SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California will be allowed to oversee the healthcare for inmates at Folsom Prison, officials said on Monday, nearly a decade after the state lost control of prison medical services amid allegations of substandard care in the correctional system.
The move, which can be revoked, is the first step toward returning control of prison healthcare across California to state officials, said J. Clark Kelso, the federal receiver appointed in 2006 to oversee prison healthcare.
"We know that other CDCR prisons are ready to step up in the months ahead and we will continue collaborating with the Receiver’s Office to ensure inmates at all of our facilities receive appropriate health care,” said Jeffrey Beard, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or CDCR.
The quality of inmate healthcare has long been an issue in the most populous U.S. state.
Poor medical and mental healthcare linked to overcrowding led to court orders to reduce the population in the state's nearly three dozen prisons, an effort that took five years to complete and involved a controversial program of shifting some non-violent offenders to the control of local counties.
Kelso said his order transferring control of healthcare at Folsom Prison near Sacramento was revocable, and that his office would monitor the state's efforts.
He said the move resulted from a 2012 order by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson to begin the transition of control back to the state. He said there was no timeline for the other prisons or for dissolving the receivership.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Peter Cooney)