Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Federal oversight of state prison healthcare to end

A report on how to wrap up six years of receivership is due by April 30. Many of the program's goals have been accomplished, judge says.

Reporting from Sacramento -- Federal oversight of prison healthcare in California is nearing an end, a judge said Tuesday, six years after he ruled that abysmal medical conditions were contributing to an inmate death every week.

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton E. Henderson said Tuesday that healthcare in state lockups has improved significantly since he seized control of the system, a move that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

"While some critical work remains outstanding — most notably on construction issues — it is clear that many of the goals of the receivership have been accomplished," Henderson wrote in a three-page order.

State officials were rebuffed when they sought to end the receivership in 2009. On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown applauded the judge's decision.

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