Wednesday, May 16, 2012

California satisfying court obligations for basic dental care in prisons

The level of dental care in California prisons has risen to the point that 30 of 33 adult institutions have passed an official audit by outside experts. Audits of the remaining three institutions are expected by the end of next month.

CDCR is achieving obligations set forth by the federal court to bring dental care up to basic standards, as a settlement of the Perez v. Cate lawsuit.  Dental care at CDCR institutions is being evaluated by court-appointed experts. The audits involve the examination of the dental records of randomly chosen inmates and other processes.

“We have worked hard over the last six years to bring CDCR into compliance with the federal court’s order,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “The audits’ passing scores show that CDCR is now providing a constitutional level of dental care. We are hopeful that this progress brings us closer to ending federal oversight of our prison dental system.”

The named plaintiff in the Perez lawsuit is Carlos Perez, an inmate now at California State Prison, Centinela. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in 2005 alleging that California prison dental care violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. An agreement to settle the case was reached in 2006.