County inmates to strain local health care

Displaced state inmates will take a toll on local health-care providers

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that California must reduce its prison population by 34,000 inmates in two years is likely to strain local jails as well as health-care and social services, a new study finds.

Research conducted by the nonprofit organization RAND has concluded the shift of nonviolent inmates and parolees to county jurisdiction—which officially began Oct. 1—will overwhelm local services already hampered by budget cuts, according to California Healthline. Researchers noted that recently released prisoners often have a variety of health-care needs, and most will either lack health insurance or the necessary resources to seek treatment, placing a greater burden on local health-care providers.

The study covered Alameda, Los Angeles, Kern and San Diego counties with a focus on inmates, their families and health-care providers.