CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2013 |
In 1979, a man with a long history of mental illness robbed an Oakland department store and was sentenced to seven-years-to-life in prison. At the time, the average time behind bars on such a conviction was seven years. Thirty-two years later, at age 67, this man is still very sick, and still in prison. I've got in a request to visit the man, and I keep thinking about him as I watch the prison population drama play out in Sacramento. Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate leaders have been squabbling over the best way to deal with a court order to cut the ranks of inmates by another several thousand before the end of the year.
August 11, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - Federal prosecutors will no longer seek long, "mandatory minimum" sentences for many low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, under a major shift in policy aimed at turning around decades of explosive growth in the federal prison population, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. planned to announce Monday. "Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no good law enforcement reason," Holder planned to tell the American Bar Assn. meeting here, according to an advance text of his remarks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- The leader of the California Senate on Wednesday said the Legislature would pay to house inmates out-of-state to comply with a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding only if more money was set aside for inmate mental health and substance abuse treatment. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), in a news conference Wednesday morning, expressed frustration with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's end-of-the-year deadline to remove nearly 10,000 inmates from state lockups, and with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling rejecting Gov. Jerry Brown's request for a delay.
August 2, 2013 |
Potential gubernatorial candidate Abel Maldonado blasted Gov. Jerry Brown over the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal Friday to block an order for the release of state prison inmates, saying that if Brown had moved to build new prisons, the point would be moot. “I would have demonstrated to the courts that I was moving forward with increasing capacity to hold some hardened criminals in California. This governor has decided not to do that, and now he's got to release 10,000 more inmates,” said Maldonado, a Republican and the state's former lieutenant governor.
July 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is in a position to decide - again - whether California's overcrowded prisons must release more than 9,000 inmates by the end of this year, but at the risk of sending some violent criminals back to the streets. Two years ago Kennedy spoke for a 5-4 majority in upholding one of the largest prison release orders in U.S. history, affirming a three-judge panel in California that concluded prisoners were dying from a lack of decent medical care because of severe overcrowding and the state's failure to act. Kennedy said the conditions amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown has claimed many reasons for why he can't meet the court order to cut prison crowding, including state and local restrictions on reducing sentences or releasing inmates early. So federal judges, in another order released Thursday , said they would make it easier for him. "All such state and local laws and regulations are hereby waived, effective immediately," they wrote. The judges explained that such a step is necessary because it would be politically difficult to push an early release plan through the Legislature.