Judge, Citing Inmate Suicides, Continues Federal Monitoring of CA Prisons


Treatment of 32,000 California mentally ill inmates remains seriously deficient, with staff and facilities shortages and a high number of preventable suicides, a federal judge declared in rejecting Gov. Jerry Brown’s request to end more than 17 years of court monitoring, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Brown will appeal the ruling

The governor’s insistence that prison mental health care exceeds constitutional standards, after billions of dollars of expenditures, conflicts with evidence from an ongoing series of prison inspections, said U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton in of Sacramento. “Systemic failures persist in the form of inadequate suicide-prevention measures, excessive administrative segregation of the mentally ill (in isolated lockups), lack of timely access to adequate care, insufficient treatment space and access to beds, and unmet staffing needs,” Karlton said. He said the inmate suicide rate, which had been declining for several years, has soared since 2009 to nearly 24 per 100,000 inmates, or 60 percent above the national average.

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