The warden at California’s San Quentin State Prison was fired yesterday after a year on the job amid an investigation into health care problems at the facility, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. An official said that a state inspector general’s report led to the dismissal of Warden Jill Brown. The inspector general investigated allegations that Brown had threatened disciplinary action against a doctor who spoke with attorneys about problems with health care delivery at the prison; the report has not been made public.
Last week, a federal judge ordered that a receiver take over health care in the state’s prisons. Court-ordered improvements could send costs skyrocketing above the $1.1 billion already spent annually on prisoner health care. San Quentin had been singled out by medical experts who described filthy examination rooms and “deplorable” conditions. The prison has repeatedly failed to implement court-ordered improvements to health care, said Alison Hardy of the Prison Law Office, which represents inmates in a class-action lawsuit over medical care. The oldest prison in California, San Quentin houses the state’s death row population among 5,967 inmates, about twice its intended capacity.