CDCR staff praised for improvements in inmate care

By OPEC Staff

On Tuesday, Gov. Edmund G. Brown told the public and the three-judge panel overseeing cases challenging the medical, dental and mental health care given inmates in CDCR institutions that the conditions described in the lawsuits no longer exist.

“We can run our own prisons, and by God let those judges give us our prisons back,” Gov. Brown stated. “We’ll run them right.”

“California’s prison health care system is now a model for the nation,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. “Independent expert reviews have found that California’s prison medical and mental health care systems meet constitutional standards. It would be both unnecessary and unsafe for the courts to order further inmate reductions.”

Undersecretary of Operations Terri McDonald said that the governor’s spirited declarations at the press conference were a reflection of the effort of CDCR employees.

“It is representative of your hard work over the years,” she said.

“While not perfect,” she said, the system is “in compliance” with court orders to deliver constitutional levels of health care.

Undersecretary of Administration and Offender Services Martin Hoshino also praised the work of CDCR employees.

He said CDCR’s filings “simply ask of the court to recognize that the prison system in 2013 has changed dramatically.”

He called on the Three-Judge Court to reconsider the inmate-population caps “based on current conditions.”

He also praised the work of Legal Affairs unit for “an amazing job” in presenting CDCR’s case to the court in plain English – not full of legalistic phrases or bureaucratic jargon.

Chief Counsel Ben Rice said the reason his group was able to make the filings with the court was all the work done in the institutions.

“We really are in a different place now,” Rice said.

Dr. Diana Tochè, Director of the Division of Correctional Health Care Services, called the court filings “indicative of the hard work in the field.”

“The work being done out there is outstanding,” she said.

Undersecretary Hoshino said that despite the dramatic steps taken, “we don’t want to stop improving the system.”

Links to view the governor’s press conference and to read the court filings are available on the CDCR Internet site.

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