August 15, 2008
McGeorge Professor Clark Kelso, acting in his role as overseer of the California prison healthcare system, asked a federal judge on August 13 to hold Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Controller John Chiang in contempt of court.
Kelso is under court orders to make the state’s prison medical system “constitutionally adequate” and he calculates that will take $8 billion over the next few years. For now, prison funding is held up in a partisan standoff over the state budget, which already faces a $17 billion deficit.
“We have fully explored and exhausted every avenue for securing this funding in a manner that least affects California's budget and immediate cash needs,” Kelso said. “But the state’s leaders have failed to act.”
The federal receiver’s long-term plan involves building seven new healthcare facilities for 10,000 inmates. An additional cost will be the renovation of existing clinics at the state’s 33 prisons.