California began transferring inmates out of state years ago to ease overcrowding, but the nation's most populous state is now in the process of bringing those prisoners back home.
The inmates currently being housed at North Fork are expected to be gone by the end of 2013, Thornton said.
Arrangement called ‘shocking'
Buena Vista was fined $168,000 for taking in the inmates — an arrangement that placed 120-plus residents in “immediate jeopardy,” the Health Department report shows.
Dorya Huser, chief of long-term care for the state's Protective Health Services division, said the inmates' stay at Buena Vista Care and Rehabilitation Center is “completely shocking … and I've been doing this awhile.”
Huser said it's the first time she's heard of such a thing.
“To put felons in a nursing home is just appalling,” she said. “They had been convicted of extremely serious crimes, and that in itself would make them a danger to other residents.”
Huser said the realization that four dangerous felons had lived at the nursing home came during a routine inspection in March.
“We went in there to do a regular survey and came upon this,” Huser said. “Everybody was puzzled as to how on earth this happened.”
Huser said residents of the facility were “very much impacted” by the presence of the inmates, who were shackled and chained to their beds and watched at all times by armed guards.
“The prisoners were taken through the facility, at times, and the residents saw them during that time,” she said. “It was very unsettling for them. Try and imagine that.”