Judge to end California prisons' oversight by federal receiver

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A California Department of Corrections officer speaks to inmates at Chino State Prison

Back when U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed a federal receiver to improve prison medical care—one inmate a week was dying from shoddy or inadequate care.

Now Henderson believes “the end of the receivership appears to be in sight.”

The U.S. district judge observed that while many prisons still need to add adequate medical facilities, inmates are getting far better care—at every prison, according to medical audits by the state’s inspector general for prisons.

Judge Henderson ordered corrections officials, attorneys for inmates and the federal receiver to draw up plans by April 30 on when, and how, to return control of prison medical care to the state. Those plans will include a transition period during which the receiver continues to monitor the state’s performance.

The Department of Corrections will have to show that it can sustain higher standards of medical care the receiver established.

The federal receiver spends $ 1.7 billion a year to provide medical and mental health care to inmates.

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