Archive for April, 2011

Jerry Brown pulls plug on building San Quentin’s new death row

Posted on April 28, 2011. Filed under: California State Budget, Politics, Prisons |

April 28, 2011
Posted by Torey Van Oot  on Capitol Alert

Gov. Jerry Brown pulled the plug today on plans to construct a new housing facility for condemned inmates at San Quentin.

Brown said in a statement that he believes it would “be unconscionable to earmark $356 million for a new and improved death row while making severe cuts to education and programs that serve the most vulnerable among us.”

That bill would add an estimated $28.5 million general fund costs in annual debt service payments, his office said.

“At a time when children, the disabled and seniors face painful cuts to essential programs, the State of California cannot justify a massive expenditure of public dollars for the worst criminals in our state,” said Brown. “California will have to find another way to address the housing needs of condemned inmates.”

The project, which has been in the works since 2003, was designed to house 1,152 inmates. There are currently fewer than 700 inmates on California’s death row, according to Brown’s office.

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Parolee on NRP suspected of Identy Theft

Posted on April 23, 2011. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Identity theft suspects nabbed

Recent parolee and woman had fake credit cards bearing Hollywood names, police say.

By Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Time

Printed in the Glendale Press

April 23, 2011

GLENDALE — A couple are scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges that they had more than 200 blank access cards and fraudulent credit account paperwork for celebrities such as Tim Burton and Tommy Lee Jones, police said.

Ex-convict Christopher Herrick, 43, and Traci Godlef, 42, were taken into custody about 11:17 p.m. Wednesday at the Glen Capri Inns and Suites in Glendale on suspicion of identity theft and forgery, according to police reports.

Inside the motel, police also reported finding a credit history report with a Van Nuys address and the name “Gaylord Focker,” a character in the film “Meet the Fockers.”

Herrick was among the low-risk inmates released early as part of the state’s effort to ease prison overcrowding, cut costs and — with no active parole supervision — reduce overtime for parole agents.

“This is a prime example of how the state is putting parolees back on the street and into already cash-strapped local communities,” Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

Herrick and Godlef had been living at the motel in the 300 block of Lafayette Street, where police have contacted several gang members and parolees.

A patrol officer spotted Herrick standing near a Ford Explorer outside the motel when he asked him whether he was on parole, according to police reports.

Herrick admitted that he had a hypodermic needle inside his pants pocket, according to police reports. The officer also reported finding a cigarette box containing a baggie with black tar heroin.

A search of the Explorer also yielded a baggie containing methamphetamine, according to police reports.

When police searched the motel room, they reported finding

computer equipment, including printers, scanners and hard drives, police said.

A stolen identification card had already been reprinted onto a plastic card, police said.

Herrick was reportedly released from prison on irrevocable parole for embezzlement, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

In May, Glendale police started using a new tool that allows officers to keep records of parolees they stop and their addresses. The system also keeps details on the parolee’s physical characteristics, crimes committed, vehicle descriptions, gang affiliation and photographs.

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10 hospitalized prisoners to get prompt hearings under medical parole law, receiver says

Posted on April 23, 2011. Filed under: California State Budget, Parole, Politics, Prisons |

The federal receiver overseeing California’s prisons says inmates who no longer pose a threat to public safety will be scheduled for hearings under a law meant to save taxpayers the yearly $800,000-per-inmate cost of round-the-clock supervision.

By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times

March 3, 2011

Ten of California’s sickest and most costly inmates — some are in comas, some are paralyzed — will be promptly scheduled for parole hearings, corrections authorities announced Wednesday.

An article in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times detailed how, despite being chained to bed frames, such inmates are guarded around the clock by multiple corrections officers at an annual cost to taxpayers of roughly $800,000 per inmate.

“You look at these inmates and say, ‘This person is not going anywhere,'” said J. Clark Kelso, the receiver appointed by a federal court to oversee California’s troubled prison health services.

Kelso said he met with Corrections Department Secretary Matthew Cate on Wednesday morning and the two agreed to schedule parole hearings for the 10, who are no longer deemed a threat to public safety.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a medical parole law in September to spare taxpayers the expense of guarding such inmates. But as of last week, corrections officials had not scheduled a single parole hearing. They said they were still working on regulations to carry out the law.

The receiver’s office and state prison officials have been at odds about how quickly to nudge these ailing inmates toward parole. The receiver has argued that paroling them right away would save money. Prison officials insisted they needed time to formulate rules and make sure the law is applied consistently.

Kelso said the department would no longer wait for new regulations to be written.

All of the 10 inmates selected by Kelso are being treated in hospitals outside of prison, where their care costs taxpayers more than $2 million a year on average. About 40% of that goes to salaries, benefits and overtime for guards, many of whom consider the assignment a plum job.

One of the 10 has been in a Central Valley hospital and under 24-hour guard for more than seven years, according to the receiver’s office. Five are attached to ventilators. All are immobile, according to the receiver’s medical evaluations.

Even after the receiver’s announcement Wednesday, officials remained divided over the next step.

Corrections officials now say they need time to do their own medical evaluations. They also must find appropriate beds for the inmates in outside hospitals, department spokesman Oscar Hidalgo said Wednesday.

But the receiver’s spokeswoman, Nancy Kincaid, disputed this. She said the inmates in question have already been evaluated and are already in the hospitals where they would likely remain following parole.

Neither office could say Wednesday exactly when the first hearing will occur.

State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) sponsored last year’s medical parole bill and has called the delays “maddening.” On Wednesday, he said 10 inmates “is a decent start but hardly sufficient.”

The Times story described 57-year old inmate Edward Ortiz, who is semi-paralyzed by a degenerative nerve disease. He’s attached to a ventilator at one end of his hospital bed and chained by his ankles at the other.

Nevertheless, a guard is stationed at his bedside 24 hours a day and another is posted at the door. A sergeant is also on the scene around the clock to supervise.

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CVAA Opposes AB 109

Posted on April 4, 2011. Filed under: California State Budget, Crime, Politics, The Law, Victims Rights |

The Crime Victims Action Alliance formally opposed AB 109 today sending a strong opposition letter to the Governor and members of the Legislature.

As we have been reporting to you, AB 109 passed the legislature in matter of hours after being introduced.  There was no opportunity for the public to comment on this legislation, no time for you to contact your representative.  The vote was done without public input – period!

Now the bill sits on the Governor’s desk.  He has until midnight tonight to take action on this bill.  No action will allow the bill to go into law.  We have asked the Governor to either veto this bill or send it back to enrollment.

Crime Victims Action Alliance has sent our letter of opposition into the Governor and a copy to every member of the legislature.  In addition, Victims Action League in San Diego has also made their voice heard by sending in a letter of opposition.

Click the following link to read our letter sent to the Governor today.  AB109 opposition letter

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