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'Reforms' in Inmate Mental Health Were the Drive Behind New Building at CMF in Vacaville

The state CDCR's Secretary Dr. Jeff Beard said the $24 million, 44,000-square-foot outpatient treatment building reinforces the department's commitment "to provide a constitutional level of mental health treatment in California's pri

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By Bay City News

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation opened a new mental health care facility today for inmates at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

The state CDCR's Secretary Dr. Jeff Beard said the $24 million, 44,000-square-foot outpatient treatment building reinforces the department's commitment "to provide a constitutional level of mental health treatment in California's prisons.

"It's time for the federal courts to recognize the progress the state has made and end costly and unnecessary federal oversight," Beard said.

A federal judge ruled in September 1995 that the CDCR was deliberately indifferent to the mental health needs of inmates in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, CDCR spokeswoman Dana Simas said.

In November 1995, the federal court appointed a special master to address the constitutional inadequacies, Simas said.

Since then, the CDCR has made "unprecedented reforms of its inmate health care" Simas said.

There have been significant reductions in the state prison inmate population and improvements in mental health care, Simas said.

The CDCR has reduced the waiting list for inmates seeking treatment and implemented and self-monitoring process to identify, refer and transfer inmates to the mental health program that meets their needs, Simas said.

CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton this morning said the CDCR filed a motion in January asking the U.S. District Court to terminate the class action lawsuit, Coleman v. Brown, that was filed against it, the state and the Department of Mental Health Services on behalf of the inmates in 1995.

Thornton also said the new mental health treatment building at the Vacaville facility shows the CDCR is "providing a high level of mental and physical health care to inmates."

The new treatment center at the California Medical Facility will have space to conduct individual, group and recreational therapy for inmates assigned to Enhanced Patient Treatment.  

The EPO provides the most intense level of outpatient mental health care for patients who are no so impaired that they require 24-hour inpatient care, Simas said.  

The new treatment building is one of 15 mental health treatment projects across the state that have been completed or are under construction, and the state has spent more than $90 million in mental health treatment programs at the Vacaville facility, Simas said.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Sonny Flores February 17, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Yes Mental Health is an issue, but until we invest in our communities as in education & healthcare, crime will continue, we spend millions of tax dollars building prisons/mental health facilities. The system is broken. A healthy & literate individual has more of a chance in finding employment. Most prisoners have a reading level of 6th grade and under. Combine economically poor, no education, and poor health and you get "CRIME". Elderly men have committed crimes to come to prison in order to have healthcare as in receive their insulin, etc, and 3 meals a day, something very wrong with this picture, or the young man with cancer, no insurance = commits crime to come back to prison for cancer treatment, yes the Tax payers expense. Or how about the $100,000 state of the art portable batterie operated heart pump provided to an inmate at CMF in 2009. Now did the victims of his crime receive such compensation? Plus the cost of modifying the cell to accommodate power failure alarms and on going monitoring coasts? Are you getting the picture? We must support and invest in our education and medical systems for the men & woman who are free citizens. Not that inmates should not be provided with healthcare, we (the State) has an obligation, but when people commit crimes to come to prison for healthcare and "Free" citizens do not even receive basic preventative healthcare, there is seriously something very wrong with our society and how state government is spending our tax dollars.
Babaloo February 19, 2013 at 12:31 AM
good. so go ahead and thank Ronald Reagan for alot of this mess we are in when he "closed" the federal mental health facilites back in the 80's and dumped the mentally ill onto the streets. may "GOD" help us all with the reforms.

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