SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's sickest inmates could be released on medical parole to shave millions of dollars from the prison budget.
State senators approved a measure 21-13 on Wednesday that lets the parole board send severely disabled inmates to outside facilities without posting guards around the clock.
Medical parole would also let federal insurance programs pay more of the cost of the inmates' care.
Sen. Mark Leno says his SB1399 could save $200 million annually. Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, says many of those who could qualify would be comatose or paralyzed.
Republicans object, saying the paroles could include inmates who are less seriously ill. They say felons should serve their full sentences behind bars.
The measure now goes to the Assembly.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
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