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Receiver Shakes Up CA Prison System

Posted Aug 27, 2007 1:52 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawsuits and legislative committees haven’t had quite the impact of the man named to be a federal health-care receiver for the California prison system.

Robert Sillen was appointed last year as the result of a class action lawsuit that revealed 65 inmate deaths each year could be avoided by better medical care, the New York Times reports.

Since then, Sillen has raised salaries and attracted hundreds of new employees to prison medical facilities. He also claimed $1 billion in funds from a state plan to expand prison facilities and built a $1.6 million triage center at San Quentin.

Sillen threatened state officials with contempt if they impede his efforts and told them he will “back up the Brink’s truck” to the state’s treasury, if necessary, to finance needed changes.

“Never has one person attacked a problem, piece by piece, with such blunt force and disregard for political convention as Mr. Sillen has the prison system,” the Times story says.

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