California Needs Prison Health Care Reform

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California, the Golden State, a place where people from around the world come to for the

consistent sunshine, and fun-filled atmosphere. California is home to the largest prison

population in the United States. There are now thirty-three institutions, which house

approximately 170,000 inmates. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), it costs

taxpayers about $51,000 per a year to house, feed, clothe, and provide healthcare for each

inmate. The health care costs about $16,000, which includes, dental, medical, speciality care,

mental health, and medication for each inmate (LAO, 18 Mar 2010). This state is in the worst

financial crisis it has ever experienced. With vital programs being cut, teachers being laid off,

law enforcement decreased, and unemployment at a record high, why has there not been reforms

in prison health care?

The taxpayers are not being made aware of what the State of California spends on inmate

health care. The Governor of California wants the taxpayers to believe state employees are the

reason for the financial crisis, which is not the case. Only 4 percent of California's budget is spent

on state employees. On the other hand, about 10 percent of the budget for corrections is applied

to inmate health care (Kaplan). But, what taxpayers do not know is the inmates did not receive

this costly health care until about four years ago.

The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ensures a prisoners right to be free from

"cruel and unusual punishment"(U.S. Const., 8th Amend.). The inmates incarcerated within

California's correctional facilities, with the help of attorney's, sued the California for

violating basic rights in three historica...

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Kaplan, Sunny. "Health Care Costs Rising as Prison Population Grows and Ages." The Pew Center on the States, 24 June 1999. Web. 14 Jul 2010.


"Overview Of Adult Correctional Health Care Spending." Legislative Analyst's Office.

Legislative Analyst's Office, 18 Mar 2010. Web. 20 Jul 2010.


State of California. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California Code of Regulations Title 15 Crime Prevention and Corrections Division 3 Rules and Regulations of Adult Institutions, Programs and Parole. Sacramento: State of California, 2008. Subchapter 4, Articles 8-9. Print.

U.S. Const., 8th Amend.

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