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.