STOCKTON – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation today dedicated its new California Health Care Facility, an $839 million medical facility designed to care for the state’s sickest inmates.
“This new California Health Care Facility is just the latest example of the state’s dedication to providing inmates in California with mental health and medical treatment that rivals any prison health care in the country,” said Secretary of Corrections and Rehabilitation Jeff Beard. The newly constructed medical and mental health facility, which sits on 200 acres in south Stockton on the site of the former Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility, was completed on time and on budget. It will begin accepting inmate-patients in mid-July and is expected to provide intermediate level care for its full complement of 1,722 patients by the end of 2013. Approximately 2,500 doctors, nurses, technicians, mental health and other custody and support staff will be employed at the facility.
Beard noted that, over the last decade, CDCR has spent nearly $2 billion on 68 projects to upgrade or construct new dental facilities, mental health treatment and medical facilities in its 33 prisons, in addition to building the new Stockton facility. “We are serious about the health and well-being of the inmates entrusted to us,” he said. “When you factor in the dramatic drop in our prison population and the system-wide health care upgrades we’ve made, it’s clear we are providing a constitutional level of care.”
The 54-building complex in south Stockton includes housing for patients who require acute and long-term care for medical or psychiatric needs. The facility also includes a diagnostic center, dental clinic and dialysis units to treat diabetes, a common disease among elderly and ill inmates. Inmate-patients who require surgery or a higher level of care than can be provided in the new facility will be treated at San Joaquin General Hospital, where they will be housed in a secure, guarded ward constructed by the state at a cost of $2.2 million that will keep them separated from other hospital patients.
By providing acute care to the state’s most seriously ill inmates, the new Stockton facility increases the capacity of medical and mental health units to meet the daily and less serious health needs of inmates in each prison. Approximately 34,252 inmates, 25.8 percent of the total inmate population, are currently receiving some level of mental health treatment.
In addition to the California Health Care Facility, CDCR will provide mental health treatment for 1,133 inmate patients at the DeWitt Correctional Annex currently under construction adjacent to the new facility. Construction, at a cost of $173 million, is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.
Construction of the Stockton facility and other treatment upgrades in the state’s 33 prisons is in response to lawsuits (Plata and Coleman) alleging substandard medical and mental health treatment and improvements ordered by the Northern and Eastern Federal District Courts, respectively .