to shield the prisoners.

This year a CIM spokesman said the prison secured funding to build a permanent shelter.

Shanksy notes similar problems in four other California prisons he visited in 2006 and 2007.

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