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California to seek return of sole control over mental health care at prisons (Photos)

by Julie Small | Take Two®

Inmates await treatment at the new mental health treatment unit at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The $24 million treatment center for mentally ill inmates opened on Thursday as state corrections officials used the occasion to push for ending federal oversight of that aspect of prison operations. The 44,000-square-foot building includes rooms where inmates will undergo individual, group and recreational outpatient therapy. It will be used to treat inmates who are seriously mentally ill but are able to function without around-the-clock care. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Tomorrow California will ask a federal judge to end his oversight of the mental health care system in state prisons.

The judge appointed a special master more than a decade ago. Since then, California has spent billions of dollars to improve psychiatric care for inmates.

But as KPCC's Julie Small reports, the state will have to explain to the judge why the suicide rate has risen in recent years.

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