Brown administration says prison complaints are blame-shifting

May 23, 2013|By Paige St. John

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration disputes complaints that the governor's vocal legal challenges to orders to improve prison conditions has brought progress to a halt.

The federal court-appointed medical receiver in charge of prison healthcare filed a progress report Wednesday that said the result of remarks by top state officials that California has spent "too many resources and too much money" on prisons "has been to freeze and ossify" his own progress with the state.

Corrections officials responded late Wednesday with their own public statement.

"This latest filing from the receiver is less about the health of inmates and more about shifting blame," corrections spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said in a written statement.

Medical receiver J. Clark Kelso in particular accused the state of refusing to comply with his May 1 directive to relocate some 3,200 inmates at risk of contracting valley fever at two Central California prisons, Avenal and Pleasant Valley.

Hoffman said the state "has been working cooperatively with the receiver to combat valley fever in California prisons for a long time. We will continue to do so."

Emails show Brown's administration responded to Kelso's directive by telling him the order was "ambiguous." The state said it would delay action until receiving input from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which began its own study of the prison valley fever problem earlier this month.


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