A federal judge outlined a plan for California to end nearly a decade of federal control over its prison health care system, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson in San Francisco acted yesterday after a court-appointed overseer reported that conditions have substantially improved since 2006. Henderson said each of the state's 34 prisons must pass an inspection before they can be returned to state control. The inspections are underway and are expected to take more than a year.
The state has spent $2 billion for new prison medical facilities, doubled its prison health care budget and reduced its prison population by more than 40,000 inmates in the last decade. Henderson had said the conditions were so poor that they violated inmates' constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment.