California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown will ask a federal judge today to end court oversight of health care in California prisons and return the inmate medical system to the state’s control, reports the Los Angeles Times. In a filing with U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson, who seized prison health care from the state nearly three years ago, administration officials are expected to contend that the receivership has exceeded its authority and violated federal law with an $8-billion plan to renovate clinics and build seven “holistic” facilities for 10,000 inmates.
“We believe the receivership has become a government unto itself, operating without accountability, without public scrutiny and without clear standards,” Brown said. “Tremendous sums have been spent, and tremendous progress has been made, but we feel that it’s time to place the responsibility on the director of corrections and not have this parallel government operating on its own.” The state will to ask Henderson to replace the receiver with a special master who could report on the state’s progress and work with state officials but would not have the same broad powers. J. Clark Kelso, the receiver appointed by Henderson, has the ability to hire, fire and manage employees and make contracts. He oversees $1.8 billion in state spending annually to overhaul a system that the judge ruled was causing many inmates to die needlessly.