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Prisons Overcrowding

December 10, 2011 | By Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
The early release of inmates in some parts of California is accelerating as officials at county jails struggle to accommodate state prisoners flowing into their facilities. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department planned to begin releasing about 150 inmates Friday because of overcrowding in county jails. Sheriff Rod Hoops has decided to release the inmates, mostly parole violators or those convicted of nonviolent crimes, over the next five days. The inmates must have served at least half of their sentence, and have less than 30 days remaining on their sentence.
October 6, 2011 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
The boring, bureaucratic word "realignment" masks the truly dramatic change in locking up California criminals that Gov. Jerry Brown just pulled off. "A lot of people say, 'Hey, what's new in Sacramento?'" Brown told a news conference last week. "Well, this is new. It's bold. It's difficult. And it will continuously change as we learn from experience. "But we can't sit still and let the courts release 30,000 serious prisoners. We have to do something. " In truth, the change was inevitable.
August 6, 2011 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento -- California is unlikely to meet a federal court mandate to reduce its prison population by 34,000 inmates within two years, so state officials should ask for more time, the Legislature's top advisor said Friday. Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor also challenged Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to reduce the number of inmates sent to out-of-state contract prisons, saying California instead should consider exporting more felons. "The administration's push to reduce the number of these out-of-state beds while at the same time reducing overcrowding in the prisons makes little sense at the present time in our view," said the report by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
June 3, 2011
Bringing back ROTC Re "Campuses welcome back a '60s outcast," June 1 I was a member of the "outcast" Naval ROTC at Stanford. At the time I was opposed to the Vietnam War, and 30 years later, I was opposed to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. But I remain strongly supportive of ROTC programs. National defense is a public good, and ROTC programs enable more students to help bear the substantial personal and national cost of it. The United States faces a danger from terrorism for the foreseeable future, and we should provide more opportunities for all members of society to participate in the defense of our country.
May 27, 2011
A New York message Re "Medicare plan may have cost GOP a seat," May 25 Democrat Kathy Hochul took a House seat away from the Republicans in a very conservative district in New York, and most folks think it was because Republicans want to turn Medicare into a private voucher program. There were, in fact, many other issues. Polling in the district showed that voters were equally concerned with the lack of jobs created by the newly elected House majority. In addition, voters throughout the country are upset that Republicans refuse to discard the huge tax cut for the very wealthy and their refusal to end big tax breaks for oil companies.
May 24, 2011
Gov. Jerry Brown is a reluctant prison reformer; in his former job as attorney general, he fought hard to stave off a federal court order requiring the state to reduce its inmate population. But with Monday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding that order, Brown can't put off the big decisions anymore — and neither can the Legislature, which has been ignoring the prison problem for decades. Perhaps because he understood the weakness of his own case, Brown seems to have been prepared for Monday's ruling in Brown vs. Plata, in which a 5-4 Supreme Court majority agreed that California's prison conditions were so bad that they violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
November 29, 2010 | By David G. Savage and Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
The suicide rate in California's overcrowded prisons is nearly twice the national average, and one inmate dies every eight days from inadequate medical care. These are just two indicators cited in the 15-year legal battle over whether the state's prisons are failing to provide humane medical care for the 165,000 inmates. On Tuesday, the problems of California's prisons will move to a national stage when the Supreme Court hears the state's challenge to an extraordinary court order that would require the prison population to be reduced by about 25% in two years.
June 18, 2010
Obama and the spill Re "Obama calls on nation to alter its ways," June 16, and " BP will create fund to pay claims," June 17 President Obama's speech from the Oval Office on the oil spill was by far the worst speech I have ever seen during a major national crisis. But his results from paying hardball with BP's oil leases in getting money for the American victims of the oil spill now are unprecedented. The victims of the Exxon Valdez spill had to wait 20 years to receive a pittance.
September 18, 2009 | Michael Rothfeld
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fought against having to give federal judges a plan to reduce state prison overcrowding, but he lost. The proposal his administration must present by today's court-ordered deadline is likely to reflect a reluctance to take direction from the court. In recent weeks the governor advocated in vain for lawmakers to ratify a plan that would have helped reduce the state budget and cut the prison population by nearly 40,000 within two years, as a panel of three federal judges has demanded.
September 2, 2009 | Michael Rothfeld and Patrick McGreevy
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday asked a panel of federal judges to delay their order that the state produce a plan to reduce prison crowding, saying he would take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court if they did not grant the request. In the motion filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the governor said the order should be delayed pending an appeal to be filed Thursday in the Supreme Court, arguing that the state would probably win in the nation's high court. The order was issued Aug. 4 by judges overseeing two lawsuits filed by inmates complaining of inadequate medical and mental health treatment.
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