The level of dental care in CDCR prisons has improved to the point that 30 of 33 adult institutions have passed an official audit by outside experts. Audits of the remaining three institutions are expected by June.
CDCR is meeting obligations set forth by a federal court to bring dental care up to basic standards, as a settlement of the Perez v. Cate lawsuit.
“We have worked hard over the last six years to bring CDCR into compliance with the federal court’s order,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “The audit’s passing scores show that CDCR is now providing a constitutional level of dental care. We are hopeful that this progress brings us closer to ending federal oversight of our prison dental system.”
The most recent successful audits were was at California State Prison, Solano, and California State Prison, Los Angeles County.
The named plaintiff in the Perez lawsuit is Carlos Perez, an inmate now at California State Prison, Centinela. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in 2005, alleged that California prison dental care violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. An agreement to settle the case was reached in 2006.
Dental care at CDCR institutions is being evaluated by court-appointed experts. The audits involve the examination of the dental records of randomly chosen inmates, as well as infection control, peer review and other processes.