CDCR This Week: Southern California Flood Emergencies Triggers CDCR Inmate Firefi ghter Help, Counties begin Supervising Youthful Off enders On Parole in 2011
Parole Denied for Inmate Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) today denied parole for convicted killer and former Charles Manson associate Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel during a hearing at the California Institution for Women (CIW). Krenwinkel was convicted in 1971 of first-degree murder for her involvement in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.
San Quentin Death Row Project Delayed
Correctional News -- Officials with California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced a delay in awarding a contract for the first phase of the $356 million death row complex at San Quentin State Prison until February 9. CDCR has notified the three lowest bidders of its intention to extend the award period to allow the department additional time to brief the new administration on the project, said spokesman Paul Verke.
Officials Press Gov. to Block San Quentin Death Row Project
Correctional News -- State and local officials from Marin County are hoping Gov. Jerry Brown will scrap plans to build a new $356 million death row complex at San Quentin State Prison. Assemblyman Jared Huffman met recently with high-ranking members of the Brown administration and said he is hopeful that they will de-authorize the project in favor of cheaper alternatives. The 541,000-square-foot complex would contain 768 cells with 1,152 beds. Critics of the project say new prison space could be built more affordably elsewhere, and the land on which the prison resides could be put to a better use.
Lethal injection drug being phased out
By Rob Stein, Washington Post -- The U.S. company that makes a drug most states use in lethal injection announced Friday that it would no longer produce the powerful anesthetic, a decision that throws capital punishment in the United States into disarray. The decision by Hospira of Lake Forest., Ill., was prompted by demands from Italy, which does not have capital punishment, that no sodium thiopental - which the company had planned to make at its plant outside Milan - be used for executions, officials said. "We determined we could not prevent the drug from being diverted for use in capital punishment," said Dan Rosenberg, a Hospira spokesman. He noted that the company never condoned the drug's use for lethal injection and had hoped to continue making it for medical use.
Sole maker of execution drug says it's pulling out of market
CNN -- The only U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, a chemical used in executions, said today it will stop making the product. Hospira, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, said it never intended for its chemical to be used to kill people. It intended to start making sodium thiopental at a plant in Italy, but Italian authorities required the company to guarantee the chemical would not be used in executions, Hospira said on its website.
Dead certain about his date with the hangman
By Anthony Mostrom, Los Angeles Times -- Back in the days when execution by lethal gas or hanging came "swift and sure" for San Quentin's condemned — long before lengthy appeals and federal court rulings rendered death sentences academic — death row inmates could only dream of ways to "cheat the hangman."
Locals say jails have no room for Brown prison plan
By Lewis Griswold, Fresno Bee -- Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to house minimum-security convicts in county jails has local sheriffs and police chiefs concerned that public safety could be at risk. Many jails already are overcrowded, and if too many state prisoners get sent to jails, more criminals could wind up back on the street, they said -- a problem they already struggle with. "We just absolutely do not have room," said Kings County Sheriff David Robinson, whose 360-bed jail is at capacity. "It's a high public safety concern."
California sheriff cool to inmate transfers
By Karen de Sá and Irma Widjojo , Vallejo Times Herald -- Solano County may receive 25 more inmates every month if the Legislature approves Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to shift thousands of state prisoners to counties, and Sheriff Gary Stanton is worried. Brown proposes to send thousands of low-risk convicts, and all youth offenders, to county lockups to relieve overcrowding in state facilities. The plan, Brown said, would save nearly a half-billion dollars in the next fiscal year, and $1.4 billion annually over the long haul.
State's prisons are big business
The Orange County Register -- If you haven’t yet read the thoughtful and thorough investigation of California prison work pay conducted by the Register’s Sacramento reporter Brian Joseph, it’s must reading for those trying to understand how and why the state is in the budget mess it is in. You may be surprised at the high salaries paid relative to those of other state departments. You likely will be chagrined that solutions are neither quick nor easy, but there are places to start for the system, which oversees 162,000 inmates and 108,000 parolees.
Inmate crews praised for work during recent flooding
The Press-Enterprise -- Officials of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently recognized the efforts of inmate crews and correctional staff who responded to flooding in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, thereby saving homes and property. "Inmate firefighting crews and the custody staff were a critical component in the state's response to Southern California floods last month," said George Giurbino, CDCR's director of the Division of Adult Institutions. "Inmate crews and our staff are highly skilled and self-sufficient, enabling them to go where bulldozers and heavy equipment cannot go. In addition to saving lives and property, their work saves California taxpayers nearly $80 million a year."
Tug-of-war over parole for convicted killers arises from twist in California law
By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times -- Some 250 convicted killers went to court in California last year claiming former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put politics ahead of the law when he blocked their parole — and based on other recent cases, scores of them are expected to prevail. The action, which costs taxpayers million of dollars in legal fees and other expenses, stems from an unusual twist in state law: California has a professional parole board charged with deciding on inmates' release dates, but also gives the governor the power to overrule the board's decisions. Only four other states allow a similar tension.
Associated Press -- In a Jan. 20 story about the parole hearing of Charles Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel, The Associated Press erroneously reported that she was one of Manson's two surviving female followers. Krenwinkel is one of two women alive today who were involved in the Sharon Tate murders.
Yolo County man convicted in '82 baby kidnapping due parole hearing
Sacramento Bee -- A man who took part in a 1982 kidnap of a Yolo County baby for ransom is due a parole hearing this month. Bruce Young, now 50, is serving a life sentence after he pleaded guilty for his part in the kidnapping of a 4-month-old baby from a Woodland couple, The Bee reported. Law enforcement officers rescued the baby unharmed the same day as the kidnapping.
CDCR Related & Miscellaneous:
Concord family sues ex-governor over commutation
By Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle -- A Concord family is fighting back against a reduced punishment for a man involved in the killing of their son, filing a lawsuit Thursday against the state and Arnold Schwarzenegger that argues the former governor illegally commuted the sentence of one of the attackers. During his last hours in office, Schwarzenegger commuted the sentence of Esteban Núñez, the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. Esteban Núñez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other charges in the fatal stabbing of Luis Santos. Schwarzenegger reduced Esteban Núñez's sentence from 16 years in prison to seven years.
Family sues Schwarzenegger over commutation of Nuñez's sentence
By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times -- The parents of Luis Santos, a 22-year-old college student killed in a confrontation with the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, filed suit against former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento on Thursday, claiming that his decision to reduce the younger Nuñez's sentence violated California's Victims' Bill of Rights.
State medical board charges local doctor
By Todd R. Hansen, Tri-County Newspapers -- A Colusa physician is facing serious allegations by the state Medical Board that could result in his license being revoked. The state agency charges that in August 2009, Dr. Gregory W. Burt prescribed Demerol for patients at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, but intended to use the pain killer for himself, according to documents filed Jan. 11 from the Medical Board of California.
Prisoner shift makes sense — but for the money
Record Searchlight -- Gov. Jerry Brown's budget-cutting proposal to move the least dangerous and shortest-term inmates out of California's crowded and costly prisons and into county jails makes a lot of sense on a lot of levels. It also has one fatal hang-up: money.