Calif. Wants Control Of Prison Mental Health Care

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Nearly two decades after a court takeover of California’s prison mental health system, a federal judge is set to consider this week whether the billions of dollars invested by California taxpayers have improved conditions enough that he can return control to the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown argues that the state has done enough to improve inmates’ care. Yet inmates’ attorneys and the court’s own supervisors say conditions remain so poor that they still violate prisoners’ basic rights.

They say inmates die by suicide at the rate of one every 11 days, the state still has too few mental health staff and beds, and inmates can wait weeks before they receive treatment.

The state and inmates’ attorneys will argue Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton in a Sacramento courtroom.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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