California to build mental health unit for prisoners

California to build mental health unit for prisoners

California prison officials are planning to build a mental health unit for mentally ill prisoners/inmates at San Quentin State Prison, state officials revealed in a document filed in a court on Tuesday.

The news surfaced a day after the U. S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a court order that requires California to make sure that mentally ill inmates held in state's county jails receive appropriate treatment.

In December last year, a judge criticized California officials for not providing proper treatment to mentally ill inmates.

In 72-page report, a court-appointed special master who oversees mental health care of inmates said that the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation informed him it would build a 40-bed health care unit for inmates who are awaiting execution, under a program known as the San Quentin Psychiatric Inpatient Program.

Deborah Hoffman, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, said, "We appreciate the Special Master's commendation on what the department has achieved thus far. CDCR will continue to work with all parties involved to see this project to completion."

Prison officials could not immediately say how much the new mental health care unit will cost to build and operate. However, they said the money would come from the corrections and rehabilitation department's existing mental health budget.

The new mental health unit will become operational by mid of November this year.

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