Major Spending on Prison Health Care Hasn't Helped, State Panel Concludes

The Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review reports that massive spending on prison health care has failed to significantly improve conditions for inmates.

The committee looked into spending ordered by a federal receiver appointed to remedy problems with inmate health care. The committee found:

  • More than $82 million was spent to plan construction projects that were largely abandoned.

  • Five consultants, hired to do construction planning for medical facilities that were never built, charged the state for two rental apartments that cost more than $2,200 a month.

  • Four consultants charged the state for dry cleaning, including one who expensed more than $200 in one week.

  • Several consultants charged the state $56 per day for food, despite the state policy that limits food expenses to $34 per day.

  • One firm with five consultants earning up to $326-an-hour each charged the state for additional expenses totaling $21,535 for a single month.

  • A consultant who was paid $3,000 a day charged the state to park her car at the Denver airport for two weeks while she was in Sacramento.

  • Consultants spent $1,200 on books, including "The Toyota Way" and "Embracing Uncertainty: The Essence of Leadership."

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, who chairs the committee, said that despite the spending, "We aren't seeing improvements in outcomes." (Source: San Francisco Chronicle, January 26.)

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