Too soon to move inmates?

State protests federal order to move inmates at risk of valley-fever outbreak

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration said it’s too early to move more than 3,000 prison inmates at risk of contracting valley fever from two state prisons, despite a federal order.

In a May 6 court filing, the Brown administration argued that federal receiver J. Clark Kelso’s order to move black, Filipino and medically risky inmates from Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons—which have been the sites of a valley fever outbreak responsible for nearly three dozen inmate deaths—is premature, according to The Associated Press.

In the filing, the state urged U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco to wait for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to complete a study of valley fever at the two state prisons before enforcing Kelso’s order.

State officials also said Kelso’s order would be hard to comply with as the state continues to grapple with a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding and improve conditions for sick and mentally ill inmates.