Soledad, Monterey County
-- As the medical staff at the Correctional Training Facility prison gathered recently for its morning meeting, doctors and nurses let loose with another day's frustrations.
A team of guards had shown up unannounced and cleared the infirmary of all black inmates that morning, to avoid fistfights with several Latinos coming in for X-rays. Racial violence has been growing in the badly crowded prison, which was built for 2,815 inmates but holds 7,000. The incursion worsened an already severe appointment backlog.
Then there was the local hospital that wanted to send back an inmate dying of liver disease. The prison didn't have facilities to care for him -- the reason he'd been sent to the hospital twice before, at a cost to taxpayers of $50,877.75 for just 11 days. The staff was scrambling to find a prison that could take him.
Last, the head nurse explained that the infirmary had signed a contract for a mobile CAT scan to come to the prison, instead of transporting inmates to hospitals at high cost. But four months later, it had yet to make a visit because of a dispute over how it would be guarded. (Resolving the problem took several more weeks.)
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