This video is very well done and should be viewed by all Californian’s and the world. Factual, and truthful- one can see for themselves how CDCR continually lies and tries to cover up the horrific overcrowding NOW affecting the womens prisons. Knowledge is Power!
20+ years of gross negligence for the prisoners of California and Brown wants until 2016. Where is the OUTRAGE, people?
Facing U.S. court order, California asks for three-year prison extension
Facing a federal court order to cut its inmate population by about 8,500 inmates by the end of the year, California officials asked a federal court panel late Monday to grant a three-year extension to ensure that mass inmate releases do not occur.
A panel of three federal judges had ordered the state to submit detailed plans by Monday on how it would cut the population in its 34 adult prisons to 137.5 percent of capacity by the end of the year.
But Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration instead asked for the postponement, noting that legislation he signed last week, Senate Bill 105, is designed to ease California’s overcrowding crisis without the need to release inmates early.
“SB 105 appropriates $315 million to be used for a mix of increased prison capacity and long term reforms to control prison crowding,” the state said in its court filing.
That measure relies on increased prison capacity, use of county jail space to house inmates and increased reliance on drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
“But these further reforms will take time to develop – time that does not exist under the current end-of-the-year deadline,” the state said in its court filing.
The state’s solution is to ask for an extension until the end of 2016 to reduce inmate populations to the required level, but even without an extension the state says it will not rely on a mass release of inmates.
The population as of Sept. 11 was at 147.1 percent, or 120,027 inmates, meaning about 8,500 inmates would have to be moved out of the state prisons to meet the judges’ requirements.
The state said that it has “completed the framework for an early release system which identifies and categorizes offenders” who could be released, if necessary. But state officials argue there is no way to safely release enough inmates to meet the court order and the state said in its court filing that it does not anticipate needing to resort to early releases even if the judges do not grant an extension of the deadline.
Instead, the state said it would use funds from passage of SB 105 to lease more prison cell space in California and in private, out-of-state prisons to get to 137.5 percent or 112,164 inmates by the end of this year. There already are 9,000 inmates housed out of state.
Most of the reductions in the state inmate population would rely on out-of-state cells if the extension is not granted.
The state noted that time is critical and asked the judges for a decision by Sept. 27.
- California To Ask Judges To Delay Inmate Releases (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- California seeks three-year reprieve to avoid mass prison release (sacbee.com)
- Jerry Brown proposes $315 million to lease private prison cells rather than release inmates (mercurynews.com)
- California prison debate focuses on about 7,700 inmates (sacbee.com)
After defying the federal courts for years over the deplorable conditions in their state prisons, California officials seem to be moving closer to offering an age-old American solution: they are planning to throw a lot of money at the problem and hope it goes away. There are two new financial proposals now in play. One is new and forward-looking. The other is old and tired. One could very well work to ease the state’s prison crisis. The other is based on the very premise that created the problem to begin with.
The federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have consistently ordered California to ease unconstitutional overcrowding in state penitentiaries by, among other things, granting early release to thousands of prisoners. State officials have implemented some of the reforms demanded of them by the judiciary. But California has refused to release most of those inmates—sending them instead to county jails (where they are often released early anyway) or simply stalling for time by trying to re-litigate the same Eighth Amendment issuesthey’ve already lost at every appellate level.
Continue Reading @ TruthOut
- California prison mess results in false choices (watchdog.org)
- Jerry Brown, lawmakers reach accord in California prison crowding case (sacbee.com)
- Leaders seek to avoid early Calif. inmate releases (sacbee.com)
By Brian Leubitz
The prisons are a mess. However, things can get worse. SF School Board member Matt Haney co-authored an op-ed in the SF Chronicle with Van Jones about the governor’s position on the issue:
Gov. Jerry Brown confirmed this week that he is pulling his prison policies out of a 1980s playbook. It is heartbreaking to watch our nation’s most famous Democratic governor cling to outdated, lock ‘em up notions that even conservatives are abandoning in droves.
Tuesday, he made his most shocking step yet by proposing to send inmates to for-profit prisons. This boondoggle will cost an additional $315 million and more than $1 billion over three years to house thousands of people in private prisons leased by the state. Even our most extreme, fear-mongering politicians of decades past would have been reluctant to put forward such a scheme.
Brown appears hell bent on being on the wrong side of history. Across the political spectrum, leaders are beginning to understand that we need to invest in rehabilitation, re-entry programs, and evidence-based alternatives, rather than continuing our failed policies of mass incarceration. (Matt Haney and Van Jones / SF Chronicle)
Photo credit: Jim Hudson, Shreveport Times
So, while the Governor is working hard to come to some sort of immediate solution, there is not much optimism for a progressive in the plan. Meanwhile, Sen. Steinberg has a plan, but it relies on one very crucial assumption: he can get the plaintiffs in the suit to settle and have the judges agree to a three year delay on implementation. As I mentioned before, it is a big risk and not entirely clear how the judges would rule even with a settlement.
But there is reason to believe that a settlement would be possible. And perhaps Gov. Brown is playing a game to force the plaintiffs hand in some really tricky three dimensional chess strategy. Brown’s plan is pretty much everything the plaintiffs don’t want. Under all this, they would like to see some sentencing and other reforms in the prison system. The governor’s plan pretty much goes in the entirely opposite direction. It is also worthwhile to note that the ACLU crunched some numbers to show that the state could meet the court order only using the techniques Brown has previously supported.
Now here is where Steinberg comes in. If he can get the plaintiffs to settle, and the court agrees to a delay, perhaps we have created the real opportunity that we need to follow the lead of other states like Kansas (!) that have already done much to decrease the mass incarcerations that have been building in our country over the past fifty years. In fact, the ACLU has a very interesting report on the subject. While three years may not be the time frame everybody would ideally target, it is realistic. And maybe Steinberg’s plan is a good start on how we get there.
Now, as for that plan, you can see an outline here or over the flip. It is far from perfect. It calls for an advisory commission to review our public safety system, but doesn’t really provide the specifics of how we really get to the important reductions we need in our prison system. However, maybe that lack of specificity is for the best now. Maybe it could set up the conditions of real reform that we need. But if we don’t meet that court order, we’ll be back to square one in three years. And maybe those three years could make a big difference.
- State Senate Democrats propose alternative to Brown’s prison plan (latimes.com)
- Prison rift deepens among California Democrats (sacbee.com)
NOTE: Since this video was produced, Brown’s plan was clarified to cost about $1 billion over three years for more prison space. That’s instead of diverting more nonviolent people out of the prison system. The California State Assembly has a chance to stop this plan, but legislative leaders aren’t saying if they will. Let’s make sure the legislature hears our voices.
This video was produced by Beyond Bars (a project of Brave New Foundation) in partnership with the California Partnership, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Critical Resistance, SJRA Advocate, Friends Committee on Legislation of California, Courage Campaign, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and California Coalition for Women Prisoners.
WATCH & SHARE!!
- California Governor Proposes Massive Prison Expansion To Avoid Freeing Inmates (intel–blacklisted-activist-post-news.blogspot.com)
- Jerry Brown proposes $315 million to lease private prison cells rather than release inmates (mercurynews.com)
- California Governor Proposes Massive Prison Expansion To Avoid Freeing Inmates (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dan Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown’s shiftiness on display with prison dispute (sacbee.com)
- Capitol Alert: Activists urge Gov. Jerry Brown to release prisoners (fresnobee.com)
As they rightfully should. Delayed medical care when one has this illness can lead to death, and has lead to death for many who could have been treated. Sue the HELL out of CDCr and the state of California…..its about time! Lets rack up those lawsuits that have been a LONG time coming.
By DON THOMPSON Associated Press
California inmates who contracted a potentially fatal illness known as valley fever are suing state officials for lifetime medical care, including coverage for drugs that their attorney said can cost $2,000 a month.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Sacramento this week seeks class-action status for black, elderly and medically at-risk inmates and former inmates at two Central Valley prisons who fell ill to the naturally occurring airborne fungus since July 2009.
Corrections officials knew those groups were particularly vulnerable —historically— to the fungus that originates in the region’s soil but did not properly act to protect them, attorney Ian Wallach of Venice said Friday. That failure violated the inmates’ constitutional rights, according to the lawsuit.
About half the infections produce no symptoms, while most of the rest can bring mild to severe flu-like symptoms. In a few cases, however, the infection can spread from the lungs to the brain, bones, skin or eyes, causing blindness, skin abscesses, lung failure and occasionally death.
Currently, state policy is to release severely infected parolees with a 30-day supply of medication, Wallach said. After that, they’re on their own to pay for drugs that can cost $2,000 a month.
“Without the medicine, they will die. With the medicine, their quality of life is still unbearable,” Wallach said, calling it “a life sentence that no judge had ordered.”
Corrections department spokesman Jeffrey Callison declined comment on the lawsuit, but said the state is complying with a recent federal court order to move about 2,600 of the 8,100 inmates housed at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons, both located about 175 miles southeast of San Francisco.
The move comes as the state is also transferring 1,700 seriously sick and mentally ill inmates into a nearly $840 million medical complex in Stockton, and while it fights a separate court order requiring the state to free nearly 10,000 inmates by year’s end to ease crowding and improve conditions.
The class of inmates named in the lawsuit varies from the order issued last month by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco. He instructed the state to move most black, Filipino and medically at-risk inmates from the two prisons, but he did not include older inmates.
Henderson’s order is designed to protect vulnerable inmates who do not have the illness, while the damages lawsuit is intended to help those who are ill.
Wallach said his law firm has been contacted by more than 500 sick inmates and former inmates since it won a $425,000 settlement last year for a former inmate who became ill with valley fever at the federal Taft Correctional Institution in Kern County.
The lead plaintiff, Arthur D. Jackson, is a 40-year-old black man currently serving a life sentence in Folsom State Prison. The suit says he contracted valley fever at Pleasant Valley State Prison last year, leading to fatigue, stomach pain, severe dry and bleeding skin, trouble breathing, chest pain, headaches, pneumonia and blurred vision. He still has severe headaches and partial blindness to his left eye despite taking daily medication.
The lawsuit lists another six prisoners and former inmates by name, all of whom fit into the categories named in the suit.
Via The Republic
- Inmates ordered removed from prisons with valley fever outbreaks (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Judge: Calif. Must Move Inmates Because Of Fungus (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- Valley Fever outbreak at California prisons (calcoastnews.com)
by PJ LaFever
Dear Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez:
I recently read an article in the Sacramento Bee where you were quoted: “‘I think we’ve done everything we possibly can to comply with the law and to make sure the accommodations if you will are adequate and lawful, but it’s not a vacation, it’s prison,’ the Lake Elsinore Republican said. ‘It’s not going to be resort-style accommodations. There are certain things we have to comply with under the law. I’m starting to feel now (the court is) pushing it further and further just because they can.’”
To begin with, Ms. Melendez, thank God for the three-judge panel. If they are “pushing it,” it’s because they have a moral obligation to do so. Had the CDCR been doing what it should have been doing all along, we would not even be facing this problem. And if rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment had been made widely available years ago, we would not have the numbers in prison that we do. CDCR, however, was intent on investing its money in expanding the prison population, not reducing it.
For you to state that the “accommodations are adequate and lawful” clearly demonstrate your ignorance of current prison conditions. Perhaps you need to take a tour of all 33 California state prisons; no doubt, if you did, if you have any heart at all, you would see that CDCR is still grossly out of compliance. While there have been some improvements, they still have a long way to go.
I’ve been volunteering as a prisoners’ rights advocate for 13 years. I have dealt first hand with the abhorrent abuse, neglect and dehumanizing conditions California state prisoners endure on a daily basis: the potty watches, the bogus, racially discriminatory validations of hundreds of Hispanics, and Hispanics and Blacks being locked down literally for years on end!
By “locked down,” I mean in their cells 24/7 with no fresh air or sunlight. And these are not SHU prisoners. These are prisoners in the general population. Patterns of guards setting prisoners up to fail on the yard are documented.
Medical care is still lacking! Physicians’ assistants are playing the role of doctors; prisoners rarely ever see an M.D. They get the wrong meds and have meds taken away from them that they were authorized to have. More than one PA has been fired due to overstepping their bounds.
One young man tried to get surgery for a badly dislocated shoulder for six years to no avail! Not until I contacted the Correspondence Control Unit and Prison Health Care Services did he get help. Prisoners are being charged $5 to go to medical when they never get to go. Then when they reschedule their appointments due to being overlooked, they are charged an additional $5!
The overcrowding at CCWF women’s prison is so bad, women are lucky to get a doctor’s appointment at all. Since VSPW has been made a sensitive needs prison for the men, CCWF is so incredibly overcrowded that there is more fighting, less food and fewer programs that served to assist the women in paroling successfully.
For you to state that the “accommodations are adequate and lawful” clearly demonstrate your ignorance of current prison conditions.
It seems to me that before you make flippant statements about our prisons being likened to country clubs that you would do well to tour our prisons, interview some of the inmates and get a real understanding of current conditions. I don’t mean a tour like Gov. Schwarzenegger took at Mule Creek. Mule Creek is “the country club prison” that all the legislators are invited to see; it is kept up for just that purpose and is not at all representative of California prisons.
I must say that I was pleased to hear Sen. Steinberg state in this same article that what we need is rehabilitation and money to invest in mental health and substance abuse treatment as well as vocational training for parolees and probationers. He is absolutely right: “The key is to reduce recidivism, not to keep building more capacity.”
I would add to his list “transitional housing,” as many of the prisoners have no resources after being incarcerated for so many years. To be successful once paroled, they need housing, jobs, food, clothes and money to initially get to and from their jobs. To release them with $200 in their pockets and nowhere to go and no resources to become responsible, contributing citizens simply sentences them back to prison and thus perpetuates the problem.
Sen. Steinberg is absolutely right: “The key is to reduce recidivism, not to keep building more capacity.”
I thank you for your time and your consideration of these most important matters. Please keep in mind, Ms. Melendez, that those are human beings behind those walls, not just numbers. Please keep in mind also that approximately 85 percent of all Californians either have a loved one in prison or know someone who does.
We are your constituency, and we would appreciate it if you were a little more sympathetic to the fact that our loved ones are “paying their dues.” Most often it is not our fault that they are imprisoned. Most often the cause has to do with using, selling or stealing to get drugs. That is a societal problem and needs to be addressed as one.
cc: Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Judge Thelton E. Henderson, Sen. Loni Hancock, Alison Anderson
PJ LaFever is based in Vallejo and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez can be reached by mail at State Capitol, Room 205, Sacramento, CA 95814, or by phone at (916) 651-4006.
Via SF BayView
- California Prisons in the News (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Steinberg doesn’t see Senate passing Brown’s CA prisons plan (blogs.sacbee.com)
- Sheriff: No relief from realignment proposal (utsandiego.com)
- What it Costs When We Don’t Educate Inmates for Life After Prison (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
After being threatened with contempt by a panel of federal judges for failing to sufficiently reduce the number of prisoners in California’s jails, Governor Jerry Brown reluctantly unveiled a plan this month to further reduce the Golden State’s overcrowded prisons by another 9,000 inmates. Enthusiasm in Sacramento was in short supply.
Governor Brown argued that court orders were forcing him to jeopardize public safety by transferring prisoners to county jails and offering some of them early release.
Prisons chief Jeffrey Beard was more direct: “The plan is ugly. We don’t like it.”
Two years ago, California’s prisons held twice the number of inmates they were designed to hold, and that led to serious problems. In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Plata that California was violating prisoners’ Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. The Court estimated that an inmate in California’s prisons died every six to seven days due to inadequate medical care caused by overcrowding. Suicidal inmates were forced to stand in metal cages for 24 hours without access to restrooms. California was ordered to reduce inmate populations over two years from 150,000 to 110,000. When Jerry Brown crowed this January that California had done enough to satisfy the court’s requirements, he was threatened with contempt unless he continued reducing prison rolls down to the mandated target.
How did California’s prisons get so crowded in the first place? Golden State voters contributed to this crisis by approving some of the most stringent sentencing measures in the nation, including the 1994 Three Strikes Initiative. The law mandates 25 years to life in prison for three-time felons, even for nonviolent crimes. Strict sentencing laws enjoy bipartisan support in Sacramento. Republican legislators exult in preaching a tough-on-crime mantra — especially to the older, white demographic that tends to vote for them. And Democrats are surprisingly among the loudest voices calling for tougher sentencing laws lest they be called-out for being soft on crime.
Enter the California Correction Peace Officer’s Association, CCPOA, better known as the prison guards union.
Continue Reading @ PolicyMic
- California prison battle heading to U.S. Supreme Court (mercurynews.com)
- California Prisons in the News (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Calif. to ask US high court to reject inmate order (kfwbam.com)
- Calif. struggles with experiment to shift inmates (heraldonline.com)
Police forces are shrinking in the majority of California’s large and mid-size cities, while the state’s corrections staff is rapidly expanding, according to a new fact sheet by Barry Krisberg and Susan Marchionna of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a decline in total police officers in California’s 25 largest cities between 2008 and 2011, from 23,355 to 22,129. An informal telephone poll found continued declines in 9 out of 11 cities in 2012.
“The losses in numbers of officers on the street are a result of layoffs and cutbacks as well as attrition through retirement or other departures,” the sheet’s authors wrote.
While law enforcement staffing is on the decline in California, the state has steadily increased its budget for corrections, which has seen an increase from 53,688 positions during fiscal year 2011-2012 to a projected 59,736 during fiscal year 2013-2014.
The authors note that FBI data showed an increase in violent, property crime or both, in 2012. However, they caution that “crime rates are affected by a complex set of factors; therefore, their relationship to numbers of police officers is not entirely clear.”
Read the fact sheet HERE.
Via The Crime Report