The California Penal Code is a complex set of laws that govern criminal behavior and punishment. One of the lesser-known sections of this code is Section 673, which pertains to the medical care of prisoners.

While this law may seem insignificant to some, it is essential for incarcerated people who rely on medical care to survive. Death or major injury should never be a concern for prisoners.


What It Says

Section 673 of the California Penal Code states, “The department shall provide adequate medical care to all persons sentenced to imprisonment in the state prisons.” The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) ensures all prisoners receive necessary medical treatment, from routine check-ups to emergency surgeries.

However, medical neglect is a real problem in many prisons. Prisoners may be denied medical care for various reasons, including cost-cutting measures and intentional neglect by prison staff.

When this happens, a prisoner’s health may deteriorate rapidly, leading to more severe medical problems and even death. California Legislation put Section 673 in place to prevent this from happening and ensure prisoners receive the care they need.

Medical neglect is a serious issue that violates California Penal Code Section 673. Unfortunately, there have been cases of medical neglect that have resulted in harm and even death in California.


Prisoners have reported:

  • They have been exposed to Covid and staff has not followed proper medical procedures

An Investigative team from UCLA discovered:

  • Prisoners in extreme isolation
  • Rampant medical neglect
  • Unreported physical and verbal abuse of prisoners by staff

Unfortunately, cases of medical neglect are all too common in California and do not always receive the attention they deserve. These cases can involve a failure to provide necessary medical care, restrict access to medication, or insufficient attention to treating a condition.

Such acts are in direct violation of California Penal Code Section 673. These cases often involve vulnerable individuals who need proper medical care, so allegations of medical neglect must be taken seriously and work toward solutions to prevent such an egregious breach of trust and duty.

In addition to ensuring that medical care is available to prisoners, Section 673 also includes provisions for mental health care. It states, “The department shall make adequate mental health treatment available to all persons sentenced to imprisonment in the state prisons.”


Prisoner authorities often overlook prisoner mental health care. Many suffer from severe mental illnesses that require ongoing treatment but may not receive critical care due to the stigma surrounding mental health in prisons.

All prisoners are entitled to the same level of care, regardless of their medical history or the cost of treatment. This provision helps to protect prisoners from discrimination and ensures fair treatment.

Despite the protections provided by Section 673, medical neglect in prisons remains a serious problem. In recent years, numerous cases of prisoners have been denied necessary medical care have resulted in severe harm or death.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must do more to ensure that all prisoners receive the required medical care and that those responsible for medical neglect are held accountable.

California Penal Code Section 673 is an important law to ensure prisoners receive adequate medical care. It includes provisions for physical and mental health care and requires all prisoners to receive appropriate treatment based on their medical needs.

It is up to us as a society to demand that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation does its part to uphold this law and protect the health and safety of those in its care.


Did your Loved One Die or Suffer Serious Injury Due to Medical Neglect in Jail?

No one should be treated abusively in prison or jail. This is especially true if you require medicine and treatment for injury or illness, including alcohol and drug withdrawal. Medical neglect should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one was a victim of jail medical neglect, and suffered major injury or death, we want to hear your case. Please contact our attorneys now for a free consultation. We service Southern California including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange County.