States Seek to Jam Prison Cellphone Signals
By Solomon Moore, New York Times -- South Carolina petitioned the Federal Communications Commission on Monday to protect the public safety by blocking signals from contraband cellphones emanating from prisons. Officials with two dozen other state corrections agencies also signed the petition, which was filed two days before the Senate commerce committee is scheduled to hold hearings on legislation that would waive a 1934 federal ban on telecommunications jamming for prisons and other exceptional cases. Lobbyists for telecommunication companies say that any weakening of antijamming legislation could become a slippery slope that eventually could inappropriately limit cellphone use. Law enforcement officials say that smuggled cellphones are a growing problem across the country, allowing inmates to make unmonitored calls. California corrections officials reported confiscating 2,809 cellphones in 2008.
Attorneys say Morales has post-traumatic stress due to execution delay
By Layla Bohm, Lodi News Sentinel -- Convicted killer Michael Morales is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because California prison officials let him think for hours that he was going to be executed until it was called off, according to his attorneys.Morales was convicted of the 1981 rape and murder of 17-year-old Tokay High School senior Terri Lynn Winchell. He has been awaiting execution ever since, and was scheduled to die on Feb. 21, 2006.The execution was halted at the last minute, when anesthesiologists declined to be involved as part of a last-minute change ordered by a federal judge. All executions have been on hold ever since, and the state is now going through an overhaul of the process, including a public comment period.
Too many tears in the good-on-paper Jessica's Law
By Debra A. Johnson, Modesto Bee -- Thank you so much for the editorial "Murphy's Law: Bad legislation comes back to haunt the author" (July 6, Page A-7). Jessica's Law is one of those feel-good laws that looks good on paper, but those of us who provide treatment realize it makes absolutely no sense. For instance, Jessica's Law says that sex offenders cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or a park, which means they cannot spend the night there, however, they can be there during the day. When are children in parks and schools?
OK, California: Let's deal
The Grand Rapids Press -- They've got too many prisoners.We've got prisons slated to close. That formula makes attractive the proposal pitched by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two are floating the idea that Michigan would take some of California's overflow felons for our underfunded prisons. The idea comes as Gov. Granholm and lawmakers consider closing eight prisons as a cost-cutting measure. The closures would result in devastating job losses, including in Muskegon. California faces lawsuits over its poor prison health care. A federal court ruling concluded the problem was the result of prisons filled to twice their capacity, and ordered the state to off load 55,000 prisoners in the next three years.
California Keeps Prison Population High But Cuts Treatment Programs
By Pat Nolan, Huffington Post -- As California's irresponsible leaders have reduced the Golden State to issuing IOU's, one would think they would be looking to the prison budget as a place to save money. The state spends over $10 billion a year on prisons. That's 11% of the general fund! But so far significant reforms of the CDCR have been off the table. This is puzzling. Even "tough on crime" Texas has made dramatic changes that will reduce their prison population by punishing many offenders in the community, where they have access to treatment programs, and are close to their families and work. California on the other hand is going in the opposite direction.
Prisons and Public Health: Why Should You Care?
By Bernice Yeung, News Desk -- Why should Californians care about chronically ill prisoner and parolee health? What's the connection between prison reentry, medical care and our communities? I first became interested in these questions when writing about Ron Sanders, a community health worker serves California parolees San Francisco's Transitions Clinic. Sanders, who had once been incarcerated himself, struggles to keep his clients from being among the 66 percent of parolees who eventually return to prison. No easy task, as many are dealing with addiction, chronic illness, mental health problems -- or all of the above. There's a growing awareness of the public health and safety implications of ignoring this population. About 95 percent of the people in prisons or jails will eventually be released. Nationwide, that's roughly 13 million releases each year -- and when they get back home, these men and women aren't exactly paragons of health.