Judge: Calif death row lacks care for mentally ill

Dec 10, 2013 7:49 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that California is providing inadequate treatment to mentally ill inmates on death row, though he's leaving it up to the state to decide how to fix the problem.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered state officials Tuesday to work with a court-appointed overseer to find solutions. Options include creating a specialized inpatient psychiatric treatment facility at San Quentin State Prison or another prison.

Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the state corrections department, said officials are reviewing the order.

Michael Bien, an attorney who represents the welfare of mentally ill inmates, called the judge's ruling "a very significant victory."

The ruling comes as part of an ongoing 23-year lawsuit that has led to sweeping changes in the state prison system, including a sharp reduction in overcrowding.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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