Calif. Prisons To End Dental Clearance Program For Women

SACRAMENTO (AP) - The director of California's prison health care programs says he's ending a controversial policy that forced some female inmates to get their teeth pulled to earn stays with their children.

Jeffrey Thompson tells the San Jose Mercury News that he's halting the "dental clearance" program that came under fire this week from senators during Thompson's confirmation hearing. The Senate Rules Committee delayed a decision on whether to keep him in the post.

The policy was intended to ensure that women in vocational, rehabilitative and housing programs in smaller prison and community-based settings did not have pre-existing health problems, including severely damaged teeth.

But long wait times to see a dentist in the overcrowded prison medical system led many women to opt for extractions to they could take part in the highly popular programs.

Information from: San Jose Mercury News,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-06-14-08 1336EDT

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