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OPINION
January 12, 2013
Re "Brown says state's prison crisis 'over,'" Jan. 9 The passage of Proposition 30 appears to have emboldened the governor, who combatively told lawyers and federal courts to end their frisking of the California prison system. When Jerry Brown speaks of wasting a lot of money on nonsense in the prisons, he forgets the multimillion-dollar lawsuits, on behalf of inmates, when prison officials fail to address obvious problems, including overcrowding and poor healthcare. Paying out money to inmates in a lawsuit is real nonsense.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 12, 2014 | By Paige St. John
FRENCH CAMP, Calif. - California's $840-million medical prison - the largest in the nation - was built to provide care to more than 1,800 inmates. When fully operational, it was supposed to help the state's prison system emerge from a decade of federal oversight brought on by the persistent neglect and poor medical treatment of inmates. But since opening in July, the state-of-the-art California Health Care Facility has been beset by waste, mismanagement and miscommunication between the prison and medical staffs.
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OPINION
June 4, 2012 | By Barry Krisberg
So far, the only apparent solutions to California's budget crisis are increased revenues and draconian budget cuts. Legislative leaders have pledged to examine all options to avert further crippling reductions in state funding for higher education, the court system and social support for poor and vulnerable families. They should be looking at the state criminal justice system; there are savings that could help us avoid harsher cuts. To his credit, Gov. Jerry Brown has implemented budget and policy changes that have significantly reduced the state prison population and may reclaim up to $1 billion from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2014 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- Shortages of medical supplies, soap, towels and inadequate staffing levels are cited by a court-appointed official's decision to halt admissions to California's newest prison. But an inspection by lawyers who represent inmates in class-action litigation against the state say they also found design flaws in the new $839-million building that hinder its use to house chronically ill or disabled inmates. The state prison system's court-appointed medical receiver halted admissions to the Stockton prison on Jan. 27. In a court filing Friday, he accused California prison officials of treating the problems interfering with medical care as a "second-class priority.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 13, 2013 | By Paige St. John
A federal judge has rebuked Gov. Jerry Brown's lawyers for taking a swipe at the court-appointed monitor for prison mental health care. U.S. District Senior Judge Lawrence Karlton on Wednesday issued an order giving California five days to either show why its allegations against Special Master Matthew Lopes should remain in the court record, or take them back. "The court takes very seriously any allegation of unethical conduct," Karlton wrote. "However, the court can only be dismayed by the cavalier manner in which defendants ... level a smear against the character and reputation of the Special Master...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 14, 2012 | By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times
Twenty California prison employees suspected of smuggling cellphones to inmates have resigned or were fired in recent months, according to a report from the state's prison watchdog agency. Most of those employees were accused of taking the phones in for cash, while others were suspected of doing it for love or something like it, according to the report. One inmate caught with a phone had text messages and nude photos sent by a female guard, the report says. Another inmate was caught with love letters and a childhood photo from a guard accused of providing him the phone.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2013 | By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Jeffrey Beard's expert testimony was cited 39 times in the federal court order that capped California's prison population in 2009. He said the state's prisons were severely overcrowded, unsafe and unable to deliver adequate care to inmates. At the time, he was Pennsylvania's prisons chief. Now, he's Gov. Jerry Brown's new corrections secretary, and his first order of business is to persuade the same judges to lift the cap, as well as to end the court's longtime hold on prison mental health care.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 19, 2013 | By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - California prison officials have opened a new psychiatric center for inmates, contending that the $24-million treatment facility is proof the state is ready to shed federal oversight of mental health care for prisoners. The new building, at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, will provide outpatient treatment for mentally ill inmates who do not require 24-hour care. "It's time for the federal courts to recognize the progress the state has made and end costly and unnecessary federal oversight," Jeffrey Beard, secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in prepared remarks.
NEWS
December 11, 1992 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Infection with tuberculosis is 10 times higher among a group of California prison inmates than for the population of the state as a whole, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported. In a study of an unidentified prison, the CDC said it found 30% of the inmates at the institution tested positive for infection with the tuberculosis bacteria. Of those, 18 had active cases of tuberculosis.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- A federal judge Thursday agreed to hear evidence in the death of a California prison inmate who, while on suicide watch, was pepper sprayed by guards because he refused to remove his hands from his cell door. The inmate relied on a breathing tube, which he removed after being sprayed, and he died some eight hours later in what prison officials initially ruled a potential suicide, corrections reports show. The man's parents have accused prison officials of attempting a cover-up in the case, an allegation California prison officials adamantly deny.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 22, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
This post has been corrected. Please see the note below for details. A reputed prison gang leader who is accused of cutting his GPS ankle device while on probation in San Bernardino County has been captured after fleeing to Missouri, authorities said Tuesday night. Albert "Spanky" Amaya was validated by state corrections authorities as a crew chief for the Mexican Mafia prison gang, according to the San Bernardino County Probation Department. Amays, 45, was convicted of extortion, his third felony conviction, and sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison in 2008.  But under a voter-approved measure last year that allowed "three strikes" inmates to seek re-sentencing, Amaya was released in June to the supervision of the Probation Department, authorities said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 21, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers continued their review of the state's troubled prison system on Monday as Gov. Jerry Brown's administration received more time to negotiate ways to reduce overcrowding behind bars. The state is under court order to reduce its prison population by thousands of inmates because a panel of three federal judges determined that overcrowding was preventing access to adequate medical care. The deadline for cutting the prison population was delayed an additional 28 days on Monday , giving more time for administration officials to discuss a resolution with lawyers representing inmates.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 18, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- The United Nations' lead torture investigator says he is worried about increased use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and wants access to California lockups to ensure that prisoners' rights are being protected. "We should have more justification" for putting prisoners in isolation, Juan Mendez, the UN's special rapporteur (reporter) on torture told The Times' editorial board Friday. He called for greater scrutiny of prison systems that routinely put inmates in solitary confinement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 15, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear Gov. Jerry Brown's appeal of an order to reduce prison crowding, further narrowing the governor's options in his quest to end what he characterizes as an arbitrary cap on the inmate population. The cap was ordered by three federal judges in California, and Brown had asked the high court to remove it. Having lost that bid, he will continue to pursue a request to the lower court for more time to comply, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 15, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown's attempt to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that California's prison crisis is over stalled Tuesday when the justices refused to hear his appeal of court-ordered caps on the state's prison population. The decision means Brown may have to reduce that population by thousands of inmates by the end of January, the deadline set by a panel of three federal judges. If that's the case, the governor and lawmakers plan to rely heavily on housing inmates in private prisons, and a new contract was announced on Tuesday .  However, Brown administration officials are entering negotiations with lawyers for inmates to extend the deadline by three years, saying they could use the extra time to lower the prison population by expanding rehabilitation programs and reduce the number of former inmates returning to prison for new crimes.
NEWS
July 23, 1985
A convicted killer, sought in connection with the Sacramento slaying of his former wife and listed as one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives, has been arrested in York, Pa., without incident, authorities said. Robert Henry Nicolaus, 52, had been sought since March 15, when he allegedly lured his former wife, Charlyce M. Robinson, into an alley and shot her twice in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun, according to FBI Agent Karen Alexander in Sacramento.
NEWS
December 1, 2002
The article on prison rape could not have been clearer ("Rape. How Funny Is It?" by Fred Dickey, Nov. 3). California prison guards do, in fact, use rape as a tool for obtaining confidential information from gang leaders and gang members about inmates involved in drug trafficking, stabbings and so on. Prison guards do not care about who rapes whom because they know that the public doesn't care. I believe that California prison guards should be considered co-conspirators to these sexual crimes because they don't do anything to stop them.
OPINION
September 26, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The three federal judges who have ordered California to dramatically reduce its prison population have now pushed back their deadline by 30 days. The delay is both less and more than it seems. It's less, because it's nothing close to the three extra years that Gov. Jerry Brown said he would need to reduce overcrowding and to keep the number of inmates capped. Instead of facing a Dec. 31 compliance date, the governor and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation now have until late January.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York
SACRAMENTO - The state and the courts have been at odds for years over whether California's prisons are too crowded, but a new ruling this week offers a glimmer of hope that there's a middle way forward, analysts said Wednesday. The big question is what the governor is willing to do. On Tuesday, a panel of three federal judges gave Gov. Jerry Brown a surprise one-month reprieve of their order to remove more than 9,600 inmates from state prisons by year's end. After long having shown impatience with Brown's pleas for more time, the judges indicated they were open to a longer extension if he and lawyers for inmates could agree on how to shrink the prison population for the long term.
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