California lawmakers frustrated over excessive outlays for prison health

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Amid California’s budget crisis, the receiver put in charge of the prison health system by a federal judge has spent $82 million on blueprints for medical facilities that have been largely scrapped, more than $50,000 a month on an architectural consultant and millions hiring medical professionals — more per inmate than in many other states.

After four years of pouring money into the system, however, receiver J. Clark Kelso told legislators Wednesday that he didn’t know when the federal oversight might stop and suggested early release of chronically sick inmates as one quick way to cut costs.

Exasperated lawmakers, who have to pay the bills but have little say in how the funds are spent, questioned whether federal control is making prison healthcare any better.

Full story: State prison healthcare: Lawmakers express frustration over excessive prison health costs