State's long spending spree halted abruptly
By Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle -- The Department of Corrections has seen explosive growth over the past two decades, due mainly to an increasing inmate population, wages and benefits for staff and higher costs for prisoner health care, said Seth Unger, spokesman for the department. Prison spending, however, was cut this year by $1.8 billion, from $9.9 billion. Lawmakers have yet to decide how they will cut $1.2 billion of that.
Police divided over prison plan
By Frank Stoltze, KPCC -- In Los Angeles, Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell denounced the governor’s proposal to reduce California’s prison population so the state can save more than a billion dollars a year. Seth Unger says the governor proposes a variety of methods to reduce the prison population by 27,000 inmates from a near historic high of 168,000. Simply freeing inmates isn’t one of them. Unger says about 1,600 low risk inmates would be released only if they completed drug rehabilitation or vocational training programs.
Calif. trims proposal for inmate medical centers
The Associated Press -- California officials are proposing to build a single medical center for sick and mentally ill inmates, half of what they previously said was needed to improve substandard care. Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate in May proposed spending $1.9 billion on two prison hospitals for 3,400 inmates under an agreement with a federal court-appointed receiver.
Parts of men's prison remain quarantined due to swine flu outbreak
By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin -- Soon after learning last week about an outbreak of swine flu at California Institution for Men, prison officials implemented several preventative measures. According to Luis Patino, spokesman for the California Prison Health Care Services, 736 inmates have been placed under quarantine to limit exposure to inmates and staff. Since the quarantine, there have been no new reports of inmates with symptoms. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the health services agency sent samples to labs to confirm whether the inmates were infected by swine flu.
CDC halts, reduces financial aid to Salinas sex offenders
By Kimber Solana, Salinas Californian -- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is cutting or reducing aid to about 10 sex offenders this month in Salinas, officials said, due to a policy enacted in May to prevent parolees from living off taxpayer money. As a result, sex offenders will have to find help from friends or family, be able to afford their own housing or become homeless. The policy was enacted May 1 after CDCR officials decided to limit a parolee's rehabilitation assistance, which includes housing, to 60 days, said spokesman Seth Unger.
Budget cuts push sex offenders out of motels
By Vic Lee, ABC 7 -- State budget cuts are changing a controversial housing policy for paroled sex offenders. California corrections officials tell ABC7 News they will no longer place many sex offenders in motels while they look for permanent housing. However, there are still concerns about public safety. State corrections officials want 35 sex offender parolees living at the Inns of California motel in Salinas to move by the end of August. "Some are living with families, some are going to different locations," said Wes Ellison with the California Department of Corrections.
High Profile Cases:
Phil Spector's New Friend ... Charles Manson?
By Harry Phillips, ABC News -- The news came from Phil Spector himself in a telephone call from prison. California's most notorious killer, Charles Manson, wants to hang with the legendary record producer, maybe pick up a few songwriting tips, perhaps even collaborate on a song or two. Thornton said Spector is housed in the state's largest prison, The California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, while Manson is about two miles away in Corcoran State Prison. They are separated by cell bars, walls, razor wire, guard towers, more than a mile of open terrain, more razor wire, more walls and more cell bars.
Manson outreach to Spector denied
By E.J. Schultz, Sacramento Bee -- Tabloids and entertainment Web sites have buzzed recently with news that Charles Manson sent a note to fellow prisoner Phil Spector hoping for some sort of rendezvous. An investigation "showed there was not contact between the two inmates," said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton. "For an employee to take a note from an inmate to another inmate would be staff misconduct." Corrections officials noted Spector and Manson are imprisoned four miles apart.
The Manson Murders at 40
Newsweek -- The Manson "family" murders are more than grisly crimes. They marked the close of an era. The chief prosecutor in the case secured first-degree murder convictions against Manson and his codefendants; the jury returned verdicts of death, which were subsequently reduced to life imprisonment when California set aside the death penalty in 1972. Manson not only is very bright—but as misdirected as his violence was, his murders were revolutionary, political, and therein lies his main appeal to those on the fringes.
Charles Manson follower ends her silence 40 years after night of slaughter
By Robin McKie, The Observer -- They were the murders that ended the 1960s, the decade of love, in a bloodbath that shocked the world. Now, on the 40th anniversary of the killing of Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and her friends by Charles Manson's "Family", the gang member whose testimony convicted the killers has revealed for the first time her full involvement in the crimes. Manson was convicted of the murders of nine people, thanks to Kasabian who was the prosecution's star witness at his trial in 1970.
No more options in state prisons' future
When it comes to California's broken prison system, the budget crisis may have finally left us with no option other than to do the right thing. We must avoid sending so many people to prison, through a combination of rehabilitation, parole reform and changes in our draconian sentencing laws. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation used the 2007 recommendations of the Expert Panel on Adult Offender Reentry Recidivism Reduction, along with recommendations from the 2004 Deukmejian Commission, to craft a package of smart, sensible reforms.
Tough on corrections
Los Angeles Times -- California had a prison crisis long before this year's budget crisis. A system designed for fewer than 100,000 inmates is crammed with about 170,000. The overcrowding has made prison conditions so miserable, especially when it comes to medical care, that federal judges have ruled that the state is violating inmates' constitutional rights. As a result, the prison health system is under the oversight of a federal receiver, and a three-judge panel might soon order steep cuts in the inmate population.
Keep life without parole, let killers repent in prison
By Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle -- Because courts can sentence murderers to life without parole, why not get rid of the death penalty? It's a frequent question posed by readers and advocates who oppose the death penalty. For years, my answer has been: If death-penalty opponents ever succeed in eliminating capital punishment, their next target for elimination will be life without parole -- or as lawyers call it, LWOP.