Federal health-care oversight should end by 2013

By Staff | OPEC

CDCR  has released a plan to cut billions of dollars in spending, comply with multiple federal court orders for inmate  medical, mental health and dental care, and significantly improve the operation of California’s prison system.

The plan, entitled “The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Oversight, and Improve the Prison System,” be found on the CDCR homepage at: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/.

“My goal is to end federal court oversight of medical, mental health and dental care by next year,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “This plan builds on the improvements made possible by Realignment. It will go a long way towards making our correctional system more efficient and secure and, at the same time, lower our high recidivism rates.”
CDCR’s plan will:

  • Reduce CDCR’s annual budget by more than $1.5 billion upon full implementation, including $160 million dollars in savings from closing the California Rehabilitation Center;
  • Eliminate $4.1 billion in construction projects that are no longer needed because of population reductions;
  • Eliminate $2.2 billion annually that would have been spent had Realignment not been implemented;
  • Return all out-of-state inmates to California by 2016 to bring back jobs and manage offenders closer to home while saving millions in taxpayer dollars;
  • Satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court’s order to lower the state’s prison population;
  • Satisfy the federal courts that CDCR has achieved and maintained constitutional levels of medical, mental health and dental care to avoid costly oversight;

This plan ends a long-term uptick in corrections costs. CDCR accounted for just 3 percent of General Fund spending 30 years ago, but 11 percent in FY 2008-09. CDCR’s plan will lower it to 7.5 percent in FY 2015-16. When Realignment is fully implemented, CDCR expenditures will drop by 18 percent overall.
CDCR has responded to a string of class-action lawsuits dating back to 1990 that challenge the levels of medical, mental health and dental care for inmates. In 2006, federal courts appointed a federal court-appointed Receiver to bring health care up to constitutional standards. Mental health care is overseen by a Special Master and dental care is monitored by Court Experts.

“CDCR has made substantial progress in assuring the courts that it is providing constitutionally mandated levels of care to inmates,” said Cate. “We are committed to ending federal oversight of our prisons’ health-care systems.”