Monday, February 29, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Stephen Stock, Michael Bott and Mark Villareal, NBC

An investigation into California’s criminal sentencing structure by NBC Bay Area discovered tens of thousands of convicted criminals serving time in prison longer than the sentence for their original, underlying crime, all because of California’s system of sentence enhancements.

Critics and researchers say dozens of ‘extra’ provisions exist in California’s penal code which can be added on as sentence enhancements at the discretion of prosecutors. Those critics say the system has led to overcrowding of the state’s prisons, unfair and unjust prison sentences and inequity in sentences depending on the prosecutor and jurisdiction.

Barrett Newkirk, The Desert Sun

In 2010, California began offering routine HIV testing to incoming prison inmates. The result, according to a new study by state health officials, is a high rate of inmates getting the care they need to get the virus under control.

But once released, many inmates struggled to stay on top of their drug treatment.

Among 13,388 new state inmates screened in in 2012 and 2013, 125 were previously diagnosed as having HIV and 10 were new diagnoses. Except for one inmate paroled within a week, all others were connected to HIV care. Of those, 91 percent were put on drug therapy. And of those, 88 percent reached viral suppression.

DEATH PENALTY

Phillip Reese, The Sacramento Bee

It’s been a decade since California last executed a murderer. In the years since, more than 190 California criminals have been sentenced to death.

The sentences have not been uniformly distributed. Some counties have stopped or mostly stopped sending murderers to death row at San Quentin State Prison. Others still condemn prisoners with relative frequency.

It’s unclear whether these criminals will ever be executed. California halted executions in 2006 following a court order related to whether the state’s drug protocol constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. State officials have worked to resolve that question. Late last year, they unveiled a new lethal injection method that for the first time in state history calls for the use of only one drug to execute inmates.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

John Myers, The Los Angeles Times 

The California Supreme Court on Friday evening allowed Gov. Jerry Brown and his political allies to begin gathering voter signatures for a November ballot measure to revamp prison parole policy, a temporary victory until the justices determine whether state officials properly followed election laws.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye issed a temporary stay of a judge's ruling that had stopped Brown's ballot measure dead in its tracks.

Minutes later, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris issued a formal title and summary for the proposal, thus clearing the way for signature gathering to begin this weekend.

Nina Crosby, Daily Bruin

Justin Christopher sits outside of Campbell Hall. He has no paper in hand, no exact verse in mind. His lips move silently, forming what will eventually become “The American Dream of Captivity,” a spoken-word piece that explores his past as a previously incarcerated man.

The African American studies graduate student will perform this piece Monday for the event A Poetry Slam Prison Benefit: In Support of the Prison Book Drive For Women Incarcerated at the California Institution for Women Prison at the James Bridges Theater. Christopher hopes to deconstruct the stigma surrounding criminal conviction and provide students with information about the criminal justice system. He is a co-founder of the Justice Work Group, an on-campus organization hosting the poetry slam.

OPINION

The San Francisco Chronicle

It’s been a decade since California lost control of its state prison health care system to a federal receiver. The state has made enormous progress since then. California has built new medical facilities at several prisons, doubled its annual prison health care budget, and released tens of thousands of inmates to county jail supervision under groundbreaking realignment legislation.

But last week showed that the state still has a long way to go.

On Monday, California’s inspector general gave a failing grade to medical care at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. The federal receiver has said that all 34 of California’s adult state prisons need to pass inspection before he will consider ending his oversight.