The plan by the federally appointed health care receiver, J. Clark Kelso, calls for improvement to prison facilities and adding more than 10,000 health care beds. Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration puts a price tag of seven billion dollars on the proposal. The money would come mainly from the sale of state bonds. A court is forcing the state to make the changes after substandard conditions were found in the prisons. Kelso says it’s a lot of money but his proposal is comprehensive.
Kelso: “I’m asking for the full amount, I hope to get it this year and then I won’t come back asking for more.”
Last year a prison expansion and reform law authorized more than $1 billion for inmate health care. Some lawmakers say the additional funding could mean budget cuts elsewhere as the state faces an $8 billion deficit.