San Quentin Scheduled for Medical Facility Makeover
(10/24/2006)

San Quentin, Calif. — A proposed new medical center at San Quentin State Prison is one of many changes that could improve the prison’s beleaguered medical facilities.

The medical center would provide medical and dental services and mental health care, and it would house a pharmacy and inmate medical records.

The new center is one of many proposals to improve health care at state prisons, following U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson’s decision to put the state’s prison health care system in federal receivership because of inhumane conditions.

San Quentin will be the first prison in California to receive an overhaul of its prison in California, and the prison will be used as a model for other facilities, according to reports.

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Medical treatment facilities in use at the prison include a shower area that was converted into makeshift examination rooms and emergency rooms that are not big enough for medical staff to comfortably perform procedures. Medical staffers are often forced to create makeshift areas to see inmates.

Inmates are often forced to wait for medical treatment because of overcrowding at the prison, according to reports.

The prison’s medical facilities serve about 70 new inmates a day because San Quentin is a processing center for inmates entering the prison system. Each inmate requires a physical exam before he is sent to other prisons to serve his sentence. The basement of the proposed medical center would be used for processing these inmates.

The five-story medical center would replace an existing three-story building that was decommissioned after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 due to seismic problems.

The proposal includes several other structures and renovations, including two new modular buildings for office training and recruitment, and medical offices.

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