The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will now provide extended supplies of medication and other medical equipment needed by people paroling from prison.
Instead of a 30-day supply of medical supplies, CDCR will now provide a 60-day supply under an agreement made in the 30-year-old class-action lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to KFF Health News.
CDCR will also have to provide canes, wheelchairs, walkers, and other equipment deemed medically necessary in the first month of release, without charge.
“Most people on parole and [those] who they are releasing to parole are going to end up benefiting from this,” said Attorney Ben Bien-Khan, one of the lead negotiators on behalf of the incarcerated.
At least 11,000 parolees who have physical developmental or mental disabilities will benefit.
The state is also required to sign up parolees for Medi-Cal, Social Security benefits or Veterans Administration benefits at least 90 days before their release.
“These improvements are expected to help shut the revolving door between homelessness and incarceration that prevents far too many people with disabilities from succeeding on parole and reintegrating into the community,” said Bien-Kahn.
About 95% of parolees are eligible for Medi-Cal, according to a recent state report. Until now, roughly 17% of Medi-Cal applications and 70% of Social Security applications were still pending when incarcerated people were released.
The Federal Receiver who controls the state prison medical system made these latest changes in February 2022 after earlier negotiations with incarcerated people’s attorneys, and it’s now written into parole policy.
“The transition from prison to parole is fraught with danger for all parolees, but especially those with disabilities,” said a letter from an attorney arguing for better care.