- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A fifth state prison is still providing substandard care despite billions of dollars spent for improvements and a decade of federal oversight, California’s inspector general reported Thursday.

Care at Wasco State Prison, 30 miles north of Bakersfield, remains inadequate, the inspector general said.

California is attempting to regain control of the prison health care system a decade after a federal judge seized control. Under federal oversight, the state has spent $2 billion for new prison medical facilities, doubled its annual prison health care budget to nearly $1.7 billion and reduced its prison population by more than 40,000 inmates.

Federal receiver J. Clark Kelso has returned medical care at two prisons to state control - Folsom State Prison in June and the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad in February.

But Inspector General Robert Barton has found that a third of the 15 prisons his office has inspected still provide inadequate care.

Wasco is a reception center housing about 5,000 inmates.

Inspectors gave Wasco a failing grade in four of 15 benchmarks and cited widespread problems with determining inmates’ medical problems and planning their treatment, along with poor medical record-keeping. Nurses sometimes did not recognize problems with incoming inmates or failed to properly follow up if they needed more care.

In one case, nurses found during an initial health screening that an inmate had suffered a seizure a day earlier, but never sought a doctor’s urgent evaluation. The inmate died five days later.

“We will be reviewing the report issued by the inspector general and making improvements as needed,” said Kelso’s spokeswoman, Joyce Hayhoe.

A day earlier, Barton reported that California Institution for Men is providing proper care for about 3,400 inmates in Chino, 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Of 15 benchmarks there, just one was inadequate. Eleven indicators were adequate and three proficient.

The inspector general previously found that prisons in Chowchilla, Delano, Susanville and Vacaville are providing inadequate care.


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