Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Update on California’s prison release conundrum

Update on California’s prison release conundrum


by Rosalea Barker

Because of the deadline for Werewolf, my story there is now out of date with respect to the prison reform legislation California has been considering. The California Legislature’s regular session ended at midnight on Friday, 11 September, and the bill that was eventually passed by both the Senate (which had originally passed a much more wide-ranging bill) and the Assembly will likely be signed by the Governor, even though it falls short of what he had hoped to see. As expected, the sentencing commission and plans for alternative custody for sick and elderly inmates were dropped, according to this report in the Sacramento Bee.

On his website, the leader of the Senate, Darrell Steinberg, lists the major provisions of the scaled-back bill that was passed by a vote of 21-15. The bill was part of a budget package, hence the savings enumerated in brackets:

Parole ($188 million savings)

Parole Policy: CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] will increase supervision levels for the most serious and violent offenders. CDCR Parole agents currently manage a 70:1 ratio. This bill brings it down to 45:1 allowing agents to better monitor the most serious and violent offenders. Agents currently only have the time to make one home visit per quarter and one office visit per month. Under this bill, an agent will be able to make two home visits per month and three office visits per month.

Low and moderate risk parolees with non-serious, non-violent and non-sex offenses will not be subject to parole revocation.

Establishes the Parole Reentry Accountability Program. As part of the program CDCR will use a parole violation decision-making instrument to determine the most appropriate parole sanctions for a parole violator. Parole violators with a history of substance abuse or mental illness may be referred to a re-entry court. The court will work with the assistance of parole agents to determine the appropriate conditions of parole.

Credits ($42 million savings)

The legislation revises and recasts day-for-day credits and provides up to 6 weeks of credits for inmates who complete specific milestones in rehabilitative programming such as vocation, substance abuse treatment or education. Credits under the revised credit formulas are subject to forfeiture.

Probation Supervision ($30 million savings)

County probation will receive a portion of CDCR savings for improving outcomes so felony probationers who would otherwise be sent to prison remain under the jurisdiction of the counties. Probation will use these funds for additional officers and evidence-based programs. Seed money is provided for 2009-10 via a $45 million appropriation from federal funds.

Sentencing ($20 million savings)

Property crime thresholds many of which have not changed since 1982 will be updated to reflect the Consumer Price Index except Grand Theft which remains at $400. [The Senate’s first version of the bill had raised that threshold to $2,500. Grand Theft is a categorized as a felony.]

“While I am disappointed we were not able to pass a more comprehensive solution that includes a sentencing commission and alternative custody, these changes are a common sense first step in addressing our stretched parole system and the federal intervention in California's criminal justice system,” Senate Pro Tem Steinberg said in the press release.

The other part of the correctional crisis—a federal district court’s requirement that California develop a plan to reduce prison overcrowding and submit it by September 18—also featured in the news on Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the governor's request to delay submitting the plan to the three-judge panel in California. SCOTUS didn’t rule on the merits of the panel’s request, which asserts that California’s severely overcrowded prisons amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Such punishment is expressly forbidden in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment is part of the Bill of Rights added to the original Constitution and ratified in 1791.

*************

ENDS

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Valerie Morse: Key And NZ Police At G20: What A Contribution

While 200 New Zealand police officers are helping to repress protests outside of the G20 in Brisbane this week, John Key has been inside pushing the interests of giant multinational corporations to fast track the World Trade Organization (WTO) ... More>>

ALSO:

Gabriela Coutiño: Ayotzinapa Caravan Meets With EZLN In Oventic

In their visit to Zapatista Territory, parents of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa Guerrero, agreed with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), to articulate a national grassroots movement that would question forced disappearances ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Talk Of A Third Intifada: Where To From Here, Palestine?

When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. More>>

ALSO:

David Swanson: Who Says Ferguson Can't End Well

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something ... More>>

Melanie Duval-Smith: Homeless Is Where The Heart Is

So, you are not allowed to feed the homeless on the streets of Florida. Last week, a 90 year old man and two Christian ministers were arrested for doing just that. I can hear the cries of the right wingers from here. “Not in our back yard”, ... More>>

John Chuckman: What We Truly Learned From the Great War and the Absurdity of Remembrance Day

No matter what high-blown claims the politicians make each year on Remembrance Day, The Great War was essentially a fight between two branches of a single royal family over the balance of power on the continent of Europe, British foreign policy holding ... More>>

Redress Information: A European Call To Suspend EU-Israel Association Agreement

More than 300 political parties, trade unions and campaign groups have called on the European Union to suspend its “association agreement” with Israel. The agreement, which came into force in 2000, facilitates largely unrestricted trade with Israel ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Age Of TV Jokers: Arab Media On The Brink

As I was finalizing my research for this article, I found myself browsing through a heap of hilarious videos by mostly Egyptian TV show hosts Tawfiq Okasha and Amr Adeeb. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news