Brown's Bid to Regain Control of Mental Health Care in California Prisons Rejected

Apr 5, 2013

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A federal judge has rejected California’s push to retake control of prison inmates’ mental health care.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, it’s a major setback for Governor Jerry Brown.

The mental health care in California’s prison system has been under federal court oversight for the last 18 years.  It’s cost the state billions of dollars to make the improvements ordered by the court.  Governor Brown is trying to end the oversight.  He’s argued that the state has met its constitutional obligation to provide adequate mental health care to inmates, so the oversight is unnecessary and too expensive.

But in his 68-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton writes that “ongoing constitutional violations remain” and that the court’s continued oversight is “necessary to remedy those violations.”  The Brown administration says it will appeal this ruling, and that it’s time for this “costly and intrusive lawsuit” to “come to an end.”