After realignment, fewer women expected in prison
By Heather Tirado Gilligan, HealhyCal-- Beatrice Smith-Dyer went to Chowchilla prison for killing her abusive husband at the age of 41. Her marriage, she said, was the last in a string of damaging relationships that started when she was a child. “It wasn’t just him – it was all the abuse I suffered throughout my life,” Smith-Dyer said. She was physically and sexually abused as a child, she said. Smith-Dyer self-medicated, struggling with drug addiction in her late teens. She got sober in her early 20s and developed a career as an addiction counselor, but never really healed from the trauma of her childhood years, she said.
13 CA cities call for help tackling gang violence
By Ali Winston, KALW-- Looking out across the San Francisco Bay from the top of the Downtown Oakland Marriott, dozens of California law enforcement officers and public officials kicked off a two-day conference on gang prevention strategies during an era of shrinking budgets and police departments. The adage “do more with less” was invoked time and time again, particularly by Attorney General Kamala Harris in her keynote address. A combination of budget cuts to the state Department of Justice, as well as realignment – or the shifting responsibility for thousands of offenders to county jails and probation departments – mean that cities across the state will experience a significant influx of probationers and parolees into their streets and jails, taxing police, corrections and social services. The state, Harris said is “on the verge of bankruptcy” and is not in a position to provide sufficient fiscal or institutional support for countries.
SM branch jail going back to full time
By Marga K. Cooley, Santa Maria Times -- The Santa Maria branch jail will be open seven nights a week beginning in mid-October - and open full-time in January - as the result of a state "realignment plan" that will create a need for more jail beds, Sheriff Bill Brown told the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The county will use about $1 million of $3.9 million in state realignment money to pay for the various aspects of reopening the jail on a full-time basis. In addition to the money for incarcerating, supervising and treating the realigned offenders, the county will receive a one-time $150,000 planning grant and $273,700 in one time implementation costs from the state for fiscal year 2011-12.
Prison or jail? Public safety shift takes center stage
By Micaela Massimino, The Sacramento Bee-- California is less than two weeks away from shifting some state prison inmates into county jails, and Gov. Jerry Brown talks to hundreds of law enforcement and government officials this morning about that very subject. Capitol denizens call this move "public safety realignment." It's described in this Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website as "historic legislation that will enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons." Counties are about to take responsibility for custody, treatment and supervision of offenders convicted of specific non-violent, non-serious and non-sex crimes. The shift starts Oct. 1. Brown will give the keynote address at 10 a.m. at the one-day conference, which runs all day at the Sacramento Convention Center. His remarks will be webcast live on the governor's website.
The state giveth, and it's not good
By Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian-- Two things come to mind after learning more about "prisoner realignment:" One, this is possibly the single largest load of kah-RAP ever dumped on counties by the state. Two, getting through it will be painful. But if we're smart, innovative and work together it could actually result in the kind of prison reform people have yammered about for years. (Cut costs, reduce recidivism, hold the system more accountable, etc.) If you didn't read the article in Sunday's Californian, I'll catch you up. A couple things are about to happen with state prison inmates. Under a federal mandate to reduce overcrowding, the state will start releasing non-serious, non-violent, non-sexual (known as 3-nons) offenders early. They will have to be supervised by county probation departments.
SB COUNTY: Officials preview realignment plan
By Imran Ghori, The Press Enterprise-- San Bernardino County public safety officials admitted to being a "little nervous" as they prepare to take over supervision of some low-risk offenders from the state prison system but said Tuesday they also see it as an opportunity to reduce recidivism. Starting Oct. 1, counties will take over the supervision and custody of some convicts under a state law signed in. Low-risk offenders -- whose crimes are classified as nonviolent, non-serious and non-high-risk sex offenders -- being released from prison normally overseen by state parole agents will now be supervised by county probation departments. Also starting Oct. 1, people convicted of those less serious offenses will serve their sentences at county jails rather than in state prisons. Sheriff Rod Hoops estimated that San Bernardino County's four jails will get about 300 additional prisoners a month.
Early Prisoner Release a Fiscal Challenge
By Gene Cubbison, NBC Los Angeles -- As the early release of thousands of 'low-level' California prison inmates begins as early as this week, concern is mouting over finding them jobs to help keep them from returning to lives of crime. California is under federal court orders to reduce prison overcrowding by 30,000-plus inmates by July 2013, so low-level prisoners could be sent to county jails, triggering an early release of jail inmates. Women inmates who are mothers, and have less than two years left on sentences for non-violent, non-sexual crimes could soon qualify for home releases with GPS monitoring. But the state is only reimbursing the counties for half of what it spends on the prisoners and parolees.
Tehama County slammed with state inmate releases
By Julie R. Johnson, Corning Observer -- Tehama County can plan on getting at least 74 state-released inmates by March, according to Chief Probation Officer Richard Muench. How to deal with that influx, and its financial costs, is a matter the Community Corrections Partnership is working on — but time is running out. The partnership consists of leadership from county and city law enforcement departments, the courts, probation, and the District Attorney's Office. Additionally, officials from county administration, social services, health services, education, state parole, and community- and faith-based organizations are involved. The group met for the second time Thursday, discussing avenues of dealing with the increase in probation cases, a timeline to implement the plan, and a priority list of immediate needs to present to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors for approval.
Former Prison Nurse Suspected Of Having Sex With Inmate
By Ron Jones, CBS 13-- A former prison nurse at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville was recently arrested on suspicion of having an ongoing sexual relationship with a patient at the hospital, which serves male prison inmates. The mother of five refused to talk to CBS13′s Ron Jones, who learned she was arrested again just this week for missing court. She was served a warrant at Folsom State Prison after trying to visit an inmate there. Her parents did speak with Jones and expressed shock at their daughter’s alleged actions.
Parole agent shoots self during arrest
By Richard Brooks, The Press Enterprise-- A state parole agent is in stable condition after accidentally shooting himself through the left calf this morning while he and his colleagues were preparing to enter a Moreno Valley house to make an arrest, says an agency official. "No one really knows what happened," said Chief Deputy Regional Administrator Ken Ford, who emphasized that the investigation is in the preliminary stages. The gunshot rang out about 9 a.m. Tuesday outside a home in the16000 block of War Cloud Drive. It's unclear why the handgun went off or even whether it was holstered at the time.
Hero: Rescue Chief Recognized for Valor
By Nicole Charky, La Canada Flintridge Patch-- If you injure yourself during a Monkey Canyon cliff jump or are lost in Angeles National Forest, chances are one man will rescue you – he also happens to be a La Crescenta dad. Sheriff’s officials honored Reserve Chief Mike Leum with two gold medals of valor for his heroic service during the deadly 2009 Station Fire and when he saw a man attempting to kill himself on the Foothill (210) Freeway, and darted into oncoming traffic to save him. The honoree has three different titles as Reserve Chief of Search and Rescue for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, first responder for the Montrose Search and Rescue Team and civilian executive with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. “It’s all sheriff’s, all the time at our house,” Leum said. Leum is a longtime La Crescenta resident. He and his wife both attended Hoover High School in Glendale and have two sons, one a Crescenta Valley High School student and the other studying at Glendale Community College.
Sex offenders at state hospital protest ‘violent predator’ designation
By Ryan Gabrielson, California Watch -- In one unit of Coalinga State Hospital, a few convicts ruled to be sexually violent predators are starting to publicly protest their indefinite incarceration. More than 900 sex offenders are housed at the mental hospital in Coalinga, a small city along I-5 in Fresno County. The hospital houses criminals with assaults on their rap sheets and psychological conditions showing them to be a danger to society. That population had been growing slowly for years. However, the California state auditor recently reported that courts have all but stopped designating sex offenders as violent predators in the past two years, as fewer convicts have met the requirements.
Male Inmates Could Be Moving In Madera County
By Brittney Hopper, CBS 47-- Statewide prison realignment might mean Valley State Prison for Women could soon become a prison for men as well. Madera County Supervisor David Rodgers says it's going to happen and he's not happy about it. "We're the only ones being asked to convert a women's facility into a men's prison," said Rodgers. Rodgers says studies show more male inmates will mean increased drug and gang activity and the families of the inmates move into town and overload the social services system. The male inmates would be low level offenders but it has some Chowchilla residents on edge.
Former Felons Seek Employment
By Gene Cubbison, NBC San Diego-- As the early release of thousands of 'low-level' California prison inmates begins as early as this week there's concern about finding them jobs to help keep them from returning to crime. In San Diego County and throughout the state, multi-agency "community corrections partnerships" are working to address that issue. The partnerships bring together law enforcement, parole and probation departments, social services and nonprofit organizations. The mission is to give ex-offenders the skills to compete in an already desperate job market while putting the criminal 'strikes' against them in the past.
Stolen gloves trigger third strike
By Sarah Burge, The Press-Enterprise-- Twenty-nine years to life for $20.94 worth of wire and gloves. Scott Andrew Hove's crime -- pilfering merchandise from a Home Depot -- was a trivial one. But because of California's three strikes law requiring harsh punishment for repeat offenders, the 45-year-old Lake Elsinore man received a lengthier sentence than some murderers. His prior "strikes" were for burglary, and he has never been convicted of a violent crime, although one drug-fueled crash severely injured a pedestrian who later died. Hove's family calls the sentence a miscarriage of justice. "I don't even know where to begin, it's just so unfair," said his sister, Fontana resident Annette Edwards. "He has a drug problem. He's not a killer." Prosecutors say Hove got what he deserved.
Lethal injection drug overcomes court challenges
By Judy Gross, National Catholic Reporter-- How are prisoners on Florida’s death row and unwanted dogs and cats in a city pound alike? They are put to death using the same medication. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled pentobarbital -- a barbiturate used most regularly to euthanize unwanted animals -- can be part of the lethal cocktail used to execute inmates. Manuel Valle, 61 years old and a 33-year resident of Florida’s death row, is next in line to be put to death using pentobarbital. Anti-death-penalty activists had hoped to stop Valle’s execution because they claim the use of pentobarbital is “cruel and unusual punishment” when used in lethal injections. They say that pentobarbital is unsafe and unreliable and that using the drug as the first part of a three-drug combination would risk needless pain and suffering for the condemned.
EDITORIAL: Worth further study
North County Times-- A trial program that seeks to get parolees to turn their lives around for the better is showing promising results in Sacramento ---- and would seem to be the type of program that should be expanded for further study. The test program replaces the lengthy but delayed prison terms parolees receive for violating terms of their early release with shorter but immediate stays in the local county jail. While the test has been limited ---- only 35 parolees in Sacramento have taken part so far ---- the results to date are encouraging. Those participants were far less likely ---- up to 72 percent less likely ---- to use illegal drugs; they also had lower rates of recidivism. Our judicial system is based on the notion that outside of the worst crimes, for which you lose your freedom for the rest of your life, you serve your punishment and then get a fresh start.