Transcript: Assemblyman Mark Stone’s Q&A with LAO analyst Drew Soderborg on the impacts of overcrowding on medical and mental health care in California prisons before the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment on Oct. 21, 2013

Partial transcript of Assemblyman Mark Stone’s (D-Monterey Bay) Q&A with Drew Soderborg, Managing Principal Analyst, Corrections, Transportation, and Environment, at the Legislative Analyst’s Office, on the impacts of prison overcrowding on medical and mental health care in California’s prison system. The hearing before the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment was held on Oct. 21, 2013:

Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay):
Do you have a sense for what the average health care cost is in the counties, since they’re taking over the burden from the state?

Drew Soderborg, Managing Principal Analyst, Corrections, Transportation, and Environment, at the Legislative Analyst’s Office:
That’s a number I don’t have offhand. But my sense is that’d be a substantially less, particularly because prior to Realignment, counties were focused on short-term inmates and because of that, they didn’t deal with the long-term inmates that can drive a significant amount of the costs. An example is once an inmate hits about 55 on average, they’re about twice as expensive as the average inmate because prior to Realignment, counties were focusing on inmates that were there for a very short amount of time, they would avoid a lot of those costs. After Realignment because folks are going to be spending more time in county jails, the amount that counties are likely going to be forced to spend on health care will likely go up.

Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay):
…Has your office done any look into what the potential is for counties?

Drew Soderborg, Managing Principal Analyst, Corrections, Transportation, and Environment, at the Legislative Analyst’s Office:
We haven’t looked at specific numbers or talked with counties but that’s our general sense is that it’s likely for those costs to go up as they house inmates for a longer period of time.

Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay):
Because I worry about just passing the crisis onto them.

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