Hastings Women’s Law Journal


Amy Pétre Hill


California's prison system, the nation's largest, developed a health care policy that is deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of women while still spending significantly more per prisoner for health care than other large states. However, the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 interacts with California's prison administrative law to prevent women inmates from seeking emergency injunctive relief from the federal courts. Legal and legislative tools can be used at the federal and state level for short- and long-term reform of the California Department of Correction's health care system to stop the needless deaths of California's female inmates. Ultimately, courts are unlikely to offer relief to women dying in California's state prisons and the best solution is strong action by the California legislature; the prison health care system must be taken out of the hands of the CDC and placed under the supervision of a state health organization, such as the University of California.