California regains control over healthcare at Folsom prison

Paige St. John
July 13, 2015

The state has regained full control of Folsom prison after a federal court took control in 2006 due to its healthcare conditions. “This is the beginning of a significant movement of the case,” said J. Clark Kelso, the manager of the federal oversight process.

Federal investigators found that an inmate was dying every week from a preventable cause, often due to overcrowding. Substandard care and shortages of physicians made these conditions unconstitutional in the view of the federal courts.

Don Specter at the Prison Law Office, lead attorney representing the inmates in the case, says that the transition “marks a giant improvement from where we started. I just wish it had happened sooner.”

The Prison Law Office visited Folsom before Kelso’s decision and will continue to monitor the situation, Specter said. He said the prison, which is located near hospitals and places where medical professionals are willing to live, was among the easiest to improve. Other prisons, particularly ones in remote California deserts, have greater obstacles to improving their care, he said.

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Organizations mentioned/involved: Prison Law Office