Thursday, May 26, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's inspector general says a seventh state prison still is providing inadequate medical care after 10 years of reforms intended to improve conditions.

Inspectors have found that more than a third of the 17 prisons inspected since last year are still providing poor care.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Nicole Comstock, FOX 40 News

SACRAMENTO -- Over 14,000 inmates in California prisons who were convicted of serious crimes in their youth and sentenced as adults are now eligible for early parole hearings under new state laws.

SB 261, a youth offender parole law that went into effect in January of 2016 raised the age of eligibility for these parole hearings. Under a 2014 law, youth offenders who committed crimes before the age of 18, many of whom faced life sentences, became eligible for parole hearings after serving between just 15 and 25 years behind bars. This 2016 amendment to the law includes youth offenders who committed their crimes before the age of 23.

The new law sites the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults and takes into account their subsequent growth and maturity. This consideration follows a Supreme Court ruling that highlighted scientific research showing parts of the brain that affect judgement and decision-making are not fully developed for many people until they are in their 20s.

OPINION

The Press-Enterprise

The Press-Enterprise has recently published two articles regarding pay raises for California state prison officers, one by Sal Rodriguez [“No time to throw money at prison guards,” Opinion, April 7] and the other by Adam Summers [“Sending taxpayers to debtor’s prison,” Opinion, April 28]. Having spent nearly 30 years working in California’s prisons, I would like to suggest that both of these writers should spend a few days inside a prison to see the dangers that our correctional officers (15 percent female staff) face every day.

The violence and daily stress confronting our correctional peace officers in state prisons is real, but another reality is that these peace officers are at the bottom of the pay scales among all peace officer categories in California. The base salary of a sergeant for the bankrupt city of San Bernardino is $125,000 per year, not counting overtime. Mr. Rodriguez, and other writers, likes to print that the California Department of Corrections officers routinely earn $100,000, with overtime. This figure pales in comparison with the incomes of the area’s sheriff department and police forces, where you may find many earning over $200,000 with overtime. Forced to work overtime on a weekly basis is not a benefit, it can wreak havoc on officers’ families. The correctional peace officers of California deserve every dollar they earn.