SACRAMENTO (AP) - A federal court official in California is
asking a judge to seize 8 billion dollars from the state's treasury
to improve health care at California overcrowded prisons.
Court-appointed receiver Clark Kelso says the money will be
needed over the next five years to build medical units for 10,000
sick or mentally ill inmates.
He's also asking the judge to hold Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and the state controller in contempt of court if
they don't allocate the money soon.
Federal courts have declared the health-care system in
California state prisons so poor that it violates inmates' rights.
Kelso was tasked with supervising the reform effort. The state
controller says he can't act without a court order or legislative
Meanwhile, the state assembly minority leader questions how the
state can justify spending so much on inmate medical care "when
hardworking taxpayers can't even get health care."
Kelso's request comes as lawmakers are trying to cope with
California's current 15.2-billion-dollar deficit.