Calif. prisons provide basic dental care

The level of dental care in California prisons has risen, according to a statement issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Twenty-nine out of 33 adult institutions have passed an official audit by outside experts.

The CDCR said it is meeting obligations set forth in a settlement of the Perez v. Cate lawsuit. The plaintiff in the Perez lawsuit is Carlos Perez, an inmate now at California State Prison, Centinela. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in 2005 alleging that California prison dental care violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. An agreement to settle the case was reached in 2006.

The most recent successful audit was at California State Prison, Solano; the next audit will be at California State Prison, Los Angeles County.

Dental care at CDCR institutions is being evaluated by court-appointed experts. The audits involve the examination of the dental records of randomly chosen inmates, as well as infection control, peer review, and other processes.

Audits of the remaining four institutions are expected to be completed by June.

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