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Forum Post: Law & Order Federal Judge Criticizes State for "Profound Ethical Violation" in Prison Mental Health Case

Posted 10 years ago on March 31, 2013, 9:44 a.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
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For 18 years, a federal court has overseen the California state prison system's mental health care. This week, the state is making its case: conditions for mentally ill prisoners have improved enough for California to regain control of its facilities.

A good chunk of the state's evidence lies in declarations by state-hired experts based on their interviews of mentally ill inmates. These documents, filed in federal court, were intended to help show, as Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard stated after yesterday's hearing, that "California has among the best prison mental health systems in the nation."

The validity of those documents, though, are quite murky. Contrary to the legal requirements, the state held these interviews without the inmates' lawyers present.

"Assume that this is a profound ethical violation," Judge Lawrence K. Karlton told the state's attorneys.

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