Is now being built near Stockton, California and it ushers in a new era of medical care for aging prisoners, as reported by Southern California Public Radio.
“California is building the largest prison medical facility in the nation — and it’s doing it at a record clip. That’s because the state has to comply with a federal court order to improve health care for inmates.
“A cluster of a warehouses, bungalows and two-story-high mounds of dirt mark the future home of the California Health Care Facility, just outside of Stockton. Even though the word “prison” isn’t in its name, the 144-acre facility definitely fits the description.
“That will be evident soon when the building contractor rings the perimeter with electrified fences and guard towers. The medical hub inside those fences is designed to provide long-term care to 1,700 inmates too sick to live in regular housing.
“Mike Meredith with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation manages the $900 million project. He says the scale and cost of the Stockton facility dwarfs any commercial project he’s worked on.
“There’s good reason for that. As he tours a mock-up of what the main housing will look like once it’s finished, Meredith explains the many aspects of the building designed to support recovery starting at the ceiling.
“It would draw a lot of light down into the day area for patients, a lot of them with mental issues and/or a variety of clinical issues,” says Meredith. “It sort of helps promote healing them and, in theory, gets them back to the general population.”
“A series of cells runs on the outside walls down the length of a building. Eventually, nurses stations will be built in the middle of the corridor.
“Wider doorways let medical staff move inmates in and out of rooms on gurneys or in wheelchairs. The contractors wired the walls to support major medical equipment. Doing that requires more technology and more square footage than standard prison cells.
“Nancy Kincaid, the spokeswoman for the federal receiver in charge of prison medical care, says there’s aren’t enough ground level cells at other facilities for all the inmates who need them.
“All the facilities out at the other institutions are all two levels, sometime three levels, and you don’t have elevators in housing areas,” she explains. “Because this is long-term care and an aging population, everything is one floor….
“The federal receiver estimates the California Health Care Facility will save the state $42 million a year, mostly in guarding and transportation costs, after it opens next July.
“The Department of Corrections says the facility and an adjacent housing unit will also create 2,200 permanent jobs — and $1 billion a year in economic benefit in the region.”