U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled Thursday that, despite his repeated warnings and "good intentions" of some state officials, it is necessary to take "extreme measures" to address the system's problems, the Los Angeles Times reported. On average, one California prison inmate dies each week due to neglect or medical incompetence, Henderson said in issuing his ruling.
Henderson has not yet issued a written order providing specifics of how the receivership would be expected to function.
Attorneys involved in the matter said they believe this is the first time a government operation as large as the California prison healthcare system has been placed under a federal receiver, the newspaper said. The California Department of Corrections healthcare system serves more than 163,000 prisoners with a workforce of 6,000 workers and an annual budget of $1.1 billion.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the governor would cooperate with a receiver.