Federal Judge Orders State to Pay Up

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, October 27, 2008

Federal judge Thelton Henderson says the state must pay up by November 5th.  If not, the Governor and Controller John Chiang could face contempt of court charges.  Clark Kelso is the federal receiver—in charge of bringing prison medical care up to constitutional standards.  He says it’s too late for the state to argue against providing the money. 

 “We have valid federal court orders here and people dying.  And it does seem to me in those circumstances that the state really doesn’t have a choice…”

Kelso estimates the total amount needed for prison medical projects is around 8 billion dollars—at a time when there is a budget shortfall.  In a statement, California Attorney General Jerry Brown called the prison construction plan wildly expensive—and said it’s not clear whether the money is authorized under state and federal law.