California prisons are COVID hotbeds despite billions spent on inmate health
FILE PHOTO: Prison inmates wearing firefighting boots line up for breakfast at Oak Glen Conservation Fire Camp #35 in Yucaipa, California, U.S. November 6, 2014. Picture taken November 6, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File photo

From Corcoran and Avenal state prisons in the arid Central Valley to historical San Quentin on the San Francisco Bay, California prisons have emerged as raging COVID-19 hot spots, even as the state annually spends more on inmate health care than other big states spend on their entire prison systems.The new state budget taking effect July 1 authorizes $13.1 billion for California’s 34 prisons, housing 114,000 inmates, more than three times what any other state spends. That sum includes $3.6 billion for medical and dental services and mental health care — roughly what Texas spends to run its ent...


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