Calif. prisons spend big on anti-psychotics for inmates; fear of lawsuits cited

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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (AP Photo)

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (AP Photo)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While under federal court oversight, California’s prison mental health system has been spending far more on anti-psychotic drugs than other states with large prison systems.

Figures compiled by The Associated Press through a state Public Records Act request show that California has been spending a far greater percentage on anti-psychotic medication for inmates than other states with large prison systems.

While the amount has been decreasing in recent years, anti-psychotics still account for nearly $1 of every $5 spent on pharmaceuticals purchased for the state prison system.

The spending level has raised concerns about whether patients are receiving proper treatment.

J. Clark Kelso, the court-appointed authority in charge of buying prison pharmaceuticals, concluded that California’s inmate mental health professionals appear to over-medicate their patients.

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