Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Plata v. Schwarzenegger (9th Cir. - April 30, 2010)

Ah, prison. The freedom. The quality colleagues. The tasty food. The wonderful medical care.

Let's just take a brief look at some of the findings mentioned by the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion that affirms putting the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation into receivership with respect to medical care for California inmates:

"This class action was brought by California prisoners to challenge deficiencies in prison medical care that allegedly violated the Eighth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. . . . In January 2002, after almost three years of informal negotiations . . . . the State agreed to implement specific remedial procedures to ensure the provision of constitutionally adequate medical care in prisons statewide. . . . Three years after entering into the consent decree, not a single prison had successfully implemented the remedial procedures, despite the fact that a 'significant number' of inmates had died as a direct result of substandard medical care -- a fact
the State openly acknowledges. . . . Numerous experts testified as to the 'incompetence and indifference' of prison physicians and medical staff and described an 'abysmal' medical delivery system where 'medical care too often sinks below gross negligence to outright cruelty.' Despite such damning revelations, the State let the reports and testimony of those experts go, in the words of the court, 'essentially uncontested.'"

Just a quick reference to the last clause of the preamble to the Swiss Constitution: "[T]he strength of a people is measured by the well-being of it's weakest members."

Something to think about.