California Plans Death Row Mental Health Unit

CBS Los Angeles

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Responding to a federal court order, California prison officials plan to build a mental health unit for condemned inmates at San Quentin State Prison, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The planned construction responds to a judge’s finding in December that mentally ill inmates on death row lack proper treatment.

The court-appointed special master who oversees prison mental health care said in a 72-page report that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation informed him earlier this month that it would create a 40-bed inpatient mental health program for inmates awaiting execution, to be known as the San Quentin Psychiatric Inpatient Program.

Prison and state finance officials could not immediately say how much the unit will cost to build or operate. Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the money would come from the department’s existing mental health budget.

Plans call for converting existing facilities on the fourth…

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