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Governor’s Radio Address Deals with the State’s Prison Health Care System

California’s Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation filled in for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Tuesday’s KVML Newsmaker of the Day:

"Hi, this is Matthew Cate, Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, filling in for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

This week, I joined the Governor and Finance Director Mike Genest, as we asked the courts to end the federal receivership of our prison health care system.

The motion, filed on our behalf by Attorney General Jerry Brown, would return control of this responsibility to the state, where it belongs and where there is accountability to the people.

Over the last three years, the Governor and his Administration have cooperated with the courts and with both Receivers.

I agree they have helped us improve the health care in our prisons and I thank them for their efforts. However, these gains have come at a tremendous cost to taxpayers.

Spending on inmate health care has nearly doubled since 2006.

And think about this: the average Californian spends $4,500 a year for their own health care.

Taxpayers now spend nearly $14,000 on each inmate.

And that is just the start.

The Receiver also has a building plan with an estimated cost of $8 billion.

Now is the time – in the midst of the worst financial crisis in California’s history – to carefully evaluate the Receiver’s plans going forward.

Like the Governor has said, the Receiver has simply gone too far, especially considering the economic realities of these times.

We all agree prisoners should be treated with dignity and decency and the Governor and I are committed to ensuring inmates receive a constitutional level of care.

But it must be done in a fiscally responsible way and I have full confidence in my Department to carry out that mission.

On behalf of the Governor, this is Matthew Cate.

Thank you for listening."

The Newsmaker of the Day can be heard each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47 on AM-1450 KVML.

Written by mark@mlode.com