Friday, June 13, 2008
Getting to see your children in California is like pulling teeth
In April Edwin Garcia broke the news that California's women prisoners who were awaiting drug-rehab, vocational or a parenting program where the inmates can live with their children in a special unit were being given the choice of having bad teeth pulled or not entering the programs. Naturally most of them opted to go snaggle-toothed.
Now the California Senate is holding confirmation hearings for Jeffrey Thompson, Gov. Schwarzenegger's appointee to oversee health care policy for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Like most Republican appointees, Thompson's main credential is that he knows absolutely nothing about his job—neither health care nor prisons—but he is a Rotarian—
"One thing that I've never shied away from in life is challenge," Thompson said, adding that he was asked to serve by the governor. "As a Rotarian, I believe in service above self. That's why I'm here."
The Senators want to know what he's going to do about offering women a choice of their children or their teeth. The President of the Senate brandished a copy of the story from April and excoriated—
"That's outrageous," he continued. "I don't care what the reason is. It's outrageous. I just finished reading a book on, another book on Nazi Germany. That's the kind of stuff that goes on in other countries, in other regimes, not here."
Apparently the Senators haven't been following the news. And even sadder is that in the end I'm sure Mr. Johnson will be confirmed.
Most health care services in California's prison system are already under a court-appointed receiver following a lawsuit against the state, but dental and mental health care were allowed to slip through the gap. If this is the state's approach to dental care, dare we imagine what is being done to the mentally ill?