A federal receiver hired to improve health care for California prisoners released an ambitious turnaround plan yesterday, prompting some critics to warn of exorbitant costs and others to lament the sluggish pace of reform, reports the Los Angeles Times. The plan “will eliminate the unconscionable human suffering” in prison and protect communities from diseases carried by inmates cycling in and out, receiver Robert Sillen said.
Over time, he said, taxpayers will get more for their dollar from a system that experts said was so broken that it experienced an average of one inmate death per week as a result of medical incompetence or neglect. Lawyers for inmates initially hailed his appointment to run a $1-billion-plus medical care system they said was understaffed, riddled with incompetent doctors, and plagued by an absence of standards and a shortage of basic supplies. Now their hope is tempered by frustration that Sillen has not moved faster.