From: PacoVilla’s CCPOA Blog
Thursday, December 17, 2009
No word on how long this is to last- dogs engaged and major shakedown of the entire prison.
And what we need to be asking is how did this happen? Certainly, it is not the visitors….
Thursday, December 17, 2009
No word on how long this is to last- dogs engaged and major shakedown of the entire prison.
And what we need to be asking is how did this happen? Certainly, it is not the visitors….
By Just A Guy
Editors note: Just a guy was recently released from a California state prison. For the past year, he covered the prison system from the inside, and continues to comment on prisons, crime and law-enforcement issues.
Kudos to the Orange County Register for writing a piece not completely marred with negativity toward prisoners and for taking an objective view of the fucking mess in California.
I think it’s refreshing that a more mainstream media outlet has actually put out a piece that doesn’t label every prisoner in California (or the country) as an incorrigible ingrate with no future.
What is it going to take for the rest of the state to pick up pieces like this one? Where are the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union/Tribune? Why is it only small papers or independents and weeklies are telling the truth?
The writers of the OC Register article put the numbers out there for all to see — come on, California spends more than double that of Illinois per inmate. DOUBLE. There is no conclusive proof that this spending is doing shit. Well, it’s definitely doing shit, just not good shit! Lining someone’s pockets somewhere.
Quotes like this in the article crack me up: “Only four guards are assigned to the gymnasium at any given time; they watch from an elevated platform at one end of the floor. Traveling between the bunks, especially at the end of the gym, you are putting your life into the hands of bored criminals. The inmates are so close you can smell their sweat and stale breath.”
I guess the guards are all fresh and rosy and don’t have odors, kind of like when they stopped allowing visits because the swine flu outbreak was just occurring — but didn’t stop anything else, as if the only people that could get the swine flu were the inmates and their families.
I suppose the writers had to have a little drama to keep the piece interesting. They certainly make it seem so dangerous to walk past those inmates, like it is such a fearful endeavor, they didn’t mention the amount of assaults that actually happen to co’s each year, especially co’s at level II facilities like the Quentin gym.
One other thing: Has anyone ever considered that the inmates’ lives are also in the hands of bored cops?
Then there are quotes like this: “”We ain’t living good,” agrees Richard Howlan, 43, who was convicted of drug possession and is serving time on a parole violation. Howlan says there’s mold growing on the wall near his bunk. “I’ve been sick as a dog for three weeks.”
Well, I am sure that the public is happy to hear that you “ain’t” living good, Richard, though you ought to be considering that 3 billion more is spent on prisons than higher education!!!
Another thing that just bothers me. The 20% drop in violent crime from 99-08 seems to somehow be attributed to prison spending, but the truth of the matter is from 99-05 the economy kind of rocked and well, everyone was happy and happy people are less violent, right.
Shit, even the refi money trickled into the crappy neighborhoods, it’s no wonder violent crimes went down. Somehow 06-08 got rolled into that, but don’t go around trying to say prison spending is what reduced violent crime. Motherfuckers were just happy ‘cause they had money!
How can Lance Corcoran say this — the most disingenuous statement I have ever heard: The prison union agrees with Petersilia’s conclusions, but says you can’t blame its members for the state’s limited investment in rehabilitation. Bullshit! It’s the union’s members who support Corcoran — and they’re trying to get more money. So they get the blame by proxy just as inmates get the blame by proxy for everything that happens.
Now, I can’t blame the CCPOA’s members for trying to get more money (who wouldn’t), but please don’t give them an out like that; they’ve got plenty of excuses already. And if the real concern were public safety, more would be invested in things that would make it less likely an inmate returned to prison — thereby protecting the public through rehabilitation not incarceration. It’s about bank account safety, not public safety.
Other things like this simply amaze me: Union spokesman Lance Corcoran said that the state needs to offer prison guards competitive salaries and benefits in order to attract good employees. (See chart of how much public safety groups have spent on political lobbying in California).
“We’re in competition with a myriad of different agencies at the state and local level to try to get folks to come to a not very glamorous job,” he said.
Are you kidding me? Not very glamorous, well tough shit. No one is making these co’s become co’s. What percentage of co’s actually have college degrees? Apparently the majority of co’s find being a prison guard more glamorous than going to college and getting a degree that would enable them to have choices beyond working at a prison.
When you have pigeonholed yourself into a career with no real growth potential and no real opportunity outside of that career path you will do everything you possibly can to defend that choice and make sure you have a long solid future because YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ELSE. Fuck, are you seriously going to believe this crap?
The following may be one of the greatest understatements of this year:
Matt Gray, lobbyist and executive director of Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety, said the public is uninformed about corrections issues. He said special interest groups, like the prison guard union, rely on the politics of public safety to convince lawmakers and voters into seeing things their way.
Instead of relying on data or studies to back up their positions, public safety groups paint grim pictures of criminals running in the streets. That’s a powerful argument. Nobody supports crimes.
“It’s a culture of fear,” Gray said. You seemingly can kill any prison reform plan by simply calling it soft on crime. … “I equate it to yelling ‘Fire!’ in a theater.”
Everything about what Matt Gray has said is true. If you have been reading my blogs for any amount of time you would know this is true. But the real sad thing about this is that while the politicians and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the CCPOA and law enforcement all cry this fear song, the general public really does nothing to investigate the veracity of what they are being told.
The people just believe it and bury their heads in the sand rather than investigate. Of course, I hold inept journalists to blame for this as well — the journalists that refuse to investigate and report both sides of the issue, the journalists that talk to all those groups above and write articles quoting the cops, da’s, prison guards, politicians etc…, but amazingly don’t quote one inmate or talk to anyone in prison.
Here’s statement the cognoscenti running California may want to consider: “I think there has been a recognition in New York that long prison sentences aren’t the answer for a lot of nonviolent prisoners,” Kriss said. “The (Correctional Services) Commissioner likes to say, ‘We’re keeping the right people in prison.’” But a statement like this in California would be nigh impossible for the majority of this state’s administrators — because it’s an admission of having made mistakes, and that admission, ultimately, could result in the release of people in prison, which would jeopardize jobs and livelihoods and political futures because of the appearance of being soft on crime even if some of the crimes are victimless…
It’s morons like this that California seems to listen to, not reason, not anything resembling sanity, but only these statements that make it possible to let someone else do the thinking for you and absolve you of responsibility:
“Sending thousands and thousands of inmates home in an early release line-up places California families in grave danger,” said Orange County State Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, when the Senate originally approved the prison reform package. “There is no doubt that the state’s prison system is collapsing, but there are more reasonable and responsible ways in which to save money.”
There is no more danger to California families if the people that get out in early releases get out now or when their sentence is completed — they’re all getting out anyway. The danger is that prior to release there has been no rehabilitative effort to make sure the offender actually has something to get out to. The danger is not in the release date but in the lack of hope prison creates.
The Associated Press
Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009
California has paid $108 million for experts and lawyers for inmates in 12 major lawsuits over a 12-year period, a state watchdog reported Thursday.
That does not include the state’s own legal costs or the amount needed to fix problems that led to the class-action suits alleging violations of inmate rights, including poor medical, dental and mental health care.
The report by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s inspector general also said the state attorney general spent nearly $24 million from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 2009 defending the department against allegations that the rights of inmates were violated.
That did not include the cost of the corrections department’s own staff attorneys or private attorneys hired to help defend the state.
“We’re paying both sides,” said corrections spokesman Oscar Hidalgo. “It’s coming at a time when the state is having trouble funding most everything right now.”
The state faces a $21 billion deficit next year after laying off and furloughing thousands of employees, borrowing billions of dollars and slashing funding for schools and social programs.
Hidalgo said the department is trying to limit the number of class-action lawsuits, hold down its legal costs, and persuade judges that conditions have improved so much that court monitoring is no longer needed.
“I think what the report really shows is that the state would rather pay us and the special masters and the experts our fees than fix the constitutional violations that are widespread within the system,” said Don Specter, director of the Berkeley-based Prison Law Office that has filed many of the inmate lawsuits.
Of the $108 million, $66 million went to attorneys who filed class-action lawsuits on inmates’ behalf. The remaining $42 million was paid for court-appointed special masters and experts who oversee improvements to the prison system.
Inmates’ attorneys billed the state as much as $640 an hour.
Specter said the report neglected to note the state is paying $900 an hour to an attorney hired to fight one inmate case before to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A sampling of invoices found there might be $2.6 million in questionable costs submitted by plaintiff’s attorneys for things such as staff training or travel.
Inspector General David Shaw recommended that state lawmakers cap the hourly fees of inmates’ attorneys in cases filed in state court. He said the state also should do a better job of checking invoices.
“There are no indications that most of these lawsuits will end anytime soon,” Shaw warned.
Source: Las Vegas Sun
The order by Judge Frank Roesch means that roughly 40,000 state correctional officers, their sergeant and lieutenants are due their full pay for time worked.
The judge’s order commands Schwarzenegger “… to pay all employees represented by (the union) in this action of all hours worked for which furlough credits have not been utilized.”
Roesch published the decision this morning on the court’s Web site, one month after attorneys for California Correctional Peace Officers Association argued that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s policy of “self-directed furloughs” was an illegal pay cut and violated labor law that requires full pay due for all hour worked in a 28-day pay period.
Schwarzenegger’s attorneys countered that state workers were making up the time quickly and expected no one would have time left on the books by the 2012 deadline.
Lynelle Jolley, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Personnel Administration said that Schwarzenegger’s attorneys hadn’t yet reviewed the ruling. Calls to CCPOA’s West Sacramento headquarters and the governor’s office have not yet been returned.
CCPOA argued its case in Roesch’s Alameda County courtroom on Nov. 16. The judge heard arguments in three other furlough lawsuits that attacked the policy for other reasons. As of noon today, Roesch hadn’t issued a decision in any of those cases.
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Rachel Arrezola said the state plans to appeal the ruling.
December 17, 2009
West Sacramento, CA – An Alameda Court judge today ruled that the Governor’s order to “furlough” California’s correctional peace officers – which has reduced their pay but requires them to work their full schedule – was an illegal pay cut that violated labor law, and that the more than 30,000 officers, sergeants and lieutenants “are due their full pay for time worked.”
“It’s unfortunate that we were forced to file this lawsuit in the first place, but we’re obviously pleased that the court ruled to protect these officers’ rights,” said Mike Jimenez, President of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). “We made numerous attempts to work with this Administration to find better, more legitimate ways to cut corrections costs, but we were rebuffed. Legal action was our last, and only resort.
“However, we once again extend our cooperation and assistance to the State Legislature and Department Secretary to help identify sensible cost savings measures within the corrections system,” said Jimenez. “We’ve proactively offered savings and reform recommendations on a nearly annual basis – and will be releasing our latest “New Direction” blueprint on corrections reform in January.”
View the full decision and read another statement from CCPOA re: the lawsuit at www.ccpoa.org.
SPECIAL TO THE BEE: A Letter from Chuck Alexander/CCPOA (July 27, 2009)
While Sacramento police and firefighters are receiving accolades from local officials for making contract concessions during tough times, our governor has summarily rejected any and all attempts by California correctional peace officers to do the same.
With California now reduced to passing out IOUs to cover its growing debts and its credit rating in free fall, the governor’s refusal to even consider, let alone enact, any of these cost-saving proposals is puzzling.
We recently offered to reduce future pension obligations, alter sick leave provisions and make other contractual changes that would save California taxpayers more than a billion dollars annually, all of which were flatly rejected by the Schwarzenegger administration.
Shortly before, we urged the governor to trim the prison bureaucracy, which has nearly doubled at a time when the state’s prison population has increased 8 percent. Even the governor’s former acting corrections director said the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation “is bloated and unwieldy, generating significant waste.” The governor’s response was to begin furloughing officers, essentially cutting the muscle instead of the fat.
It’s not the first time this governor has turned a deaf ear to our recommendations for reducing the high cost of operating California prisons. Two years ago, we detailed ways the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars by trimming the prison bureaucracy and streamlining operations. Two months ago, we offered other suggestions for cutting prison costs, including limiting inmate health care costs to the same level as Medi-Cal patients, which would ensure adequate care for inmates while saving taxpayers over a billion dollars annually. In neither case would the governor nor his prison officials meet to discuss these ideas… (click link below to continue reading)
- Excerpt from SPECIAL TO THE BEE: A Letter from Chuck Alexander/CCPOA (July 2009)
While California’s inmate population has grown by less than six percent since 2002, the Department of Corrections’ administrative bureaucracy has doubled. Billions of dollars could be saved by streamlining operations, reducing bureaucratic staff and eliminating waste and inefficiency – without jeopardizing public safety or increasing the dangers for prison officers and parole agents.
Specifically, we propose:
These are just some of our recommendations for reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of California’s correctional system. We look forward to working with you to find others that will help the department succeed in its fundamental mission – protecting the people of California.
California’s prison overcrowding crisis has reached the boiling point. A system designed for approximately 80,000 inmates is now bursting with more than 170,000. Prisoners are double-and-triple bunked in many facilities. Gymnasiums and classrooms are being used for emergency housing. Staff shortages make adequate inmate oversight and implementation of rehabilitation programs impossible. Prison healthcare is in the hands of a federal receiver and the rest of the prison system faces potential federal takeover – which could result in forced releases of inmates, required expenditures of additional billions of state dollars, or both.
Yet the prison crisis is one part of a statewide public safety crisis that defies simplistic solutions. At both the local and state levels, the criminal justice system suffers from inadequate and uncoordinated means of tracking and providing services to inmate and parolee populations, perennial and growing shortages of public safety personnel, insufficient space to house inmates and a disconnect between public policy choices and adequate funding to implement policy decisions.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) represents the more than 30,000 public safety personnel who work every day to manage the increased tensions and dangers that are exacerbated by prison overcrowding and insufficient staff. For years, we have worked to call attention to the increasingly dangerous prison system and the threat of a public safety disaster in communities throughout the state.
While the 2006 special legislative session brought high-profile attention to the severe prison overcrowding situation that has been growing for years, the hastily-crafted proposals that emerged during the session suffered from a lack of comprehensive vision and from a lack of a meaningful process for input from any stakeholders who are key to the ultimate success of any prisons plan – including CCPOA, other organizations who represent staff, local law enforcement, inmate advocates and local government representatives.
Now that a federal court has explicitly ordered California to address the overcrowding crisis or face the prospect of a court-imposed population cap, the Administration is pledging a commitment to resolve this long-standing and long-neglected issue. We offer our support to those legislative leaders interested in real reform.
Given the urgent need to take action on effective solutions to the prison crisis, this document is intended to provide CCPOA’s perspective on key issues and to outline some important concepts that we believe must be included in a comprehensive approach to the state’s prison and public safety crisis… (click link below to continue reading)
- Excerpt from CCPOA’s BLUEPRINT FOR REFORM (January 2007)
A federal receiver in charge of California’s prison health care released a report Monday on inmate mortality. It says the inmate death rate has declined for a second year in a row. But as KPCC’s Julie Small reports, the number of deaths prison doctors might have prevented is up.
The report says that between 2006 and 2008, the death rate among California inmates declined 13 percent. But during that same period, the number of deaths that might have been prevented had doctors diagnosed and treated inmates rose from 44 to 66.
But that follows the highest inmate death rate on record.
Clark Kelso, the federal receiver who spent billions of state dollars purging bad doctors from prisons and replacing them with more and better qualified ones, says it’s not the doctors’ fault.
“It’s not that we’ve got bad clinicians,” Kelso said. “It’s that they’re working in a third world environment.”
Kelso says there’s only so much those clinicians can do to improve care when prisons are packed to near double capacity, and when the clerks who file paper medical records are backlogged by months.
Kelso said the problem isn’t that he lacks enough prison doctors somewhere, it’s systemic failure.
“I don’t have health records anywhere. I have overcrowding everywhere. I don’t have facilitates anywhere,” Kelso said.
The receiver’s review determines inmate deaths were preventable by noting when prison medical staff failed to follow correct procedures. Federal receiver Clark Kelso says one reason the number of preventable deaths is up since 2006 is that his office is doing a better job of identifying gross lapses in prison medical care.
One example from the report tells of an inmate who was diagnosed with asthma at one prison, then was transferred to a different prison. But the medical record that noted the asthma diagnosis didn’t go with him. The inmate had to wait two weeks to see a doctor at the new prison. On the day of his appointment, prison guards found the inmate “unresponsive” in his cell.
He adds that the state must computerize prison medical records to ensure that doctors have access to inmates’ medical histories.
It seems as though America’s self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” can’t live without hearing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in his jails this holiday season.
Sheriff Joe, despite being sued six times in the past two years for doing so, will again force inmates in the county jails to listen to Christmas carols throughout the holiday season.
In a press release from the sheriff today, which is written in a smug red and green type, Arpaio downplays the six lawsuits and says the roughly 8,000 inmates in the county jail system will get Christmas music all day long this holiday season whether they like it or not.
The six prior lawsuits have claimed Arpaio’s less-than-merry practice should be considered cruel and unusual punishment, or that the sheriff is forcing people to participate in religious celebrations.
The practice of forcing people to listen to crappy music all day long has been used in the past for interrogation purposes. For example, the U.S. military blared Metallica music at detainees in Guantanamo Bay with the intention of breaking them down psychologically.
If the GITMO detainees were breaking down over a little Metallica music, there’s no way that forcing someone to listen to Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree isn’t cruel and unusual.
Source: Valley Fever Blog
By KAREN VELIE
California state prisons are to begin implementing a plan for the unsupervised release of up to 40,000 non-violent inmates and are required to train staff on non-revocable parole eligibility by Jan. 21, according to a memo sent from the State Department of Corrections.
In an exclusive, CalCoastNews learned of the Nov. 25 memo sent statewide to prison wardens and counselors.
In September, lawmakers passed legislation that requires prisons to implement a program of prisoner release under non-revocable parole by Jan. 25, 2010. Parolees under the new release program will not be required to check in with parole, take drug tests, have a parole officer and are not subject to hearings for parole violations.
Under the new program, law enorcement agencies are permitted to make warrantless searches of prisoners’ abodes and property.
In the past, parole officials have returned between 70,000 and 80,000 parolees to prison each year for violations that include missing meetings, failing drug tests and committing crimes.
Prisoners convicted of sexually violent crimes or serious felonies are not eligible for the new program. As of Dec. 14, prison counselors will begin classes focused on how to determine if a prisoner poses a high risk of re-offending, according to the memo.
However, the program does not address a quagmire of prisoner release issues. Opponents fear the release of thousands of ill and indigent persons to the streets of California at a time of massive unemployment could have dire consequences.
In February, a panel of three federal judges ruled that because of overcrowding the state must reduce the prison population by as many as 57,000 people over two years. The 33 prisons in the California prison system are designed to house 80,000 inmates yet the population is over 150,000.
Eligible prisoners can’t be refused early release just because of the
gravity of their crimes — ‘some evidence’ has to show the inmate
would pose a threat to public safety, some judges have ruled.
Reporting from Vacaville, Calif. – During the 26 years that James
Alexander has spent in prison for killing a fellow drug dealer, he
has maintained a spotless behavior record and devoted himself to
helping other inmates shake addictions.
He’s been such a model prisoner that state parole commissioners — on
three occasions — recommended that he be released. All three times,
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger overruled them.
Alexander, 47, is among the hundreds of so-called lifers whom state
parole boards have deemed rehabilitated and ready to rejoin society,
but who sit behind bars because their crime was murder. In recent
years, some judges have sided with lifers, ruling that the state
can’t deny an inmate parole solely because of the gravity of his
original offense but rather must provide “some evidence” that he
would pose a threat to public safety if released.
The legal notion that corrections officials must, in essence, show
that an inmate remains a threat to society is being challenged in a
pending case before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
About 23,000 state prisoners serving life sentences are technically
eligible for parole. There are nearly 4,000 other inmates serving
“life without parole” sentences and 685 on death row, who can never
be considered for such a release.
Until the 1980s, when a succession of tough-on-crime governors came
to power, parole was routine for those sentenced to life who showed
evidence of rehabilitation. In 1983, Gov. George Deukmejian invoked
what was then a rarely used 1913 law to overrule the parole board
decision to free murderer William Archie Fain after an angry outcry
from the small Northern California town of Oakdale, where Fain’s
victims had lived.
Deukmejian’s successor, Gov. Pete Wilson, reversed parole grants with
more frequency, and Gov. Gray Davis embraced a virtual no-parole-for-
murderers policy, freeing only six during his tenure, five of them
women whose crimes stemmed from domestic abuse. Schwarzenegger also
has been loath to release killers, granting only four such paroles
himself but allowing more than 300 other parole board decisions to go
through without his review.
Despite a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding in the
state, neither Schwarzenegger nor corrections officials have
suggested considering violent offenders for early release.
Victims’ rights organizations defend what they consider the
governor’s responsibility, as well as his power, to keep murderers
off the streets, especially in the current economic crisis, which has
cut funding for law enforcement and parole supervision.
“For the sake of public safety — that’s what we have life sentences
for,” said Harriet Salarno, head of Crime Victims United of
California, whose 18-year-old daughter, Catina, was murdered by a man
who comes up for his ninth parole hearing early next year. “That
should be a deterrent to crime: that you won’t ever get out if you
get a life sentence.”
Bill Schmidt, an attorney who specializes in representing lifers,
says the question of whether reformed prisoners should get parole is
often clouded by the horrific nature of their crime.
For example, he said, even though Charles Manson has shown little
remorse or rehabilitation for his 1969 cult slayings, some of his
accomplices have maintained unblemished records for nearly four
decades. Nonetheless, he said, they have been systematically denied
parole. Even prison authorities’ recommendation for release of Manson
follower Susan Atkins on compassionate grounds was rejected before
she died of brain cancer in September.
Though popular opinion may support keeping the most notorious killers
locked up forever, “where does the law give the subjective authority
for the governor or the board to say, ‘No, your crime was so
horrendous that we’re not ever going to let you out’?” Schmidt asks.
In the case now before the 9th Circuit, convicted murderer Ronald
Hayward challenged Davis’ reversal of the parole board’s decision to
release him after 27 years’ imprisonment for the stabbing death of a
motorcycle gang member who had attempted to rape Hayward’s
girlfriend. A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled in January
2008 that Hayward’s constitutional right to due process had been
violated because the governor failed to cite any evidence that
Hayward was still dangerous.
The three-judge panel ruled that a parole board’s decision “deprives
a prisoner of due process with respect to this [liberty] interest” if
the decision is “not supported by some evidence in the record or is
otherwise arbitrary.” The judges’ decision was suspended four months
later by the court’s vote to reconsider the case by a full 11-judge
Supervising Deputy Atty. Gen. Jennifer Neill has urged the appeals
court to reconsider whether prisoners have a liberty interest in
parole decisions, arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t
recognized a right to parole barring evidence that a prisoner remains
Life prisoners have no right to a term less than life, Neill argues,
so denial of parole “merely means that the inmate will have to serve
out his sentence as expected.”
Last year, two decisions by the California Supreme Court reiterated
the need for the state to show “some evidence” that the prisoner
poses a risk.
In the case of Sandra Davis Lawrence, who fatally shot her lover’s
wife and stabbed her with a potato peeler, the state high court held
that the heinousness of the 1971 crime wasn’t enough to justify
continued incarceration. In the case of Richard Shaputis, decided on
the same day as the Lawrence case in August 2008, the court also
referred to the “some evidence” standard but ruled that
Schwarzenegger had identified grounds for denying parole: that
Shaputis continued to suffer a “lack of insight” into how he came to
kill his wife.
The state high court decisions and the initial 9th Circuit ruling
have encouraged lawyers who represent lifers to hope that the appeals
court’s full panel of judges will agree the law is on their side.
But the 11 judges — five appointed by Republican presidents and six
by Democrats — make up an inscrutable bench that Hayward’s legal
team fears could instead establish the governor’s exclusive control
“They scared me to death,” Carl McQuillion, a paralegal for Hayward,
said about questions from the judges following oral arguments in the
case last year. “It seemed clear to me that the judges are wanting to
reverse this decision.”
A murder convict who studied law during his 33 years in prison,
McQuillion secured a court-ordered release in 2003, marking a turning
point in the battle between state officials and courts over parole.
Legal scholars say the decision in Hayward’s case will depend on how
the federal judges interpret the intent of laws on sentencing.
“It goes back to the question of whether we want sentences to be
punitive and how to weigh rehabilitation versus punishment,” said
Pepperdine University law professor Laurie Serafino.
After 11 parole hearings and three revoked release dates, Alexander
won a court order from a San Diego judge last year that he be found
suitable for parole and a date be set for his freedom. A state
appeals court reversed the order this year, leaving him in prison and
sending his case back to the parole board.
He says he has no illusions about the Hayward case’s implications for
“It’s hard for me to have faith in the integrity of the system,”
Alexander said, “when the state agency charged with finding me
suitable for parole has done so on numerous occasions and I’m still
Source: LA Times
First of two parts
Randall Benton | RBenton@sacbee.com
California’s prison health care employees work hard – or so it would seem by their schedules. Many average 12 hours a day; others routinely log 16- to 18-hour shifts for months on end, creating a costly overtime free-for-all in this budget-strapped state.
An abundance of forced and voluntary overtime has driven some nurses beyond human endurance. In the process, the long hours have opened the door for deadly lapses in a health care system just beginning to recover from decades of neglect.
“People who are pushing it to that level, working a ridiculous number of hours, usually crash,” said Yolanda Esparza, a certified nursing assistant who works evenings and some nights at the California Institution for Women in Corona.
“I myself have witnessed people sleeping at their posts – heavily, snoring, full sleep. They don’t even notice people walking by. It’s pretty common,” Esparza said.
Asked what happens when nurses are found sleeping on the job – a gross violation of prison rules – one prison nursing director said simply, “We would wake them up.” Often, she said, the nurse is then sent back to work.
A Bee investigation found that lax recruitment, worsened by the state budget crisis, and programs such as one for the suicidal that’s exploited by savvy inmates, have contributed to extreme staff work schedules. Correctional officials have tolerated the practice despite criticism about the price of prison health care, which cost more than $2.1 billion in the year ending in June 2008.
Click here to read the full article and view chart on Nurses wages….also take a moment to read the comments.
A must to check out while your surfing the web…..
Utah Prison Watch is an international weblog meant to make public the Human Rights Abuses going on in Utah´s prisons.
Documenting and exposing abuse.
94% of the inmates at Utah State Prison will one day be released back into society. This is a consensus taken by the prison; it is not my own fabrication. It is common knowledge that prisons have an 85% recidivism rate. On a weekly basis, people in Utah are being sent to USP as new inmates. I think I would be safe in saying that at least 15 new inmates are processed in every week. The population of Utah is a little over 2 million people. Recently, inside Gunnison Prison there was another max building was constructed which holds approximately 200 inmates.
I would like to emphasize that it was another MAX Unit that was built…and it was funded during a fading economy. Instead of building a learning center or a building for learning a trade, the money was spent to build another max facility to do nothing but warehouse inmates; Inmates who know nothing of a trade, nothing of education and nothing of a strong family.