California begins regaining control of inmate care

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Inmate health care

Inmate health care (AP image)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The federal courts are about to start handing responsibility for inmate health care back to California corrections officials.

It is the first step in ending a seven-year-old receivership that has cost the state billions of dollars to improve prison medical conditions.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will assume responsibility Friday for hiring employees and preparing to open a $1 billion prison medical complex in Stockton.

If the transition goes well, the court-appointed overseer predicted his control of inmate medical care could end in about a year. A federal judge is likely to appoint a special master to monitor the state’s compliance at least into 2014.

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