California plans death row mental health unit

California prison officials plan to build a mental health unit for condemned inmates at San Quentin State Prison.

The construction plan, outlined in court documents filed Tuesday, responds to a federal judge's finding in December that mentally ill inmates on death row lack proper care.

The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will create a 40-bed inpatient mental health program for inmates awaiting execution.

Prison and state finance officials could not immediately say how much the unit will cost to build or operate but say funding will come from the department's mental health budget.

Plans call for converting existing facilities in the prison's Medical Services Building by mid-November.

A review of California's 746 condemned inmates found that 14 needed inpatient care. Another 23 would be moved from other programs.
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